CIPP/E Study Guide 2024: All you need to know about the CIPP/E Exam

CIPP/E Study Guide 2023: All you need to know about the CIPP/E Exam

Welcome to the Comprehensive Introduction to the Certified Information Privacy Professional/Europe (CIPP/E) Exam. This guide has been crafted to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the CIPP/E certification, a specialized credential that focuses on data protection and privacy laws within the European context.

The CIPP/E certification, offered by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), is designed to equip privacy professionals with the knowledge and expertise needed to address the challenges of data privacy in Europe.

In an era where data breaches and privacy concerns dominate headlines, organizations across the globe are increasingly seeking skilled professionals who can navigate the complex landscape of data protection regulations. 

So, let’s embark on this journey together and pave the way for a secure and compliant digital future in the realm of data privacy with the CIPP/E study guide!

What is CIPP/E?

Data Privacy jobs report depicts demand for privacy pros at a record high level, all thanks to complex regulatory requirements and mass migration to cloud services.

Ever since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came online in the European Union in 2018, there has been an ongoing global march toward equivalent digital privacy legislation. A recruitment firm, TRU Staffing Partners has reported that the increasingly complex web of regulation, combined with mass movement to remote work as an after-effect of the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a record increase in the demand for privacy professionals. The requirement has increased to the highest level in over ten years. Last year 30% of data privacy jobs increased, with predictions that similar things are expected to happen in the coming years. The popularity and the need has increased.

The Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) is a prestigious certification exam that has gained global recognition, developed and offered by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). Within the IAPP CIPP program, there are different certifications for various regions, including the United States (CIPP/US), Europe (CIPP/E), Asia (CIPP/A), and Canada (CIPP/C).

The comprehensive CIPP/E curriculum encompasses a wide range of topics, including Europe-wide General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and local data protection laws. It delves into crucial subjects like data protection principles, international data transfers, the impact of the Schrems II decision, the historical background of European data protection law, and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations.

Unlike some other certifications, there are no prerequisites in terms of prior experience or educational qualifications to sit for the CIPP/E exam. However, to keep up with the evolving privacy landscape, the exam content is updated annually. Check out our blog for the updates and relevant news.

At the time of writing, the exam fee was set at $550. Successful candidates are required to pay a Certification Maintenance Fee of $250, which is payable every two years, unless they are active IAPP members, in which case the fee is already covered by their annual membership.

The CIPP/E exam offers flexibility in terms of administration. It can be taken online through Pearson VUE or in person at an authorized exam center. The exam is available in multiple languages, including English, French, and German, and results are provided immediately upon completing the examination.

The benefits of a CIPP/E certification

A CIPP/E certification offers numerous benefits, making it a valuable investment worth pursuing:

  • Demonstrates Comprehensive Understanding: The certification showcases your in-depth knowledge of European data protection law and practices.
  • Expertise in Privacy Law: Employers, clients, and peers recognize you as a privacy law expert, capable of analyzing, interpreting, and implementing GDPR requirements effectively.
  • Competitive Advantage: Holding the CIPP/E certification sets you apart from other job applicants, making you more appealing to employers. In 2019, a skilled individual applying for data privacy jobs could generally anticipate an organization to take about three to six weeks to review everything and commit to them after initially sending their resume. In 2021, the process nearly took one week only. Privacy pros usually have at least two proposals to choose from at any given time and are averaging three during the time they are job-seeking.
  • A better pay: Data privacy jobs also cost considerably more to fill in this market. Privacy pros enjoyed an increase of 22% in salary, generally commanding around $20,000 to $30,000 more per year for the same posts. A similar rise is anticipated to happen again by next year.
  • Commitment to Career Growth: For newcomers to the industry, the certification demonstrates your dedication to building a successful career in privacy law.
  • Path to Data Protection Officer (DPO) Role: Pairing the CIPP/E certification with the Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM) certification can open doors to a career as a Data Protection Officer.

We have written a blog post about the advantages here. In conclusion, earning a CIPP/E certification is undoubtedly a worthwhile endeavor that can significantly enhance your career prospects and professional standing in the field of privacy law.


