Project Management FAQ

PMP is the gold standard certification in Project Management industry. This course is governed by PMI (Project Management Institute).

A PMP title on your resume will give more visibility to your resume in any job portal. This also helps you to be more appealing candidate to your future employers

This certification shows that you have the experience, education, and competency to successfully lead and direct projects.

This certification is valid across all industries and recognized throughout the world.

After completing the PMP certification you will able to run your project in more structured way. That will help you to provide better quality and meet deadlines.

It helps you to have a clear vision of where your project is heading so you can lead the team accordingly.

There are three requirements to get the PMP certification:

  • You should have project management experience.
  • You should attend formal project management training.
  • You should apply for and pass the PMP exam.

Therefore, you should attend formal project management training which explains all the concepts in the PMBOK Guide to you.

The final step is to apply for and pass the PMP exam. The PMP exam is based on the PMBOK Guide, consists of 200 questions. The time duration is four hours. Once you apply for the exam and your application is accepted, you will be given 3 attempts in one year to pass the exam. If you fail to do so, you will have to wait for one year to apply for the exam again.

Once you pass the PMP exam, you are immediately allowed to use the designation “PMP” after your name in your resume, email signature, and in publications.

The PMP certification offers you many benefits, and some of those benefits are as follows:

  1. It shows your commitment to learn and acquire new skills.
  2. It demonstrates your professional achievements.
It makes you a more
  3. appealing job candidate.
It increases your employer’s confidence in you.
  4. It boosts clients’ confidence in you as well as in your organization.

As of today, i.e. January 16, 2020, the PMI offers eight certifications. These certifications are as follows:

  1. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®
  2. Project Management Professional (PMP)®
  3. Program Management Professional (PgMP)®
  4. Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)®
  5. PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®
  6. PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)®
  7. PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)®
  8. PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)

Step – I: Check Your Eligibility

Here you will check your eligibility to apply for the PMP exam.

You need to fulfill three conditions to become eligible to apply for the PMP exam:

  1. You should be either a degree or a high school diploma holder. The degree or diploma can be in any discipline.
  2. If you are a degree holder you should have at least three years, and if you are a diploma holder you should have about five years of experience in leading and directing projects. This experience must have been earned within the last eight consecutive years.
  3. You must have attended a 35 contact hour training program for formal project management training.

If you satisfy these conditions, you can proceed to the next step.

Step – II: Collect all Information

Here you have to collect all information about the PMP exam. Go to the PMI website and explore it. Download the PMP handbook and read it from cover to cover. Read the frequently asked questions there and on my blog. I am sure you will get answers to all of your queries. If you still have some queries, you can post them in the comments section and I will reply to you.

Step – III: Join the PMI Membership

Once you are equipped with all the information, you should join the PMI membership. I strongly recommend you to do so. There are many benefits of PMI membership and you can realize them once you join.

The main benefit is a reduction in exam fees. In fact, the cost of the membership fee is less than the discount that you will get while applying for the PMP exam. Moreover, you can download the free digital copy of the PMBOK Guide free of charge; therefore, it is a win-win situation for you.

Step – IV: Collect Study Materials

After joining the PMI membership, you should start collecting materials for the PMP exam preparation. The material may include PMP exam reference books, manuals, slides, notes, PMP blog URLs, etc.

Since you are already a member of the PMI, you can also download the PMBOK Guide.

Now it’s time to start your pre-training study. You should start reading a PMP exam reference book; my recommendation is the Head First PMP. Read it from cover to cover and try to understand the concepts. If you are not satisfied with the first round, you can go for the second round. I am sure after the second round you will have a good understanding of the project management concepts.

Open the PMBOK Guide and study it. I know this is a dry and juiceless book and you may feel bored while reading it. This is the main reason why I recommend that you read any other reference book before reading the PMBOK Guide, because if you directly start with the PMBOK Guide you will feel bored, your confidence level may go down, and consequently, you may lose your interest in studying for your PMP exam.

Never start your exam preparation with the PMBOK Guide.

Step – V: Get PM Training

You have studied the PMP exam reference book and have gone through the PMBOK Guide, which means now you have a better understanding of the project management framework.

The next step for you is to obtain the 35 PDU’s /contract hour training for formal project management education. This is one of the three mandatory conditions from the PMI to be fulfilled in order to apply for the PMP exam.

Step – VI: Schedule the Exam

This is the most important step. After completing the training you must schedule the exam. You will never start studying seriously unless you schedule the exam. Once you schedule the exam, your hidden potential will be unlocked and you will start studying more aggressively, passionately, and punctually. I suggest you give yourself at least three months for exam preparation.

Step – VII: Start Exam Preparation

This is where you have to begin your exam preparation seriously. Start reading reference books, notes, and manuals. Now, read the PMBOK Guide and try to understand the process flow.

I suggest you buy atleast one good PMP exam reference books (Rita Mulcahy). Read the both books at least once.

The next step is to practice some sample questions. You can find a few sample questions at the end of each chapter in your reference books. You can also purchase a good PMP Exam Simulator from us to practice more questions. We offer 8 sets of simulation tests with 200 questions each.

Practice these questions and then attempt the mock test. The mock test is similar to the real test and consists of 200 questions. By reviewing the results of these tests, you can find out which domains you are not performing well in. Revisit those domains and fill in your knowledge gaps.

In the PMP exam you are going to see many mathematical questions. Although they seem to be tough initially, if you practice those questions and understand the concepts, they will become easier over time.

Therefore, try to practice these questions as often as you can. To help you solve these types of questions, I have written a PMP Formula Guide. This guide explains all mathematical formulas mentioned in the PMBOK Guide. You can use this eBook to understand the mathematical concepts for the PMP exam.

The PMP certification exam is based on the PMBOK Guide, and a lot of the questions in your exam will be directly from the PMBOK Guide. Therefore, read and understand the PMBOK guide thoroughly. If you skip the PMBOK Guide, it will be very difficult for you to pass the exam.

I recommend you read the PMBOK guide at least three times before attempting the exam. Although it is a dry book, once you start understanding the concepts, you will start liking it.

Step – VIII: Attempt the Exam

Be sure to reach the Prometric center at least 30 minutes before your scheduled exam time to complete all formalities. It takes around 5 to 10 minutes to complete all exam procedures. Afterwards, you will be allowed to enter the test room, and your test will start.

As your test starts, you will be made aware of the display on the computer screen and navigation; e.g. how to select an answer, how to mark a question for review, etc. It will take 15 minutes to complete this awareness session. You can also finish this session in less than 15 minutes; however, once you end the session, your exam will start immediately and you will not be able to use the time that you saved.

Therefore I suggest you become comfortable with the navigation quickly and utilize the remaining time to note down some difficult to remember formulas or any confusing concepts on the paper provided by the Prometric center.

The PMP exam consists of 200 questions and you have to answer these questions in four hours; i.e. 1.2 minutes per question. From my experience, I can say that if you are well prepared for the exam, this time is more than enough for 200 questions. Many aspirants who have passed the PMP certification exam and became a PMP on average took two and a half to three hours to complete the exam.

Take your time to complete the exam and review the answers in the remaining time, and then submit it. After submission there will be a short survey, and after the survey you will be able to see your result. If you pass the exam, the PMI will congratulate you; otherwise, they will offer their condolences.

