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Assessments

 

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All assessments are designed to test the learning outcomes of the CIPS unit content for each unit.  Candidates are assessed by an exam for each unit, unless you are granted an exemption.

 

Book your examsIf you have already booked your exam and would like to enter for more exams, or you to need to re-sit an exam, you can book online or download the relevant enrolment form below.

Examinations

CIPS examinations for qualifications units are hand written and paper-based. 

The following principles are adhered to when CIPS exam papers are developed:

  1. The unit content will be assessed through the use of the learning outcomes (LOs), and parts thereof, published within the unit content guides.  All LOs will be assessed within every assessment.
  2. All LOs within a unit are weighted equally. The coverage of each LO within an assessment is equally weighted.
  3. All questions within an assessment are compulsory. There are no optional questions. All assessments are marked out of 100%.
  4. The standard of the assessment is set by the LOs within the unit content. 

With the exception of the exams for AD3 Improving competitiveness and PD3 Strategic supply chain management, all examinations are closed-book. 

Exam duration

Exams for units within the Diploma, Advanced diploma and Professional diploma in procurement & supply qualifications are 3 hours.  Exams for units within the Certificate and Advanced certificate in procurement & supply operations qualifications are 2 hours. 

Exam format

Professional diploma in procurement & supply

Unit Exam format (3 hours). Pass mark 50%
PD1 Leadership Unseen case of around 500 words and four questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome. Questions should be answered within the context of the case.
PD2 Corporate & business strategy Four exam questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome.
PD3 Strategic SCM Pre-released case. The case will be 12-15 pages long and based on a realistic organisation. The case is published on the website at least four weeks in advance of the exam date to allow candidates to analyse the information and prepare for the exam. The exam is open-book and there will be four exam questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome. Questions should be answered within the context of the case.
PD4 Supply chain diligence Four exam questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome.
PD5 Programme & project management Four exam questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome.
PD6 Legal aspects (UK) Four exam questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome.

Advanced diploma in procurement & supply

Unit Exam format (3 hours). Pass mark 50%
AD1 Management Unseen case of around 500 words and four questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome. Questions should be answered within the context of the case.
AD2 Managing risks Unseen case of around 500 words and four questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome. Questions should be answered within the context of the case.
AD3 Improving competitiveness Pre-released case. The case will be 12-15 pages long and based on a realistic organisation. The case is published on the website at least four weeks in advance of the exam date to allow candidates to analyse the information and prepare for the exam. The exam is open-book and there will be four exam questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome. Questions should be answered within the context of the case.
AD4 Category management Four exam questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome.
AD5 Sustainability Four exam questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome.
AD6 Operations management Four exam questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome.

Diploma in procurement & supply

Unit Exam format (3 hours). Pass mark 50%
D1 Contexts Four exam questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome.
D2 Business needs Four exam questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome.
D3 Sourcing Unseen case of around 500 words and five questions each worth 20 marks, each testing a different learning outcome. Questions should be answered within the context of the case.
D4 Negotiating and contracting Four exam questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome.
D5 Managing contracts and relationships Four exam questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome.

Advanced certificate in procurement & supply operations

Unit Exam format (2 hours)
AC1 Environments 60 multiple-choice questions (MCQs). Select one correct answer from four options. There will be 20 MCQs testing each learning outcome. Pass mark 75%.
AC2 Operations 60 MCQs. Select one correct answer from four options. There will be 20 MCQs testing each learning outcome.  Pass mark 75%.
AC3 Workflow Practical written exam with four exam questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome. The questions are designed to simulate tasks which might be undertaken in the work environment. Pass mark 50%.
AC4 Inventory and logistics 60 MCQs. Select one correct answer from four options. There will be 20 MCQs testing each learning outcome. Pass mark 75%.
AC5 Relationships 60 MCQs. Select one correct answer from four options. There will be 20 MCQs testing each learning outcome. Pass mark 75%.