What’s the difference between CIPP/E, CIPP/US and CIPM?

The CIPP/E certification focuses on demonstrating knowledge of data protection laws and regulations in Europe. The CIPP/US certification focuses on the same in the United States. Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM) focuses on developing leadership skills for managing and leading an organization’s privacy program. Holding both certifications equips you to fulfill the Data Protection Officer (DPO) requirements per the GDPR

How long should I study for the CIPP exam?

The IAPP recommends allowing 30 hours to study for the exam. We would recommend at least 40 – 50 hours for studying to be well prepared. However, this varies depending on your level of prior work experience, personal studying style and family/work commitments.

How many questions are on the CIPP/E?

The exam has 90, multiple choice questions of which 75 are scored. There is one correct answer and 3 plausible, but incorrect answers. The exam also includes a few scenario questions, these questions often pose a challenge for students. The difficulty lies in the abundance of information provided, requiring individuals to discern between essential details and secondary points.

How long does the CIPP/E take?

You have 2.5 hours to complete the CIPP/E exam. 

Is the CIPP/E exam hard? 

The CIPP/E exam is certainly challenging. The scoring system is complex and not very transparent, so it can be difficult to know exactly how well you need to do in order to pass. The exam is a test of both understanding and memorizing.

What is a passing score for CIPP?

A score of 300 out of 500 points is required, which corresponds to getting approximately 75-80% of the questions correct. However, the exact calculation method of this score remains the best-kept secret of the IAPP (International Association of Privacy Professionals). 

This not only emphasizes the seriousness of the exam and the necessity for thorough preparation, but also shrouds the evaluation criteria used by the IAPP in a mysterious veil. Achieving this threshold undoubtedly represents a significant level of expertise and understanding in the field of privacy and data protection, symbolizing recognition of profound knowledge within this intricate and evolving domain.


We generally recommend scheduling the date and time for your exam as soon as possible. 

There is no set list of exam times and dates. Purchase the exam through the IAPP then you can look up exam centers close to you and choose a date and time slot from what’s available. Alternatively, you can check for available online proctored sessions. There are over 6,000 test centers worldwide. We do recommend testing if everything works correctly in advance, we have had messages from students who were having issues with the proctored sessions during the exam. 

Once you book in the date and time for your exam, you can reschedule any time up to 48 hours before the exam time (for a physical exam location) or up to 15 minutes past the appointment time for an online exam. You can reschedule as often as you like.

Do take note and check your confirmation email to make sure the date and time are exactly as you expect.

How to study for your CIPP/E Exam?

For those with limited time or relevant experience, here are the steps to follow while preparing for the CIPP/E exam. 

  • Join our CIPP/E Training Course
  • Obtain and thoroughly read the textbook “European Data Protection, Third Edition.”
  • Study the GDPR regulations.
  • Review EDPB opinions and guidelines.
  • Test your knowledge using trial exams or sample question books.
  • Regularly refer back to this CIPP/E study guide for valuable insights and guidance.

Join our CIPP/E Course: Our comprehensive courses encompass all the materials you need to know, ensuring a thorough understanding of the subject matter. Our team consists of highly experienced professionals in the field of data security, providing you with expert insights and guidance throughout your learning journey. 

Our CIPP/E course comprises a well-rounded blend of video content, a concise summary of the official textbook, three full-length practice exams, featuring 90 questions each, and supplemental materials, including additional questions, valuable information, and essential tips to enhance your preparation. 

For those interested in exploring our course further before making a purchase, we invite you to register for our free demo. This will allow you to get a glimpse of our offerings and experience the quality of our content firsthand.

Utilize IAPP Resources: Visit the IAPP website for valuable resources, including a comprehensive Glossary of Privacy terms, the Body of Knowledge, the Exam Blueprint, and a concise CIPP/E Study Guide, available for download. The Body of Knowledge outlines all the crucial concepts and topics required for passing the exam, while the Exam Blueprint provides insight into the distribution of questions across different topic areas. These resources are also available in French and German.