If you pass the exam, you will receive the congratulatory mail within one week and your name will be updated in the PMI certification registry, and then you can see your name there. You will receive your certificate within four to six weeks, although officially PMI says that it will deliver your certificate package within eight weeks.

Please note that, in the PMP certification exam, there is no negative marking. Therefore, you must attempt all questions and give answers for them. Even if you don’t know the answers to a few questions, select the best guess. Never leave any answer blank on your exam.

Before I end this blog post, let’s summarize the key points:

  • Collected all information.
  • Collect study materials.
  • Become a PMI member.
  • Read the PMP exam reference book and the PMBOK Guide.
  • Attend a 35 contact hours training program.
  • Schedule the PMP exam.
  • Start studying seriously.
  • Take the exam and pass it.

Summary

The PMP exam is not very tough. If you plan well and study in the right way you can pass the exam in the first attempt. You can get help from your colleagues and professionals who have passed the PMP exam. You can find many PMP certification holders in your local chapter meetings. Approach them politely and ask for help; they will definitely help you in your preparation. Learn from their experience, prepare well, and pass the exam.

Good luck on your PMP exam preparation.

If you want to apply for the PMP exam, you have to fulfil three eligibility requirements mandated by PMI.

Therefore, I suggest you read these requirements carefully before applying for the exam.

These three PMP exam eligibility requirements can be classified into three categories. These categories are as follows:

  1. Education
  2. Project management experience
  3. Project management training

Okay, now let’s discuss each of these requirements in detail.

Education

The first condition is education. You should hold either a bachelor’s degree holder (or global equivalent) or secondary degree holder (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent). The degree or diploma can be in any discipline.

Project Management Experience

The second condition is project management experience. If you are degree holder you should have at least 4,500 hours (about three years), and if you are a diploma holder you should have 7,500 hours (about five years) of experience in leading and directing projects.

Please note that project management experience should be non-overlapping and unique.

Project Management Training

This is the third and last condition. You must attend 35 contact hours of formal project management training. This training can be obtained from a PMI Registered Education Provider (R.E.P) . There are various modes of training available from these providers. Some are online and others are through live classes. Online training programs are found to be much cheaper than live classes.

So, these are the three eligibility conditions that you should fulfil in order to apply for the PMP exam.

I have constantly been receiving many questions regarding the PMP eligibility requirements. Although I have clarified it here, a few visitors are still asking some questions.

So, to answer their queries, I am specifically giving answers to some of their most common questions.

# 1: I’m Not a Project Manager. Can I Apply For the Exam?

Most professionals working in project management do not hold the project manager title, so they find themselves confused if they can apply for the exam.

Please note that the PMI eligibility requirements say that “you should have experience in leading and directing the project.”

This means leading and directing a project as identified with the tasks, knowledge, and skills specific in the PMP Examination Content Outline.

If you’re not a project manager but are working in project management and have experience as mentioned above you are eligible to apply for the PMP exam.

There are also some queries from people who are not into project management and want to know if they can apply for the exam.

Project management experience is a mandatory requirement to apply for the PMP exam. If you did not work in projects, you cannot apply for the exam.

# 2: The PMP certificate is only for IT professionals.

I have also received some queries from visitors who were in doubt if this certification can be obtained by someone working outside of the IT industry. They were thinking that this certification is only for professionals working in the IT field.

This is not true.

The PMP certificate is industry independent and the project management principles provided in the PMBOK Guide apply to all industries.

If you are in project management, regardless of industry, you are eligible to apply for the PMP exam.

# 3: I’m a Diploma Holder; Can I Apply for the PMP Exam?

Yes, of course.

Summary

The PMP certification is for professionals who are working in project management and want to enhance their skills and efficiency. If you are in project management and want to excel your career, you should apply for it. However, if you are not involved in project management and want this certification, you should first earn some experience in project management and then you should apply for it.

You can also find all the necessary information about the PMP certification exam in the PMP handbook available for free at PMI’s website.

Cost of PM Training

This is where you may spend a huge amount if you don’t plan carefully. There are many types of training providers providing training for the PMP certification exam. The cost of training depends on the type of training and providers.

For example, the cost of live training classes can be thousands of dollars and the cost of online training program can be hundreds of dollars.

These days training providers are offering a new kind of training which is called live virtual training classes. Here the trainer takes the class live via the internet and attendees can take the class at the same time from any geographical area.

The cost of training can be between hundreds and thousands of dollars depending on the type of training program you select.

The cost of online programs: Approx. $350

The cost of live virtual classes: Approx. $700 -$1200

The cost of live training programs: Approx.$1,500- $3000

So, the cost of training can vary from $350 to $3000.

Cost of Books

For the PMP exam preparation, you need to refer to at least three books. Ideally, two should be any good PMP exam reference books and the third the PMBOK Guide.

The cost of two reference books: 80 USD to 120 USD.

The cost of the PMBOK Guide is free (digital copy) if you are a member of the PMI, otherwise it will cost you around $50.

Therefore, if you do not have a PMI membership, the cost of books can vary from 120 USD to 160 USD.

Many people refer to one PMP exam reference book and the PMBOK Guide, but I will suggest any two PMP exam reference books because it will give you a different reading perspective.

I have seen the lessons learned from many professionals, and observed that some of them have never gone through the PMBOK Guide. I wouldn’t suggest you do this. Although the PMBOK Guide is a tedious book and you may have problems understanding it initially, as soon as you start understanding it, you will enjoy it.

Moreover, in the exam there will be many questions directly from this guide, so this will help you pass the exam as well.

If you are a member of the PMI, you can read many project management related books on eRead and Reference free of charge. I suggest you go there and explore it.

Recently the PMI has removed the “eRead and Reference” link from its main menu because of low usage. However the section is still there and you can use it for your study purposes. To find the location, I suggest you search the term “eRead and Reference” in Google. This section has around 250 books on project management topics.

Please note that from January 31st, 2016, PMI has discontinued eRead and Reference due to low usage.

Cost of the PMP Exam

The cost of the PMP exam is 555 USD if you are not a PMI member. However, the cost is reduced to 405 USD if you’re a PMI member.

The cost of the PMI membership is 139 USD. So, if you get a PMI membership before applying for the PMP exam, you can save 11 USD and you can download the PMBOK Guide for free. Therefore, I suggest you sign up for a PMI membership before applying for the exam.

Please note that the PMI membership is not mandatory, but if you join before applying for the exam, you will get a discount on the exam fee and you will be able to enjoy many other PMI membership benefits.

If you fail in your first attempt, you can try for a second or third attempt. The fee is 275 USD for PMI members and 375 USD for non-members.

Other Costs

The other costs include the amount you may spend on optional materials to help you prepare for the exam. For example, you can buy a formula guide to help you understand the mathematical formulas, or flashcards to practice short concepts, or you can buy any knowledge area specific test from various providers.

I am not going to give you any estimate for this part because it is optional and you may or may not spend money here.

NB: In these calculations, we did not calculate the cost of travelling, lodging, food, etc. You may need to spend more if you attend live classroom training classes and unfortunately they are not available near you. You can avoid these costs easily by opting for online training programs for the PMP exam.

