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Tips on Applying for ® and Passing the PMP ® or CAPM Exam
CAPM. This white paper discusses the following: • The application process to apply to take either the PMP or CAPM exam • Tips to make the application process less arduous • The make-up of the exam questions • Tips for successfully passing the exam • Requirements to maintain certification PMP Exam Requirements While the requirements necessary to be eligible to take the PMP exam are listed on PMI’s website at http://www. where individuals are often required to become certified. and the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is growing in popularity as well. Inc. To implement these processes.500 hours PM experience • Minimum 36 months PM experience within the prior 72 months • Minimum 35 contact hours of PM instruction Copyright ©2007 Global Knowledge Training LLC. Page 2 . Once it is compiled. their Project Managers to become certified. I suggest using the paper form to compile and organize the information beforehand. certification helps Project Managers differentiate themselves from their co-workers or other job applicants. All rights reserved. actual entry of the information goes very quickly. With the current economic environment. Even if you intend to submit your application on-line. PMP Introduction The Project Management Institute’s (PMI)® Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is hot right now. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree or global equivalent must meet the following requirements (a masters degree or higher does not decrease the following requirements): • Minimum 4.Tips on Applying for and Passing the PMP® or CAPM® Exam Vicki Wrona. The number of Project Managers getting certified is growing every year.asp. Having a certification also lends credibility to the Project Manager. as more companies than ever are requesting.org/prod/groups/public/documents/info/pdc_pmp. Global Knowledge Instructor. PMI. organizations are relying more heavily on certification for their Project Managers as well as creating Project Management Offices. As organizations become more sophisticated in their application of Project Management (PM) principles.000 Project Managers worldwide (as of October 2006) having received the prestigious PMP certification. With just over 212. which is the preferred method. and in some cases requiring.pmi. This site provides a PDF of the PMP Handbook. PMP. which contains the requirements to qualify to take the PMP exam and the application form. the field is growing. they are also covered here to provide all the pertinent information condensed and in one place. and PMBOK are registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute. more consistent and successful processes are desired. ensuring the client or organization that the fundamentals of successful project management are understood.
All rights reserved. must meet the following requirements (notice the only real change is to increase the PM experience needed and. PMI’s newer terminology states that candidates have experience leading and directing project tasks. etc.500 hours PM experience • Minimum 60 months PM experience within the prior 96 months • Minimum 35 contact hours of PM instruction Contact hours can be obtained through a university or college. Sponsor. and approve project charter . the details of which are explained in the PMP Application section below. This includes not only experience as a Project or Program Manager. Subject Matter Expert (SME).Identify and document risks. by employee-sponsored classes.Execute tasks .Obtain project plan approval . PMP Application Documenting your personal PM experience will be the most difficult part of the application process. constraints • Planning . but instead have a high school diploma.Set expectations . PMI requires the following information for each project: • Project name • Date range • Your role on the project • Your job title • Organization name and address • Contact information of a reference who can verify work experience • Total hours spent on the project • Hours Spent in the following: • Initiating .Define detailed project requirements .Develop.Define scope .Manage resource allocation .Applicants who do not have a bachelor’s degree. or by a training company or consultant. by a course offered by a PMI-recognized Registered Education Provider (REP) such as Global Knowledge. of course.Develop change management plan • Executing . assumptions. Some potential applicants misunderstand the requirement for PM experience.Conduct project selection methods .Improve team performance Copyright ©2007 Global Knowledge Training LLC. review.Create work breakdown structure . the time allowed to get that experience): • Minimum 7. Page 3 . such as in the role of a team member. or global equivalent.Define roles and responsibilities .Define risk strategies .Identify key stakeholders . associate’s degree. but also experience working on projects from other vantage points.
