How to Study for the CPSM® and Bridge Exams



How do the Certified Professional in Supply Management® (CPSM®) study materials save you time and money? ISM connected the CPSM® Diagnostic Kits (yes, even the Bridge version) to the CPSM® Study Guide and the ISM Professional Series. This allows you to assess and find the areas you, not someone else, need to improve and study the most. Then, the CPSM® Diagnostic Kit tells you exactly where to find the explanations in the CPSM® Study Guide, the ISM Professional Series and a few other resources, so you fully understand the concepts. How smart is that? You focus your CPSM® studies on the areas you need the most and only select the items you really need.

Studying for the CPSM® in Seven Steps
  1. Set goals and create a time line to study and take your exam(s). Then, register and schedule your exam(s) so you stick to your schedule and are less likely to get sidetracked. Look over the CPSM Exam Specifications (Bridge content highlighted) to see what is tested in the exams and use as a working document throughout your studies.

  2. Take the CPSM® Diagnostic Kit practice test to find your weak areas. (If you are a current C.P.M., there is a Bridge Exam Diagnostic Kit.) The Diagnostic Kit comes in your choice of print or web version (same content) to meet your preferred learning style. Make sure you follow the directions to score your practice test(s) and match the results to the bibliographic references to find detailed explanations within the other study items.

  3. Use your score report from the Diagnostic Kit (or from an exam) to develop a study plan to target areas you need to strengthen — areas in which you scored less than 75 percent. The score report references where to find the explanations in the CPSM® Study Guide, the ISM Professional Series and a few other resources. If you have the print version, make sure you follow the directions to score your practice test(s) and match the results to the answer justification and the bibliographic references listed under each justification. The bibliographic references tells you exactly where to find detailed explanations within the other study items. The web version automatically times and scores your tests and when you print out the questions you missed, you get the answer justification and the bibliographic references.

  4. Use the CPSM® Study Guide, an expanded outline of the exam content, to get familiar with the exam specifications, and get examples of the testing format and styles of questions. It briefly explains the content tested in the exams within the context of each task category. For those studying for the Bridge Exam, you only need to study the bracketed content. You were already tested on everything else in the C.P.M. Exams.

  5. The ISM Professional Series is where you want to go for more detailed explanations of the exam task areas that were weak in your score report. These three hardcover books are similar to graduate-level textbooks, with one volume for each of the three exams.

  6. If needed, take another practice test from the Diagnostic Kit to make sure you understand the concepts and improved your scores in weaker areas. Start the process over for your next exam.

  7. Still need more? Take a CPSM® Review Course. They are available in three different formats to fit your schedule — online, self-study workbook or face-to-face seminars. Check out the ISM website and your affiliate for schedules.
Bonus items:
  • A CPSM® Supplemental Reading List is available for those who want additional study. The list contains a variety of exam-related titles in the broad areas of supply management.

  • Start or join a CPSM® study group to help talk through the concepts and divide the research. It also keeps you accountable to a schedule because you don't want to let down your group.

  • Join the CPSM® LinkedIn Group. This highly interactive group is a forum to ask your peers what they found helpful during their exam preparation. You might even connect with people in your area to form a study group. There are many group members who have already achieved their designation who can share their exam experience. They are also able to give you a different perspective on a work issue or help you locate a hard to source product or service.