Total Cost

Let’s summarize the total cost for the PMP exam preparation:

Summary

As you can see, the cost of getting the PMP certification is not cheap, but once you achieve it you will feel that it is worthwhile to spend more. The calculations given in the table are just for your information so you can make an informed decision. The cost can vary from person to person and the country you are living in.

The PMP exam application process is not complex, but it is a little lengthy.

In this blog post, I hope to clarify any doubts or confusions you might have about the PMP exam application process. I hope after reading it you will have a clear understanding of the PMP exam application process.

Okay, let’s get started.

First, make sure that you are eligible to apply for the PMP exam. If you are not eligible please do not apply for it, as it will waste your time and effort.

If you are lacking any requirements, try to fulfill them before applying for the exam.

For example, if you haven’t attended the PMP training yet and want to apply for the exam attend and complete the training and then fill out the form. The PMP exam application filling process is very straightforward, although collecting some of the required information may take some time.

There are two methods to fill out the PMP examination application form: online and a printable form. With the offline version you must send it via courier. However, the online version is instantaneous.

For the sake of simplicity, here I’m going to explain the process for the online version.

The steps to fill out the PMP exam application form are as follows:

Fill Out the Application Form

The application form is divided into three sections: The first section asks for general information, the second asks for project management experience, and the third requires you to give details on your 35 contact hours training program.

This form requires a lot of information, and the PMI understand this. Therefore, they give you the option to fill out the application form in multiple sittings. However, note that once you have started filling out the application form, you must complete and submit it within 90 days.

Make sure that you have submitted the correct information because once the information is submitted it will be difficult for you to change it at later stages. Take your time, revise all the information at least twice to ensure it is correct, and then submit it.

Recently I received an email from a visitor to my blog who said that he submitted the application in a hurry and he was selected for an audit, which he failed. I don’t know if it is related to the audit or not but check all information twice before you submit the form.

Application Completeness Review

Once you submit your application, the PMI will take 5 to 7 working days to complete the review of your application. However, in both my cases (I submitted the form two times, the first time for the PMP exam and second time for the PMI-RMP exam), I received their email within two or three days. If you miss something or your application requires any further clarification, the PMI will ask for it by email.

Fee Payment

After your application is reviewed and accepted, the PMI will send you a confirmation email and will ask you to make the payment for the PMP certification exam.

If you are a PMI member you will have to pay 405 USD, if not it will cost 555 USD.

PMP Audit

Every PMP aspirant has a fear of it and wonders what may happen if they are selected for an audit.

The selection for the audit process comes after your application is accepted and you are asked to make the payment. After making the payment you will know immediately whether you have been selected for the audit or not. If you are not selected for an audit, you can move on to the next section.

However, if you are selected for an audit, don’t worry about it.

The PMI will ask you to provide them with some documents like copies of your experience certificates, contact hours training program information, education certificates, etc. Just send them by mail, and they will take approximately one week to review your documents.

After reviewing your documents, if they are satisfied they will approve your application and now you can proceed to the Prometric site to schedule the exam. If they are not satisfied with your documentation or may need more information, they will notify you.

Just follow the instructions provided by the PMI and you should have no issues.

Also note that if you are selected for an audit, you will have 90 days to submit the documents to the PMI to complete the audit process. Moreover, your eligibility period will start from the day your audit is cleared.

Scheduling the Exam

If you pass your audit or are not selected, then the PMI will send you an email with a unique code. You can use this unique code to schedule your PMP exam through the Prometric site.

From the date you have received the code, you will have one year to pass the exam. The maximum number of attempts is three.

Summary

Although the PMP exam application process may look a little complex, it is very straightforward. While following the process make sure that you have the correct information about your education, experience and training programs. Keep photocopies of all documents with you while filling out the form so you can fill out the form correctly, and in case you are selected for an audit, you can send these documents to the PMI.

Good luck on your PMP exam.

You must understand the PMP exam structure if you want to pass the PMP exam. Knowing the exam structure will help you in your exam preparation.

A project has five phases: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling, and closing.  The PMI has structured the pattern of questions based on these phases.

For example, the executing and monitoring & controlling phases are the largest phases of any project; therefore, you will see a large amount of questions from these phases.

There is another domain which is known as professional conduct and code of ethics.

It was previously a separate domain of the exam which you had to pass but now the PMI has removed it as a separate domain and the questions are distributed uniformly among the other five phases.

Now, let’s get to the point.

The PMP exam is composed of 200 multiple choice questions. Out of these 200 questions, 25 questions are pre-test. These marks do not affect your score. These pre-test questions will be placed randomly throughout the exam and you will not be able to differentiate them from other scoreable questions. Therefore, it is in your best interest to assume that all 200 questions are scoreable. These pre-test questions are used to test the validity of future examinations.

The time allotted is four hours. There is no scheduled break; however, this does not mean that you cannot take a break. You can take a break during the exam but the clock will continue to count down.

The questions on the exam will be distributed throughout each phase according to the following table:

PMP exam structure

The above table is based on the latest PMP exam content outline updated in June, 2015. The above table differs from the PMP handbook (available here) which has not yet been updated.

In terms of numbers, you can say that:

  • The initiating group will have 26 questions
  • The planning group will have 48 questions
  • The executing group will have 60 questions
  • The monitoring & controlling group will have 50 questions
  • The closing group will have 16 questions.

Keep in mind that questions based on Professional and Social Responsibility are distributed among these process groups. Moreover, the number of questions from Professional and Social Responsibility is not publicly known (as per my best knowledge).

Summary

The PMP exam has 200 questions, which are distributed according to the table given above. In this exam, there is no negative marking so you must attempt all questions. Also, keep a special tab on initiating and closing process group as these groups have the lowest number of questions. If you do not perform well in these two groups and receive a below proficient grades, another below proficient grade from any other group can crush your dream of passing the exam on your first attempt.

So, prepare well and pass the exam on your first try.

Good luck on your PMP exam.

What is the passing score for the PMP exam?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions by PMP aspirants on blogs and forums. Everybody has their own answer. However, if you are asking me what the passing score for the PMP certification exam is, my answer is: nobody knows except the PMI.

Until November 30th, 2005, the passing score for the PMP exam was 61%. This means one had to correctly answer at least 106 questions out of 175 scoreable questions to pass the exam.

Please note that the exam consists of 200 questions, of which 25 questions are pre-test questions whose results are not added to the score. These questions are tested to validate the exam pattern for future tests.

However, after November 30th, 2005, the PMI stopped publishing the passing percentage. Therefore, now nobody knows what the passing percentage is. I still see on many forums and sites people posting that the passing percentage is 61%. It seems that they are still dreaming of 2005.

This information is outdated and should be updated to reflect the current status.

In fact, the PMI has introduced many changes to the way it decides to pass a candidate. In July 2005, the PMI changed the passing score to 81%. Consequently, the passing percentage of the professionals dropped drastically. So, they changed it back to 61%. In addition, in the exam test result report, professionals could see their percentage in each domain.

Then in 2007, PMI again changed the format of the exam results. They removed the percentage and started giving the proficiency level for each domain; i.e. whether you are proficient, moderately proficient or below proficient.

However, the percentage of marks for passing the exam was not made clear.