Archive project records . PMI will send an authorization letter. Controlling.000 hours of experience gathered in two years.Implement approved actions and workarounds • Monitoring and Controlling .Perform lessons learned . tweaking the percentages until they add up to 100%.Obtain project resources .Monitor status of risks . allowing you to schedule your exam. (This is where an Excel spreadsheet will come in handy. Once the authorization letter is received.’ personal issues.Measure customer satisfaction of the project • Summarization of project tasks led and deliverables managed by process group This information is found on pages 4 and 5 of the PMP Credential Application. Copyright ©2007 Global Knowledge Training LLC. TIP: To expedite the calculation of the detailed breakout of hours by category. other meetings. In other words. Closing). Then. All rights reserved. Let Excel then calculate the number of hours per Process Group. Approximately 10% to 15% of applications are randomly selected for audit. your ‘real job.. The individual numbers are what you will input into the online application. start with your resume and list all the projects you have worked on along with their date ranges. etc. ensuring that the total percent for each Process Group adds up to 100%.Measure project performance . Page 4 . Then. Planning. let Excel calculate the hours spent on each task within the Process Groups.) Make sure your estimate of hours truly indicate the hours spent on the project.Verify and manage changes .Implement approved changes . PMI states that experience should be gained over a minimum of three years and a maximum of six years. and the system will add up the total hours on each project.Release resources and provide performance feedback .Obtain project closure . Once you have filled in all the gaps of time.Implement quality management plan . as some time will be spent on administrative tasks. estimate the percent of time spent in each Process Group (Initiating. If you have a university degree. Once your application has been approved. For example. estimate the number of hours per week you spent on each project.Ensure deliverables conform to quality standards • Closing . you have one year to take the exam. it is not realistic to assume all 40 hours were spent on the current project. estimate the percentage of your time spent in each activity within each Process Group. if you are lucky enough to only work 40 hours per week. If you do not have a current and complete list of the projects you have worked on over the prior five years or so. not just at work. use an Excel spreadsheet. Multiply the monthly hours by the number of months to get your total hours worked on a project. Executing.Obtain formal project acceptance . Again. and then extend that to the number of hours per month. you cannot state that you have 5.Distribute final project report .
you has one year to take the exam. The fees are as follows: Copyright ©2007 Global Knowledge Training LLC. Applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent must meet the following requirements: • Minimum 1. It is designed for practitioners who do not have enough PM work experience to meet the PMP qualifications.500 people have attained the CAPM certification (as of October 2006). once your application has been approved.org/prod/groups/public/documents/info/PDC_CAPM. allowing you to schedule your exam. yet still allows them to obtain some sort of certification while they are gaining the necessary experience.pmi.500 hours of work on a project team OR • Minimum 23 contact hours of PM instruction As with the PMP process. the following information is needed: • Project name • Date range • Your role on the project • Your job title • Organization name and address • Contact information of a reference who can verify work experience • Total hours spent on the project • Hours Spent in the following: • Initiating • Planning • Executing • Monitoring and Controlling • Closing • Project team experience summarized by process group Examination Fees Your status at the time you begin the online application process determines the fee that will be charged to take the exam. Page 5 . approximately 1. CAPM Application If you choose to document experience rather than PM education on the CAPM application. The CAPM certification is a newer certification. All rights reserved. For every project. Once the authorization letter is received. PMI will send an authorization letter.asp.CAPM Exam Requirements The requirements to take the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) exam are listed in the CAPM Handbook located on PMI’s website at http://www. the process is much simpler than on the PMP application. currently.
When paying for the PMP exam.6% 100% 60.00 and saves $150. with four (4) answer choices per question. and analysis.7% 21.3% 9.00 plus a $10. it costs $129.5% 21.00 application fee.3% 11.3% 22.00.00 $275.00 CAPM Initial Certification Fee (member of PMI) Initial Certification Fee (non-member of PMI) Re-examination Fee (member of PMI Re-examination Fee (non-member of PMI $255. Joining PMI costs $119. Page 6 .0% 8.6% 22.7% 27. but you also get the benefits that PMI membership provides for one year.00 $375.00 $150.00 PMI Membership Fee Annual PMI Membership Fee $119.00 $555.Exam PMP Initial Certification Fee (member of PMI) Initial Certification Fee (non-member of PMI) Re-examination Fee (member of PMI) Re-examination Fee (non-member of PMI) Fee $405. members save $150. The questions come from the following Process Groups plus Professional Responsibility: PMP ?s Project Initiation Project Planning Project Execution Project Monitoring Project Closing Professional and Social Responsibility Total Passing Time Limit 23 45 55 42 17 17 200 106 of 175 4 Hours PMP % 11. Not only is that a good investment.3% 100% 57% The PMP exam is psychometric in that it applies knowledge.00 Notice the difference in fees that being a PMI member makes.00 $220. Copyright ©2007 Global Knowledge Training LLC.0% 26. application.6% 8. Overview of Exam Questions The format of the test is multiple-choice. so if you join.00 $300.00. All rights reserved. The CAPM exam is knowledge-based. including situational questions.5% CAPM ?s 14 33 40 32 14 17 150 86 of 150 3 Hours CAPM % 9.
