How to pass the CIPM exams? 

how to pass the cipm exams

If you have already done the CIPP/E or other CIPP certification, then you will have a good understanding of the exam structure and how to approach it. If you have never attempted an IAPP certification before, you may be wondering how to pass the CIPM exams. The CIPM is something you will need to study for, but is absolutely achievable with a bit of preparation. (If you are also looking on information on how to pass the CIPP/E, check out this blog post.)

Decide how you will prepare 

The main question you will need to ask yourself is whether you want to invest in a prep course or just the recommended textbook (see here). The recommended textbook is the minimum you will need to purchase (aside from the exams of course). (And if you found the CIPP/E textbook dreadful, I have some good news for you – the CIPM textbook is much better written and better structured in my opinion.) 

A prep course can be a worthwhile investment if you are short on time or brain space. I personally self-studied for both the CIPP/E and CIPM, but in both cases would have much rather used prep courses. I was working full time whilst studying for both, and the last thing you want to do after a long day’s work is to read some more (especially when you are in the legal field like me). 

However, when I was studying for it, I couldn’t find prep courses that suited my learning style or my budget. I highly recommend doing research into prep courses and asking people that have taken any prep courses you are interesting in buying for their experience. 

Learn and revise 

Be sure to check out the IAPP body of knowledge and exam blueprint for the CIPM which can be found here. This will give you a solid overview of what you need to know for the exam and will help you frame your revision. 

Once you have established your preparation method, you need to go through the motions and absorb the material. I would recommend going through the textbook chapter by chapter, and making notes. (If you are doing a prep course, you should go through the lessons alongside the textbook.) 

I would also recommend doing some reading into data protection laws of a couple of the key jurisdictions, such as the EU, Canada and the US. The CIPM unfortunately does ask a couple of substantive questions on the legal positions relating to data privacy in a number of countries. 

Another thing I always stress to my students is to understand how you revise best. Be that by using outlines, flashcards, listening to the materials or explaining them to someone else. Whatever allows you to memorise best be sure to do that, and do that often. 


Once you have gone over the whole material, it is time practice questions. Multiple choice exams are a specific exam breed that need a certain mindset. You do not need to know the answer, but you do need to be able to recognise the correct answer. Practice as many questions as possible. The IAPP sell practice questions, but there are also good question books that you can purchase in places like 

Sit the CIPM exam 

Once you have gone through all of the above, you should know how to pass the CIPM exams. It is now time to book your exam and attempt it. The amazing thing with the CIPM is that you can sit it remotely, and that you get results instantly. And that is it – you will then be privacy manager certified. 

If you have any questions on the CIPM, please feel free to email me at 

Leave a Comment