So, if you want to pass the exam, I suggest you aim for more than 70% (140 questions out of 200), because 81% is too high. Additionally, since August 2011 the PMI has made some changes to the PMP examination and people coming out from the exam comment that it was quite difficult. It seems to me that either the passing score or the difficulty level of the PMP certification exam might have gone up.

Note that I am saying that you should try and correctly answer more than140 questions out of 200 questions because you do not know which question is a pre-test question and which is not. So, it would be better for you if you assume all 200 questions are scoreable.

Also, keep in mind that the passing score for every professional is different, which is determined by a psychometric analysis.

According to the PMI,

“The passing score for all PMI credential examinations is determined by sound psychometric analysis. PMI uses subject matter experts from across the globe to help establish a point at which each candidate should pass the examination(s) and the examination point of difficulty. Data that shows how candidates actually performed is cross-referenced with the subject matter experts to ensure that the point of difficulty on each examination is healthy.”

From the above paragraph, it is clear that the passing score for each professional is different and depends on the set of questions they receive. In other words, you can say that each aspirant will receive a unique set of questions and their passing score will depend on their responses to the questions.

You will get a higher score if you answer a harder question and a lower mark for answering easier questions.

So, if a candidate receives a difficult set of questions, their passing score may be lower than the candidate who receives a set of easier question. However, I believe that there will not be much difference in the difficulty levels of the exam for professionals.

Proficiency Level Required to Pass the Exam

As you know, now the PMI shows the performance in three levels: proficient, moderately proficient, and below proficient.

There is no clear answer on what combination of proficiency levels can lead to an overall pass result. However, I can give my observations which are based on a review of many test result reports.

  • If you get proficient in five domains, there is no doubt you have passed.
  • If you get moderately proficient in all domains, you have passed.
  • If you get proficient in three domains and below proficient in two domains, it is very likely that you will pass the exam.
  • If you get proficient in four domains and below proficient in one domain, it is very likely that you will pass the exam.
  • If you get moderately proficient in four domains and below proficient in one domain, you may pass.
  • If you get below proficient in three domains, regardless of the result in the other three domains, the most likely result will be a fail.
  • If you get moderately proficient in three domains and below proficient in two domains, it is very likely that you will fail the exam.
  • If you get below proficient in more than three domains, the most likely result will be a fail.

(Please note that the above points are just my observations and you can see exceptions to these cases. If you know of any, please let me know so I can update it.)

Summary

Nobody knows the passing score for the PMP exam except the PMI. Additionally, the passing score for every PMP aspirant is not the same; it depends on the questions they received during the exam. The passing percentage may vary slightly due to this reason. Although there is no way to discover the passing percentage for the PMP exam, I would suggest you to prepare to attain more than 70%. I believe if you can cross this threshold, you will most likely see the congratulatory message once you complete the exam.

Please note again that the PMP passing score is a mystery and is known only to the PMI. In this blog post, I have given you my observations based on my knowledge. I do not take responsibility for the correctness and reliability of the data and information given in this blog post. Do your own due diligence before reaching any conclusion.

What will happen if I am selected for my PMP exam application audit and I fail it?

This question came to my mind many times before applying for the exam, and I believe there are many professionals who are also having the same thought right now.

In fact, I have seen some professionals who worry more about the audit than the PMP exam.

Honestly, you should not fear an audit. An audit is nothing but a verification of the facts that you have provided to the PMI while filling out the PMP exam application form.

In an audit, the PMI will ask you to submit the copies of your education certificates, experience certificates, and training program certificates.

Once you provide them with these documents, your audit will be cleared within one week. Always be truthful with your experiences. Provide legitimate information to the PMI and you will not fail the PMI audit. It is rare to fail in audit.

Now we will discuss what will happen if you fail the audit.

You can fail the PMP audit for three reasons:

  1. When the situation is beyond your capability (no fault of your own)
  2. You decide not to proceed with the audit
  3. You have provided incorrect information to the PMI

When the Situation is Beyond Your Capability

Sometimes it may happen that your company has closed and you are not able to verify your experience. This means that although you cannot verify the information given to the PMI, it is not your fault.

In this case, although you will fail the audit, your money will be returned after deducting a 100 USD administration fee. You will be able to apply again once this issue has been resolved.

In this case, there will be no suspension period.

You Decide Not to Proceed with the Audit

Here you simply do not want to proceed with the audit.

In this case of a failed audit, you will be returned your money after deducting a 100 USD administration fee and you will be banned from applying for the PMP exam for one year.

You Have Provided Incorrect Information to the PMI

Here you have failed the audit because you have provided the wrong information to the PMI and tried to persuade them to believe in your false claim.

In this case, the PMI will ban you for life and therefore you will not be able to apply for the exam ever again.

If you have provided false information by mistake, or in a hurry you have entered the wrong data while typing, you must contact PMI customer care to correct the error.

However, note that you should never supply incorrect information to the PMI intentionally because if you get caught your loss will be life-long.

In this case as well the PMI will return your money after deducting 100 USD as a processing fee.

Please note that the PMP handbook does not talk about each case. It only says that “you can receive a refund, less a 100 USD processing fee, if you fail to meet audit requirements”.

Summary

If you fail the audit, you will get your money back minus a deduction of 100 USD. You may or may not get a suspension period depending on your case. However, there is a chance for a lifetime ban on applying for the PMP exam if you provide false or incorrect information. The PMI audit is an important tool for the PMI to ensure that it certifies the people who are who they claim to be. This process establishes the credibility of the PMI and its certification process. Be truthful and honest with the PMI; this is the only way to pass the audit.

Every PMP aspirant thinks about it if it is necessary to become a PMI Member before signing up for the PMP exam. The cost of the PMI membership is 139 USD. You may feel that it is a waste of money and as it is not mandatory you should not join invest in it.

However, in reality, the situation is different and this is what I am going to explain to you in this blog post. But first, I would like to give you a straight answer to your query.

No, it is not necessary to become a PMI member to apply for the PMP exam. You can apply for the PMP exam without having a PMI membership with no issues at all.

However, it is not advisable because by joining the PMI you are not wasting any money; on the contrary, you are saving it.

Let me explain how you are saving money by getting a PMI membership.

Cost of the PMP exam for non-PMI members: 555 USD

Cost of the PMP exam for PMI members: 405 USD

The difference between these two = 555 – 405

= 150 USD

Cost of PMI membership = 139 USD

Saving = 150 -139

= 11 USD

So, if you apply for the PMP exam after joining the PMI, you will pay 405 USD. The cost of a PMI membership is 139 USD so it is still 11 USD less than the cost of the exam for non-members.

So, it is direct savings for you, and hence you should sign up for the PMI membership before applying for the exam.

Another tangible benefit of a PMI membership is the access to the digital copy of the PMBOK Guide for free. If you are preparing for the PMP exam, you will have to study the PMBOK Guide and the cost of the PMBOK Guide is 37.39 USD (printed version).

So, it is an additional savings of 37.39 USD.

Therefore, the total direct monetary savings = 37.39 + 11

= 48.39 USD

Moreover, there are many other benefits of the PMI which you can realize once you join it.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of a PMI membership, read my blog post about the benefits of a PMI membership.