CIPP/E Exam book

The starting point for the CIPP/E exam is the IAPP-recommended text, “European Data Protection: Law and Practice, Third Edition” by Eduardo Ustaran et al., available in print or digital format in English, French, or German through the IAPP store.

For self-study, this book is the most essential resource you’ll need. If you are taking our training course,  purchasing the book is not mandatory for passing the exam, but we do recommend it if you want to delve deeper into certain topics.

Please note that the IAPP releases new editions of textbooks approximately every two years, while the CIPP/E exam and body of knowledge receive annual updates. As a result, there might not always be an exact match between the topics covered in the Body of Knowledge and the chapters in the textbook. 


A thorough understanding of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is of utmost importance, and any comprehensive CIPP/E Study Guide must include resources to learn and comprehend it.

The IAPP textbook and our course provide detailed coverage of the GDPR. However, if time permits, it is beneficial to refer to the actual text of the regulation frequently or even read it in its entirety.

To access the GDPR based on your learning style, you have various options. The most straightforward approach is to download the full GDPR text in PDF format. This enables easy access and reference to the complete regulation.

We recommend finding a suitable way for you to study the GDPR. There are several Apps, websites, charts and videos to study the GDPR.

EDPB Publications

It all began with the collaboration between the regulatory authorities of European Union member states, who convened to establish protocols for the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This cooperative entity, known as the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), was founded to foster harmonization and consistency in the interpretation and enforcement of GDPR guidelines across the diverse landscape of the EU. 

The EDPB was established in 2018 by the GDPR as the successor to the Article 29 Working Party (WP29). Its primary function is to issue opinions, recommendations, best practices, and guidelines to foster a common understanding of European data protection laws.

In October 2022, the CIPP/E body of knowledge was enriched with ten EDPB guidelines, which are now examinable. These guidelines are of utmost importance to read and understand for the CIPP/E exam, as confirmed by feedback from our community members. Incorporating real cases and examples, these documents have proven beneficial in exam preparation.

All the EDPB documentation can be accessed on the official EDPB website. To provide convenient access, we have also included direct links to each guideline below: 

Taking the CIPP/E Exam

Taking the CIPP/E exam is an exciting milestone after thoroughly studying this CIPP/E Study Guide. Currently, candidates have the option to take the exam remotely through Pearson Vue, the IAPP’s partner, or in person at an approved test center.

However, some students have shared their experiences with remote proctoring, which can present challenges. Technical issues, such as difficulty scrolling through the exam or webcam connection problems, have been reported by some candidates. Waiting times before starting the exam have also been mentioned.

If you have already scheduled an exam and do not feel ready to take it, then  you can reschedule the exam for free up to 48 hours before the scheduled time. 

Tips for the CIPP/E Exam

Here are some valuable exam tips and strategies: 

  • Time management: If you find yourself spending too much time on a particular question, mark it for later and move on. Additional information from other questions might help you approach it with more clarity.
  • Pay close attention to detail: Read each answer choice carefully, as many options may appear similar in wording.
  • Use the process of elimination: Start by eliminating answers you know are incorrect, then make a decision among the remaining choices.
  • Scenario-based questions: Read the question first before delving into the scenario. This approach helps you filter out irrelevant information in the scenario and focus on what matters.
  • Avoid second-guessing: it’s best to trust your initial responses.

We recommend studying the textbook outline very well. Get the details out of it. Try to take a good look at the topics that weigh heavily in the blueprint. Check out our blog about the update of 2023. So, start with chapter 9, 10, 8 etc. Ask yourself these topics: what can I tell about it, which articles play a role. If you can reasonably answer that kind of questions by heart, this will give you a lot of confidence and you will score better on the normal and scenario questions. I would not be too focused on practicing more questions.

Also, don’t panic if the scenarios seem difficult. You don’t have to have everything right and you can review them afterwards. There are plenty of simple multiple choice questions that you can score with only learning the material. You may well have some questions wrong with the difficult questions in the scenarios. That’s OK. Also know that some of the questions are experimental and do not count in the result at all.

Hopefully the above is useful. Once again, if you know the material in the summary well, you are already a long way off. Questions that do not originate from the study materials can often be answered logically.