Certificate in procurement & supply operations

Unit Exam format (2 hours). Pass mark 75%.
NC1 Principles 60 multiple-choice questions (MCQs). Select one correct answer from four options. There will be 15 MCQs testing each learning outcome.
NC2 Functions 60 MCQs. Select one correct answer from four options. There will be 20 MCQs testing each learning outcome.
NC3 Processes 60 MCQs. Select one correct answer from four options. There will be 20 MCQs testing each learning outcome.
NC4 Administration 60 MCQs. Select one correct answer from four options. There will be 20 MCQs testing each learning outcome.
NC5 Stakeholders 60 MCQs. Select one correct answer from four options. There will be 15 MCQs testing each learning outcome.

 

Examination pass marks

The following pass marks and grade bands will apply to all Qualifications 2013 diploma units at Levels 4-6 in procurement and supply (including the AC3 workflow workbook).

  • Distinction 75 - 100%
  • Merit 60 - 74%
  • Pass 50 - 59%
  • Fail 0 - 49%


For the Certificate and Advanced certificate in procurement and supply (not including the AC3 workflow workbook, see above) the following pass mark applies:

  • Pass 75%


You must achieve 75% for each section (learning outcome) within the exam in order to pass.

Key dates

January 2014 exams series

 
Results published Wednesday 16 April 2014
   

March 2014 exams series

 
Results published Wednesday 28 May 2014
   

May 2014 exams series

 
International Exam entry closure Friday 21 March 2014
UK Exam entry closure Friday 28 March 2014
Final date for cancellations Friday 4th April 2014
Exam week Monday 19 - Friday 23 May 2014
Results published Wednesday 6 August 2014
   

July 2014 exams series


International Exam entry closure  Friday 30 May 2014
UK Exam entry closure  Friday 6 June 2014
Final date for cancellations Friday 13th June 2014
Exam week  Monday 21 - Wednesday 23 July 2014
Results published Wednesday 8 October 2014
 

November 2014 exams series

 
 
International Exam entry closure Friday 19 September 2014
UK Exam entry closure Friday 26 September 2014
Final date for cancellations Friday 3 October 2014
Exam week  Monday 17 - Friday 21 November 2014
Results published Wednesday 4 February 2015
 
 
 
 

Exam booking

Book NowThe quickest and easiest way to book an exam is by applying online.

Learners can pay in local currency at the following regional offices:
Australasia South Africa  
 
Learners in the following Africa countries can pay in local currency at British Council offices:
Botswana Ghana Kenya
Malawi Nigeria Uganda
Zambia Zimbabwe  
 

Alternatively, you can download the relevant exam enrolment form from the 'Enrolment forms' tab below. Please be advised this application process will take longer than applying online.

About approved exam centres
Any learners currently registered with a CIPS approved study centre can contact them directly to find out if they are a CIPS approved exam centre.

Any learners not registered at a CIPS study centre may take their examinations at a CIPS approved exam centre listed here.

IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT ADDITIONAL FEES
In addition to the examination fees payable to CIPS at the point of booking, an additional administration fee may be charged by the exam centre. Before completing a booking you should contact the CIPS approved exam centre at which you wish to take your exam.  Anyone that hasn't paid the additional required fee may not be able to take the exam and may lose their exam fee.

Enrolment guidelines and timetables

Each step of your examination journey, from enrolment to results, is outlined in our Examination Enrolment Guidance. The guidance has relevant timetable information for you and includes dates for enrolment and closure, the exam week and when results will be available. To help you to plan your path through your studies and exams to professionalism, we publish examination timetables a full year in advance every July.

If you choose to take your exams in the UK you have five opportunities during the year - January, March, May, July, November*. Learners registered with a study centre should first speak to tutors to find out if they intend to offer exams for each session. Those that wish to take exams outside of the UK can do so three times a year - May, July, November*.

Before attending an exam, candidates should familiarise themselves with the Rules for Examinations

Exam weeks vary so please take care when completing your enrolment form. You may enter for as many units as you wish in one sitting, however please check that units are not scheduled to take place at the same time.

Exam series timetables

*Select units are available for the January, March and July exam series.

The expected timescale for the issue of certificates, once a candidate has completed and passed a qualification level is two - four weeks.

Enrolment forms

If you have already booked your exam and would like to enter for more exams, or you to need to re-sit an exam, you can book online or download the relevant enrolment form below.

