Description of Examination Format

The format of computer-based examinations (CBE) for most CIP courses includes multiple-choice questions (MCQ), as well as narrative and application questions (constructed response questions). The number of questions vary by course. The format of the examinations and the number, proportion and types of questions for any or all courses are subject to change without prior notification.

To enhance question security and minimize question exposure, The Insurance Institute of Canada’s examinations use multiple examination forms. A statistical process of forms equating is used to ensure that the examination forms are of equal difficulty. The result is that the performance required to meet the standardized passing score is the same for each examination form and that student results from different forms are comparable.

Structure and Format of the Examinations

  The number of narrative and application questions (constructed response questions) also varies by course.
    A few exams have only constructed response questions and include:
  • C16 The Business of Insurance
  • C57 Cargo and Goods in Transit Insurances
  • C58 Marine Hull and Associated Liability – Part 1
  • C59 Marine Hull and Associated Liability – Part 2

CIP final examinations are marked out of 200. Each MCQ is worth two (2) marks, such that 70 questions is equivalent to one hundred and forty (140) marks. The number of marks a constructed response question is worth varies. Each constructed response question will have the number of marks assigned to it on the final examination.

Duration of the Examinations

Unless otherwise noted, students are given three (3) hours to complete an examination.

Examination Blueprint

Each CIP examination is built using a course-specific examination blueprint. Examination blueprints identify the weighting of each textbook study tested on the final examination in relation to the total examination mark. The blueprints are developed by The Insurance Institute of Canada with the valued input of insurance industry subject matter experts.

In addition to the weight of each study, the blueprint also includes information on the structure of the exam and indicates the number of marks from each of the multiple-choice, narrative and application questions.

The Insurance Institute will adhere to the parameters outlined by the blueprint with a +/- 5% range when building the exams.

The importance of each study tested, as indicated by the percentage weight on the final examination, reflects the knowledge and understanding required of the students to competently perform in the insurance industry.

To access a blueprint, students should log into their eLearning account and look for course resources under My Courses. For courses with an online tutorial, students should click on the course textbook online tutorial link, for courses without an online tutorial, students should click on the course textbook PDF link. Blueprints can be found in a section called 'A Note About Exams'. If students have difficulty finding the document or accessing eLearning, they can contact Member Services. Students are encouraged to use the blueprint to assist with their preparation for the final examination. Each blueprint will include the study and the weight assigned to each study.

See sample blueprint:

Sample Examination Blueprint

Study

 Weight

 Study 1

 10%

 Study 2

 11%

 Study 3

 8%

 Study 4

 12%

 Study 5

 12%

 Study 6

 11%

 Study 7

 8%

 Study 8

 12%

 Study 9

 8%

 Study 10

 8%

  

Multiple-Choice Questions

Multiple-Choice Questions

Multiple-Choice questions are designed to assess different type of learning. Some questions assess recall of facts and concepts, some assess understanding of concepts, and others assess the ability to apply knowledge to other contexts using scenarios. You should be prepared to answer all types of questions.  

Multiple-choice questions (MCQ) are comprised of a question component, or “stem”, and four (4) options, of which there is only one (1) correct answer and three (3) incorrect answers, or “distractors”.

A typical multiple-choice question used on the national exam looks like this:

Which of the following factors is a unique element of insurance contracts?
  1. Agreement
  2. Consideration
  3. Utmost good faith
  4. Legality of purpose

To answer multiple-choice questions more effectively, use the following tips:

Try to answer the question yourself without looking at the options. Then compare your answer to the options listed and select the closest option.

• Answer the questions you know first. Once you are done, come back to the ones you aren’t sure about.

• Use the process of elimination to reduce the number of options.   

• Don’t change your answers. Research has shown that your first choice is often the correct one, so unless you’re absolutely sure you’ve made a mistake, go with your first instinct.

• Read the entire question, including the stem and every answer option.

• Read each question as though it were a true or false question, and choose the “true” answer.

• If you’re debating between two similar answers, try identifying which is the worse answer, rather than which is the better one. Looking at the question from a different perspective can sometimes help clarify the underlying purpose of the question.

More Examples

Please keep in mind that these are ONLY a sample of the type of questions students may see and should not be considered an exhaustive list of how multiple-choice questions may be worded or phrased.

Who has insurable interest in the insured’s vehicle?
  1. The lessor
  2. The insurer
  3. Insured’s daughter, who drives the vehicle to school three times per week
  4. Insured’s mother, who is involved in an at-fault accident while driving insured’s vehicle

Example of a multiple-choice question with a scenario:

Bobby runs a mechanic shop and needs to purchase automobile insurance to protect his employees when they are working on repairing, as well as driving customers’ vehicles. Which automobile insurance policy should Bobby purchase?
  1. SPF1 Standard Owner’s Automobile Policy
  2. SPF 2 Standard Driver’s Automobile Policy
  3. SPF 4 Standard Garage Automobile Policy
  4. SPF 9 Transportation Network Policy

Narrative and Application Questions (Constructed Response Questions)

Constructed response questions require the students to write (or “construct”) their answer.

Constructed response questions are included on all CIP final examinations.

The number of marks a constructed response question is worth varies. Each question will indicate the number of marks it is worth. 

Two types of constructed response questions are asked on most CIP exams. 

