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Testing Tips 

Some Final Important Tips

  • Familiarize yourself with the exam location. Seek directions, and if necessary, phone the site location for assistance with questions regarding parking, drive time, etc.
  • Remember to carefully review the exam directions. You can locate these in the Exam Content Manual, available from APICS.
  • Don’t make extreme changes in your daily routine. Take care of the physical you!! Get a good night's sleep before the exam. RELAX!
  • Excessive study (commonly known as "cramming") the night before the exam will usually do more harm than good. Don’t cram.
  • Eat breakfast and lunch. Suggestion: Complete with protein—eggs, toast & milk.
  • Arrive on time and be ready.
  • Bring the necessary materials—identification, confirmation notice, pencil, a good eraser, a watch, and a calculator is optional, since an online calculator is provided for you. If you bring a calculator be prepared to have it inspected.
  • Approach the exam confidently, you've done all you can do to prepare at this point.
  • Read the directions carefully.
  • Start off crisply, stay with it, use every minute effectively.
  • Work on the questions you feel confident in first, and bookmark the uncertain questions to come back to later.
  • Make educated guesses when you eliminate one or more choices.
  • Use only the information given. Don’t complicate a problem with outside "noise".
  • Eliminate any unnecessary information from a problem.
  • Notice key words like "best", "often", "never", and "always". Mark in diagrams, take full advantage of provided scrap paper.
  • Look at all choices before marking your answer.
  • Rephrase difficult questions for yourself.
  • Work calmly and carefully. Take a deep breath every 15 minutes to fight your nerves.

It is a very professionally constructed test administered by professional testing partners which APICS contracts services with. The questions are arranged in random difficulty. The exam doesn’t proceed from difficult to easy or vice versa. Do not expect grouping of similar question topics. There is some interdependency of questions. There is the possibility that helpful information or "clues" to some questions may be contained in the body of information presented on other questions.


All questions have the four choices of A, B, C, D. About a third are what are called “dual-level” multiple-choice questions, such as this sample:

Your APICS score will be a result of:
  1. Your knowledge of the subject being tested
  2. Your “test-wiseness” for the particular test
  3. Your anxiety during the actual test
  4. I & II only
  5. II & III only
  6. I & III only
  7. I, II & III
Most dual level questions will have two Roman numeral choices. A few may have more than three. These types of questions are designed to make you think and to discourage guessing.

Only one choice is right. The other “distracters” often look right. You should select the most obvious answer. Don’t get too smart in your interpretations. Pick the response the test creators intended. Too much subtle thinking can be hazardous to your score. Multiple-choice test taking is a specialized kind of game.

The choices have also been randomized. This means that you can’t count on “C” being used more frequently than any other letters (as it often is in many tests). All four alternatives will be nearly equally correct.

Special standards have been set for the length of the choices so that the correct answer will not be longer that the distracters (again, a frequent finding on many other tests).

Number of Questions

There will be 105 questions on the Basics of Supply Chain Exam. The rest of the exams have 75 questions each.

Formulas & Equations

Know your formulas. Some formulas you will need to know from memory and others may be given to you on the exam. Most importantly, understand how to interpret the results of the formula.


Time per Question

On the exams other than the Basics exam, you’ll have more than 2 minutes per question. This will be more than enough time. It is rare for anybody to ever use all the time allotted answering questions unless they use their time very poorly.

Have a Time Plan

Plan to spend your time in this sequence:

First time through non-resistant questions. This should take you about two hours.

Go back and do the easier ones you skipped.

Now do the tougher ones you skipped.

Double-check your work! Don’t leave early unless you have carefully double-checked each question and made sure your answer sheet is correct.

At the end of each twenty questions, check your progress. Calculate what percent of the time you have left compared to what percent of the test you have left. It’s a kind of critical ratio. This alone is a good enough reason to bring along a silent battery-powered calculator.

“Resistant” Questions

Don’t get bogged down on a tougher question. There will be about 10 percent of the questions, which will “resist” a quick response. Skip over them. It is particularly recommended that you defer the questions requiring mathematical calculations until you have done the less time consuming questions.

An especially effective tactic is to code the question with their degree of resistance. Put a single question mark (?) in the right hand margin of your test booklet for those questions you could get when you have more time. Put a double question mark (??) adjacent to those, which are out of your league. Then when you’ve made your first pass thru the test, answer the single question mark questions first.

Start Right In

Start to work right away. Don’t read thru the test once. Start at the beginning. Don’t pick thru the test for the easy ones.


Always answer all questions. THERE IS NO PENALTY FOR WRONG ANSWERS. Never leave a question unanswered. Each question is worth one point. Bookmark the questions at which you guessed. When you go back and double check your work, CHANGE your answers if you believe you made a mistake. There is a myth that this is wrong. The research says you should change your answers. (4)


  • Eliminate options, which are known to be wrong. Code them accordingly. Pick from the remaining options.
  • Choose neither, or both of two options, which imply the correctness of each other.
  • Choose neither, or one, (but not both) of two statements, one of which, if correct would imply the incorrectness of the other.
For example:

The letters APICS stand for:
  1. American Production and Inventory Control Society
  2. American Product Inventory Conservation Society
  3. I, II, & IV only
  4. I & II only
  5. I, III, IV only
  6. I, II, III, IV

Mark Up Your Scrap Paper

Show your original thinking for when you go back and double check your work. Show all your calculations for later verifications. You won’t get any credit for them. They just help you double check your work.

If you use your scrap paper, please be aware of this limitation. You are not able to write anything on the scrap paper until you have finished the online tutorial. Once you click the start button for the exam, you are free to use the scrap paper.

Read Word-by-Word

Take great care to get the proper meaning of the question. Most people miss five percent or more of the questions to which they know the answers but misread the question – a “dumb mistake.”

Well, that’s it. To do well on the tests you have to be prepared. There is no substitute for knowing the material. STUDY HARD!

Good luck in your pursuit of self-improvement and the increasingly highly regarded CPIM or CIRM Certification.

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inventory management industry.
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   Maintained by:

   Brenda Blair

   Last Modified:
   12/5/2013 11:46:06 AM