A year ago I was asked to become CPIM certified by my employer and I was also asked to get certified at the lowest possible cost.  To determine the lowest cost I had to first determine what would be required to pass (there is a lot of resources that are not needed out there) and where can I get the lowest price for those minimum resources.   I was able to successfully pass all 5 tests and purchase all the resources I needed for a grand total of $1,231 (including the fees to take the tests). 

  1. Sign up for APICS membership – The most expensive Professional enrollment costs $200.  Each test costs $120 for members and $155 for non members so for all 5 tests you will save $175 by simply being an APICS member.  With the free $40 APICS dictionary you also receive for being a member you are already ahead on your initial $200 APICS membership costs.  You will definitely save more than you spend by getting your APICS membership if you are planning on getting CPIM certified.
  2. CPIM Exam Content Manual – This manual is essential to pass each exam because it tells you want you will be tested on.  There is so much that you COULD study, this tells you exactly what to study.  I would not attempt passing any of the CPIM tests without this essential booklet.   $24 APICS members. 
  3. APICS Dictionary – Knowing the terminology is very important and can help answer many CPIM questions by just memorizing the terminology.  Also, study this document because your terminology at your work may be different than APICS terminology.  I personally ran into needing to re-learn certain data.  Free for members. 
  4. OMBOK – I did not find this booklet extremely important to pass, but it was free and good information to know.   Free digital download if member. 
  5. Introduction to Materials Management –This book is an excellent text book that can teach the basics needed for the CPIM.  It was simple and I found I could answer many questions from all tests because of this book.  Also, use the chapter summary questions area- this is a good way to test that you know the content before moving on to the next test.  This book by Arnold is available APICS site for $96; however, I found a slightly used book on Amazon for $22. 
  6. Professional Test Pro’s CPIM Exam Practice Questions bundle is the cheapest CPIM simulation software out there at $149.99 for all 5 tests compared to $450 for other simulation software.  The software has over a thousand questions that simulate CPIM exams to help you pass.  These questions really help me learn the content AND learn the data. simulated tests, and technical explanations that accelerate learning of the topics covered in the certification exams
  7. CPIM Practice Questions from APICS .  Always good to have as many practice questions as I could find.   This did not have nearly as many questions as Professional Test Pro’s simulation software, but the additional questions definitely help. $88 for members
  8. Study Note Series  This was excellent set of reading that is exactly in line with the exam content manual.  Many study materials I found do not follow the CPIM exam content manual which was confusing to know what do I exactly need to learn to pass.  There is a lot to learn, but only certain items will help you pass.  These notes are especially helpful for the Strategic Management of Resources test because this test references many different articles.  I was impressed with the quality and alignment to each exam.  $ 147 for members.    

Following my process above can save you at least $816 over buying the minimum resources on your own.  It will save you thousands over buying expensive resources you do not need.   Other resources like the CPIM Reference series, Online Review Courses and other self study materials cost over $1000 each!  This is very expensive training in these tough times.   I would only get some of the more expensive online classes and software if you know you are starting behind compared to others and need additional training.  If you follow the formula above you should be able to pass all 5 CPIM tests at the lowest possible cost to you or your employer.

CPIM Savings Table

CPIM Savings Table