How do I become PMP Certified?
The Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification is one of the most prestigious, globally recognised professional certifications offered to Project Management professionals. The credential, which is awarded by the Project Management Institute (PMI), is used as a benchmark for many of the world's largest corporations for advancement and employment within project management.
1. Check requirements for taking the PMP exam
Not everyone is eligible to take the PMP exam. The PMP is aimed at professional project managers with proven experience. The PMI have outlined the following minimum criteria’s that you need to fulfil before you take the exam:
Option 1: High school diploma/ global equivalent, 5 years Project Management experience, 35 hours of Project Management education
Option 2: Bachelor's degree/ global equivalent, 3 years Project Management experience, 35 hours Project Management education
You can find the latest requirements on the PMI’s website.
2. Become a PMI member to get a discount on the exam and a free copy of the PMBOK Guide
Apart from getting a huge discount on the exam itself, there are lots of other benefits of becoming a PMI member. Through your membership you will get access to events and meetings so the networking opportunities are excellent. These help to keep you current with project management knowledge and thinking, progress towards and maintain a professional qualification and to learn from your peers. You will also get free digital access to all of their global standards, including the preeminent PMBOK guide (which you will need a comprehensive understanding of for the exam), as well as access to tools and other resources that will help you in your daily work to succeed as a Project Manager.
If you decide to take any of our courses to help you prepare for the exam you will also receive 15% discount as a PMI member. PMI UK Chapter members get up to a 25% discount on the first three spaces of our training courses.
The easiest way is to join online and pay by credit card. The PMI will then send you a membership number. The membership costs USD $129 and this link will take you to their membership registration page. Do not forget to become a local PMI Chapter member and for only a few dollars extra you will have access to all conferences and networking events in your local area.
3. Assess your current skills level and identify knowledge gaps
Before you start taking any courses to prepare yourself for the exam it can be a good idea to assess your current skills levels and identify any knowledge gaps you may have. This is particularly good if you have a lot of practical experience as a Project Manager but little formal training. The assessments will help you identify which areas you need to focus your studies for the PMP exam.
There are a lot of assessment tools on the web, here is a free example from Mindtools.
TwentyEighty Strategy Execution's PM Appraise knowledge assessment is another tool you can use to identify any knowledge gaps that you may have. It measures the knowledge of project management best practice and provides recommendations for learning activities to help bridge the knowledge gaps.
4. Attend professional development training courses to help you prepare for the exam
There are a vast number of training providers in the market that can help you to prepare for the PMP exam. When choosing a training provider, firstly make sure they are PMI Registered Education Provider. This means that the PMI has officially approved their training and that their courses reflect the PMBOK.
Another good thing to do is to research your training provider properly by asking them for instructor biographies, make sure your instructor is PMP certified, what course materials are provided, a detailed course outline, and if they provide any post course reinforcement training. A good training provider should be able to supply all of this information to you.
If you do decide to choose TwentyEighty Strategy Execution as your training provider then a good way to start your preparation would be by taking one of our core courses. All of our core courses follow the PMBOK guide and are a great way for you to prepare for the exam. They also count towards the formal Project Management training required. We recommend that you at least consider the following courses before you apply for the exam:
- Managing Projects - This course will give you an overview (set the scene) of a project and is a great reminder if you have years of experience as a Project Manager but little formal training.
- Scheduling and Cost Control - This course will teach you the technical side of project management and give you full understanding of things like, WBS, EVM, PERT etc.
- Risk Management - This course will give you in depth knowledge on how to manage risks in all stages of the project.
- PMP Exam Power Prep - This course will help you structure your studies and learn the best answers before the exam. Our instructors are PMP® certified and will explain in detail what you will experience on the exam and the type of questions you will face. They will also answer any questions and address any uncertainties that you may have.
The first three courses cover nearly 80% of the exam questions and together with the PMP Exam Power Prep course you will have the necessary knowledge to successfully pass the exam and be a successful Project Manager.
5. Apply for PMP exam
Complete the online exam application at www.pmi.org. The application can take a little while to complete, especially if you have a lot of experience to document. However, you do have 90 days to complete it which means you can revisit it whenever you want during this time period. An example of the PMP application is available from TwentyEighty Strategy Execution – please contact us and we are happy to give you advice.
6. Make your payment
Cost: USD $405 (member), USD $555 (non-member)
7. Complete the audit (only if asked by PMI)
Once your payment has been submitted, you will immediately find out if your application requires an audit. The PMI does random checks on all applications so if you are one of the selected you will have to submit proof and references for all parts of your application within 3 months. However, the chances of being audited are small.
If you are not selected to be audited then you can immediately proceed to book your exam. You will receive an Authorisation To Test (ATT) letter. You will need this to book a time to sit the exam.
8. Book your exam
Select a time and date to take the exam. Examinations are not scheduled, but can be taken at any time online under controlled conditions at a test centre. To locate your nearest centre, visit https://securereg3.prometric.com. Please note that during busy periods, you may have to wait a couple of weeks for a convenient time slot, so it's a good idea to plan ahead.
We strongly recommend that you apply and book your exam shortly after you have taken our PMP Exam Prep course (normally within 2 weeks of taking the course).
9. Revise for the exam
Make sure you have full understanding of the PMIs terminology and have a thorough understanding of the PMBOK Guide. If you have taken our PMP Exam Power Prep course you will get revision booklets to help you on the way. There are also a lot of free revision resources online. Here are a few:
Edwel Programs - Mock Exam
This mock exam for PMP consists of seventy questions. All the questions have exactly one correct answer. The answers to the questions are at the bottom of the page. The exam is based on PMBOK 5th edition, and corresponds to the latest version of the exam. This site is courtesy of Edwel Programs.
Tutorial Points - Mock Exam
200 objective type sample questions and their answers are given just below to them. This exam is just to give you an idea of type of questions which may be asked in PMP Certification Exams.
Books – Below is a list of recommended reading to help you pass the PMP exam.
- A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide), 5th Edition, Project Management Institute, 2013
- PMP Exam Prep, Eighth Edition: Rita's Course in a Book for Passing the PMP Exam, Rita Mulchay, 8th Edition, 2013
- PMP Exam Prep: Accelerated Learning to Pass PMI's PMP Exam, Rita's Course in a Book for Passing the PMP Exam, Rita Mulcahy, 8th Edition, 2013
The PMI states that on average, successful PMP candidates will spend 35 hours or more to prepare, so make sure you leave yourself plenty of preparation time before you take the exam.
10. Take the exam
After you have familiarised yourself with the PMI terminology, having a good understanding of the PMBOK, successfully passed any mock exams you should be ready to take the real exam.
The exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions and you have about 4 hours to complete it. Students are given 4 hours to answer 200 exam questions.
The exam is broken down in the below areas:
- Initiating: 11%
- Planning: 23%
- Executing: 27%
- Monitoring and Controlling: 21%
- Closing: 9%
- Professional and Social Responsibility: 9%
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