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What You Can Really Expect From The IPA Foundation Certificate


The IPA Foundation Certificate is the world’s number one professional advertising qualification which has 16,000 graduates in over 60 different countries: with our Junior Digital Marketing Executive Jenny now being one of them.

Since beginning the learning back in October, Jenny has effectively worked her way through each of the individual modules that makes up the certificate, before sitting the exam in February and going on to achieve a Pass with a Credit.

Now, Jenny is sharing the tips and tricks she picked up along the way for future candidates of the exam…

Give Yourself Enough Time

The IPA foundation certificate is described as ‘a journey through the entire brand communications process, in just 30 hours of flexible online learning’. What I will say is that if you want to actually do well and understand what it is you’re learning in thorough detail, you’re going to need a lot more than simply 1800 minutes.

To put into perspective, I began the learning process back in October 2020, with my exam taking place on February 22nd. Whilst I didn’t dedicate every living minute in that time to learning (just a large number of them instead), I did make sure that once I’d ‘learnt’ all the modules, I went straight back through and revised each again and again until the words on the screen became almost second nature to me.

30 hours is definitely enough time to go through the seven separate modules, their multiple segments and their plentiful resources, but you’re going to want to dedicate some extra added time to revision too, trust me. You might also want to cancel those plans you’ve made in the weeks leading up to the exam…

Learn it All

The seven separate modules that make up the certificate are:

  • The Business of Creativity
  • The Communications Landscape
  • Client and Agency Roles
  • Theories, Tools and Techniques,
  • Comms Review
  • The Creative Development Process
  • Evaluating Effectiveness

and in my personal opinion, each and every one is just as important as the next. The exam itself consists of two sections, both with a choice of questions. In section A, you choose four questions to answer from the eight given and in section B, you choose one from the two givens. You could say that you don’t need to learn *all* the modules, as you could just answer the questions you know but what benefit would that give you? Not only are you missing out on the chance to learn more and adapt this to your role, but you’re also limiting yourself in the actual exam itself which could stunt your marks, should you have to answer a question you don’t really want to.


In between my revision sessions and to give myself some time away from learning (highly recommend you do this every so often) I’ve been watching Superstore on Netflix (highly recommend this too but for different reasons). One thing that did spark my attention when watching was when a character asked another to ‘ACEST’: always check everything seven times. Although this seems like five or six times too many, in reality there will always be something you’ve missed out on that you’ll only find when you revisit it. It might seem tedious but once the exam is done, the revision can be packed away and Netflix is yours to scour unlimitedly, so make the most of your revision before the exam and keep going.

Remember, the exam is there to benefit you and your career so don’t fear it or rush the process. On saying that, don’t just see the exam as the most important part of the entire experience either. Ultimately, what you learn and how it will aid your career is what is most important and I’m already finding myself using what I’ve learnt to benefit me, my role and my career progression. Digest each and every bit of learning, apply it to your role and you’ll find the exam much easier to tackle.

Now, I’m off to celebrate my pass with credit, and get over the fact my mind is now ingrained to write essays whenever I put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard should I say!