UK   July 2014  
    Certificate and Advanced certificate in procurement and supply operations
    Diploma, Advanced diploma and Professional diploma in procurement & supply
     
   
     

 

Australasia   July 2014 
   

Certificate and Advanced certificate in procurement and supply operations

   

Diploma, Advanced diploma and Professional diploma in procurement & supply

     
     
   

 

 

International   July 2014 
    Certificate and Advanced certificate in procurement and supply operations
    Diploma, Advanced diploma and Professional diploma in procurement & supply
     
     
     

 

MENA   July 2014 
Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco,Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen   Certificate and Advanced certificate in procurement and supply operations
  Diploma, Advanced diploma and Professional diploma in procurement & supply
   
   
   

 

Africa   July 2014 
  Certificate and Advanced certificate in procurement and supply operations
  Diploma, Advanced diploma and Professional diploma in procurement & supply
   
   
   

 

Southern Africa   July 2014 
Angola, Botswana, Lesotho,Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland   Certificate and Advanced certificate in procurement and supply operations
  Diploma, Advanced diploma and Professional diploma in procurement & supply
   
   
   

Results statistics

Qualifications 2013 refers to CIPS unit content which was launched in March 2013. Qualifications 2006 refers to CIPS unit content which was launched in September 2006.  Below you can download the results statistics for each examination series. Each download provides details of the number of candidates which sat each unit, and the pass rate achieved for each unit. Please note examinations taken in January and March are UK only assessment series.

Qualifications 2013

2014 January N/A

 

 

2013 November
November MCQ

July

July MCQ

Qualifications 2006

2013 November  January March May n/a
2012 November January March May July
2011 November January March May July
2010 November January March May July
2009 November     May  
2008 November     May  
2007 November        

Assessment Fees for Examination Series November 2013 through to May 2014

Our Fees and Invoicing Policy can be downloaded here.

UK

External Examination Fee
External Examinations (Certificate & Advanced Certificate) £70
External Examinations (Diploma, Advanced, & Professional) £90
CIPS Regional Examination Centre Fee £18
Exemption £100

 

CIPS Africa (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho,Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland)

External Examination Early Bird Fee Fee
External Examinations (Certificate & Advanced Certificate) R 845 R 910
External Examinations (Diploma, Advanced, & Professional) R 845 R 910
Exemption N/A R 1,300

 

Rest of Africa and Bangladesh

External Examination Early Bird Fee Fee
External Examinations (Certificate & Advanced Certificate) £65 £70
External Examinations (Diploma, Advanced, & Professional) £65 £70
Exemption N/A £100

 

Australasia 

External Examination Fee
External Examinations (Certificate & Advanced Certificate) AUD 225
External Examinations (Diploma, Advanced, & Professional) AUD 225
Exemption AUD 225

 

New Zealand 

External Examination Fee
External Examinations (Certificate & Advanced Certificate) NZD 225
External Examinations (Diploma, Advanced, & Professional) NZD 225
Exemption NZD 225

Rest of the World 

External Examination Fee
External Examinations (Certificate & Advanced Certificate) £70
External Examinations (Diploma, Advanced, & Professional) £90
Exemption £100

Case studies

The case studies for the May 2014 AD3 and PD3 examinations are available to download here.

IMPORTANT: Should you be in possession of a postal copy please note there is a misprint on page 4 where paragraph 2 should be omitted. The corrected case study is now available to download here.

Reference only (2006 Qualifications)

The information in this section is for reference only, 2006 qualifications format is no longer available for examination or assessment.

Qualifications 2006 refers to CIPS unit content which was launched in September 2006. CIPS examinations for Qualifications 2006 units are hand written and paper-based with the exception of the one hour e-test for the Level 2 Introductory Certificate in Purchasing and Supply.

Format (L3, 4, 5 and 6)

Each unit is assessed by a three hour closed-book exam with the exception of Level 3 (L3-05) Purchasing in Action and Level 6 (L6-03) Supply Chain Management in Practice. The format of the exam papers is:

  • Section A - A case study with two questions based on the information in the case study. Each question is worth 25 marks.
  • Section B - Two questions must be answered from a choice of four which test knowledge and understanding. Each question is worth 25 marks.

