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Study support

CPD LogoTrying to balance work and home life while studying can be tricky. Add to that the additional time to pool the key resources you need and this is where we recognise that we can help.

In addition to the support you'll receive from your Study Centre, CIPS provides comprehensive study support materials free for all studying members.

Our guides to preparing for assessments will help you to prepare for any of CIPS assessment formats that you’re likely to encounter and ensure that your technique is spot on:


Guide to Certificate Assessments

Guide to Certificate assessments

Guide to Diploma assessments

Guide to Diploma assessments


Every time you access our online resources, you can log the learning in your unique CPD record. So when you need it, you’ve got an exact record of your development.

We are here to help you through whole journey, choose the qualification that’s right for you.

Past papers

Access to past papers is exclusive for CIPS members only.  Log in at the top of this page using your Membership ID and Password to access the papers listed below. 

Past paper pages

Note: These links will only work when you are logged in

Units covered

Advanced Certificate in Procurement and Supply Operations Units AC1 to AC5
Diploma in Procurement and Supply Units D1 to D5
Advanced Diploma in Procurement and Supply Units AD1 to AD6
Professional Diploma in Procurement and Supply Units PD1 to PD6


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Past papers for CIPS 2006 qualifications are available here.

Exemplar questions

Exemplar questions with a range of learning outcomes for each unit are available. They show you the format and style of questions that you will encounter in an assessment. 

Indicative answer content is designed to show you how to best answer the questions. The answer content also provides references to CIPS study guides where applicable and the relevant unit content reference.

Tips and hints for tackling exams

Check that you know what to do from the start

  • Read the exam instructions very carefully. Make sure you know how many questions you have to answer, how long the exam is and which are compulsory questions. Familiarise yourself with the structure of each examination in advance of the exam so you know what to expect
  • Before you answer an exam question, read the question carefully.  Then read the question again to make sure you understand what is required.
  • Make brief notes of the main points you intend to raise in the answer and plan your answer thoroughly
  • Check the time allocation and make sure you leave yourself enough time to tackle the full number of questions in the exam.

Tips for approaching questions

  • When reading the question, underline or highlight the key command words and make sure your answer obeys them.
  • Plan your answers based on the words you have underlined or highlighted.  This will help you to improve the structure of your answer
  • Try to make sure all of your answers are completely relevant to the specific questions and all irrelevant material is excluded (you won’t get extra marks for irrelevant material and it could take up precious time better used elsewhere)
  • Try to support any statement with a brief argument with reference to a theory or example from experience
  • If a question asks you to present the answer in a particular format (such as a memo or report), remember to do so as up to two marks may be awarded for presentation alone
  • If a question requires a calculation, always try to show your working out as marks will be awarded for the accuracy and layout of your working as well as for the answer
  • Essay-type answers follow a set structure - Introduce - Define - Conclude. Start with an introductory statement showing that you understand the question. Then write four or five well-argued paragraphs, each clearly making a separate point, and backing up statements with evidence as appropriate. Examples should be quoted and care taken to show why they are relevant. Conclude your essay with a clear final paragraph
  • If you have time, check and edit your work. Re-read your answer and compare it to the question – do you answer the question?


  • Don’t write out the question. It will use up valuable time and earn you no marks. Do remember to number each question carefully, however
  • Assessors can only give marks for what they can read, so try to use your best, clear writing, a good pen, paragraphs and margins
  • Make diagrams and charts clear and as large as possible and support these with suitable explanations and labels
  • Spelling, grammar and punctuation can critically alter the meaning of a sentence. However tedious, try to pay attention to these little details
  • Do not use highlighter in your answer booklets. It can make the highlighted text difficult and sometimes impossible to read. Use blue or black pen only.

Tips and hints for revision

  • Plan a timetable for revision and break up each area into manageable chunks. This will make your work less daunting and help you to revise more thoroughly
  • Use the unit content learning outcomes as a check list of all the things you need to know before the assessment
  • Practise doing tests with sample or exemplar questions - this will help build your confidence for the ‘real thing’
  • Mark your own practice papers and work out which areas you need to revise a little more
  • Avoid trying to 'cram' the night before your exam – this could just make you feel stressed and tired, it is much better to build up your knowledge over a period of time
  • Look at your ‘refresher’ notes on the day - keep them simple and clear
  • Keep a positive attitude. If you think you can pass, you probably will!

How to tackle nerves

  • Keep calm and carry on’ can sometimes seem easier said than done. However, a lot can be achieved through positive thinking and relaxation techniques. Take deep breaths and, if possible, try to stretch. This can help clear your mind and relieve any build up of tension
  • Eat properly before the examination to keep your blood sugar and energy levels up. Make sure you drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated 
  • Be prepared. If you feel confident and know what to expect it can have a really positive effect on your state of mind and level of nerves. One of the best ways to prepare is to look at past papers and even test yourself under exam conditions
  • Remember you are not alone. You might be able to gain a lot from someone who has already taken the exam. If possible, try to take advice from someone already qualified in the subject. This is your chance to ask some stickier questions.


How to overcome a mental block

Don’t panic, this is quite a common problem! If it happens to you, some of the following techniques may help: 

  • Leave space and move to the next question. This will give you confidence and give you time to 'clear' your head
  • Answer questions you feel confident about first – just remember to clearly show the question numbers
  • Use a ‘trigger’ sheet. You can make notes in your answer booklet once the examination has started. Jot down thoughts as they occur to you when you read through the paper
  • Pace yourself - allocate a set time to each question or section and stick to it. Time allocation for types of questions can be found in both the certificate and diploma assessments guides.

Optimising your study time

It may sound obvious, but the best thing you can do is get organised. Set a realistic and achievable timetable and find a quiet place to study. Don’t try to second guess likely exam questions, it is important to try to cover the whole unit content. You will need to focus on key issues, but you will also display a broad understanding of the subject. 

Make clear notes from which to make ‘refresher’ points, use whatever form of notes you prefer - written word, colourful diagrams, flow charts, brain storming diagrams, bullet point lists etc. It is also a good idea to read widely.

The CIPS student forum is an excellent way of communicating with members in a similar situation to you.

Dip into journals and newspaper articles, or magazines such as Supply Management; online resources such as CIPS KnowledgeSupply Management online and the In the News section of the website, as wider reading will help you deepen and expand your understanding:

"Signing up for the Supply Management daily e-mail was the best thing I ever did to help my studies. It provides me access to relevant and up-to-date procurement news which I relate my studies to. I was able to include relevant examples in my exam answers and my results improved".
CIPS self-study student member studying the Advanced Diploma

CIPS Knowledge

CIPS Knowledge is a comprehensive online knowledge and information resource covering key business and procurement and supply topics.


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Student forum

Join the student forum and give us your opinion and share your experiences on the latest news stories on the news issues forum.