Conclusion

Although it is not mandatory to get a PMI membership, joining it will only benefit you in many ways. The most tangible benefits towards your PMP exam preparation are the savings on the exam fee and the availability of the PMBOK Guide for free of charge. Joining the PMI and your local chapter will allow you to participate in their meetings where you can meet with many PMPs and learn from their experiences.

Therefore, I strongly recommend you join the PMI before applying for the exam.

If you fail in your first attempt of the PMP exam, don’t panic. You still have two attempts left to retake the test within one year of your eligibility period.

Please note that you have to use these two re-attempts within one year of your eligibility period.

Failing to do so will ban you from filling out the PMP exam application for one year. Even if you don’t attempt the exam or you failed in the remaining two attempts, you cannot sit the test for the next year.

Anyway, before I outline the strategy for your next attempt, let me give you some key facts.

  • The fee for the second and third-time will be less than the first-time test fee. This fee will be different for PMI members and non-members.

The second or third-time re-examination fee for computer-based testing is as follows:

  • For a PMI Member: 275 USD
  • For a Non-Member: 375 USD

The second or third-time re-examination fee for paper-based testing is as follows:

  • For a PMI Member: 150 USD
  • For a Non-Member: 300 USD

What Should You Do if You Failed the Test?

If you fail the PMP exam, you should start a self-audit.

On your test result, you can see that in which process group your performance was poor. You only need to find the weak spot in those process groups and fill the knowledge gap.

In the PMP exam, you will see six types of questions, such as:

  1. ITTO based questions
  2. Definition based questions
  3. Situation based question
  4. Formula based questions
  5. Interpretational questions
  6. Questions on Professional and Social Responsibility

I have noticed that most of the time professionals claimed to score less on ITTO based questions. They find these questions very difficult to solve.

Other tough questions are mathematical, and questions based on situations.

If you scared of ITTO based questions, I suggest you read the PMBOK Guide and visualize the flow of processes in the project. Never try to memorize ITTO; it is very difficult to memorize them and doing so will diminish the purpose of these ITTO. PMI wants you to understand the process flow and ITTO, not memorize them.

Now we come to the mathematical questions. Many professionals find these questions very difficult and they don’t study them. They think it is a waste of time for them and they can compensate for these questions by scoring more in other areas.

This is a wrong approach and you must avoid it. If you understand the concept, mathematical questions are very easy to solve and can help you score well in the exam. Try to practice mathematical questions and understand each formula used in the calculation.

Regarding situational-based questions, while solving these questions professionals think the way they would while doing their job. Note that you are attempting the PMP exam, and during this exam you have to think the way a PMI thinks. You have to assume you’re working in an ideal world and everything should go as the PMBOK Guide says.

You have to be very careful while solving the situation-based questions.

For example, let’s say you are going to attend a meeting, you are a little late and you see a red-light signal. Nobody is there and you don’t see anyone on the road. What will you do now?

The options are as follows:

  1. Since no one is there, you will break the signal
  2. You will not break the signal
  3. Only this time you will break the signal, not again
  4. Since you are going for an important meeting you can break the signal

In the above question, you may think that since you are going for an important meeting and nobody is there, you can break the signal. However, this is incorrect. You cannot break the law in any case.

Likewise, there will be many questions in the PMI, and to answer those questions you need to sync your thinking with the PMI.

Strategy to Prepare for the Exam

There is no need to be panic if you fail the PMP exam. Take a rest for one or two days, develop your strategy, and restart your preparation.

I suggest you read any two good PMP exam reference books and try one good PMP exam simulator.

I have seen many professionals complaining that they got more than 70% on one online test, 80% on another test and so on, but they failed the exam. Please note there is no guarantee that passing any practice test with a good score does not mean you will pass the real test.

While reviewing some of these tests I have noticed that they lacked the ITTO based questions, which is a major portion of questions in the real exam. I believe this is due to copyright issues. So, if you pass the tests, this means you passed the test without attempting many ITTO based questions, which can give you false confidence.

Therefore, to pass the exam you must understand the ITTO based questions, and to do this you have to go through the PMBOK Guide. Read the PMBOK Guide as many times as you can.

Conclusion

I see many people who failed the exam become nervous, frightened, and demoralized. They feel they cannot pass the exam again. This is not true. If you don’t pass the exam on your first attempt, it is likely you will pass the exam in your next attempt.

Passing the PMP exam is not like winning a race where only one candidate wins. There are more than half a million PMP certified professionals who have passed the exam; therefore, there is no reason you cannot pass the exam as well. Don’t be frightened if you don’t pass the exam on your first or second try. Find your mistakes and knowledge gaps, make a plan to correct the mistakes and fill the knowledge gaps, and follow this plan. I hope you pass the exam.

I wish you good luck on your next attempt. If you need any help from me, you can ask through the comment section. I will be happy to reply to your comment.

To check your readiness for the real PMP exam, attempt my PMP Question Bank and PMP Mock Test. This question bank has 400 PMP exam sample questions and Mock Test has 200 PMP exam sample questions.

The short answer is: No.

There is no negative marking for selecting a wrong answer in the PMP exam.

Since there is no negative marking, never leave any question unattended even if you don’t know the correct answer.

If you don’t know the right answer, select your best guess.

Leaving a question blank will not give you any marks. However, if you answer any question for which you don’t know the answer, you have at least a 25% chance of being correct, as out of four one is surely the right answer.

If you are having problems selecting the best guess, try eliminating the options that you think are the least likely answer. If you are able to delete one such option, you will have a 33% of selecting the correct answer, and if you eliminate two answers, you will have a 50% chance of selecting the right answer.

Therefore, answer all questions even if you are not sure about the answers to some of them.

Summary

There is no negative marking in the PMP exam, so you should not worry about selecting a wrong answer. First of all, complete all the questions that you can solve and then you can revisit unattended questions. Now try to eliminate the least possible answers and then select the answer that is most likely to be correct.

In this blog post I am going to explain to you the many benefits of having a PMI Membership.

I became a member of PMI as soon as I was aware of its benefits, and at the same time, I also joined my local chapter—PMI Arabian Gulf Chapter, Kuwait.

I joined the PMI one year before passing the PMP exam, and during this one year, I enjoyed many benefits from the PMI membership.

Before I start discussing the benefits of a PMI membership, let’s have a quick look at the types of memberships offered by the PMI.

PMI offers three types of membership. These memberships are as follows:

  1. Individual Membership:This membership is for anyone who wants to join the PMI. The initial joining fee is 139 USD and then you have to pay 129 USD for a yearly renewal.
  2. Student Membership: This membership is for students. If you are a student, then you can join the PMI. The initial joining fee for you is 42 USD, and then you have to pay 32 USD for a yearly renewal.
  3. Retiree Membership: If you were a member of PMI for at least five consecutive years and have since retired, you can still be a member of PMI by paying a 65 USD renewal fee.

Benefits of PMI Membership

Some of the benefits of PMI Membership include:

Discount on the PMP Certification Exam Fee

This is the first benefit that helps you financially.

Once you become a PMI member, the PMP certification exam fee will be reduced to 405 USD from 555 USD. This is a straight savings of 150 USD. Note that you only paid 139 USD to become a PMI member, which means the cost of the discount exceeds the cost of joining the PMI.