Case studies used in Section A progress through the levels as follows;

Qualification 2006 Level

Case study word count

Case study number of pages

Level 3

Approx 400

Approx 1

Level 4

Approx 500

Approx 1 - 1/2

Level 5

Approx 700

Approx 1 1/2 - 2

Level 6*

Approx 900

Approx 2

*All units with the exception of L6-03 Supply chain management in practice (see below).

L3-05 Purchasing in Action

This unit is also assessed by a three hour closed-book exam. However, the format of the exam is four questions, each worth 25 marks, based around a single case study. These questions can be a mixture of role play and theory, knowledge and understanding.

L6-03 Supply chain management in practice

This assessment is a three hour open-book exam comprising of four questions, each worth 25 marks. The questions will all be centred on a single case study which will be based on a realistic organisation. The case study is published on the website at least four weeks in advance of the exam date to allow candidates to analyse the information and prepare for the exam. The case study is approximately 20 pages in length.

Examination pass marks

Qualifications 2006 refers to CIPS unit content which was launched in September 2006.

The following pass marks and grade bands will apply to all Qualifications 2006 units at Levels 3-6 in purchasing and supply, including the International certificate and the International advanced certificate in purchasing and supply.

  • Distinction 75 - 100%
  • Credit 60 - 74%
  • Pass 50 - 59%
  • Fail 0 - 49%


It should be noted that the exit award at each Level is not graded.

For the Level 2 Introductory certificate in purchasing and supply, the following pass marks and grade bands applies:

  • Pass 75%

Reference only (2006 Qualifications WBA format)

This information is for reference only, 2006 qualifications format is no longer available for examination or assessment.

Qualifications 2006 refers to CIPS unit content which was launched in September 2006.

Work-based Assessments are an alternative option to examinations for certain Qualifications 2006 units (as detailed below). This option is only available to learners registered with a study centre approved to offer work-based assessment. To complete a Work-based Assessment you need to be registered with one of our WBA approved UK Study Centres.

 

Level 3, 4 and 5

The format of the assignment for Levels 3, 4, and 5 are the same with the exception of the word count, which varies by level. The format is as follows:

L3-05 Purchasing in Action

  • Section A; Compulsory task worth 50% (1,200 words)
  • Section B; Two tasks from a choice of three. Each task is worth 25% (750 words)
  • Section C; Compulsory Reflective Learning Statement (300 words
  • Total word count: 3000 words

 

L4 (All Units)

  • Section A; Compulsory task worth 50% (1,700 words)
  • Section B; Two tasks from a choice of three. Each task is worth 25% (1000 words)
  • Section C; Compulsory Reflective Learning Statement (300 words)
  • Total word count: 4000 words

 

L5-03 Improving Supply Chain Performance

  • Section A; Compulsory task worth 45% (2,200 words)
  • Section B; Two tasks from a choice of three. Each task is worth 25% (1,250 words)
  • Section C; Compulsory Reflective Learning Statement worth 5% (300 words)
  • Total word count: 5000 words

 

There are 3 assessment opportunities per year in February, May and October and candidates have a period of ten weeks to complete each assignment. Further guidance on the assignments can be found here.

 

Level 6
A Work-based Project is an option for the L6-03 unit, Supply Chain Management in Practice. The level 6 project is a more complex piece of work and is therefore given a maximum completion time of 12 months and can be started at any point during the year. The project can be completed in one of two ways;

i) A work-based project, using the candidate’s own organisation or one with which they are familiar

(ii) A desk-research project, enabling candidates to focus on academic/secondary research of specific areas associated with Supply Chain Management in Practice. The candidate will undertake a review of supply chain theories, and predict potential trends and, indeed, certain phenomena in the future.

These two approaches are equally valid, and should follow the same format;

  • Task 1; Introduction, including the background, rationale and objectives (600 words)
  • Task 2; Review of the theory and the development of a set of predictions (1,300 words)
  • Task 3; Case analysis, including application and synthesis (3,000 words)
  • Task 4; Conclusions and recommendations (600 words)
  • RLS; Reflective Learning Statement (500 words)
  • Total word count: 6000 words

 

Further guidance on the level 6 project can be found here.