CIPS exams – doing it right the first time

bulls_eye.jpgDoing things right the first time is a philosophy, mentality and performance standard that students writing the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) November 2011 examinations will aim to achieve, Ronald Mlalazi (MCIPS), Commerce Edge Academy Education Manager, tells SmartProcurement.

In his 12th article for SmartProcurement’s World-Class Procurement Practice series, Mlalazi discusses how the students writing the November 2011 examinations, which commence in just over 14 days, can prepare and use some examination techniques in order to pass their examinations – “doing it right the first time.”

“While it is true that CIPS examinations are difficult, most examination failures are not owed to a lack of knowledge, but to a poor approach to and misunderstanding of the requirements of the exam questions,” says Mlalazi.

Just like studying, there is no best formula for preparing for and writing the examinations. However, CIPS examiners and other scholars have recommended a number of techniques and certain competences that students must effectively apply before and during the examinations. These techniques are designed to make every minute count during the examination.

To get it right first time, below are a number of ‘assists’ that students can utilise as they prepare, and which will set the right pace for their career in Procurement and Supply Chain Management – being champions of the new dispensation in their organizations.

First, says Mlalazi, one must demand that the following three things take place:
• Recognise the cost and consequence of failure.
• Continuously think of the vision and where you want to be in your procurement and supply chain career.
• Self-empowerment and delivering value to your organization.

Three-step approach.PNGSecond, apply some of the techniques that you can use during the examinations to enhance your chances of success:

• Plan and prepare adequately, avoid leaving it until it’s too late.
• Try to plan during the examination and ensure that your answers are logically presented.
• Go through your CIPS course book, TEBLOS and CEA Revision Slides in order to enhance your key competency skills for answering examination questions.
• Read and understand the examination instructions and manage your time judiciously.
• Choose questions that you think you can answer well, including their constituent questions.
• Understand the answer format for the question. By using the correct format, you can gain two marks.
• Have a well-structured answer – Good structure entails good planning.
• Good knowledge of current purchasing and supply practices and general business climate developments.

Mlalazi says that focusing on “doing everything right the first time” does NOT mean needing or having exceptional skills; it may only mean that one is able to change perspective on the ‘how part’ of learning and enhance one’s chances of success in the examination.

Ronald M_Studio_Photo_100709.JPG“A CIPS qualification will enhance not only the status of individual procurement professionals, but also set the tone for procurement leadership and promote the competitiveness of the organizations for which they work in a sustainable manner,” notes Mlalazi. Properly structured and positioned within the organization, the competencies that Procurement professionals possess can be used not only to drive down costs, but to unlock value through collaborative supplier management principles and world class procurement practices, he concludes.

To learn more about Commerce Edge Academy and CIPS Qualifications, please contact Ronald Mlalazi, Education Manager of Commerce Edge Academy at

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