Certification FAQs



How Do I Begin to Study for The CPSM®, CSM™ and Bridge Exams?

ISM has developed a Seven Step plan to help you study for the CPSM® and CSM™ Exams.

  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.

  2. Take the CPSM® and CSM™ Diagnostic Practice Exam practice test to find your weak areas. (If you are a current C.P.M., there is a Bridge Exam Diagnostic Practice Exam.) The Diagnostic Practice Exam comes in your choice of print or web version (same content) to meet your preferred learning style.

  3. Use your score report from the Diagnostic Practice Exam (or from an exam you didn't pass) 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® and CSM™ Study Guide, the ISM Professional Series and a few other resources.

  4. Use the CPSM® and CSM™ 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. Take another practice test from the Diagnostic Practice Exam to make sure you understand the concepts and improved your scores in weaker areas.

  7. Still need more? Take a CPSM® and CSM™ 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.

Must exams be taken in the year you purchase them?

Yes, exam registrations are only valid for one year from the date of purchase. If you are unable to test within the year, contact ISM PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF YOUR EXAM for further assistance.


Do My Exam Scores Expire?

Yes, exams scores do expire if you do not apply and receive a designation within a certain period of time based upon the individual program requirements listed below.

CPSM®, CSM™ and CPSD™ exam scores are valid for four years from the date of the exam. If an exam score is more than four years old, that exam must be retaken and passed prior to submitting the application.

C.P.M. exam scores are valid for five years from the date of the exam (C.P.M. exams are no longer being administered). If an exam score is more than five years old, the candidate is not eligible to apply for the C.P.M. designation.

For a fee, candidates may request a duplicate score report from ISM.


How Many Continuing Education Hours (CEH's) do I need to recertify?

Candidates applying for CPSM®, CSM™ or CPSD™ re-certification must earn 60 continuing education hours (CEHs) during their current certification period. At least two-thirds (40 CEHs) of the CEHs must be educational in nature. One-third (20 CEHs) may be earned in the professional contributions category.

Candidates applying for C.P.M. re-certification must earn 84 continuing education hours (CEHs) during their current certification period. At least two-thirds (56 CEHs) of the CEHs must be educational in nature. One-third (28 CEHs) may be earned in the professional contributions category.

Candidates applying for Lifetime C.P.M. status must submit a Lifetime application with documentation of CEHs earned since their last certificate date. The required number of CEHs is determined on a prorated basis.

Candidates applying for A.P.P. re-accreditation must earn 42 continuing education hours (CEHs) during their current certification period. At least two-thirds (28 CEHs) of the CEHs must be educational in nature. One-third (14 CEHs) may be earned in the professional contributions category.