5 Tips on Preparing for the CIPP/E exam

5 practical tips on CIPP/E exam prep for anyone thinking of taking the exam.

What is the CIPP/E?

IAPP’s Certified Information Privacy Professional/EU (CIPP/E) is a highly sought-after certification.

The CIPP/E covers European privacy laws and regulations.  It is one of iapp’s CIPP certifications, which also include Asia — CIPP/A, Canada — CIPP/C, and U.S. Private Sector — CIPP/US.

IAPP is the preeminent body for data protection professionals, and its certification is a key industry benchmark for professionals in this field. The certification is accredited by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Tips for CIPP/E exam preparation

Privacy108 has been running training course in Australia for over 3 years.  Since we started delivering CIPP/E training, quite a few students have asked how they should prepare for the exam and also provide some feedback on how hard it is (particularly for non-lawyers).

Advice from IAPP on preparing for the exam is limited. The following tips for anyone thinking of taking the CIPP/E exam are based on our own experience, plus feedback from students and on-line discussion groups.

Tip No. 1: Take your CIPP/E study seriously

To pass the CIPP/E exam you have to know about European privacy laws.  There’s not a lot of questions where you can rely on common sense or deductive reasoning.  You need to put the time in and be prepared.

The IAPP recommends that you train and study for a minimum of 30 hours.[1]  If you’re not living and breathing the GDPR every day then it may require much more time.

I usually tell candidates who’ve done the 2-day course to read the course notes plus the text book a couple of times and compare both to the CIPP/E Body of Knowledge (BoK) until you’re happy that you’ve got an understanding of all content in the BoK.

Tip No. 2: Be really familiar with the GDPR

You should be really familiar with Articles 3 to 50, and know what each of those articles relates to. You should also have a good understanding of how the enforcement provisions work.

You cannot get away with not reading the actual GDPR. So, print it out, grab a highlighter and start reading.  This is a test of your knowledge of laws and regulations, it is not open book and you are expected to know what the main GDPR articles cover.

If you have time to spare, you should definitely read the GDPR Recitals and/or the WP29 (EDPB) opinions.  Many of the scenarios are taken from those opinions so it is good to be familiar with them.  Opinions to focus on include those that cover ‘data controller vs processor’,  ‘transparency’, ‘consent’, and ‘behavioural advertising’.

Tip No. 3: Don’t forget CIPP/E Domain I

Domain 1 questions are the most challenging for the respondents to our on-line CIPP/E, particularly if you’re not from Europe and not familiar with the history or how the EU works.

If you’re taking the CIPP/E, it’s not sufficient to know all about the GDPR.  You also need to understand the context.  You need to be up to speed with how the EU works, the difference between the Council of Europe, the EU and the EEA and the different conventions, treaties, directives and regulations relevant to data protection in Europe.

There will be between 4 and 10 questions on the exam covering subject matter from this Domain, so it is worth taking a little time to familiarise yourself with the content

Test your knowledge of CIPP/E Domain 1 by completing the form at the end of this post.

Tip No. 4: Do CIPP/E practice exams

Testing CentreMost of us would like to get a good sense of what the exam questions will be like, particularly the scenario questions, and make sure we train our brain to be able to do them properly.  It’s been a long time since many of us have done an exam …

IAPP offer a Specimen exam, which is included if you enrol in the CIPP/E prep course (see below).  We go through that exam as part of our training.

You can also buy an electronic version of IAPP’s 25 question specimen exam separately via the IAPP website.

The CIPP/E sample questions help familiarise you with the format and content of the actual CIPP/E exam.     They include the answers for each question plus an explanation for each correct answer.

Our experience is that the IAPP specimen exam questions are easier than those on the actual exam and that there are a lot more scenario questions than you’d expect from the number included in the specimen exam.

We include access to over 200 CIPP/E practice questions as part of our CIPP/E prep course  (see below). You can also try our mini-CIPP/E exam by completing the form at the end of this post

Tip No. 5: Enrol in our CIPP/E preparatory course! 

We can help you out.  As an educational affiliate with the IAPP we offer the official IAPP training course to help you prepare for the CIPP/E exam.

Privacy 108 is running its next CIPP/E training course on 8th and 9th November.

Our lead instructor, Dr Jodie Siganto, has been delivering privacy and security training for nearly 20 years. She is recognised as one of Australia’s leading privacy professionals, and she’ll work with you over two full day sessions to solidify the knowledge you need to pass your CIPM exam.

If you enrol to do your training with us you get:

  • 2 x Full day instructor led on-line training sessions
  • Electronic copy of iapp text-book
  • Electronic copy of the Student Guide
  • Specimen exam
  • An exam voucher (valid for 6 months and valued at US$575)*
  • 12 months of IAPP Professional Membership (valued at US$250)
  • Access to recorded sessions at any time for up to 6 months after the course date.

Plus, additional resources available only to our students:

  • Link to over 200 practice questions created by us to help your exam prep;
  • Summaries and crib-sheets to help you study.

And you get our special guarantee: If you don’t pass the exam for any reason, you can take the course again at any time for no charge.


For anyone who wants to do the exam, I would give the following feedback … Attend Jodie’s training session!

To register or for more information, click here.

Other Ways we Can Help.

Interested in more? Please read some of our previous blog posts relating to the CIPP/E:


Privacy, security and training. Jodie is one of Australia’s leading privacy and security experts and the Founder of Privacy 108 Consulting.