A secret framework to master your exam technique

Dec 14, 2021 | Blog

Not many people actually enjoy exams, I am one of the rare creatures who loved the challenge of exam.  Like a strange unicorn creature, I looked forward to the exam challenge as long as I had done enough revision.

My exams were so long ago now, but I really try my best to hold on to the feeling of what it was like to be a student of CIPS to ensure that I don’t become this trainer who forgets the stress and hard work involved in the exams.  I have been a CIPS Assessor for over 11 years now and have marked a variety of different modules at different levels of CIPS.  I have seen students repeat the same mistakes over and over again, losing valuable marks and not doing themselves justice in the exam situation.

From this experience I have devised a framework that I share with my students. This is designed for constructive response essay exams and can be used at every level of CIPS.  I call this the SEE Framework.

Let’s say the question is asking you for FIVE ways a procurement professional can add value.  For each one of those five points you should do the following.

  1. Make a STATEMENT.  Give the examiner a clear point.  For example a statement would be something along these lines… the first way a procurement professional can add value would be to ensure that the specification is clear and unambiguous.
  2. Then you need to give an EXPLANATION. This is something that a lot of students forget to do.  Perhaps you are under time pressure, or perhaps you think it’s obvious.  However no matter how obvious it may be to you, you MUST tell the examiner.  The examiner does not know what you know, and can only go off what you write in that exam.  An example of an explanation would be…. If a specification is not clear then this can create issues with receiving what you need from the supplier.  This can actually create more cost as re-works and amendments may need to be made.
  3. Finally where possible give an EXAMPLE. This shows the examiner that you can apply the point you are making to a real world scenario or context.  Running the point from above your example could be something along the lines of…. In an aviation company specifications would need to be clear and precise because even a millimetre difference could create a safety issue.

So there you go, my framework which, if followed properly, should ensure you receive a high mark in your exam.  I really hope you find this useful, for more exam technique help and some neuroscience tips on how to learn, please see our exam technique video available to purchase here.