All potential test questions go through rigorous scrutiny by a team of PMPs prior to being offered in the exam to ensure consistency. Nor is experience alone.The questions are randomly generated from a database. it is helpful to read the question first to know exactly what is being asked. Another way to think about it is that anything over 61% is gold-plating! Once you pass the exam. Sometimes it is easier to read the question by turning it into a positive. The exam is reviewed and revised periodically. choose the most correct or most appropriate one according to PMI. and they fall into the following broad categories: Situational – Analyze the situation described in the question and choose the most correct answer by using knowledge. Page 7 . All rights reserved. accuracy. To do this. This is where formal education or study guides come in handy. Consequently. so save yourself some time by checking diagrams you have previously drawn to see if they can be re-used on a current question. if the question states. This is not your typical college test. if you score anything above the passing rate. and fairness. One of the more often-cited reasons for candidates not to pass the exam on the first try is due to their reliance on experience alone. Memorizing the PMBOK® Guide (Project Management Body of Knowledge) or lots of lists is not enough to ensure a passing score on the exam. On the other hand. A string of wordy questions may create the false perspective that you are falling behind Copyright ©2007 Global Knowledge Training LLC. don’t think that the test is easy to pass. experience is not enough to get you through the exam unless you also understand PMI’s terminology. While a score of 61% for the PMP and 57% for the CAPM may seem fairly low. processes. PMI’s scores are set so that around 75% of people will pass. often easier. Recall – Fairly short. Within the professional certification industry. For example. experience. and thus some of the information will be extraneous in one question and relevant to another. Diagram – Either draw a network diagram or interpret drawn-out graphs or diagrams to determine the correct answer. Don’t expect to score in the 90s just because you always have in the past. In these cases. questions that test memory or knowledge. “All of the following statements are false except…” look for the one true statement. your score is irrelevant. the goal is to have a pass rate of between 65% and 75%. Wordy Questions – Some questions will take valuable test time to read and interpret. Questions on decision trees may also fall into this category. Sometimes this happens because the same scenario is used for multiple questions. or may include extraneous information to take up time and throw you off track. so no two exams are alike. the questions are reviewed by a panel of experts to ensure that they truly test your knowledge. and judgment. and way of thinking. Mathematical – Approximately 8 to 10 formula-related questions will be on the exam. Double Negatives – The test uses double negatives or questions asking you to remove the false statement. It is possible that more than one question may use the same diagram. be happy. Often. Types of Questions There are a number of different types of questions on the exam. More Than One Correct Answer – In cases where multiple answers could be correct.
as some questions are answered elsewhere in the exam. Exam-Taking Tips: Stress-Relievers Arrive Early – Avoid additional stress by knowing the location of the test center and directions to get there. Copyright ©2007 Global Knowledge Training LLC. it eases your mind. Dressing in layers helps alleviate this problem. To do this. normally with enough time to review answers. Be aware of this. mental. the center may be too hot or too cold. though. Be prepared by having a plan. but are not sure which is the better answer. write down a keyword or note of what the question is about. Don’t try to study or work all day and take the exam in the late afternoon. you can also use a jacket or sweater as a lumbar support or a chair cushion. you can also write the number of this question and the two answers you have down on your scratch paper. but rather to a clock on the PC screen that is ticking down the time spent and time remaining on the exam. work through the questions fairly quickly. let’s say you narrow the possible answers for a particular question down to two. stretching. All rights reserved. Also. Also. Uncomfortable Testing Center – In addition to lots of movement. While it helps you pace yourself during the exam. Keep in mind that you have 1. Page 8 . coughing. Most people have no trouble finishing the test in time. or leaving the testing room to eat a snack bar that you brought or to drink something. You may find that anywhere from 2 to 4 questions are answered elsewhere in the exam. you will not have to search to update your answer. Use the clock as much as you need to gauge your progress. Get Ready for a Brain Dump – Just before entering the testing room. it can also add stress if you fall behind on time. saving yourself time when you come back to review the question later. use the scratch paper given to you (in a few facilities this may be a white board rather than paper) to record formulas. if necessary. you must remain cognizant of the time.Correct Answers to Another Question – In this case. Once this is put on paper. memory joggers. and by arriving early. Be sure to read all answer choices carefully. and emotional strain of a 4-hour exam. Rest Up – Get plenty of sleep the night before the exam. but do not read the questions or answers too quickly and miss the finer points. more than one of the answers offered will be a correct statement but will not answer the question that was asked. To ensure you do not fall behind on time. If you find an answer elsewhere. while taking the test. If the test is scheduled later in the day. In addition to ‘marking’ the question in the computer for future review. entering and leaving the room. Formulate a Plan – Do not underestimate the physical. etc. By dressing in layers. Pacing yourself is very important.2 minutes per question on average. as well as consider bringing earplugs to the testing center. review any formulas or notes as necessary. but do not dwell on it unnecessarily. or any other information you want at your disposal during the test. take it easy before the exam. Once you enter the testing room. Noisy Testing Center – You will be in a testing room with other people who will be typing. For example. Exam-Taking Tips: Stress-Enhancers and Possible Fixes Clock Ticking – This is not referring to a physical clock ticking on the wall (although there may be one). This could be noisy and distracting. then put your notes away in the locker provided. have a plan as to how you will mark and track questions for future review. Be prepared for this mentally. Take the evening off before the test to give your brain a chance to absorb all this information. such as standing up and stretching every hour. allowing you to fully concentrate on the test question at hand rather than worry about remembering formulas or getting confused later. notes.
