Certified Professional in Supply Management® (CPSM®) Exam and Application FAQs



Common Certification Forms

  1. CPSM® Exam Registration
  2. CPSM® Exam Information and Registration Brochure (545 KB)
  3. CPSM® Original Application
  4. Exam Score Request (12 KB)
  5. Work Experience Documentation (22 KB)

Are there exam(s) for the CPSM®?

Yes. There are (3) three separate CPSM® Exams which together cover the main segments of supply management. Exam content will address today's supply environment and workplace complexities such as risk, strategic sourcing, technology and increased skills needed for supply professionals to drive value in their organizations.

Exam Registration

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What knowledge does the CPSM® Exam test?

There are three (3) CPSM® Examinations. Below is a break-down of the exam by sections, with the number of questions and time allowed:

Exam 1: Foundation of Supply Management

Section Name # of Tasks  
Cost & Finance 5

165 questions
150 scored
2 hrs. 45 mins.
Contracting and Negotiation 5
International 3
Social Responsibility 3
Sourcing 3
Supplier Relationship Mgmt. 6
  25 Tasks  

Exam 2: Effective Supply Management Performance

Section Name # of Tasks  
Forecasting 3

165 questions
150 scored
2 hrs. 45 mins.
Logistics 4
Mats and Inventory Mgmt. 4
Organization/Dept. Assessment 4
Planning 2
Project Mgmt. 2
Product Development 2
Quality 3
  24 Tasks  

Exam 3: Leadership in Supply Management

Section Name # of Tasks  
Leadership 18 180 questions
165 scored
3 hrs.
Risk and Compliance 8
Strategic Sourcing 6
  32 Tasks  

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How long are my CPSM® Exam scores valid?

CPSM® Exam scores are valid for four years from the date they are taken. If an exam score is more than four years old, the exam must be taken and passed again before applying for the CPSM®.

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What is the process for current C.P.M.s who already meet the CPSM® work experience requirement to bridge to the CPSM® designation?

The Bridge Exam is a single exam covering contemporary subject matter and content not covered in the current C.P.M. Exam. It has 180 questions (all scored) and candidates will be allowed three hours to complete the exam. The last day to register for the Bridge Exam is December 31, 2014. The last day to take the Bridge Exam is December 31, 2015.

See CPSM® Bridge Exam FAQs

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What kind of study materials are available for CPSM® Exam preparation?

The three best selling products ISM offers in support of CPSM® Exam preparation are the CPSM® Study Guide, ISM Professional Series and the CPSM® Diagnostic Practice Exam.

The CPSM® Study Guide is an expanded outline of the content covered in the exams. However, it is not meant to serve as a substitute for any of the major college level textbooks in the field of supply management. Bridge Exam content is indicated by brackets throughout.

The ISM Professional Series was written in support of the corresponding exam content (Book 1 for Exam 1, Book 2 for Exam 2, Book 3 for Exam 3). The three books provide more detail about the Exam topics than found in the CPSM® Study Guide. The series draws from all industries and levels, formulating a macro view of the profession. This series of books would be equivalent to college level textbooks.

The CPSM® Diagnostic Practice Exam assists candidates in identifying gaps in their knowledge against the Exam content. It also allows candidates to become familiar with the multiple choice item formats that ISM uses in the Exams. The CPSM® Diagnostic Practice Exam is available as a print or web version. The content in the web Diagnostic Practice Exam is equivalent to the print version. However, the web-based version more closely simulates the test taking environment.

In addition, ISM has compiled a Supplemental Reading List to help candidates prepare for their exams. The books on the list have been chosen because of their focus on the expanded components of supply management.

You can view the various study materials available through ISM at http://www.ism.ws/products/results.cfm?MetaDataID=531&navItemNumber=17140.

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How much do the CPSM® Exams cost?

$199 for ISM members
$329 for non-members (includes ISM Direct Membership)

All prices are per exam and are in U.S. Dollars.

Exam registrations are valid for one (1) year from the date that ISM processes your registration. You must test by the expiration date to avoid forfeiting your exam fees.

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How do I register for CPSM® Exam(s)? How do I know where the closest test center is located?

You must contact ISM to register for an exam:

Register Online
Phone: 800/888-6276, or 480/752-6276, option 8
Fax: 480/752-2299

ISM
Attn: Customer Service
2055 E. Centennial Circle
Tempe, AZ 85284

Your exam registration is valid for one year from the day ISM processes your registration. Payment is required in advance. You must test by the expiration date to avoid forfeiting your exam fees.

Individual candidate testing is done at Pearson VUE Testing Centers and can be scheduled at your convenience.

Examination fees are $199 per exam for ISM members and $299 per exam for nonmembers.

Within 24 hours of processing your registration, you will receive a confirmation letter from ISM with instructions on how to schedule an exam and locate a test center on Pearson VUE's web site: http://pearsonvue.com/ism/

An alternative to Pearson VUE is onsite group testing:
http://www.ism.ws/certification/content.cfm?ItemNumber=18566

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How do I reschedule or cancel an existing appointment?

To reschedule or cancel your test appointment, you must contact Pearson VUE at least 24-hours prior to the scheduled local testing time. For example, an 8:30am appointment on Monday must be rescheduled by 8:30am on Sunday (all times are local). If you do not reschedule or cancel your appointment in time, all funds are forfeited.

To reschedule or cancel, please visit www.pearsonvue.com/ism and select the appropriate link.

Please DO NOT call your local Pearson VUE test center to make appointments or cancel/reschedule appointments.

