We Feel Your Pain

We had a message this morning from a student about to begin studying Level 6. ‘I really don’t want to use the CIPS textbooks. Using them for Level 5 has scarred me for life. When will your Level 6 books be published?’

We wish our Level 6 books were already available. (They would have been if CIPS had not kept the syllabus secret from the whole world so as to give their preferred publisher an 18 month start. CIPS are strongly in favour of fair competition.) But the good news is that our books are coming soon. L6M1, M2 and M3 are scheduled for end August to end September. For the mysterious L6M4 – no publication coming from CIPS on this one – we will be sending an aid for lecturers to selected Study Centres in the next week or two. And we will be launching as many of the elective modules as we possibly can by the end of 2020. In the meantime, we have undertaken medical research on behalf of all students and lecturers worldwide and the advice is simple: keep taking the painkillers.

More multiple choice questions

Here is another instalment of multiple choice questions, with solutions and feedback. They relate to modules L4M5, L4M6 and L4M7.For those who are not familiar with the Profex Study Packs, you should be aware that each Pack ends with a chapter of such questions for practice ahead of the ‘live’ exam.

Syllabuses at Levels 5 and 6

Some good news for everyone studying the CIPS qualification at Levels 5 and 6.

  • The L6M4 syllabus (Future Strategic Challenges for the Profession) is fiendishly difficult. We are required to assess future challenges for the profession – but no crystal balls are allowed in the exam room. Whoever wrote the syllabus does not appear to have foreseen the impact of, say, a global pandemic, which seems ironic at a time when we have thought of nothing else for the past few months. (Oh, and if anyone from Easton House is reading this, please could you amend the blunder in Assessment Criterion 1.1? Legality is clearly meant to be leagility.) These difficulties are aggravated by the fact that CIPS apparently do not intend to publish a Study Guide for this module. (We have some ideas about a Profex resource for lecturers that may fill the gap, but it’s too early for details.) So what’s the good news? Simply that yesterday CIPS circulated an email to all members with details of relevant research carried out by academics at Aston University and the University of Liverpool. If you are studying this module, be sure you access this research.
  • We’re working on our Profex book for L6M2 Global Commercial Strategy. Picture our delight when we noticed that Learning Outcome 4.0 is word for word identical (two command words excepted) to Learning Outcome 3.0 from the L5M4 module, Advanced Contract and Financial Management. You may be wondering why there is such a substantial amount of duplication (and so are we). But look on the bright side: if you’ve already passed L5M4 you’ve done 25% of the work you need to do for L6M2.

Critical path analysis

We have had a query (a slightly panicky query) from a learner studying the L5M8 module Project and Change Management. Her concern relates to Assessment Criterion 3.4 and specifically to the topic ‘critical path method’ or CPM. She has not been able to find study material that makes this topic understandable.

CPM is indeed somewhat more technical and computational than most syllabus topics. However, this should not cause panic.

  • For one thing, it is most unlikely (and perhaps impossible) that an exam question would ask you to construct a critical path network. More likely is that you might be asked a question involving the interpretation of a given network.
  • And for another, there is help on the way. Our Study Pack for L5M8 is currently being printed. And we have decided to make our coverage of CPM available now, ahead of publication: download it as a PDF here.

Please let us know if you have difficulties understanding any topics on the syllabus for this or other modules: choyvfuvat@cebsrk.pb.hx. If enough learners are struggling with a particular topic we will consider publishing explanatory material on this forum.

Taking the L4M1 exam? Try our quiz …

How ready are you for attempting the L4M1 exam? Our quiz will help you to diagnose whether you have mastered the study material … or not!

The references in the answers are to chapters and sections of the Profex Study Text.

So how did you do? If you found any worrying gaps in your knowledge, you should refer in the first instance to your Profex PassNotes. And if that’s not enough, you will find full details in your Profex Study Text.

Multiple choice questions

A feature of this blog will be occasional presentations of multiple choice questions, with solutions and feedback. We begin by offering MCQs for L4M2, M3 and M4, but will add to this over the coming weeks and months. For those who are not familiar with the Profex Study Packs, you should be aware that each Pack ends with a chapter of such questions for practice ahead of the ‘live’ exam.

We would welcome feedback from readers who have already sat exams at Level 4. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the mini-scenarios in the live exams are more complicated than those shown in the above attachment. We have also heard reports that this leads to difficulties in relation to timing – it seems that some candidates are running out of time to complete all questions. Please feel free to share with us your experience of the exams, either on this blog, or direct to choyvfuvat@cebsrk.pb.hx. This will help us to improve our offering to you in future.

Syllabus coverage in the CIPS Study Guides

Profex is of course a significant competitor of CIPS in the field of publishing (needless to say, our books are just much better!) Despite that, we won’t usually get involved in anything critical or confrontational. This first post, though, is an exception.

It is provoked by a comment on a Facebook Level 4 discussion group, in which someone signing in as ‘CIPS Africa’ states that the CIPS Study Guides are more closely aligned to the exam syllabus than the Profex Study Packs. This casual assertion is so very far from the truth that we could not let it pass unanswered.

But don’t take our word for it: for an impartial view on this, see these articles from the owner/director of a UK Centre of Excellence:

Buying a Study Guide? Caveat Emptor! (Part 1)

Buying a Study Guide? Caveat Emptor (Part 2)

We at Profex may not always get it right, but as you can see, we do at least make the effort!

CIPS should come clean on this:

  • Are the Study Guides a standalone exam aid, so we don’t have to read any other books and we can be sure that all exam questions are covered? That’s what Profex aim for, however imperfectly.
  • Or are the official guides not intended to cover all examinable topics?

CIPS students are professional procurement specialists and they are entitled to honest product information before they make their purchasing decisions.


Welcome to our blog

Hello everyone, and welcome to this new feature of the Profex website: our blog.

The aim is to post two or three times a week, the subject matter being anything related to studying, taking exams, using your textbooks, and perhaps occasional tutorial help.

This might include an Objective Response question with solution and feedback, a brief explanation of a technical point that causes difficulties to learners, a note on a recent real-world development that could be used in the exam room … or anything else that you, the readers, would like to see. We encourage you to comment as freely as you wish.