How can I prepare for a CIP examination? What tools are available to help me?

Practice makes perfect! Students tell us they prepare for exams in a variety of ways. Your first step should be to review the supplementary materials that are provided to you with your course – if applicable, there may be a Student Resource Guide that accompanies your text book. There are also practice questions in the CIP textbooks themselves – these will give you a good understanding of the level of learning that will be required in the exam.

Students also find the online tutorials helpful, which you can find in your profile at http://elearning.insuranceinstitute.ca. Our website has a number of resources for students, including some handy study tools, including sample exams and tips on preparing for your exam

Also, students have told us that they find Study Skills courses particularly helpful in assisting them to prepare. Check with your local institute or chapter to see if they are offering one.

There are also resources available on our new IIC Mobile Learning App which is available for download on Google Play and iTunes. Included in this free download is a full version of the ‘Dictionary of Insurance’ and practice multiple choice exam questions which are available for purchase for students enrolled in our C11 course.

Some students find that independent study works best for them; for others, talking through concepts and applying them to real-world examples is more effective. Choose a method that works well for you, and if possible, arrange study groups with your classmates.


What if I can't make it to my exam? Can I write it on an alternate date?

If an emergency arises that causes the need for you to defer an exam, you will be relieved to know that you have options.

For medical or health reasons, an exam can be deferred at no cost to the next exam session with supporting documentation. 

For work or other exceptionalities, an exam can be deferred to the next exam session, whereby supporting documentation and an additional fee is required.

We hope you understand that exam deferrals cannot be granted on the basis of insufficient study time or lack of readiness. As an association who believes in an equitable student experience, we trust that students understand our academic policies.

If I cannot write my computer-based exam on the scheduled date, what are my options?

Among the many benefits of computer-based exams is the scheduling flexibility. Students are given a three-week window during each exam session to complete their CIP exam(s). You can transfer your exam date to another available time within that three-week window as many times as necessary up until two weeks prior to the examination session start date. Once the transfer deadline has passed, you must contact Member Services to reschedule your exam date. If you are not able to attend your exam during that three-week examination session, your request will be treated as an examination deferral. Please see our examination deferral guidelines.

What are the benefits to writing computer-based exams?

Computer-based exams offer a variety of advantages over paper-based exams.

For employers, CBE offers a flexible exam schedule. Employees can schedule their exam times and locations at any point within a three-week window, allowing insurance organizations to maintain consistent staffing levels and provide their customers with a high quality of service.

For students, the ease of typing will be comfortable, potentially create more time to edit answers for clarity, and allow people taking a CIP exam to keep up with their train of thought. CBE flags any missed or skipped questions and keeps track of time, so students will always know how many unanswered questions and how much time they have left to finish. Students will also have the ability to change their exam date and time within the three-week exam week window – subject to availability - with no additional fee prior to the transfer/deferral deadline. Students will receive their CBE exam grades sooner than they did with paper based exams.

Where can I write computer-based exams?

CBE exams are still required to be written at a proctored examination centre - you do not take a CBE exam from a remote location such as your home, for example. Many CBE exams will be held at your local Institute or Chapter or at other designated proctored exam centres. Exam sites will have laptops replacing pens and paper answer books, as well as a secure computer set-up, including screen protection and locked-down browsers.

Can I choose to write my exam on a computer?

No – you are unable to choose your exam method. During our transition from paper-based to computer-based exams, each CIP course will have a designated exam method per semester. Please note that if a course has a computer-based exam, this information will be listed at the top of the applicable CIP course page.

Currently, many exams are still written in a paper-based format. Computer-based exams (CBE) for GIE and CIP courses will be introduced gradually, and began as a single CIP elective course during the December 2015 exam session. (C40: Business Interruption Insurance). Currently we are starting to roll out computer-based exams on elective courses and the Applied Professional courses. Mandatory CIP courses will offer CBE as of the July 2017 semester.

Once CBE is launched for a course, exams will be available in a computer-based format only for that course (exceptions are considered on an individual basis for special needs students with medical documents). The exam question format will remain the same, with multiple-choice, short narrative, and application questions. Please visit the Computer-based exams web page to determine whether your upcoming exam(s) will be computer-based.

What if I fail my exam? Or if I fail the same exam multiple times?

Students who are not successful on an exam and have received a grade of X or Y may be relieved to find out that they were close enough to success to receive the opportunity to write the exam again in the next exam session. This requires payment of the exam fee only, without having to re-enroll in the course. 