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What kind of identification (I.D.) will I need in order to test?

For your exam, you must bring one valid photo I.D. with signature that exactly matches the name on your exam registration.

Your I.D. MUST be one of the following:

Driver's License*
Passport*
Military I.D.*
Official State, Government, or National I.D.
Employee I.D.
Student I.D.
Photo credit card

No other forms of I.D. will be accepted.

*Driver's License, Passport and Military IDs that have a digital signature encoded will only be accepted as valid ID if accompanied by another valid ID with signature.

Note: on the day of your exam, if you are unable to produce a valid I.D. matching the name in ISM's database, you will not be allowed to test and all registration fees will be forfeited.

Note: Pearson VUE uses biometrics in all test centers. Biometrics are automated methods of recognizing a person based on a physical characteristic and are primarily used to combat identity fraud. One such method involves the examinee placing a palm on a scanner, which results in an electronic palm print.

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Can I bring a calculator to the exam?

You may not bring a calculator into the exam room. Instead, there is an on-screen calculator for your use.

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What else should I know about taking my exam at a Pearson VUE Test Center?

Plan to arrive 30 minutes before your appointment. If you are more than 15 minutes late, you will be considered a non-refundable "no show" and your exam fees will be forfeited.

You will be required to leave all personal belongings in a locker. This includes bags, pagers, watches, wallets, notes, books or other materials not authorized for this exam. Items such as a cell phone, BlackBerry, or PDA are also prohibited.

An erasable noteboard and pen will be provided for the exam. They will be collected at the end of the test.

Wear comfortable, layered clothing. Test center temperatures vary.

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How are the Exams scored? What is passing?

Each candidate must pass with a minimum scaled score of 400 regardless of the number of questions in that Exam. ISM maintains multiple versions, or forms, of the exam. While the content of the exam remains constant, the actual questions used in the exam will change. Different forms of the exam use different questions, the level of difficulty will vary slightly from test to test. To compensate for these variations, a statistical procedure known as equating is used to account for differences in test difficulty. The passing score is not calculated based upon percentages.

For example, let's suppose we have two test forms of an exam — Test A and Test B. Now suppose it is established that in order to pass Test A, a person must answer 32 out of 60 questions correct. Furthermore, suppose that Test B is somewhat easier than Test A. To compensate for this difference, the passing score for Test B is adjusted to prevent any "bonus" being given to the candidates taking Test B. Thus, it may be established that a candidate must get a score of 34 out of 60 on Test B in order to pass. This is test equating. It holds candidates to the same standard in terms of difficulty, regardless of which version is taken.

Due to this method of equating the percentage of correct answers varies from exam to exam. Then, to maintain consistency in scoring, a second statistical procedure called scaling is used. Scaling converts all scores to a scale ranging from 100 to 600 with a passing score set at 400. Thus, the scores you receive from ISM are actually scaled scores. If the scaled score on any particular Exam ranges from 100 to 390, this means you failed that Exam. If the scaled score is in the range of 400 to 600, you passed that Exam.

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What do I do if I fail an exam?

The average pass rate for the CPSM® is 65-70%. If you fail an exam, you should use the score report that you receive from the test center to re-focus your study effort in any task area(s) where you did not answer approximately 75% of the questions correctly. This will most likely entail obtaining additional reference material to supplement resources you have in those task areas.

In order to re-test, you will again need to register with ISM and pay the appropriate member or non-member fee. There is no discount on re-tests.

ISM has a 30-day retake policy for the CPSM® Exams. If you are unsuccessful on an Exam you MUST wait 30 days before you are eligible to re-take that specific Exam.

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How can I take CPSM® Exams at my company or affiliate?

ISM offers companies onsite review courses and onsite testing of the CPSM® Exams for groups. To request more information regarding review courses or on-site testing, please contact a member of the ISM Sales team for more details.

Review Courses: Rene Yates at ryates@ism.ws or Karen Collins at kcollins@ism.ws.

Onsite Exams: Kelly Rich at kbraase@ism.ws or Trish True at ttrue@ism.ws.

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How do I apply for the CPSM®?

Once you have passed the Exam(s) you will need to apply for certification. You can obtain the appropriate application in the Certification Forms section on our website. Complete and sign the application, attach the required backup documentation and mail the application along with the appropriate member or non-member fee. ISM recommends that you maintain a copy of the entire application, including all backup documentation. ISM will accept copies of your score reports. If you do submit copies of your score reports we ask that you maintain the originals in a safe place.

All documentation must be submitted in English and ISM will NOT accept incomplete applications nor will ISM put an application on-hold, pending an exam score or work experience letter. Incomplete applications will be returned unprocessed.

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I already have my C.P.M. and have passed the Bridge Exam, what documentation do I need to submit?

As a C.P.M., you will not need to re-submit your work experience because ISM already has it on file. You must submit the CPSM® application along with a copy of your score report.

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What dates do I need to remember?
  • December 31, 2014 — Last day to register for the CPSM® Bridge Exam.
  • December 31, 2015 — Last day to take the CPSM® Bridge Exam.

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How can I keep updated on ISM's credentialing programs?

Information will be provided on the ISM website, in Supply Line 2055: Certification Update, in NewsLine, through affiliate leadership and via e-mail updates to subscribers. Be sure to sign up to receive CPSM® updates.

If you have questions or comments, contact ISM Certification at: certification@ism.ws.

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Go to Certified Professional in Supply Management® (CPSM®) Program

Go to Certified Professional in Supply Management® (CPSM®) Recertification FAQs

Go to Bridge Exam FAQs

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