Advice for preparing for CQA


I am interested in purchasing study material for the CQA exam in Feb 2022. However, I am at a lost on which material to purchase for the best results. I am consider the following materials:

  • CQA Primer from Quality Council of Indiana
  • ASQ CQA Handbook Fifth edition
  • ASQ Certified Quality Auditor Question Bank
  • Thoughts on taking CQA certification prep courses offered by ASQ or Quality Council of Indiana.

Thanks in advance for any guidance.

18 Replies

Hi Erica,

I have planned to take CQA the next year. Currently, I am the holder of CQE. During CQE preparation I used Primer from QCI and ASQ Handbook and other reference materials. I checked CQA BoK and it seems that, if you work in a Quality site and have been involved in external or internal audits, have a basic understanding of auditing, ASQ Handbook and Question Bank will be good enough. I will purchase Primer also to broaden my knowledge as well.

@Seyid Aghayev please share your practice as CQA.

I have only used the related Handbook to study for each of my 5 ASQ certifications and passed the first time for each. SO Handbook is my favorite resource. As an instructor for the exam preparatory course by ASQ , I can tell you that the program is excellent, includes a handbook and is worth it if you have th emoney. The Primer is a another very good source and has the advantage over the Handook of having questions along with the content. At $119 the Question Bank is a worthwhile add on to any of the other methods. The more questions you answer the better your chances of passing.

David Woods
35 Posts

Hi Erica,

Hope you are doing well. I too used the ASQ CQA Handbook and the Question Bank. Usually I take the 1st Practice Exam take note of my weak areas. Next I study up on all of the weak areas once those are all studied I then take the 2nd Practice Exam again take note of the weak areas studying the entire Handbook but going over the weak areas more strenuously and then taking the 3rd Practice Exam and hitting the weak points again. After this I go through and tab the Handbook for quick reference during the actual certification exam. Happy Studying and Best Wishes!

Kind Regards,

David Woods

CQA Handbook, Question Bank and ISO 19011 + auditing experience

I used all of the materials you are considering. I also paired with a study partner mostly to go through chapters and ask any questions about the topics. Two heads are better than one! Best tip: Take as many practice tests as you can.

Hi Erica,

The handbook and the question bank are very good resources if you can study diligently on your own.

However, if you need additional tutoring you can attend the CQA prep courses.

Nothing is too much to prepare you well for the intensive exam.

Wish you all the best.

All good advices above!

Just go ahead with above and you will succeed!

Best of luck!


Quality Council of Indiana (book and USB test questions) along with the CQA handbook worked for me. I read through both the Primer and the Handbook once, then began practice testing. Referring back to sections in both on the questions I missed. I believe I spent a total of 100 hours studying and testing… Though some of it was known material as I've been in Quality for some time.

All the best!

I have generally found ASQ materials to be better matched to the Bloom's level, and switched from QCI to ASQ materials after taking the CQA exam. This was years ago but I wasted quite a bit of time on the statistics section (mismatched taxonomy level), plus chasing the answer to one question in that section that the answer ket was incorrect. I will typically take the pre-test, work through the Handbook, then test again. I choose the references to carry in based on the areas that I scored lowest on the practice test and include the Handbook in my references. I took the CMQ/OE and CSQP this way and passed both on the first try. I did also pass CQA on the first try, but the issues I had with my preparations made the entire process very stressful.

It has been several years but I used the QCI and CQA Handbook as references. I went through the CQI Primer Questions to figure out where my weak areas were and focused on them. The question bank may also be helpful and the prep-class can help, just not available at the time I was taking the exam.

Hi Erika,

I only used Indiana Quality Council primers for my CQIA, CQA and CSQP tests and I passed all three on the first attempt. Admittedly, I am fairly good at test taking. So, I would add that all the materials you mentioned are good materials but, if you aren't good at navigating tests then that's where your additional energy should go.

Erika- The materials you have listed are more than adequate to prepare you for the exam. Good luck!

My go to for any ASQ certifications are the ASQ manual for the certification and the question bank.

They tend to be well organized and thorough. As you know they're put together by some of the best minds here who have years of experience in the field, and reviewed extensively by an equally experienced team. My first was the CQT, and while studying the manual I was like, Wow this is amazing. To be able to understand why you do what you do was eye opening. As far as I know "Quality" is not an academic discipline in most academic programs (sure we do find a program somewhere occasionally). So to be able to learn Quality almost like an academic program was really exhilarating. I hope you experience that same excitement as you prepare for this exam.

The manual and the question bank has the same numbering system as the publicly available Body of Knowledge content. So I'd try the relevant questions (under Review mode) as soon as I complete studying a particular section on the manual as a way to gauge my understanding of the section, and also as a recap. That way I can quickly review and analyze the gap between my understanding and the expected level of knowledge while the relevant content is still fresh in my memory, and take the corrective action when needed. Once I complete all the sections the first time this way, I'd do the 2nd set of questions in the Review mode again Part by Part; and once again I'd refer the book for any areas of weakness. My 3rd round and on would be the Exam mode practice.

If you have the resources, sure go for the audio class. They're an amazing resource. Almost like having a private tutor by your side. Good luck and go break a leg!

Hi Javid, Could you elaborate more on which preparation is much better to get prepare for CQA certification? I mean QCI primer or ASQ handbook? Asking you because CQI primer is less costly for me since I lived in underdeveloped country where exchange rate is quite high for purchasing of both academic materials for preparation.
Meta Brown
14 Posts

Your personal situation influences the choice of materials. For example, are you good at self-study or is it important that you have a class with access to a live instructor? Are you already familiar with the subject matter through your work or formal education? Are you familiar with the style of questions used in the exam?

I find it important to study with some resource that has many sample questions in the style of the exam. I used CQI study guides, and that worked well for me.

Before you buy a study guide, you may want to touch base with CQAs in your region - perhaps you can find someone who could loan or sell you a used copy. It could be an opportunity to network and save a little money as well.

Hi Erica,

I took the CQA exam 10 years ago, and at that time, I found the CQA Primer and the ASQ Certification Prep course to be most helpful. I wrote an article in 2016 about certification prep:

…and would be happy to share the documents I used in preparing. Just send me an email at


The combo that works best for me is the handbook along with the practice exam flash drive from Quality council. The flash drive practice exam also provides you a chart so you can see which sections you need to spend more time studying in.