Please keep in mind that an exam rewrite is only granted once.  Hence, students who are unsuccessful in the rewrite of the exam will benefit from, and are therefore required to re-enroll in the course.

If you are unsuccessful in an exam and receive a Z, you are required to enroll into the course again. Students who have encountered this situation tell us that re-enrolling in the course allowed them to enhance their learning experience by choosing a methodology that works better for them through either our in-class, virtual or distance learning option.

More information on examination re-writes is available here.

What happens if I am absent for the exam?

Students who have had to miss an exam due to medical, professional or other urgencies tell us the process was fairly straightforward. You will be allowed to write the exam in the following exam session, providing that you contact Member Services as soon as possible and provide supporting documentation. If you are absent from an exam because of a work emergency, you will be required to submit appropriate documentation, with an additional fee. 

I am a student enrolled in a full-time college program. Will the CIP exam be similar to the college exam? Why should I write the CIP exam too?

Students in full-time college programs tell us that the format of the college course evaluation and examinations sometimes vary – this is dependent on the individual college, course and instructor. CIP exams are designed and created by the Insurance Institute, while your college evaluations are developed and designed by your college. Most examinations in the CIP program are structured with multiple-choice, narrative and application questions to include a variety of formats which will accommodate students’ varied learning styles.

Our students in full-time college programs tell us that writing their Institute exam in addition to their college exam (see your school’s policies for further details) is a win-win scenario for them; they earn their college credits and simultaneously work toward their CIP designation. This is critical to your success in the industry and your move towards becoming a strong industry professional.

It is important to know that CIP exams must be written in the Institute exam session immediately following course completion and college students who miss this window lose the opportunity to gain a valuable credit towards a highly regarded industry designation.

Can I choose to write my exam on a computer?

Exams are currently paper-based only (exceptions are considered on an individual basis for Special Needs students with medical documents). Good news though - the Institute is currently developing computer-based examinations and will be making a gradual introduction beginning with the December 2015 exam session. Learn more about computer-based exams.

Who marks the exams and how are they marked?

Institute exams are marked by experienced industry professionals who have a CIP or FCIP designation. Markers are provided answer points as guidelines and, where appropriate, have the discretion to consider valid answers not included in the answer points. Furthermore, the answers for any given exam question in any exam period for all students across the country are marked by the same person to ensure consistency.


How long does it take to get my marks and why?

It takes five weeks for you to receive your grade after writing an exam. Normally on the Saturday of the fifth week you will be able to retrieve your grade from the Institute website.  For a typical exam session, over 7,000 answer books are processed, meaning that the books are shipped from the exam centres to the Institute, where they are recorded, sorted and sent to markers. Once they are marked they are returned back to the Institute where the marks are recorded and the grades are processed.

When computer-based exams are introduced, students will receive their grades sooner.

Why can't I get my exam book back?

You may be interested to know more about what happens to your final exam after you’ve written it. After you have finished writing your exam, it – along with the thousands of other exam papers that are written every semester – is collected and distributed to a team of qualified markers. Unlike a mid-term exam or quizzes and assignments, the final examination is not intended to be a learning exercise for review and discussion. Instead, it is an evaluation tool for the assessment students’ overall knowledge, understanding and application of the course material.

Since answer books are not intended for review by students, the exam markers do not comment in or indicate which information is correct or incorrect on the exam papers. As a result, the answer books would be of little value to students in determining where they were and were not awarded marks.

My previous education experience allowed me to appeal my grade under certain situations. May I do that here as well?

Students who wish to appeal their exam grade have three levels of appeal available to them. Re-calculation, re-assessment or re-evaluation offer varying degrees of review and feedback. The fees charged for each service reflects the amount of time, scrutiny and feedback provided by markers.

Can I get answers to sample exam questions?

No. The reason for this is that the questions on the sample exams are just to give an indication of the layout and format of questions. The questions themselves do not relate to current text material, so the answers would not be at all helpful to you in your exam preparations.

To better prepare you for your exam, we recommend you refer to the practice questions that are available in the text, or your student resource guides. These questions are current and will include model answers that are better suited to help you understand what the markers are looking for in a complete answer.

You can also purchase practice multiple choice question bundles for the C11: Principles and Practice of Insurance course on our new IIC Mobile Learning App. If you would like to review our most frequently asked exam questions, please refer to the exam FAQ.