CIPP/E training course

Are you looking to streamline your learning, benefit from the insights of seasoned professionals, access comprehensive course materials all in one place, and significantly enhance your likelihood of success? Look no further than our CIPP/E training course. This comprehensive program is designed to not only save you time but also offer valuable insights drawn from the experiences of others. By enrolling in this course, you’ll not only gain a consolidated understanding of key concepts but also greatly elevate your chances of achieving success in the CIPP/E examination. Join us on this educational journey to unlock your full potential in the realm of data protection and privacy.

We highly recommend our CIPP/E training course, which is available online, offering lifetime access upon purchase. Our courses are designed for self-study, providing you with the flexibility to plan your study time around your other commitments, such as work or other activities. You can easily combine our online CIPP and CIPM courses with your (full-time) job and other activities. One course can be completed in 1 or 2 full days. It is also wise to reserve some study time for learning the summary and studying relevant laws. Of course, you can set the pace you desire.

The course design follows the chapters of the book of knowledge. Each chapter starts with a video introduction (see below for an example). The video is followed by short stories and a quiz. Some parts of the curriculum are discussed in more detail in the online environment. The chapters with the highest weight (score) are treated extensively in our course.

The course consists of a well-rounded combination of videos, a summary of the official textbook, three full-length practice exams (3 x 90 questions), additional questions, valuable information, and helpful tips to aid your preparation. For a closer look at our course content, we invite you to register for our free demo.

Rest assured that our course material is sufficient to equip you for passing the CIPP/E exam in one sitting, and you will receive the outline in PDF format to guide your study journey. For free practice questions, you can visit our blog.

To gain insights into the experiences of our students, you can visit Trustpilot and check out our Youtube channel for video testimonials.

Join our CIPP/E training course and embark on a successful path to certification. If you have questions, you can always contact us and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

After the exam

If you pass, congratulations! Your result will be displayed on the screen immediately after finishing the exam. Additionally, the result will be sent to your registered IAPP email address. Moreover, you’ll receive a link to your PR toolkit, accessible from your profile on the IAPP website. The PR toolkit includes a news release template that you can customize, tip sheets for engaging with the media, and suggestions for showcasing your certification to your professional network using the features of your new electronic certificate.

If you happen to fail the exam, don’t be discouraged; you are not alone! The CIPP/E exam is challenging, but with the right preparations, you can succeed. You’ll need to wait for 30 days before scheduling a retake, and there will be a $375 fee payable to the IAPP. You pay less for the retake. A good tip is to delve deeper into the topics you have scored lower on. 

Does my certificate expire?

Your CIPP/E certification is valid for a duration of 2 years starting from the date of passing the exam. To maintain your certification during this period, you must earn 20 Continuing Privacy Education (CPE) credits and pay the maintenance fee of $250 every two years.

The IAPP website offers valuable resources to earn CPE credits. You can easily filter the content to find resources most relevant to your interests and needs.

It’s important to note that CPE credits are not limited to IAPP-specific resources. You can also earn credits by attending industry conferences, participating in privacy training, and engaging in various other activities, all of which are outlined in the IAPP CPE policy. There are many free activities that can earn you credits as well.

If you are an IAPP annual member, the maintenance fee is already covered in your membership. Otherwise, you can directly pay the fee if you are not a member. The good news is that you won’t have to retake the exam after the two-year cycle. Simply ensure you earn the required number of CPE credits, pay the fee, and your certification will remain active.

The end

Congratulations on reaching the end of our comprehensive guide to passing the CIPP/E. Your hard work and dedication to your studies will undoubtedly pay off. If you found this guide helpful, we would be delighted if you could share your preparation experience with us. Feel free to let us know what strategies worked for you, what challenges you faced, and your overall certification experience.

If you’re considering pursuing another IAPP certification, like the CIPP/US or the CIPM, please check out our study guides for these certifications. To keep up to date about new guidelines, books, changes in the exam and more, please check out our blog. Also, check out our free sample questions.

Wishing you the best of luck with your studies!

Flashcards added to our CIPP/E and CIPP/US training courses!