1. Narrative questions are generally used to evaluate students’ understanding of concepts. These are typically formatted as a question using any of the following verbs:
Identify
Outline
Describe
Discuss
Explain
Compare
Or provide examples

2. Application Questions are also used to evaluate a student’s ability to understand as well as apply their understanding to circumstances/scenarios that are commonly faced while working in the insurance industry. These questions will involve a detailed scenario, followed by one or more questions related to that scenario. These scenarios are typically formatted using any of the following verbs:
Illustrate
Contrast
Solve
Analyze
Assess
Create
Interpret and discuss
Explain and/or
Explain using an example

A typical narrative question on the CIP exam looks like this:

Explain the many loss prevention activities that the insurance industry is involved in.
Include examples to support your answer. (10 marks) _________________________

A typical application question on the CIP exam looks like this:

Full Coverage Insurance is insuring a risk valued at $2,500,000, with an original premium of $10,000. To spread the risk, they had Blessing Insurance reinsure 30% of the risk and Coverage Plus reinsure 20%, for an equal percentage of the premium.

a) Identify and explain the type of reinsurance used in this scenario. (4 marks)
b) How much of the annual premium, if any, would each company receive? Explain how you would determine the amount. (6 marks)
c) Would each company be required to pay for the loss? If so, how much would each company have to pay? Show your calculations. (10 marks)

When answering a narrative and application questions, consider the following tips:

Read the question carefully. Key terms (for example, describe, define) will provide guidance on the type of answer required.

Read the constructed response question carefully. If required to identify, outline, or describe a specific number of items or concepts, (or provide a specific number of examples) the number required will be emphasized such as “Identify and describe the THREE (3) types of…”. 
If a question asks for a specific number of items and more than the requested number is provided, ONLY the first items provided will be marked, even if they are incorrect.

Create an outline to organize your thoughts. Map out your response on the notepad . When you see your points noted, you may remember the remaining answer points.

When writing the answers, students should keep in mind how many marks any given question is worth. If the question is worth five marks, it means that your answer should contain five main points that adequately address the question.

Structure your answer using bullets. Each bullet should include a key point required to answer the question. Be sure to include sufficient information to fully address the question.

Include information directly related to the question being asked. Avoid going off on a tangent. If the question has multiple parts, be sure to answer all.

Answer the question based on your understanding of the material and in your own words.

More Examples

Additional examples of constructed response narrative questions are provided below. Please be advised that these are ONLY a sample of the type of questions students may see and should not be considered an exhaustive list of how constructed response questions may be formatted.

Identify and briefly describe TWO (2) elements required for a common law contract to be considered valid. (8 marks)

What is reinsurance? Explain why reinsurance is purchased. (10 marks)

Briefly explain physical hazards and moral hazards. Provide ONE (1) example of EACH type of hazard. (5 marks)

A series of sample constructed response application questions follows. Please be advised that these are ONLY a sample of the type of questions students may see and should not be considered an exhaustive list of how constructed response questions may be formatted and verbs used.

Scenario – Single Question:

Tom and his friend Suzy are at a wedding with an open bar, both have had several cocktails. Suzy tells Tom she wants to sell her vehicle, and Tom offers to pay her $2,500 for it. Suzy agrees to this amount, and Tom uses his cellphone to send her an electronic money transfer. Since they are both heavily intoxicated, they call a taxi to get home. They plan to meet the next morning at Suzy’s house so she can give Tom the vehicle keys and ownership.

Does the sale of Suzy’s vehicle to Tom constitute a valid contract? Explain why or why not. (5 marks)

Scenario – Multi-part Question:
Harpreet purchases a new home and contacts a broker to arrange insurance. The broker helps Harpreet select the appropriate coverage for her home. The broker helps her fill in the application, which he sends to the insurer. The broker does not give Harpreet any paperwork to take home, but he tells her that she will have insurance coverage for 30 days until the insurer is able to issue the policy.
  1. Based on what the broker has stated, what is Harpreet’s temporary insurance known as? (1 mark)
  2. What is the purpose of this temporary insurance? (3 marks)
  3. Describe any problems that may arise from the temporary insurance being provided orally but not in writing. (6 marks)

Scenario – Repeated Across Multiple Questions on the Exam: In some instances, the same scenario may apply to multiple questions on the examination. In some cases, the scenario will be repeated in each question, along with a preamble stating which questions the scenario applies to. In other cases, the scenario is presented once followed by a number of questions it applies to.

For Example, on an exam a student may see and instruction above a question indicating, “The following scenario applies to questions 62 and 63”:

62. Connie purchases a new vehicle and calls her broker, Ken, to arrange for insurance. Ken tells her that he can just take an oral application over the phone and that she will need to come into the office to sign the forms. He asks Connie a series of questions and records her answers, then informs Connie that he will send her information to the insurer. Ken calls Connie two more times to clarify information needed before the insurer will issue the policy.

Two weeks pass and Connie does not hear from Ken nor does she receive the policy documents. She tries to contact Ken but is unable to reach him. After not hearing back from Ken for another week, Connie calls the manager of the brokerage to complain about both the application process and the lack of response from her broker.

How might Connie’s experience have been improved if Ken had asked her to fill in a written application instead of completing it orally? (5 marks)

The instruction again repeated as well as scenario. “The following scenario applies to questions 62 and 63”:

63. Connie purchases a new vehicle and calls her broker, Ken, to arrange for insurance. Ken tells her that he can just take an oral application over the phone and that she will need to come into the office to sign the forms. He asks Connie a series of questions and records her answers, then informs Connie that he will send her information to the insurer. Ken calls Connie two more times to clarify information needed before the insurer will issue the policy.

Two weeks pass and Connie does not hear from Ken nor does she receive the policy documents. She tries to contact Ken but is unable to reach him. After not hearing back from Ken for another week, Connie calls the manager of the brokerage to complain about both the application process and the lack of response from her broker.

  1. What impact might Connie’s poor customer service experience have on the brokerage? (2 marks)
  2. Outline the best way for the manager of the brokerage to handle Connie’s complaint. (3 marks)

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