Summary This white paper discussed the application requirements. Examples of a PDU are one hour of contact time in a Project Management class offered by a Registered Education Provider (REP) or attending local PMI chapter meetings. noting areas of further study needed. PMPs must demonstrate commitment to the profession by accumulating 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) over a 3-year period beginning with the first full calendar year after passing the exam. the exam. Unlike the PMP. to be held while experience is gained to allow the individual to qualify to take the PMP exam. read through whatever study materials you have. the correct answer is not grammatically correct when filled in the blank on a question. just like everybody else. The sillier the picture or phrase. Don’t select the first option that sounds correct. saving you time. All rights reserved. Taking the tutorial may also give you a few minutes to calm down before beginning the exam. Page 9 . Use Mnemonic Devices – These are techniques that are used to increase memory recall by creating a silly picture in your mind. Tips and techniques were offered to help provide a more efficient application process as well as to pass the actual exam. Sometimes there will be more than one correct answer. or remembering a series of words by taking the first letter of each word to create a personal acronym or memorable phrase. after which they can either re-take the CAPM exam or apply for PMP certification. or sometimes the answer is correct but does not answer the question that was asked. To get this repetition. CAPMs can hold this certification up to five years. It is also extremely gratifying to see the stack of cards to study shrink and the stack of known items grow. Individuals holding the CAPM certification do not receive special treatment or get any short cuts when they take the PMP exam. utilize several different study techniques. They still have to complete the PMP application and take the exam at the normal fees. individuals holding the CAPM certification do not have to acquire PDUs to maintain certification. For example. Maintaining Certification After passing the exam. Read All Answer Choices – Before selecting an answer. and post-certification requirements for both the PMP and CAPM certifications issued by PMI. read all the choices first. Additional Exam-Taking Tips Answer All Questions – Unanswered questions count as a wrong answer. putting the question on the front and answer on the back. the card can be removed and put in another stack. Fill in the Blanks – Sometimes. Take the Tutorial – Be sure you understand the computer system for this exam. the easier the item will be to remember. Flash cards can be useful because they can be shuffled to avoid memorizing items in a certain order and also because once an item is learned.Flash Cards – Adults learn once they see or hear information on average three times. devising a clever saying to help recall facts. create a flash card for each item. For items requiring further study. Good luck! Copyright ©2007 Global Knowledge Training LLC. The CAPM is really intended to be a one-time certification.
About the Author Vicki Wrona. e-Learning. hands-on labs offer practical skills and tips that you can immediately put to use. she has personally trained over 3. PMP. She is the President of Forward Momentum. Our expert instructors draw upon their experiences to help you understand key concepts and how to apply them to your specific work situation. to meet your IT and management training needs. in manufacturing. an 8(a) company. Additional Reference www.pmi. enhance efficiency. Choose from our more than 700 courses. Our courses and enhanced.globalknowledge. Check out the following Global Knowledge courses: PMP Exam Prep Boot Camp For more information or to register. visit www. Over the past 7 years. has been managing projects and mentoring project managers for the past 18 years in both the private and public sectors. Page 10 .org Copyright ©2007 Global Knowledge Training LLC.com or call 1-800-COURSES to speak with a sales representative.Learn More Learn more about how you can improve productivity. delivered through Classrooms. All rights reserved. and IT. LLC.100 people through Global Knowledge. and On-site sessions. and sharpen your competitive edge. service.
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