Study Guide

The NACD Directorship Certification Study Guide, produced as a companion to NACD Directorship Certification®, acts as a comprehensive resource on core practices in corporate governance for both new and experienced directors.

This guide aims to expose directors to the growing scope of board responsibilities and helps them to identify which critical governance moments or dilemmas to expect throughout their board service. All guidance in this publication is adapted from NACD's robust content library.

The NACD Directorship Certification Study Guide is made available to all registrants after completing the online application. Already registered? Access the Study Guide by logging in to your account.

Working in parallel with the experienced corporate directors who created the NACD certification exam, the NACD research staff has summarized board-relevant information into 19 key components of corporate governance that all directors should strive to master. Each topic presents readers with the following information to enhance their know-how and skills in the boardroom:

  • Why the issue is important in the current environment

  • Key elements of the issue, including the roles of the board and management

  • Common challenges the board is likely to face

  • A summary of guidance for directors to follow when providing oversight

  • Definitions for governance terms

  • A case study showing how boards might experience the issue in practice (select topics only)

  • Questions for directors to ask

  • Recommended NACD materials

The study guide is primarily geared toward directors of US corporations—both public and private—although global directors and directors of nonprofits can also benefit from applying these leading governance standards to their boardroom practices.

Executive Summary

Preview the Study Guide

While the study guide is available exclusively to NACD Directorship Certification candidates, we’ve provided a synopsis of topics covered in the full guide.

Sample Questions

Test Your Knowledge

See a few sample questions from the exam, as they appear in the NACD Directorship Certification Study Guide.

Practice Exam

NACD offers a complimentary (non-proctored) practice exam to help support your NACD Directorship Certifiction® exam preparation efforts. It is a study tool designed to test your knowledge, identify areas for improvement and build your confidence before taking the certification exam. The practice exam is only accessible to eligible candidates who have received authorization to test and can be taken multiple times.

Study Group Series

The NACD Credentialing Team and Certified Directors offer a monthly Study Group Series for NACD members preparing to take the Directorship Certification exam. The series takes place over the course of four weeks (one session per week for 75 minutes) and provides guidance and support as registrants prepare for and take the exam. The sessions aim to spark thoughtful discussion regarding the NACD Directorship Certification Study Guide and case study section of the exam. Study Groups are only available to Certification registrants.