Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) Exam

Before taking this exam, you must determine if you are eligible to sit for it. Eligibility requirements are a combination of education and work experience.  Relevant work experience must be earned within the last ten years in a paid position. Details regarding eligibility are available at www.iaap-hq.org.

You will
have three and a half hours to complete this computer-based exam that consists
of 300 multiple-choice items.

examinees with disabilities that are covered by the Americans with Disabilities
Act and require special accommodations, you may make this request before
registering for the exam.

available accommodations may include extended testing time and modification of
seating or other physical arrangements in the testing facility.

What are the domains and topics covered on this exam?

The six domains for this exam are:

  • Organizational Communication - 24% of questions
  • Business Writing and Document Production - 22% of questions
  • Technology and Information Distribution - 16% of questions
  • Office and Records Management - 15% of questions
  • Event and Project Management - 12% of questions
  • Operational Functions - 11% of questions

Organizational Communication

Some performance outcomes in this domain are: describe the application of communication, management, and leadership models or theories within an organization; understand and demonstrate team dynamics; describe interpersonal interactions, both positive and negative, within an organization; understand how ethics, legality, and confidentiality are important within an organization.

Business Writing and Document Production

Some performance outcomes in this domain are: exhibit proficiency in the use of grammar, spelling, and sentence construction; demonstrate proficiency in the ability to proofread and edit documents; understand the software and steps to create common business documents including spreadsheets and presentations; understand the features and tools used for desktop publishing and web publishing.

Technology and Information Distribution

Some performance outcomes in this domain are: demonstrate knowledge of the process of information distribution within an organization, exhibit the use of internet and social media as a way of distributing information, understand the basics of installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of office hardware and software.

Office and Records Management

Some performance outcomes in this domain are: understand the rules and standards for both electronic filing and manual (paper) filing based on the ARMA guidelines, describe the appropriate security for both manual (paper) files and electronic files, describe the methods of checking and maintaining office supplies.

Event and Project Management

Some performance outcomes in this domain are: identify the key requirements for both in person and virtual meetings; demonstrate proficiency in organizing, planning and managing a project; identify and describe prioritizing, time management, and delegating elements of a project from planning to implementation.

Operational Functions

Some performance outcomes in this domain are: understand the duties and processes of human resources including organizational policies and procedures and employee performance evaluations; identify methods of recruitment, staffing and hiring practices; describe onboarding and offboarding procedures for employees; understand budgets and financial statements of the organization.

How do I register for this exam?

Apply and pay online or by mail for this exam at www.iaap-hq.org.

What is the cost of the exam?

Exam fees are $560 - $575 for non-IAAP members and $375 for members.

What are the testing dates and locations?

The CAP is offered in spring and fall each year at testing locations around the world.

What should I do the day of the exam?

Arrive at the test site 30 minutes before your scheduled testing time. Getting to the center late can prevent you from taking the exam.

For admission, bring and present two forms of identification. One should have your name, signature, and photo, while the other should have your name and signature.

This exam does not require, nor are you allowed, to bring a calculator.

Examples of other prohibited items include a cell phone and study materials.

Can I take a break during the test?

If you need to take a break, the testing clock will not be stopped while you are on break, which means you will have less time for actual test-taking.

What happens after I take the exam?

You will receive an unofficial score report before leaving the testing center, which indicates whether you have passed or failed the exam. Your official score report will be emailed to you.

What happens if I do not pass the exam?

If you do not pass on your first exam attempt, you may take it a second time after paying the exam fee and submitting the application again. If you do not pass your second exam attempt, you must wait at least one year before applying to take the exam a third time.

How Can I Prepare for the CAP Exam?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by 
  4. tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam.  Below you’ll see 
  5. links to both!

Study Guide



Last Updated: November 9, 2023