How to Pass CPIM Exam in 4 Month (Self study Method)

September 29, 2022 | Article

By Awal Hosen

Key Take ways:

  • How & Where to buy Budget Resources (Books, Exam Simulator)

  • Study Planning

  • Original Secrets to pass CPIM Examination

  • Free Resources


Supply chain professionals considering a certification face a bewildering array of options — there are multiple organizations and certifications from which to choose. As a supply chain professional I was looking for a reputed credentials. After reading and checking Job requirements, I found that there are lot of company values APICS CPIM credentials. In fact, it is one of second most popular credential after PMP for logistics professional. There are no blogs on how to pass demanding APICS CPIM exam in the web. I thought the best way to contribute to the community is by giving back what worked for me and what did not, it might work for you.

Passing both Part of APICS CPIM in four months is not extraordinary feat, anyone can do it I guess. Nonetheless, it is pretty difficult for working professional to commit that level of time for studying after finishing office. At the same time, I was doing my MBA. The WFH has allowed me to commit such demanding credential. I was able to study for almost every night and weekends. I would like to share some study trick that helped me to pass both Exam is quick time. Let me share some details with you how you can overcome this difficult exam in shortest possible time.


Why be certified:

Here are some benefits professionals report from their certification:

  • According to ACM, those with the CPIM earn 14% more than those without it, while 64% believe getting certified had a positive impact on their careers
  • APICS-certified individuals earn 21% more than their non-certified peers
  • 95% of all supply chain professionals kept their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic

Over 100,000 people have pursued the CPIM since its inception in 1973, making it the most recognized of all the certifications discussed here. ASCM describes the CPIM in rather broad terms on its site, but Sherman boils it down to the following: “You get the CPIM if you want to learn production planning and scheduling and inventory management. It’s very plant floor focused.”


My Exam Outcome:

I started studying for Part 1 from from beginning of May, 2021 and passed it in June. In Part 1, my score was 306! The minimum passing score is 300. I barely made it. After passing Part 1, I took 2 week absent from all study. As I was studying for CPIM 6.0 Module, I had to buy ATT soonest as possible. End of June 2021, I bought ATT for Part 2. I passed CPIM Part 2 in September, 2021. My score for CPIM Part 2 was 302! I was not sure if If I would pass. In my utter belief, again I made it very closely. If I hadn’t passed it by September I would have to buy another ATT and that would been last chance for me to pass CPIM 6.0. Otherwise, I would have to write CPIM 7.0 module.


Study Method: Self Study


I will be guiding you for CPIM Part 1:



As APICS CPIM exam is one of the Expensive exam if your company don’t sponsor you. My Dept. has no budget for such credentials. And, I didn’t had luxury to buy Learning systems for almost $980 out of my pocket. I went DIY self study method. I bought used book from ebay for $200 which included instructor led slides. And I subscribed to PocketPrep for two months at $50 to practice as much as possible before exam. The Test simulator has 600 questions which is enough for you to pass Part 1. So, your total cost is $250 instead of $980 and ATT fee $545 (Now $545, Non-members $760).


Where to Buy Resources:

  • ebay (Price varies on Version and Availability)
  • PocketPrep (Best Test Simulator for Part 1)

Other Resources:


Price: Free

I found a user on Quizlet who made a lot of flashcards with key terminology. I recommend reviewing all the flashcards before the test. If you don’t know at least 70% of the terms, you’re probably not ready for the exam.


Price: Free

Search Google for practice questions, notes, videos, etc. You can find a lot of free content.


Youtube Videos:

ASCM Tampa Bay


Study Strategy:

Planning is very important for any exam, CPIM is no exception. First, you need to review Exam Content Manual to understand the key Tasks for the exam. Then, you need to plan how you are going to study. I spent almost 100+ hour studying for Part 1. You have to study almost 2 hour per day if you want to pass in 2 months. I have been working in logistics industry for last 7 years. Beside that I am a PMP professional. I think my experience helped me to understand the most of the contents. It might take longer time for you. Please take notes while studying, this will be key weapon in the last week before the exam.

My strategy was to do Test simulator first to understand my current conditions and get some introductions with key terms. Then I started reading books, once I finished reading book, I studied Instructor-led slides. The key here is to understand the process and terms. I think Instructor-led slides was the key for me pass both exams. Originally scoring around 70’s-90’s on the quizzes depending on section and the post-test and practice exams I scored averaging 70’s. I retook all the quizzes and tests, was consistently getting around 90% or better on quizzes.


Final Week of the Exam:

The last week before exam is very crucial. You have to review all the terms and formula. I spent a good amount of time the couple weeks prior memorizing the formulas for the test. This was important in my passing score as the fill in the blanks and a few of the multiple choice questions included actual number answers and some that are critical thinking in which you would need to know the formula to get right. Another important thing is to do more Tests in PocketPrep. Also, you need to review the books and your notes. Possibly, Instructor-led slides if you have. Also, I did practice Quizlet Terminology Decks.

Personally I was very busy with my MBA classes in the weekend, during the break I did Test simulator. Once my classes, I focused on reviewing difficult chapters. Especially, demand Mgmt, Transformation demand into Supply and Supply sections were bit tricky. I had solid command in Business wide concepts, Quality Mgmt and Sig Sigma, because these contents I covered in PMP. I took 3 days off from my Job to solely focus on exam.


Key terms to be Noted:


Current ratio, ROI, Cycle to Cycle, all the forecast & forecast error formula, ATO, MRP, current ratio, critical path method, breakeven, Operation time calculation, PAB, break even analysis, PAB, cumulative deviation from planned to actual outputs

On Examination Day:

“Don’t panic, take one by one”

On the day of Examination you will be tested on knowledge in the General & difficult questions category. You will be asked to answer 150 questions, 130 will be counted and 20 will be for pre-test. Questions format will be a combination of multiple-choice and limited fill-in-the-blank for formula type of Questions. My takeaways from the Exam is that understanding the deep of particular concepts is key. You must have a greater understanding of certain terminology and formula. If I have to make a guess, about 40 to 50% of the questions were really straightforward and as long as I knew the terms I would get the answer.

There weren’t many questions which required calculating PAB, MPS, etc. There are a few questions which ended up being easy to answer because I could recall the formulas. I remember there was one question about the EOQ and how it would be affected if something changed and I think I answered it correctly based off the formula alone. I would estimate about 15 to 20 questions out of 150 had something to do with some form of calculation or where knowing how the calculations worked helped with the answer.

I wrote my exam at Pearson center, was bit nervous. It’s a 4 hour exam. I took questions by Questions. If I wasn’t confirm about a answer, I would flag it for review. I finished all questions in 3 hour, then I started reviewing flagged questions. Then, I clicked finish button. And I passed it.


Here you can download Free CPIM Questions:


400 CPIM Practice Questions


CPIM Part 1 Sample Questions


The Final Thought:

Even though there is CPIM 7.0 available now, there is very few differences. You will be able to cover it through PocketPrep subscription. The pandemic caused a major shift in consumer demand and put a spotlight on supply chain vulnerabilities. Planning is now more important than ever, and the new Certified in Planning and Inventory Management (CPIM) reflects that. With a CPIM certification, you will develop the competencies they need to successfully work across all functions of the supply chain. In addition, you’ll have the knowledge to better respond to supply disruptions, demand variations, and manage supply chain risk.


Note: above guide is only effective for CPIM Part 1. I will be writing for Part 2.