Tips to Taking the APICS CPIM Exam

Michael D. Ford, CFPIM, CRE
TQM Works Consulting

1.There is no penalty for a wrong answer, which means you should at least guess and leave no question unanswered.

2.Your first hunch is most likely to be correct.

3.Sometimes you may find that the answer is obvious. Do not be afraid or concerned that “it can’t be that easy.” Yes, it can. Just mark it and move on.

4.Sometimes you may find that your preferred answer is not there. Do not be afraid or concerned that “it can’t be that hard.” Yes, it can. Try re-reading the question to be sure you understand what is being asked, but do not spend an excessive amount of time trying to figure it out. Just guess and move on.

5.There may be a question in the exam that refers to similar material asked in an earlier question that you were unsure of. You might find that this question provides a hint toward solving the earlier question.

6.You may be presented with BOM’s, MRP grids or other graphics, or a short narrative describing a situation. Try to determine as much information as possible (draw conclusions) BEFORE looking at the question(s) that follow. Ask yourself “what is this telling me” and then go to the question(s).

7.Select a default answer in advance of the exam (for example, choice “C”) and always use this when you must guess. Statistically, this will maximize your probability of guessing the correct answer. The exception case is if you have all ready eliminated C.

8.If you have four choices, your probability of guessing
correctly is ¼ = 25%.
If you can eliminate one, your probability of guessing correctly is 1/3  = 33%.
If you can eliminate two, your probability of guessing correctly is ½ = 50%.
If you can eliminate three, your probability of guessing correctly is 1/1 = 100%.

9.Pay attention to questions that state “all of the following are true EXCEPT…” This means you are looking for the false statement. Conversely, there may be questions that state “all of the following are false EXCEPT…” which means you must select the one true statement.

10.Questions which provide several statements (such as I, II and III) and then ask which combination is correct (I only, II only, III only, I and II, etc.) are most challenging.

(a) The best approach is to individually evaluate each statement before looking at the choices and decide if it is true or false. Then decide which combination is correct and check to see if this is available as a possible selection.
(b) If your selection is not available, then try to identify the one you are most certain is true, for example statement II, and then choose among the answers that include II.
(c) Also try to identify any choices you are certain are false, for example choice III, and choose among the answers that do not include III. By using (b) and (c) in combination you should be able to identify the correct choice, or at least limit the number of possibilities from which to guess.

11.If you notice an answer that could be true in a given situation, this does not necessarily mean it is the correct choice. APICS exam questions apply to the general case, not the exception case (unless the question clearly indicates otherwise).

12.Similarly, APICS exams are not based on a particular business environment. Focus on what you learned in review, not what you do at your job. If you have a broad employment background you are likely to fare better than someone who has done the same job at the same company for 20 years.

13.For CBT (computer based testing) be familiar with using a PC, especially the mouse and desktop calculator. APICS exams do not test math ability, merely concepts. Math questions rarely constitute more than 10% of the exam.

14.Plan pre-test studying to maximize success. Don’t waste time on subjects you are either VERY GOOD at or VERY BAD at, especially as you get closer to the exam.

15.APICS’ practice exams and review course quizzes are not an estimate or predictor of your actual exam score. Their intent is to illustrate what subject areas you need to spend more time reviewing. When taking a practice exam you should simulate the actual test environment. Examples: get your kids or significant other out of the house, set a time limit, don’t cheat, shut off the phone/TV/MP3, don’t take breaks, etc.

16.Make sure you get plenty of rest the entire WEEK before the exam, and pay attention to your diet and exercise regimen. Be good to your body and it will be good to you.

17.If you have not been to the test center, drive there before the day of the exam. Make sure you know the best route (little traffic) and where to park.

18.Do some simple math problems before the test. Math “wakes up” the brain, like stretching a muscle before a workout.

19.If you’ve followed the above tips, you should be able to walk in confident of your ability to pass. It’s very important to keep a positive attitude throughout the exam, regardless of how many tough questions you encounter.

20.These tips will be worthless if you’re not familiar with the APICS BOK. They cannot help an unqualified person pass; rather, they are designed to ensure that the test-taker attains a score that accurately reflects their command of the material.