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CPSM® Update

The Diagnostic Practice Exam Goes Online


RaeAnn Slaybaugh

November/December 2009, eSide Supply Management Vol. 2, No. 6

How it streamlines the CPSM® study process.

In August, Institute for Supply Management™ released its much-anticipated CPSM® Diagnostic Practice Exam (Web version) to help candidates focus their study efforts — right from their computers. The Web-based CPSM® Diagnostic Practice Exam was designed to more closely simulate the test-taking environment.

But, what else do you need to know? Plenty.

Here are some common questions — and answers — from supply management professionals considering adding the CPSM® Diagnostic Practice Exam (Web version) to their study regimen.

Q:  How is the Web version different from the print version?

A:  Although all the questions are the same in the Web and print versions, the Web-based Diagnostic Practice Exam simulates the computer-based testing environment used in the actual CPSM® Exam. To replicate the experience — and help relieve test anxiety — it features a test-progression function so users know how much time they have left to complete each exam.

Additionally, scoring is performed for the candidate in the Web version versus by the candidate in the print version. Its score-report function lets users instantly see — and even print — all their incorrect and correct answers. In both the print and Web versions, this report includes detailed reasons why each question was wrong, as well as a bibliography they can reference to find more detailed information on those topics of weakness.

CPSM<sup>®</sup> <cite>Diagnostic Practice Exam</cite>

Q:  How many times can I take the practice exam in the Web-based Diagnostic Practice Exam?

A:  You get three attempts, which means the exam can be completed three times. Access to the exams is available within one year from the date you enter your authorization code online (note: not necessarily the date of purchase), although your exam results are still accessible beyond those 12 months. A registration link and authorization code will be sent by e-mail immediately after purchasing the Diagnostic Practice Exam through the ISM Web site.

Q:  Are the questions the same as the questions on the CPSM® Exam?

A:  No. The questions on the Diagnostic Practice Exam exams are different. Because they aren't the actual CPSM® Exam questions, it's not really beneficial for the same person to take the Diagnostic Practice Exam exam more than twice — the first time to identify areas of weakness for further study, and the second time (after additional study) to determine if his or her performance has improved in the areas of weakness. Please note: The questions on the Web-based version of the Diagnostic Practice Exam are the same as the questions in the print version of the Diagnostic Practice Exam.

Q:  How long do I have to complete each of the three allowed attempts?

A:  For Diagnostic Practice Exam Exams 1 and 2 (165 questions each/150 scored), the timed function allows two hours and 45 minutes for each exam. For Diagnostic Practice Exam Exam 3 (180 questions/165 scored), the timed function of the exam allows three hours for completion. You can, however, pause each exam and pick up where you left off later. You can also continue taking the exam even if your time runs out, if you're interested in learning how long it might take you to finish the exam. Once you're finished with each exam, your score report will be automatically generated on screen.

Q:  Is the Web-based CPSM® Diagnostic Practice Exam priced differently than the print version?

A:  Yes. Whereas the print version is sold as a three-in-one product (three exams at once), you can buy each Diagnostic Practice Exam exam separately. Pricing is as follows:

  • Exam 1, 2 and 3 (print version) — US$79 for members/US$99 for nonmembers
  • Individual exams (Web version) — US$49 per exam for members/US$69 per exam for nonmembers
  • Exams 1, 2 and 3 sold as a set (Web version) — US$129 for members/US$169 for nonmembers

Q:  Can we expect a Web-based Diagnostic Practice Exam for the CPSM® Bridge Exam, too?

A:  Yes. In fact, a Web-based version is currently under development and will be available in fall 2010. Additionally, a print version of the CPSM® Bridge Diagnostic Practice Exam will be released in early 2010.

For more information on ISM's professional credentials, visit the Institute's Web site.

RaeAnn Slaybaugh is a senior writer for the Institute for Supply Management™. She can be reached at

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