Cordie Introduces New Way of Revising for CIPS Exams – How Did I Do?

We mentioned here the CIPS Level 4 diploma revision App developed by training firm Cordie to help students with their revision. I tried it last week and went through the 50 multiple choice questions for two of the Units.  I passed! In fact I just scraped a distinction in both units  … although the real exam is written questions, not multiple choice of course, so I suspect a lot more work would be needed were I to take the real exams today.

So for each of the five units within the diploma, you get 50 questions and are presented with four alternative answers. You simply select the one you think is correct, click, and move on to the next question. Once you have done all 50, you get a score, and you can go back and look at those you got wrong (and indeed those you got right) to see where you slipped up.

I wasn’t sure about having to wait till the end of all 50 before getting the feedback – would it be better to know instantly whether you are correct? But leaving it until all 50 are complete does give you a good incentive to persevere until the end, which I guess is the thinking.

The four multiple choices are well thought out generally – often with a couple you can discard quite quickly, but two that both seen quite plausible. A bit of a sense of humour intrudes at times – we like the idea of sources of finance for a firm including “gambling”!  For each question, once you are looking at the answers, there is also a “help” function that takes you to an external reference– CIPS, Wikipedia, even Spend Matters – that relates to the question.

I did disagree with one answer – I am not convinced that “achieving the best commercial outcome for a defined level of quality” is the right answer to the question what does value for money refer to in public procurement?  Tenders often do not set a precisely “defined” quality level, certainly for more complex procurements; I think “finding a compromise between cost and quality” is actually a much better answer (and is one of the alternatives offered, the one I chose of course).

But going through the  module gave me one of the highlights of my year. I came to a question which was “What does the acronym SCAN stand for?”

Hm, I thought, I know this one. Strategically Controlled Action Network, isn’t it? Hang on a minute, I invented that term! Yes, back in 2002, and in response to Dr Richard Russill’s CLAN concept (centre-led action network), as a potential organisational model for procurement, I came up with SCAN, in which I suggested a bit more central control and power than his very devolved CLAN model. (Read more about that here).

So I assume SCAN is on the CIPS syllabus – after all these years, I feel like I’ve made it in procurement at last. Not quite Kraljic maybe, but something. Seriously, I got very excited. Now I just need to find the CIPS training material and make sure I’m credited properly!

The next step for Cordie will be Level 5 and 6 apps, coming soon, and for £3.99, this looks like a small but worthwhile investment for anyone doing the exams. I think you would go through it more than once too – perhaps once well in advance, then a last minute refresh the night before the exam? Anyway, well done to Cordie for something a bit innovative and different in the procurement education world.

First Voice

  1. Paul wright:

    I’ve just marked some CIPS assignments for a major UK/international company, and several commented that they are moving on from CLAN to SCAN – so you’ve made it in the real world too!

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