Free Digital Copy of the PMBOK Guide

As a member of PMI, you can download the latest version of the PMBOK Guide free of charge. Along with the PMBOK Guide, you can also download many other important standards and frameworks for free; e.g. The Standard for Program Management, Practice Standard for Scheduling, Practice Standard for Project Risk Management, etc.

The cost of the PMBOK Guide on Amazon is around 37 USD, and is therefore a savings of 37 USD.

Access to Various Research Papers

As an honored member of PMI, you have free access to many PMI published research papers, and the paid papers are available at discounted rates to you.

PMI Marketplace

At PMI Marketplace, you will find many project management related books and all PMI standards (hard copy) at discounted prices.

Career Central & Headquarters

Under Career Central & Career Headquarters, PMI has a huge collection of resources to help your career growth. Guidance is available from building your resume to acquiring new skills and keeping you updated about the latest trends. You can also submit your resume and search for jobs.

PM Network and PMI Today

Since you are a PMI member, you are entitled to receive free monthly copies of PM Network and PMI Today Magazines published by the PMI, either delivered to your doorstep or in your email inbox free of charge.

These magazines provide you with the latest updates in the project management world and inside the PMI and its local chapters. Here you can find interviews, in-depth articles, and many case studies which will help you increase your knowledge.

Project Management Journal

You’re also entitled to get a copy of the Project Management Journal, which is a research journal that advances the understanding of project, program, and portfolio management, published five times per year.

Local PMI Chapter Meetings

Once you have a PMI membership, you will be given an opportunity to join your local PMI chapter at a nominal cost. After you join your local chapter, you will get an invitation for every local chapter meeting at discounted prices, or sometimes free. (Please note that you must join your local chapter by paying a nominal membership fee to receive this benefit.)

Networking

Networking is a very important benefit of a PMI membership. Once you join the PMI, you will have opportunities to connect with professionals through Communities of Practice or in PMI chapter meetings. You can learn a great deal by connection with professionals.

For example, if you are preparing for the PMP certification exam you can ask them for their lessons learned, or if you are looking for a job, personnel connections can help you to find one.

Free PDUs

The PMI has a vast collection of free webinars, and by watching these webinars you can earn unlimited numbers of free Category-A PDUs. Moreover, you also don’t need to report them to the PMI yourself; once you complete watching the webinar it will automatically be reported to the PMI.

On their website, they have categorized PDUs for PMP, PMI-RMP, and PMI-SP, etc. This makes your life easier if you hold more than one PMI certification and want to complete the CCR cycle for all of them.

Conclusion

There are many benefits of a PMI membership, and I hope that these are enough to motivate you to join the PMI. To realize the benefits of PMI you have to be involved with them. Join the Communities of Practice and participate in their local chapter meetings. There you will get a chance to interact with many PMPs. You can ask them about their lessons learned about the PMP exam and they will help you. Moreover, communication and networking will also help you in your career growth.

Here is where this blog post on benefits of PMI membership ends. If you have something to share, you can do so through the comments section.

The total time allotted for the PMP certification exam is four hours.

Before the exam starts, you will have to follow a tutorial to familiarize yourself with the exam environment, for example, what the question screen will look like, how to select the answer and submit it, how to use the calculator on the computer, how to review answers, etc.

The time allotted for this familiarization session is fifteen minutes.

The duration of this session is not included in the exam time limit. If you are able to complete the session in less than fifteen minutes, you can complete it and start the exam right away. Your exam clock will start counting down.

When I was taking my exam, I completed the awareness session in less than five minutes and used the remaining time to note down some formulas and concepts on the paper provided by the Prometric staff.

Effective from October 23, 2016, you are not allowed to write notes during this familiarization session.  Though, you can write down it once you end the familiarization session and start the exam.

New rule that you cannot write down notes such as formulas during the opening 15 minute tutorial.

I took one minute to relax myself, and then I ended the session and started my exam.

I completed my exam in around two and half hours. After that, I took a break then started revising questions patiently. I took more than one hour to revise all the questions.

Please note that if you complete the exam in less than four hours, invest the remaining time in revising the questions because you will never get another chance to do so. Sometimes you may have selected the right answer but you accidentally clicked on the incorrect answer. Try to find such errors as well.

This happened to me; therefore, it may happen with you as well.

Once you finally complete the exam and submit your answers, you will be taken to a short survey. After completing this survey the screen will turn white for a few moments and then you will be able to see your result.

Summary

The allotted time for the exam is four hours and this time is sufficient to complete all 200 questions. The exam is preceded by a fifteen-minute awareness session; use this time wisely to note down any critical concepts or formulas. If you complete the exam before the time is up, use the remainder to check your answers.

Yes, you can take a break during the PMP certification. In fact, you can take as many breaks as you wish.

Yes, you can take a break during the PMP certification. In fact, you can take as many breaks as you wish.

Please note that there is no scheduled break allowed during the PMP certification exam. The duration of the test is four hours, and once you start your test, the clock will keep ticking until you finish the exam or the time is completed.

You can take breaks during your PMP certification exam to go to the washroom or eat some snacks, but the time taken during these activities will be included in your exam time. The exam clock will not stop.

You may be wondering whether you should take one or not, or how many breaks you should take.

It is your call. During my exam I took two breaks. The first break was when I had completed 100 questions and the second break was when I had completed all 200 questions.

These breaks allowed me to settle myself and gave my mind a rest, because I was feeling a little tired after completing the first 100 questions.

I would suggest you do the same. If you give your mind a break and start again with a fresh mind, it will give you a fresh motivation.

When you leave the test room for a break, the Prometric staff sitting outside the test room will check your ID and ask you to enter your name and time out on the log, and when you come back they will check your ID again and ask you to write your time in with your signature. You may also be checked with a metal detector.

Summary

You can take as many breaks as you wish but keep in mind that this time will be counted towards your exam duration. Therefore, keep the breaks to a minimum and use them strategically to help you pass the exam. During the exam, if you are feeling tired or need to go bathroom, take short breaks.

Yes, you can reschedule your PMP certification exam appointment two days before the exam date. If you do so within 30 days of the exam you will have to pay 70 USD to the PMI, but doing so within two days of the exam will forfeit your full exam fee.

You can reschedule your PMP certification exam appointment two days before the exam date. If you do so within 30 days of the exam, you will have to pay 70 USD to the PMI, but doing so within two days of the exam will forfeit your full exam fee.

However, you can reschedule your exam before 30 days for free.

A similar rule is applicable to exam cancellation as well.

If you cancel the exam 30 days before it will take place, no fee will be taken. If you cancel within 30 days, 70 USD fee will be taken. If you cancel within two days of the exam, your whole fee will be taken by the PMI.

In this case, you will have to pay the PMI again when you decide to schedule the exam the next time.

As per the PMI,

Effective April 1, 2012:

You can reschedule or cancel your exam at any time, as long as you do so more than two full calendar days before your scheduled exam appointment. However, a 70 USD fee will be charged to you if you reschedule or cancel your exam within 30 days of the scheduled appointment. If you wait until you are within two days of your exam appointment, you won’t be able to reschedule or cancel your exam and you will forfeit the entire exam fee.

Therefore, before making an appointment for the exam, double-check that you won’t need to change or cancel it; otherwise, you have to pay a 70 USD fee to the PMI.

