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Your BEST CAE Exam Prep Tool!

CAE Study Guide 2013 Edition & 232 Review Questions

Special Notice: To accommodate the newest exam syllabus, these special sections have been added to the CAE package:

  • Globalization
  • Financial Statements for nonprofits
  • Strategic Relations & Partnerships
  • High Impact Nonprofits
  • History
  • PAC, PEC and Safe Harbor

According to ASAE, the Certified Association Executive (CAE) program is designed to elevate professional standards, enhance individual performance, and designate association professionals who demonstrate the knowledge essential to the practice of association management.

Becoming a Certified Association Executive (CAE) shows your commitment to the association profession. To earn the CAE title you need to first submit an application and prove to ASAE that you have met the experience and education eligibility requirements. Then you may apply to sit for the multiple choice based exam.

The CAE exam is offered in a single 4-hour session, given twice a year (in May and December) at scheduled test centers throughout the U.S. The exam uses a pass-fail cut-off mechanism determined through a criterion-referenced method. You have to answer a total of 200 questions. The candidate handbook downloadable from ASAE's web site will provide you with all the details.

To summarize, the CAE BOK has the following major knowledge domains:

2010 and onwards  

  • Organizational management
  • Leadership
  • Administration
  • Knowledge Management
  • Governance and Structure
  • Public policy, government relations and coalition building
  • Membership development
  • Programs, products, and services
  • Marketing
  • Public relations programs
  • Publications, media and messages

Quite many questions are, in my opinion, written subjectively. You can get tripped up easily if you do not pay attention to the way the questions are worded. For example, the questions below are asking for different answers even though they look highly alike:

  • What could be the issue here?
  • What could be done to BEST address the issue here?
  • What has to be done FIRST in order to address the issue here?
  • What could have been done to avoid the issue here?

There are also hard facts based questions that are bound to be objective - such as those related to laws and regulations at the federal level (yes, the federal level, NOT the state level - state laws are mostly irrelevant in the exam). These questions primarily test your memorization skills. In any case, when you answer the CAE exam questions you have to take the point of view of a Chief Staff Executive or a Chief Elected Officer unless otherwise specified.

I personally think the Principles of Association Management book published by the ASAE and the Chamber of Commerce (1975) is excellent - it covers many of the essential topics that you need to know to tackle the exam questions, but the problem is that it was written in 1975, that many of the information has yet to receive the deserved update. That is why we came up with this special study guide package.

Critical Exam Tip:
Ask yourself whether an answer can completely address the question. If it is only partly true or if it is true only when some narrow conditions are met, it may not be the most correct answer. On the other hand, your very own imagination can actually turn a simple question into a "trick question". Keep in mind, a trick question can become real tricky if you don't take it at face value. Sometimes reading too much into the question can work against you.

When several of the following concerns are taking place and are possibly conflicting with the others, the order of priority is ALWAYS as follow:

Legal - it deals with the laws and would require immediate and right to the point action
Ethical - it often deals with the ethical guidelines of the association, there could be grey area
Relational - one's relationships with the others
Procedural - established policies

Legal concern would be the most important because it can introduce liability to your association. Therefore, anything unlawful being done you must stop it first directly and instantly. You are the chief hired person so you have the knowledge and power to act decisively here without the need to seek input from somebody else.

There are a lot of HR questions!

We organize the contents of our study guide to cover these domains in a logical flow. What is a logical flow? Think of how a real world association executive needs to see and handle things!

Instead of simply giving you the hard facts, we give you information that covers the best tricks and practices. With these information, you will always be able to make the most appropriate expert judgment in the exam.

Our CAE Practice Test Questions are designed for reinforcing learning objectives and validating knowledge so you know you're prepared to answer even the toughest questions on the actual CAE certification exam.


Click HERE to view the latest TOC.


SAMPLE TEXT on Defining Association

Most associations originated to fulfill human needs. And It is reasonable to say that associations are a product of free society. There are many definitions to the term “association”. Our particular concern is on Professional Association and Trade Association, which are what the exam is mostly about.

NOTE: An association is a form of not-for-profit organization (NFP). Source of revenue is the major difference between a NFP and a regular for profit company.

