As a consultant and educator, I’m often asked about information management certifications so I’ve been watching the development of the Information Governance Professional (IGP) certification by ARMA International (ARMA) with interest.
According to ARMA, a certified Information Governance Professional “creates and oversees programs to govern the information assets of the enterprise. The IGP partners with the business to facilitate innovation and competitive advantage, while ensuring strategic and operational alignment of business, legal, compliance, and technology goals and objectives. The IGP oversees a program that supports organizational profitability, productivity, efficiency and protection.”
When ARMA advertised the pilot test group at a significantly reduced fee ($250 USD vs. the regular fee of $599 USD), I decided to apply. Read on if you’d like to hear about my experience in applying to write, preparing to write, and actually writing the exam.
Did I pass the exam? I don’t know. ARMA will use the pilot group results to determine a passing score for the exam. That means I have to wait until Phase 2 testing has been completed and the test results analyzed. Stay tuned . . .
You can demonstrate eligibility to write the exam in one of two ways. I applied under the option of a 4-year degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent) plus a minimum of 3 years of management or leadership experience in one of the specified fields (RIM). More information on the eligibility criteria is available here.
The Application Process
I applied for the pilot test group in early July (July 10th was the application deadline) by submitting payment and a completed application including my written agreement to uphold and abide by the IGP Code of Ethics. Unlike the Certified Records Manager (CRM) application process, you don’t have to submit your documentation (e.g. transcripts and job descriptions) unless your application is selected for audit.
ARMA approved my application within 24 hours (way to go ARMA!) and I visited the test centre’s online scheduler to book the exam for my preferred date and test site. Like the Institute of Certified Records Managers (ICRM), ARMA International uses Pearson VUE test centres.
Preparing to Write the Exam
ARMA’s FAQ addresses exam preparation as follows: “There is no formal coursework required for the exam. Candidates should have a strong command of the Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles®, current industry issues, e-discovery, technology, and case law – all of the key components of information governance.”
To be honest, I did very little to prepare. I figured after 20+ years of records/information management experience, I’d take my chances. I did, however, read the Candidate Handbook, look at the Exam Blueprint, and quickly review the Information Governance DACUM Chart which lists the duties, tasks, and steps required as well as the knowledge, skills, and attributes making up each of the exam components. I also took the sample exam.
Writing the Exam
I booked my exam for July 19th (the last day for pilot group testing) and almost missed my appointment, having forgotten about it until less than ½ before I was to report to the test site! Fortunately, the test site was relatively close to my office and – due to relatively light summer traffic – the eastbound 401 wasn’t the usual parking lot. I got to the test site with 8 minutes to spare in the 30 minute grace period!
Signing in was efficient – I produced my “Authorization to Test (ATT)” e-mail containing my unique 20-character Candidate Identification Number, showed 2 pieces of id (one with my photo and signature), had my photo taken, read and signed the testing centre’s agreement, and signed the register. Because it’s a closed book exam, I wasn’t allowed to take any materials (not even a watch!) into the testing room. I was, however, given a small whiteboard and marker for note-taking.
Then I went into the testing room (a relatively small room equipped with 7 PCs) where I completed the online non-disclosure agreement, watched a brief tutorial about the testing software, and wrote the exam. Fortunately, the individual who was mumbling to himself as he wrote a different exam left ½ way through my exam, leaving me alone in the room without distractions.
You’re allowed 165 minutes (or 2 hours, 45 minutes) to complete 140 multiple choice questions. That works out to 1.12 minutes/question which is far more generous than the paltry 45 seconds the ICRM gives you to complete the 100 multiple choices in each of their Parts I to V exams (each of those exams is only 80 minutes!).
You’re presented with 4 possible answers for each question and have to select the 1 best answer. As you complete the exam, you can mark a question as ‘incomplete’ or flag it for ‘review’. You can also comment on individual questions (but any time doing that counts against your 165 minutes), or you can provide comments after submitting your exam (in which case commenting time is not deducted from exam time). It is optional to provide comments.
The exam questions address the following competency domains: managing information risk and compliance (15% of the exam questions), developing information governance (IG) strategic plan (15%), developing IG framework (17%), establishing the IG program (17%), establishing IG business integration and oversight (18%), and aligning technology with the IG framework (18%).
After completing the exam, I reviewed the questions I had flagged for review (about 25) and changed a few answers. I finished the exam with about 1 hour, 40 minutes remaining.
Then, after returning the whiteboard and marker, and signing the register once again, I was free to go back into the sweltering heat after possibly having attained the IGP certification.