Can I join a PMI® chapter without joining PMI®?

No. You must join PMI® in order to have the option of joining a chapter.

Do I need to join PMI® or a local PMI® chapter to obtain or keep my certification?

No. But there are other benefits to engaging in both.

Do you have to pass each of the five exam areas (Process Groups)?

No. It is total score.

How long does it take to complete the application?

For most people, the application process takes 2 -3 hours.  The quickest I’ve heard was 30 minutes, as reported by someone who was very prepared and working on the same project for many years.

How many hours of experience do I need to take the PMP® exam?

With a 4-year college degree, you will need a minimum of three years/36 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience during which at least 4,500 hours were spent leading and directing projects. Without a 4-year degree, you will need five years/60 months and 7,500 hours.

How much does the exam cost?

At this time, the exam costs $405 for PMI® members and $555 for non-members.

Is the exam cost included in the PMP® Prep Boot Camp tuition?

No. You must complete and submit your application to PMI®.  We offer assistance with the exam application.  When your application is complete, PMI® will request the exam fee.

What are the main reasons people don’t pass the exam on the first try?

My experience has shown the main reason for not passing on the first try is a long delay from the Boot Camp to the exam date. Sadly, many people complete a Boot Camp but don’t get their application turned in immediately. “I’ll do it Saturday” becomes “I’ll submit it next weekend” which becomes “I’ll get to it after the holidays…” Think about the likelihood of passing a calculus exam 6 months after your last calculus class. Procrastination does you no favors.  It’s not a good plan for success.

A second reason is that students didn’t take the exam seriously. Even though I emphasize the rigor of the exam, some students think they can rely primarily on their prior PM experience and/or education to get through the exam successfully. It won’t. It doesn’t. It takes effort to prepare for the exam and the effort must be directed to the right material.

What counts toward the 35 hours of training required for the PMP® exam?

The training requirement includes specific instruction that addressed learning objectives in project management. You must have completed the 35 hours when you submit your application for the exam. For example, if you plan to count the hours of our PMP® Exam Prep Boot Camp toward the required 35 hours, you won’t submit the application until after the Boot Camp.

What happens if I fail the exam?

PMI® will allow you to take the exam up to 3 times within a one-year period (you have to pay each time but at a reduced rate). If you don’t pass the exam on the first try, let me know and I’ll help you prepare for a re-examination. Also, you can attend another one of my Boot Camps at no charge (just bring your course materials). If you don’t pass the second time, I’ll gladly refund your Boot Camp tuition. At the time of this writing, I’ve never had to do that.

What happens if my application is audited?

You have to supply PMI® with proof of the information you submitted in your application. For example, if you indicated you have a Bachelor’s degree in project management from Boston University, you’ll need to provide a copy of your transcript or diploma. You will need to verify your reported role and contributions to a project by having your project reference sign your printed description of your efforts.  You’ll gather everything and send the package to PMI®.  Most people report the audit process adds about 3 weeks to the application approval process; although I’ve had students complete it in less than a week.

What is required for maintaining certification?

You need to accumulate 60 PDUs during each 3-year certification cycle to maintain the certification. The CAPM® certification expires at the end of 5 years with no PDUs along the way. You do not have to take the PMP® exam again unless you let your certification lapse for a while.

What is the best way to prepare for the PMP® / CAPM® certification exam?

Some people have the focus, tenacity, and time to study on their own for the test. Others prefer weekly study groups (e.g., 3 hours per week for 12 weeks). For many, the 3- or 4-day Boot Camp is the most sensible and effective approach. Our Boot Camp ensures you study the right material, which is most of the ~600-page A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) plus key portions of other current and highly valuable project management sources (no longer named by PMI®).  We recommend that you follow the Boot Camp training by reviewing the exam prep study questions we provide to ensure you are familiar with the many ways a question can be asked for a single concept.

What is the difference between the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification and the Certified Associate Project Manager (CAPM®) certification?

The difference is in the hours of experience people have accumulated in leading and directing projects. The PMP® certification is intended for people who have significant project leadership experience.  The CAPM® is intended for people who have some education in the field and/or less experience.

What is the difference between “Contact Hours” and “Professional Development Units” (or PDUs)?

Prior to obtaining your PMP® credential, you acquire contact hours. After you pass the exam, you acquire PDUs for your continuing education requirements. Contact hours are specific project management related training hours; PDUs allow additional categories beyond training.

What is the pass rate for your students?

I honestly don’t know. Nor do any exam-prep providers. The exam results are strictly between PMI® and the applicant.  I always ask my students for feedback on their exam results, and I follow up with them, but I don’t hear back from everyone. I can look on the PMI® website to see if they are later listed as having earned the PMP® credential, but even then, it doesn’t tell me whether they passed on the first try. I urge you to read the fine print when you see a provider’s published “pass rate” or “success rate,” as there is usually more to the story.

What is the PMP® exam pass rate?

That information isn’t published. However, the bar is very high, and passing is very difficult so a number of people don’t pass on the first try.

What will I need to complete my application?

A current resume is a good place to start. You will need to provide start and end dates for the projects on which you have worked, a reference for each project, contact information for your references, and the name and address of the school where you earned your highest degree. You are required to have accumulated a minimum of 35 contact hours of Project Management training, and you need to provide the titles and dates of the training classes.

What’s the frequency of application audits?

That’s not published information. However, in a Boot Camp of 12 to 15 students, I typically get feedback that someone was selected for audit.

When can I schedule my exam?

After you have completed the application and paid the examination fee, (and completed the audit process if you are selected for audit), PMI® will send you a code that allows you to schedule the exam.

When is the best time to take the exam?

For most people, one to three weeks after a Boot Camp is the best time to take the exam. The Boot Camp material is still fresh, you’ve had time to study hundreds of practice questions, and you’ve had time to strengthen your knowledge in particular areas where you need increased information and understanding. Some of my students have taken the exam the next day and passed with success.  However, most people need a good foundation of preparation.  I suggest you answer hundreds of practice questions to reinforce what you’ve learned in the Boot Camp.

Where are the testing centers?

PMI® contracts with Prometric to administer the exams. You can Google them and look up a testing center near you. Make sure you enter the exam you plan to take (e.g., the PMP® or the CAPM®) because each testing center does not administer all exams.

Where can I learn anything I might ever want to know about the exam application, the certification process, or the maintenance of my credential?

You can find more information than you’ll ever want to know at the PMP website at these links:

PMP® Information

CAPM® Information

Will I receive my final test score after completing the exam?

You will receive feedback (within a minute or so) indicating that you have “Passed” or “Failed” the exam. Additionally, you will receive feedback provided by Process Group (each of the 5) as to whether you were “Proficient”, “Moderately Proficient,” or “Below Proficient” in that Process Group.