A professional association (a.k.a professional body or professional society) is a nonprofit organization which exists to further a specific profession and to protect the interests of both the member professionals and the general public.

NOTE: Professionalism describes conduct that is consistent with the tenets of a profession as demonstrated by a member's civility, honesty, integrity, character, fairness, competence, ethical conduct, public service, and respect for the rule of law, the courts, clients, persons who work within ...etc.

Professional associations usually protect the public through maintaining and enforcing professional and ethical standards in their profession. To promote and maintain professional standards, many professional associations perform professional certification to certify that a person possesses qualifications in the concerned subject area. Many professional associations also act as learning societies for the academic disciplines underlying their professions.

In contrast, a Trade Association consists of individuals and/or groups / corporate in a specific business or industry organized to promote specific common interests. The common interests that bind the members may include and may not be limited to credit, public relations, professional growth, marketing development and the like.

EXAM ALERT: According to the book Principles of Association Management, (1975, by the ASAE and the US Chamber of Commerce), Professional group members often take a personal interest in association operation. Trade association members, on the other hand, are relatively more impersonal. In the context of the CAE exam, nonprofit association may be thought of as a mutual benefit organization which has the goal of providing services for its members, raise awareness, promote education and professional standards, and even influence government policies through campaigns of different kinds and lobbying.


Volunteers appear as part of the organization's staff, therefore it is appropriate to say that they represent the organization to the public and have to bear legal consequences in ways similar to the paid employees (especially regarding tort liabilities - liability on act of volunteers as well as injuries to volunteers). In fact, many volunteers may have entered into service agreements akin to employment agreements. The relevant laws vary from state to state (some states even have volunteer protection statutes in place) so you need to check with your lawyer on this.

Paid staff members (a reasonably large association can't be run with pure volunteers) typically have lower pay than in the commercial private sector. But since these staff members are highly committed to the aims and principles of the association, slightly lower pay should not be a problem. They expect to gain skills and experience after all.


SAMPLE TEXT on Management and Control

Generally speaking, decision theory may be normative or descriptive. It is primarily concerned with the identification of the best decision to take, assuming there is an ideal decision maker who is fully informed, capable of computing with perfect accuracy, and is fully rational. The practical application of the descriptive approach is decision analysis.

Decision Analysis (DA) describes the discipline which comprises the philosophy, theory, methodology, and professional practice necessary for addressing important business decisions in a formal manner. Decision analysis may include procedures, methods, and tools for identifying, clearly representing, and formally assessing the important aspects of a decision situation, as well as for prescribing the recommended course of action by applying the maximum expected utility action axiom to a well-formed representation of the decision and for translating the formal representation of a decision and its corresponding recommendation into useful insight for the decision maker to act accordingly.

Important: Game theory attempts to capture behavior in strategic situations mathematically, in which an individual's success in making choices would depend on the choices of others.

You may define management control as a systematic effort by management to compare performance to predetermined standards, plans, or objectives in order to determine whether performance is in line with these standards and presumably in order to take any remedial action required to see that human and other corporate resources are being used in the most effective and efficient way possible in achieving corporate objectives. You may also perceive it as the function of the business management system that can adjust operations as needed to achieve the plan, or to maintain variations from system objectives within all allowable limits.

The basic elements in a control system include as a minimum the following: (1) the characteristic or condition to be controlled, (2) the sensor, (3) the comparator , and (4) the activator occur in the same sequence and maintain a consistent relationship to each other in every system. The first element is the characteristic or condition of the operating system which is to be measured. The second element is a means for measuring the characteristic or condition. The third element is for determining the need for correction by comparing what is occurring with what has been planned. The fourth element refers to the corrective action taken to return the system to the expected output.



To order this book in printed format:

Examessentials CAE Study Guide & Practice Questions (New Blueprint)
Building Your CAE Exam Readiness

2013 Version


ISBN/EAN13: 1479310352/978-1479310357

Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 8" x 10"
Language: English
Color: Black and White

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History about this product line:

Our first hardcopy CAE examprep book was published in March 5, 2010!

As an independent content developer, we are NOT affiliated with the ASAE.


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