When you ask someone who took the IFMA CFM Exam and ask how their experience was, they'll say that the exam was very tough because it was situational.
Others will say, the exam seems to have more than one correct answer but they need to choose only one correct answer.
So today, we will tell you how to crack the IFMA CFM exam and pass it hopefully on your first try.
How To Deal With Situational Questions
First, you should not get worried about the situational question because during the actual test, you only need to choose the letter of the correct answer. You don't have to tell why you chose your answer. The justification or rational that you see during training was just part of the instructor or trainer's explanation.
In the actual exam, its plain multiple choice. There's no essay type so, don't get worried.
Second, when you saw the situational question was too long, consider the following tips on how to deal with it
Example of situational question.
A facility manager of Chang Kai Czek International Airport situated in Neverland recommended a sustainable procurement. Instead of bottled drinking water, the facility will use urns and coolers. Paper copies will be printed only as required. The visitors will be referred to the company official website for the copies of minutes of meetings. All are part of a corporate sustainability plan. However, the chief operating officer refused the proposal as it will significantly hurt the corporate image with prestigious visitors. What can a facility manager do?
a) Argue that cost savings is a topmost priority according to the sustainability plan more than the interest or visitor impressions.
b) Educate the COO about the place of this tactic in the corporate sustainability plan.
c) Educate the COO about the potential huge saving of the proposal aligned with the corporate sustainability.
d) Ignore the COO and argue that this is part of a corporate sustainability plan.
After reading the scenario,
1. Find the keyword in this problem. The keyword here is the corporate sustainability plan
2. Highlight the problem. Here, the problem was, the COO refused the proposal thinking it could hurt the corporate image.
3. Analyze the given choices for possible correct answers. Granted you might be able to think of a possible better solution, but remember you're an examinee here and you need to think what the examiner was probably thinking when he/she wrote that question.
So, let's try to analyze the choices given above.
Letter d) is a giveaway, of course you cannot just ignore the COO.
Letter a) is not correct because as an FM, you should strive to balance the competing requirements of each stakeholder and not what is beneficial to FM alone. FM is also responsible in protecting the image and reputation of the company.
Letter c) the COO is obviously not after the huge savings as already depicted in the scenario, so explaining that to the COO would not make any difference.
Letter b) is the correct answer because The COO might not be aware of the approved sustainability plan. And so, you need to let him understand the organization's commitment towards sustainability goals.
In the actual exam, most of the questions challenge the test taker in this way. But remember, every plan proposed by FM must be aligned with the overall strategic direction of the organization and not in the FM perspective only.
How To Choose The Best Answer When All Other Answers Seems Correct
Here is an example of this scenario:
The Top management must decide how to distribute the budget for capital expenditures in the coming five-year period. FM proposes Energy Management System, but the Top management is not convinced that it is the best investment. What should the FM do to persuade them to invest in Energy Management System?
a) Explain all the benefits of an Energy Management System to the Top Management
b) Perform a cost-benefit analysis of EMS and No-EMS scenario
c) Perform a SWOT analysis of possible alternatives
d) Take senior management on a tour of facilities equipped with EMS
Let's try again,
1. Here, the keyword is "best investment"
2. The problem is, How could the FM convince the Top Management to invest in EMS
3. Let's analyze the choices.
For letter a) Explaining all the benefits of an EMS to the Top Management will not tell whether this is the best investment opportunity. Meaning, explaining the benefits or even ALL the benefits is not enough.
Letter c) SWOT analysis is a useful strategic planning tool, but will not determine the best possible investment alternatives.
And here's the tricky 2 choices
Letter d) Facility tour with Senior Management may showcase the benefits of EMS but may not convince them if this is the best investment opportunity, specially if they could not be able to understand all the technicalities behind for both the hard and soft benefits.
Letter b) It's the best answer in this scenario because cost benefit analysis is a financial decision making tool that's the top management speak and well understood. Using financial tools is the only way to determine and compare whether the proposed project is worth and the best among possible alternatives.
When the scenario is about an FM trying to convince the Top Management to invest or support the proposed project, the best option is to persuade them through monetary benefits using financial tools such as cost benefit analysis, payback period, ROI, and LCCA in sustainability projects.
Analyzing the choices is easier when you are familiar with all the competencies.
In the above example, the second scenario, you need to familiarize yourself with Communication to effectively communicate the FM needs, Leadership and Strategy for aligning the FM strategy and tactics to the Top Management, Finance and Business for financial decision making tools and techniques, and of course Facility Information Management and Technology Management to discuss the EMS.
Try answering our 1800 questions and answers IFMA CFM Practice Exam. It won't take much of your time studying because most of it is direct to the point question, but it will definitely help you become well versed in 11 competencies.
After mastering the 11 competencies, try answering the situational questions from IFMA, it's composed of 66 questions, for member it costs $100 and for non member it costs $150
If you were not able to achieve the 70%, try answering our 1800 Q&A practice exam, if in our practice exam, you got lower than 70% too, you need to repeat again until you reach 70% in all competencies.
We're not generalizing, but if in our practice test you got the usual average score of around 50%, we highly recommend that you study harder because if you take the actual CFM exam right away, without preparing, your chances of failing is as high as 99%. (It sounds funny, but we're serious!)