CPO® Exam Preparation

Exam Preparation

Preparing your work experience documentation and studying for the Certified Professional Organizer® (CPO®) examination can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve compiled all the resources you need to be successful and take your career to the next level. While there is no particular method of preparing for the examination, the Board of Certified Organizing Professionals® (BCPO®) recommends studying the exam content online, reading books and/or taking additional courses to increase your industry knowledge, and/or forming a local or virtual study group.

Although not required, if you haven’t taken a standardized exam in many years, or if you have test anxiety, consider taking NAPO University’s BCPO Exam Prep Course.

NEW 2020 Exam Content Outline & Suggested Resources


BCPO Handbook

Your essential guide for preparing for your CPO exam. Contents include requirements, frequently asked questions on eligibility, how to prepare, and resources to help you study.


Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some common questions about preparing for and passing the exam. For additional information, we highly recommend you download the BCPO Handbook above.

To be eligible to sit for the CPO examination, you must have prior paid work experience in the organizing profession. Paid work experience may include (but is not limited to) on-site organizing, coaching, consulting, training, virtual organizing, interactive workshops and speaking engagements, which, through client collaboration, transfers, teaches or demonstrates organizing skills.

You must be prepared to document a total of 1,500 hours of paid work experience conducted in the five (5) years prior to applying to take the exam. Download sample tracking forms and documentation examples below.

Up to 250 hours of credit towards the required 1,500 hours of paid work experience can be from college credits, organizing-related professional activities, continuing education units (CEUs) related to organizing, prior relevant work experience, and military service.

The BCPO examination consists of 125 multiple choice questions with four (4) choices per question. For a complete list of the content outline for the Oct 2019 and NEW for the 2020 exams, please refer to the Exam Content Outline & Resources at the top of the page.

The BCPO provides special accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991. If a disability prevents you from taking the examination under normal conditions, you may request special accommodations.

The CPO examination is offered in English only. If English is not your primary language, BCPO recommends (but does not require) that candidates sit for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination prior to sitting for the CPO examination. Your scores on the TOEFL will provide a useful gauge for you to determine whether reading and comprehending English will present problems for you on the CPO examination.

BCPO is charged with the responsibility for safeguarding the integrity of the CPO designation. Part of this responsibility entails ensuring that candidates who apply for the certification examination do, in fact, meet the eligibility requirements; therefore, BCPO is required to audit a certain percentage of all exam candidates. Candidates are randomly selected for audit. In the event of an audit, candidates must be prepared to provide documentation to support their eligibility for the exam.

There is no limit to the number of times unsuccessful candidates may take the examination, provided that all the eligibility requirements in effect at the time of application for re-examination have been met. To apply for re-examination, each time the candidates must complete all required application forms and pay the appropriate examination fees.

Application Process

Applications for the examination must be received five business days prior to the last day of the testing window. Exam windows are for the entire month of February, June and October of each year. The application fee is $450 USD. Refer to the BCPO Handbook for refund and cancellation policies.

Download Tracking Forms

Download free tracking forms for paid work experience and CEUs.


View Testing Sites

View a list of all potentially available testing sites by city and state.


Apply for the CPO exam

Apply for the CPO exam and pay your exam fee.


Prepare for the CPO Exam

NAPO University offers an optional CPO Exam Preparation course, discounted for NAPO Members.

Learn More

Understand Eligible Work Experience

If you are unsure what types of work qualify as paid work experience, refer to pages 9-10 of the BCPO Handbook.

View Handbook

Sample Computer-Based Training

Familiarize yourself with the format and functionality of the SMT Computer Testing System.

(Please note this is NOT a sample of the CPO Exam)


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