CQE Body of Knowledge

Body of KnowledgeWhat is the CQE Body of Knowledge?

Similar to the different areas of the brain, there are different topics that the CQE must understand. More plainly, this is the information that ASQ believes all Certified Quality Engineers should understand.

There are 7 “Pillars” (Categories/Topics) of information that ASQ has created to sub-divide the information into which are shown in the table below.

ASQ has also provided the number of exam questions that will be related to each pillar, these Topics are then further broken down into sub-topics along with the ASQ defined Cognition Level.

 Exam Breakdown by Pillar

IManagement & Leadership1811%
IIThe Quality System1610%
IIIProduct & Process Design2314%
IVProduct & Process Control2516%
VContinuous Improvement2717%
VIQuantitative Methods & Tools3623%
VIIRisk Management159%

Here’s a breakdown of that data in the form of a pie chart.

BOK Pie Chart2

Another awesome thing that ASQ did when they defined their body of knowledge is that they assigned a cognition level to each topic on the BOK, which I’ve included below. The cognition levels are assigned based on Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Management and LeadershipManagement & Leadership

  1. Quality Philosophies and Foundations

    • Evolution of Quality (Understand)
    • Continuous Improvement Tools (Understand)
  2. The Quality Management System
    • Strategic planning (Apply)
    • Deployment techniques (Apply)
    • Quality information system (QIS) (Understand)
  3. ASQ Code of Ethics for Professional Conduct (Evaluate)
  4. Leadership Principles and Techniques (Analyze)
  5. Facilitation Principles and Techniques

    • Roles & responsibilities (Understand)
    • Facilitation tools (Apply)
  6. Communication Skills (Analyze)
  7. Customer Relations (Analyze)
  8. Supplier Management
    •  Techniques (Apply)
    • Improvement (Analyze)
    • Risk (Understand)
  9. Barriers to Quality Improvement (Analyze)

The Quality SystemQuality Systems

  1. Elements of the Quality System

    • Basic Elements (Evaluate)
    • Design (Analyze)
  2. Documentation of the Quality System

    • Document Components (Understand)
    • Document Control (Evaluate)
  3. Quality Standards and Other Guidelines (Apply)
  4. Quality Audits
    • Types of audits (Apply)
    • Roles and responsibilities in audits (Understand)
    • Audit planning and implementation (Apply)
    • Audit reporting and follow up (Apply)
  5. Cost of Quality (COQ) (Analyze)
  6. Quality Training (Apply)

Validation, VerificationProduct and Process Design

  1. Classification of Quality Characteristics (Evaluate)
  2. Design Inputs and Review
    • Inputs (Analyze)
    • Review (Apply)
  3. Technical Drawings and Specifications  (Evaluate)
  4. Design Verification & Validation & Process Validation (Evaluate)
  5. Reliability and Maintainability
    • Predictive and preventive maintenance tools (Apply)
    • Reliability and maintainability indices (Analyze)
    • Reliability Models (Apply)
  6. Risk Management Tools (Evaluate)

Product and Process ControlQuality Management

  1. Methods (Analyze)
  2. Material Control
    1. Material Identification, Status & traceability (Analyze)
    2. Material Segregation (Evaluate)
    3. Material Classification (Evaluate)
    4. Material Review Board, MRB (Analyze)
  3. Acceptance Sampling
    1. Sampling Concepts (Analyze)
    2. Sampling Standards & Plans (Analyze)
    3. Sampling Integrity (Apply)
  4. Measurement and Test
    1. Measurement Tools (Analyze)
    2. Destructive & Non-Destructive Testing (Apply)
  5. Metrology (Analyze)
  6. Measurement System Analysis, MSA (Evaluate)


Continuous ImprovementContinuous Improvement

  1. Quality Control Tools
  2. Quality Management and Planning Tools
    • Affinity Diagram & Force Field Analysis, Tree Diagrams, Process Decision Program Charts, Matrix Diagram, Interrelationship digraphs, Prioritization Matrices, Activity Network Diagrams (Analyze)
  3. Continuous Improvement Methodologies (Analyze)
    • Total Quality Management (TQM), Kaizen, Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA), Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints (TOC) (Evaluate)
  4. Lean Tools
    • 5S, Value Stream Mapping, Kanban, Visual Control, Waste, Standardized Work, Takt Time, Single Minute Exchange of Die (Evaluate)
  5. Corrective Action (Evaluate)
  6. Preventive Action (Evaluate)


Quantitative Methods & ToolsQuantitative Methods and Tools

  1. Collecting and Summarizing Data
  2. Quantitative Concepts
    • Terminology (Analyze)
    • Drawing Statistical Conclusions (Evaluate)
    • Probability Terms & Concepts (Understand)
  3. Probability Distributions
    1. Continuous Distributions & Discrete Distributions (Analyze)
  4. Statistical Decision-Making
    • Point Estimates & Confidence Intervals, and Hypothesis Testing (Evaluate)
    • Paired-Comparison Testing & Goodness-of-fit tests (Apply)
    • Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) & Contingency Tables (Analyze)
  5. Relationships Between Variables
    • Linear Regressions, Simple Linear Regression & Time-Series Analysis (Analyze)
  6. Statistical Process Control (SPC)
    • Objectives & benefits (Understood)
    • Common & Special Causes, Selection of Variables (Analyze)
    • Rational Subgrouping (Apply)
    • Control Charts & Control Chart Analysis (Evaluate)
    • Pre-Control Charts, & Short-run SPC (Understand)
  7. Process and Performance Capability
    • Process Capability Studies, Process Performance vs. Specifications (Analyze)
    • Process Capability Indices, Process Performance Indices (Evaluate)
  8. Design and Analysis of Experiments
    • Terminology (Understand)
    • Planning & Organizing Experiments (Analyze)
    • Design Principles (Apply)
    • One-Factor Experiments, Full-Factorial Experiments (Analyze)
    • Two-Level Fractional Factorial Experiments (Analyze)

Risk ManagementRisk Management Word Scramble

  1. Risk Oversight
    • Planning & Oversight (Understand)
    • Metrics (Apply)
    • Mitigation Planning (Evaluate)
  2. Risk Assessment
  3. Risk Control
    1. Identification & Documentation (Analyze)
    2. Auditing & Testing (Evaluate)

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