- Certification

Introduction on PMP Certification Process and Tips for Preparation

I took the PMP computer-based exam in the UK on September 17th, 2019. Going out of the exam room, the young lady at the test center smiled at me and congratulated me for passing the PMP exam. I got the 4A1B result. Though I did not get the 5A I want, it was not bad. The exam result was released on the same day, so I didn’t have to be tortured by the long waiting time. Then I received the email from PMI on the 18th and got the PMP certification.

There are two reasons for writing down my experience of preparing the PMP exam:

First, I want to offer some convenience to those who prepare for the exam individually. The exam preparation mode of candidates will usually shift from participating in training centers to preparing the PMP exam individually, which can save unnecessary costs. Candidates can also make out practical preparation plans according to actual conditions.

Second, I want to offer some references about the computer-based exam. There is not much relevant information online, some of which is outdated. The following introduction includes: PMP certification process and requirements, recommendations on exam preparation materials, preparation plans and review of the PMP exam. I hope this article can be helpful to solve your problems.

1.1 Certification processFigure1-1

(1) Submit the application (2) You will receive confirmation within 5 days (3) If you are selected by PMI for auditing, you need to send relevant materials within 90 days (if so, changing the number and applying again are recommended) (4) Pay the fee (5) You can select the exam room and date within the 1 year validity period. If you retake the exam, you can take the exam no more than 3 times a year (6) Pass the exam and receive the PMP certification (7) Earn the certification maintenance credits, 60 PDU within 3 years (PDU, professional development units) (8) Renew the certification (9) The certification will be suspended if you have not earned enough credits in the third year (10) The certification is expired, and you have not earned enough credits after the expiry date.

Figure 1-1 The timeline of PMP certification process

1.2 Certification requirements

Conditions of certification (two types):

  • High School Diploma: 7500 hours of project experience (at least 5 years after graduation) (2) Undergraduate Diploma:4500 hours of project experience (at least 3 years after graduation)

Note: Some people also apply for by the time of school project. For instance, they use the High School Diploma plus 4 years of undergraduate period and 1 year of working. This remains to be confirmed.

PDU Requirement: 35 hours of formal project management education or Certified Associate in Project Management Certification (CAPM). The official website states that self-study is not included in the credits.

PMP exam fee (two choices):

(1) PMI membership fee USD139 + member exam fee USD405 = USD544; (2) Non-member exam fee USD555;

Obviously, the first option is more cost-effective.

The computer-based exam takes place every month. The specific time depends on the arrangement of the relevant exam center. After paying the fee, you will receive an email from PMI which will inform you of the exam arrangement. A nearby exam room will be recommended for selection by locating your personal location. You can just follow the system to carry out the specific operations.

1.3 Find an institution service

Because of the 35-hour training requirement, finding an institution is necessary. Furthermore, they basically provide the exam guidance, thus saving your time. There are three conditions:

First: If you have sufficient funds, prefer offline institutions, and want to make an acquaintance your peers, you can find an offline institution. ( costsaround USD 770, exam fee is not included)

Second: If you prefer free learning schedule, you can find PMP certification course online or specific online institutions (around USD300-USD540, exam fee is not included)

Third: You only want to provide 35 PDU.

PMP assessment and passing criteria:

Five process groups will be scored and divided into 4 levels. Mine is 4A1B (Figure3-1). Its score division and passing criteria remains a mystery. There are a total of 200 questions in the exam, among which 25 questions will be randomly removed. The correct rate of the remaining 175 questions will be checked. It is said that 105/175 can be past. Then, in order to avoid that the 25 questions removed are within your knowledge scope, the correct rate should be controlled at 130/200, above 65%. I usually controlled it above 70%. In addition, the assessment criteria should be based on the total score. My score in the closing process was lower than the target, but I still passed the exam.

The overall preparation plan is divided into 4 stages (totaling 178.5 hours):

Study 10.5 hours a day with 3.5h in the morning, 3.5h in the afternoon and 3.5h in the evening, lasting 17 days. The total preparation time is 10.5 hours × 17 days = 178.5 hours. If you don’t have much time every day, you can shorten the preparation time everyday and lengthen the whole timeline. However, the preparation time had better not exceed one and a half months (make sure 3-4 hours for preparing everyday). Please adjust it according to your actual conditions.

The entire process is relatively smooth, but some knowledge is difficult to remember, so it is good to deepen understanding by doing exercises. This is also helpful when you find it difficult to remember the knowledge a week before the PMP exam. In short, don’t give up any chance to pass the exam. In addition, take it easy, this is not a particularly important exam. I hope this information can be helpful and if you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

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