Extenuating Circumstances

If you are unable to attend the exam or must cancel or reschedule the exam due to any extenuating circumstances such as a medical emergency, natural disaster, or death in the family, you will be allowed to reschedule or cancel the exam within 30 days.

However, you will have contact the PMI with supporting documents and they will decide to approve it on a case-by-case basis.

Summary

You can reschedule or cancel the exam but you may have to pay a fee or forfeit the whole amount depending on the time you decide to do that. I would not suggest you do so unless you have a valid reason. Decide on the exam date, prepare well, and pass the exam. Rescheduling the exam too many times may demoralize you and take away your interest in the PMP certificate as well.

It depends on you; only you can decide how much time you should spend for your PMP Certification Exam preparation.

A few days ago, I read one group email in which the person who passed the examination wrote about his journey to become a PMP. It took three years for him to prepare for the PMP certification exam.

The first year he read the PMBOK Guide, and the second year he studied some reference books. In the third year, he reviewed all these things again, and practiced some questions. He then took the exam and passed.

A few months earlier, in the same group, I read another email with a lady who was sharing her experience. She wrote that it took less than one month for her to prepare for the PMP examination.

She said that because of her tight schedule she rescheduled and cancelled her exam many times. Finally, when her eligibility deadline came, she had no other choice except to take the exam. This time she scheduled the exam within one month and passed.

She explained how she studied to pass the PMP exam. One important thing she mentioned in her lesson learned was that she asked everyone not to follow her route to pass the examination.

In the above paragraphs, I gave you two examples of extreme cases. I don’t recommend you to follow either of these.

I will suggest you take at least two to three months’ time for your PMP exam preparation. You not only have to read the material but you also need to digest the information well. Therefore, two to three months with two to three hours of studying per day will be sufficient for you to prepare yourself well for the PMP certification exam.

Summary

It depends on you. You must decide how much time you should spend on PMP exam preparation. However, if you can spend two to three hours daily, I believe that three months’ time is more than enough for you to prepare for the PMP exam. I suggest you not go for more than three months, as it may lessen your interest. However, I will also not suggest you go for less than two months because it may overwhelm you with exam pressure.

These questions will test all your knowledge on various aspects of project management. In this exam, PMI will check your analytical, logical, mathematical skills, and your management and leadership style.

The PMP exam consists of six different kinds of questions:

  1. ITTO based questions
  2. Definitions based questions
  3. Situation based questions
  4. Formula based questions
  5. Interpretational questions
  6. Questions on professional and social responsibility

Okay, let’s look at them one by one.

ITTO Based Questions

ITTO stands for “Input, Tool & Technique and Output.” In the exam you will see many questions based on the ITTO. In this type of question, you may be asked to select the correct Input, Tool & Technique, or Output for a given process.

Example

What is an output of the develop project charter process?

a) Risk register
b) Stakeholder register
c) Project charter
d) Issue log

Clearly, in this case the output is the project charter.

Definition Based Questions

These are the simplest questions that you will see on your PMP certification exam; for example, the definition of risk, secondary risk, residual risk, etc.

Example

A risk that is a result of a response to any risk is known as:

a) Primary risk
b) Secondary risk
c) Residual risk
d) Unknown risk

Here the answer is “b”, because the secondary risk is the risk which is a result of a response to any primary risk.

Situation Based Questions

In this type of question, you will be given a situation and asked to find the best answer for that situation. These questions are very tricky and difficult because all options may seem to be acceptable. However, you have to choose the best option.

Example

Your client asks you for a minor change in your project which you believe will not affect the cost or schedule baseline. What will your next step be?

a) You will implement his request because it will not affect the project
b) You will not implement the request
c) You will review the request with team members
d) You will inform management

You will neither deny nor accept any request from the client promptly unless you review it, and the client is aware and agrees to its impact on the project. For any change request, first you will review it with your team members, and then you will decide your next step.

Formula Based Questions

Here you have to solve questions by using mathematical formulas. These questions may come from critical path method, PERT, earned value management, etc.

Example

You have a project with a worth of 100,000 USD. To date, you have spent 30,000 USD and 25% of the work is completed. What is the Cost Performance Index (CPI)?

a) 5000
b) 833
c) -5000
d) 2

Cost Performance Index = (Earned Value) / (Actual Cost)

CPI = EV / AC

According to the question:

Earned Value = 25% of 100,000 = 25,000

Actual Cost = 30,000 USD

Therefore, CPI = 25,000 / 30,000 = 0.833

Hence, the answer is “b”.

Interpretational Questions

Here you will be given some data, and you have to analyze them to find the correct answer.

Example

You have a project with a worth of 100,000 USD. To date, you have spent 30,000 USD and 25% of the work is completed.

For the above project, which statement is correct?

a) The project is under budget
b) The project is over budget
c) The project is ahead of schedule
d) The project is behind schedule

Since the CPI is less than one for this project, the project is over budget.

Questions on Professional and Social Responsibility

Since are you going to be a PMI Certified PMP, PMI expects you to follow a certain code of ethics and professional conduct in your behavior.

As per PMI, “As practitioners of project management, we are committed to doing what is right and honorable. We set high standards for ourselves and we aspire to meet these standards in all aspects of our lives—at work, at home, and in service to our profession.”

Example

During a bidding conference, you notice that a bidder is your friend. What will your next step be?

a) You will help your friend
b) You will not tell anyone
c) You will disclose it
d) You will not attend the conference

There can be a conflict of interest, and in this case your first step is to disclose your friendship to management. Hence the correct answer is “c”.

So you see, you are going to see these types of questions in your PMP exam. Therefore, to practice these types of questions, I suggest you try some simulated tests before you go for the real exam. Simulated tests will give you an idea of an actual exam environment, and you can check your progress as well.

Conclusion

In these six types of questions, people find that ITTO, mathematical, and situation based question are difficult to handle. To handle ITTO based questions you must read the PMBOK Guide. To solve mathematical questions you must understand the concept, and for situation based questions you will have earn experience.

If you have something to share or any question, you can do so through the comments section.

To check your readiness for the real PMP exam, attempt my PMP Question Bank and PMP Mock Test. This question bank has 400 PMP exam sample questions and Mock Test has 200 PMP exam sample questions.

Yes, you can use a calculator during your PMP certification exam. You have two choices, either you can use the built-in calculator application through the computer screen, or you can ask the Prometric staff to provide a calculator to you.

They will give you a non-programmable basic calculator.

For the PMP certification exam, you will require only some basic mathematical calculations and this calculator will be more than enough for all your needs.

Please note that you cannot take your calculator inside the test room. You have to deposit each and every personal item in the locker before entering the test room. You’ll only be allowed to keep the key to your locker where your stuff is locked.

Summary

The calculations involved in the PMP exam are basic in nature; only simple algebraic functions will be used. Therefore, you can use the built-in calculator in the computer system or you can ask the Prometric staff, and they will provide you with a basic calculator. The choice is yours. However, note that you will not be allowed to take your own calculator inside the exam room.

This blog post has been updated on November 6th, 2015.

I have passed two PMI certification exams: the PMP certification exam on December 13th, 2010, and the PMI-RMP certification exam on April 9th, 2012.

Both times I received congratulatory emails from PMI within 24 hours and then I was able to see my certification information in my account dashboard and on the PMI online certification registry.

