Tips for the PMP® Exam
Work Experience Calculations
Approximately 10% to 15% of applications are randomly selected for audit by the PMI. Once your application has been approved, PMI will send an authorization letter, allowing you to schedule your exam. Once the authorization letter is received, you have one year to take the exam. One of the main elements of the application is the Work Experience. To expedite the calculation of the detailed breakout of your work experience hours by category, use an Excel spreadsheet. If you do not have a current and complete list of the projects you have worked on over the prior five years or so, start with your resume and list all the projects you have worked on along with their date ranges. Once you have filled in all the gaps of time, estimate the number of hours per week you spent on each project, and then extend that to the number of hours per month. Multiply the monthly hours by the number of months to get your total hours worked on a project. If during a certain period you worked on several projects at the same time, estimate the percent of time spent on each project. Let Excel then calculate the number of hours per project and per phase (process group). Tweak the percentages and let Excel provide you with the individual numbers that you will input into the online PMI application. The PMI online system will add up the total hours on each project and will give you a summary. Before you enter your numbers to your online PMI application, make sure your estimate of hours truly indicate the hours spent on the project, not just at work. For example, if you are lucky enough to only work 40 hours per week, it is not realistic to assume all 40 hours were spent on one project, as some time will be spent on administrative tasks, other meetings, personal issues, etc. Finally, if you have a university degree, PMI states that experience should be gained over a minimum of three years and a maximum of six years. In other words, you cannot state that you have 5,000 hours of experience gathered in two years. Make sure your earliest start date is at least 3 years old !
PMP Examination Fees
Your status at the time you begin the online application process determines the fee that will be charged to take the exam. The fees are as follows: • • $555 Initial Certification Fee (non-member of PMI) $405 Initial Certification Fee (member of PMI) → $150 less !
PMI Membership Fee • Annual PMI Membership Fee → $119.00
Conclusion: When paying for the PMP exam, PMI members save $150.00. Joining PMI costs $119.00 plus a $10.00 application fee, so if you join, it costs $129.00, but later saves $150.00. Not only is that a good investment, but you also get the benefits that PMI membership provides for one year.
What does "Contact Hour" mean ?
The PMI defines a Contact Hour as follows: "One contact hour is equal to one hour of participation in an educational activity". This means that if you sit in a classroom for 60 minutes or you spend 60 minutes online on a project management training you have just earned 1 Contact Hour. To register for the PMP Exam you need to demonstrate that you have earned 35 Contact Hours in Project Management.
Do you have to go through an R.E.P institution to earn your "35 Contact Hours" ?
Not necessarily. Many universities are not Registered Education Provider (R.E.P) but offer excellent Project Management courses. Also many web sites (including ours) offer online project management training without being registered as an R.E.P. You can get your 35 contact hours from various trainings and institutions.
What types of trainings are acceptable as Contact Hours by the PMI ?
Any type of project management training can be counted towards your contact hours for the PMP certification. The training must be related to project management and can include content on project quality, scope, time, cost, human resources, communications, risk, procurement, or integration management. Courses and training sessions offered by one or more of the following education providers apply: A. PMI Registered Education Providers (R.E.P.s) B. Courses or programs offered by PMI Component organizations C. Employer/company-sponsored programs D. Training companies or consultants E. Distance-learning companies, including an end of course assessment (exam) F. University/college academic and continuing education programs In our case (www.pmchampion.com) many of our products (such as PMP Gold, Platinum and Diamond Packages) fall under Category E. In other words, the 35 hours of education that you will receive are acceptable by the PMI as 35 Contact Hours, and you will get a Certificate to prove it.
How long ago can the training have been ?
It doesn't matter how long ago you received a training. You can claim contact hours for it as long as it was on a project management topic. Here is what the PMI says: "Document all education hours regardless of when they were accrued." This means that if you took an "Introduction to Project Management" course 20 years ago, then you can still claim it. However, it is always best to have some form of documentation or proof of your participation in this course. And most of us don't keep training certificates for this long...
What documentation do I need for the 35 Contact Hours ?
Please note that any form of documentation is helpful. This is because the PMI performs random audits on all PMP applications. We therefore recommend that you use the following rule: If you cannot prove that you have participated in a training it is best that you do NOT claim contact hours for it. If the course you took was an online course, then the PMI requires "an end of course assessment". This usually means, that the online training company will ask you to take an online test and then you will receive or can download a certificate. That's what happens with most of our courses. If the course was a classroom course, then we recommend that you have some form of proof that you did indeed participate in the course like: invoice, course curriculum, certificate of attendance or any other document that will satisfactorily show that you were there.
Is "Contact Hour" and "P.D.U" the same ?
Note: PDU stands for Professional Development Unit. Technically they are not the same, but if you are preparing for the PMP Exam you can "think" of them as being the same. Here is the difference: • • You need "Contact Hours" before you apply for the PMP Exam. You will need "PDU"s after you have passed the PMP Exam in order to keep your PMP certification going.
Maintaining PMP Certification
After passing the PMP Exam, certified Project Managers 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.
What has changed in the PMBOK Guide 4th Edition?
On December 31st 2008, Project Management Institute (PMI) released the PMBOK Guide 4th Edition. Based on the information published by PMI web site: o o Since July 1st 2009, PMP exam is based on PMBOK 4th Edition. Do not register for trainings that are based on PMBOK 3rd Edition. Ask before registering.
As per PMI, the Fourth edition of the PMBOK Guide will reflect a focus on improved consistency and clarity. Great consideration has been given to remove redundant information and add clarifying statements where needed. Significant improvements have been made to improve readability, and terminology has been updated only to present them consistently in a verbnoun format. The major differences between the Third Edition and the Fourth Edition are summarized below: • • • • All process names are now in a verb-noun format. For example "Scope Definition" becomes "Define Scope". Efforts were made to distinguish between Enterprise Environmental Factors and Organizational Process Assets. A standard approach for discussing requested changes, preventive actions, corrective actions and defect repairs has been employed. The processes decreased from 44 to 42: • Two processes were deleted. • Two processes were added. • Six processes were reconfigured into 4 processes in the Procurement knowledge area. To provide clarity, a distinction was made between the Project Management Plan and project documents used to manage the project. The distinction between the information in the Project Charter and the Project Scope Statement was clarified. The process flow diagrams at the beginning of chapters 4-12 have been deleted and replaced with data flow diagrams. A data flow diagram for each process has been created to show where information comes from as an input and where it goes to as an output. A new appendix was added that addresses key interpersonal skills that a project manager utilizes when managing a project.
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PMI also notes that a complete list of changes will be found in Appendix A of the new PMBOK Guide-Fourth Edition. For more information on the changes please refer to PMI web site. You can also purchase the new Fourth edition HERE but you have to be a PMI member and login first.