ISA offers a variety of resources to help you prepare for the Certified Automation Professional (CAP®) exam.

Primary Textbook

A Guide to the Automation Body of Knowledge is the primary text resource for the CAP Exam and provides a complete overview of all technical topics. Order the Guide to the Automation Body of Knowledge.

Study Guide

The CAP Study Guide is a comprehensive self-study resource that contains a list of the CAP domains and tasks, 75 review questions and answers complete with justifications. References that were used for each study guide question are also provided with the question. The Study Guide also includes a recommended list of publications that you can use to do further study on specific domains. Order the CAP Study Guide.

Review Courses

A CAP review course is available in several formats as preparation for taking the certification exam. This course is offered by ISA and can also be offered at your location.

ISA also has a variety of training courses that would be helpful in preparing for CAP. Visit the Automation Professional Training page for a complete list.

Additional Resources

Exam Topics

  1. Basic Continuous Control: Process Instrumentation, Analytical Instrumentation, Continuous Control, Control Valves, Analog Communications, Control System Documentation, Control Equipment
  2. Basic Discrete, Sequencing, and Manufacturing Control: Discrete Input & Output Devices and General Manufacturing Measurements, Discrete and Sequencing Control, Motor and Drive Control, Motion Control
  3. Advanced Control Topics: Process Modeling, Advanced Process Control, Control of Batch Processes, Environmental, Environmental Monitoring, Building Automation
  4. Reliability, Safety, and Electrical: Alarm Management, Reliability, Process Safety and Safety Instrumented Systems, Electrical Installations, Safe Use and Application of Electrical Apparatus
  5. Integration and Software: Digital Communications, Industrial Networks, Manufacturing Execution Systems and Business Integration, System and Network Security, Operator Interface, Data Management, Software, Custom Software
  6. Deployment and Maintenance: Operator Training, Checkout, System Testing, and Startup, Troubleshooting, Maintenance, Long-Term Support and System Management
  7. Work Structure: Automation Benefits and Project Justifications, Project Management and Execution, Interpersonal Skills

CAP Sample Questions

Questions on the exam were derived from the actual practice of automation professionals as outlined in the CAP Role Delineation Study and job task analysis. Using interviews, surveys, observation, and group discussions, ISA worked with automation professionals to delineate critical job components to develop test specifications to determine the number of questions related to each domain and task tested. This rigorous program development and ongoing maintenance process ensures that CAP certification accurately reflects the skills and knowledge needed to excel as an automation professional.

The following six questions were taken from the CAP examination question item bank and serve as examples of the question type and question content found on the CAP examination.

  1. The method by which the tasks and hazards associated with a machine or process are analyzed is known as:
    • A. Risk assessment.
    • B. Machine assessment.
    • C. Risk reduction.
    • D. Risk abatement.
  2. To test controller tuning or prototype new control strategies offline, the model should be a(an):
    • A. Tie-back (loopback) simulation.
    • B. Artificial neural network.
    • C. Dynamic process simulation.
    • D. Steady state process simulation.
  3. The temperature measurement with the BEST repeatability and resolution is the:
    • A. Thermocouple.
    • B. Resistance temperature detector (RTD).
    • C. Dial thermometer.
    • D. Capillary system.
  4. Which of the following is NOT a variable speed drive setup parameter?
    • A. Acceleration rate.
    • B. Motor winding type.
    • C. Output frequency.
    • D. Maximum speed.
  5. A complete test plan for system integration testing MUST include:
    • A. Comments for the application programmer.
    • B. Multiple test cases for each mode of operation.
    • C. At least five test cases for each test.
    • D. Expected results for each test case.
  6. Frequency of maintenance should be determined by:
    • A. Failure rates of components.
    • B. Availability of personnel and parts.
    • C. Management targets for efficiency and productivity.
    • D. Effectiveness of maintenance personnel.

Sample Questions Answer Key

Question Number Correct Answer Examination Content Outline
1 A Domain 1, Task 4
2 C Domain 2, Task 2
3 B Domain 3, Task 3
4 B Domain 4, Task 7
5 C Domain 5, Task 5
6 A Domain 6, Task 2