If the idea of getting ready for your CPIM exam takes you straight back to high school and the pre-finals jitters, relax. It’s okay. Taking an exam doesn’t have to be the nerve-curling, eyelid-twitching trial of yesteryear. And your first preparatory steps start before you so much as crack open a book.
First, let’s run through 3 bad habits to avoid: understudying, over-studying, and overconfidence. You need to study for this exam, but you need to do it right. Remember that guy in the back of the class who partied all night and was totally unable to so much as lift up a pencil on exam day? Don’t be that guy. Also, don’t be the gal in the front of the class who stayed up all night studying. Finally, don’t assume that, with all your professional experience, you’ll sail right through. These exams are meant for seasoned pros.
Five Study Tips for the CPIM Exams That Will Help You Conquer Exam Stress
These 5 tips aren’t rocket science, but they’ll definitely help you get the most from your studying. The first one seems as simple as taking an umbrella when it rains:
1. Get the Right Materials. At the very minimum, you should have the APICS CPIM Exam Content Manual and the APICS Dictionary. These absolutely indispensable references will give you an overview of the content covered on the exams and a definition of all the acronyms and terms you’re going to run across. However, stinting in the research department is like rowing a boat using only one paddle: you can do it, but it’s way more work to get where you are going. We recommend starting with any of our study program packages, such as our starter pack which has enough to get you headed in the right direction.
2. Keep Your Materials Together. We all know how distracting it can be to spend 15 minutes searching for the definition of some obscure acronym. Nix it with this simple step. It also signals your brain that this is dedicated study time.
3. Set a Schedule. Again, this is Study 101, but it’s very important. As many a reading list or chore list can attest, things simply will not get done unless you firmly schedule time to do them. For study, it’s best to set aside a certain time every day. Make it a habit, and you’ll not only find the time to do it, you’ll also combat the stress of studying with the comfort of routine.
4. Use the 20-Minute Rule. Did you know that many experts recommend limiting your active study time to about 20 minutes? Your brain can only handle so much new information in one go. Cramming and all-night study sessions just defeat the whole purpose of study. Use the rest of your time to review and apply what you already know, then take a break and come back for Round Two.
5. Practice Test-Taking Skills. Taking the sample tests does two things: it points out your weaknesses so that you can give them extra attention, and it cuts the potency of pre-exam nerves. That big, scary exam looming around the corner becomes not-so-bad when you’ve done the practice run a few times.
Is passing the CPIM exams difficult? Sure. But following these tips will help you minimize stress and maximize success.