This is what had happened to me in 2010 and 2012.

However, after that PMI started delaying sending the congratulatory email. Soon after, also they were not updating the registry until they sent an email, causing stress for aspirants who have passed the PMP exam and are eager to see their name on the PMI online certification registry.

These days, PMI takes at least one week to send aspirants the congratulatory email and update the information in the system.

Therefore, you should wait at least one week before sending an email to PMI enquiring about the status of your certification result.

Once you receive the email from the PMI, you can also download your exam report from: https://certification.pmi.org/.

You also can see your name with the certification on the PMI online certification registry.

I hope this will cure your curiosity, and congratulations on passing the PMP exam!

Summary

These days, it takes around one to two weeks for professionals to receive their congratulatory email and then they are able to check their status in the PMI registry. Therefore, you should wait for at least two weeks. If you still don’t receive the congratulatory email, contact PMI customer care. Be sure to keep your result report that you were given in the Prometric center safe with you until you are updated on your status on the registry.

If you pass the PMP certification exam, then as per the PMI, you’ll receive your certificate package within eight weeks.

When I passed my PMP Certification Exam I was informed immediately through the computer screen that I would receive my certificate package within eight weeks.

I received it in the third week.

In my PMI-RMP test, I saw the message on the screen that I would receive my certificate package within six weeks (but in an e-mail from the PMI, they mentioned I would receive my certificate package within eight weeks; I don’t know the reason for this discrepancy).

Update: I got my PMI-RMP Certificate in less than three weeks’ time.

Summary

Though the PMI says that you will receive the certificate within four to eight weeks, in most of the cases I know professionals have received it within four to six weeks. If you do not receive it within eight weeks, you should contact PMI customer care to issue a new certificate.

If you have applied for the PMP exam, made the payment, and now you want your money back, you can do so.

The PMP exam refund policy says:

“To obtain a refund for the PMP credential, you must make a request to PMI at least 30 days before the exam eligibility expiration date. PMI will retain a processing fee of 100 USD if you have not yet scheduled or taken the examination.

Also, you can receive a refund, less a US $100 processing fee, if you fail to meet audit requirements.”

Therefore, you can clearly see that if you have not scheduled the exam yet, and you have more than 30 days until your PMP eligibility expiry, you can get your money back. However, the PMI will deduct a 100 USD fee from the amount.

Moreover, in the case of a failed audit you will also get your money back with a deduction of 100 USD.

However, in the following cases you will not get the refund, and your entire fee will be forfeited:

  • If your one-year eligibility period has expired, and you have not scheduled the exam.
  • If you scheduled the exam and did not attend it, and you also couldn’t provide a proper reason to cancel/reschedule the exam to Prometric.
  • If you failed the PMP exam.

Summary

You can get your money back minus 100 USD if you want your refund at least 30 days before the expiry of your eligibility period. If you failed the exam, did not show up for the exam, or your eligibility period is expired, you are not entitled to any refund. However, in the case of extenuating circumstances you can receive a full refund.

I believe that you are aware of the fact that the PMP certification is valid for only three years, and to renew it you have to earn 60 PDUs every three years and report to the PMI.

This cycle is known as the CCR cycle, and after completing one CCR cycle your certification status is renewed for the next three years.

You can earn these PDUs in many ways, such as attending a technical event, completing a technical course, working as a professional, etc.

Since there are many different ways to earn PDUs, the PMI has categorized them into many categories to make it easier for you to earn and report PDUs correctly.

In these different categories, some of them have limitations on the number of PDUs that you can earn.

Because of so many categories and various restrictions, you may face some problems in decoding them. Therefore, I am writing this blog post to explain these categories in detail and inform you on how many PDUs you can claim under each category.

This will help you plan your strategy to accumulate PDUs accordingly.

Okay, let’s get started.

The PMI has divided the PDUs in two main categories:

  1. Education
  2. Giving Back to the Profession

The “Education” category is further divided into three sub-categories:

  1. Category A: Courses offered by the PMI’s R.E.Ps, chapters, communities, and G.A.C
  2. Category B: Continuing Education
  3. Category C: Self-Directed Learning

The “Giving Back to the Profession” category is also divided into three sub-categories:

  1. Category D: Creating New Project Management Knowledge
  2. Category E: Volunteer Service
  3. Category F: Working as a Professional in Project Management

Education

In this category you must earn at least 35 PDUs (but not more than 30 PDUs in Category C). Of these 35 PDUs, 8 PDUs should be earned in Technical Project Management, 8 PDUs in Leadership, and 8 PDUs in Strategic and Business Management.

These three skills set are collectively known as the PMI Talent Triangle.

Now let’s discuss the sub-categories of the Education category in detail.

Category A: Courses offered by the PMI’s R.E.Ps, chapters, communities, and G.A.C

This subcategory includes the courses offered by the PMI, PMI local chapters, PMI approved R.E.Ps, and community of practice.

For every one hour of activity, you can claim one PDU.

Category B: Continuing Education

If you complete an academic course which has taught you concepts related to project management, you can claim the PDU for this part of the course.

Moreover, if you have attended training from any provider which is not registered with the PMI, you can claim the PDUs for this activity under Category B.

Category C: Self-Directed Learning

If you read a book or article related to project management, watched a video, or participated in a discussion, you can claim the PDUs for these activities under Category C.

Please note that under Category C, you cannot claim more than 30 PDUs every three years.

Giving Back to the Profession

This is the second PDU category, and here you cannot earn more than 25 PDUs per CCR cycle.

Category D: Creating New Project Management Knowledge

If you have written a book, article, blog post, newsletter, presented a webinar, podcast, etc., you can claim the PDUs for these activities under Category D.

The time required to create the knowledge and the time you used to present it can be counted towards the PDUs.

Category E: Volunteer Service

If you have provided volunteer services to someone who is not compensating you in any way, you can claim the PDUs for these activities.

Category F: Working as a Professional in Project Management

If you are working as a project manager, you can claim 8 PDUs per CCR cycle; i.e. 8 PDUs every three years.

Summary

To maintain your PMP certification you will need to earn 60 PDUs every three years. Earning these PDUs is not difficult if you understand PDU categories and how many PDUs you can earn under each category. Having knowledge of these things will help you earn PDUs with a minimum cost and less hassle.

Please note, I strongly recommend you to refer the official PMP handbook to find out the updated and authentic information. In case of any conflict between any of my blog posts and the PMP handbook, follow the information given in the official PMP handbook.

If you have applied for the PMP exam, made the payment, and now you want your money back, you can do so.

The PMP exam refund policy says:

“To obtain a refund for the PMP credential, you must make a request to PMI at least 30 days before the exam eligibility expiration date. PMI will retain a processing fee of 100 USD if you have not yet scheduled or taken the examination.

Also, you can receive a refund, less a US $100 processing fee, if you fail to meet audit requirements.”

Therefore, you can clearly see that if you have not scheduled the exam yet, and you have more than 30 days until your PMP eligibility expiry, you can get your money back. However, the PMI will deduct a 100 USD fee from the amount.

Moreover, in the case of a failed audit you will also get your money back with a deduction of 100 USD.

However, in the following cases you will not get the refund, and your entire fee will be forfeited:

  • If your one-year eligibility period has expired, and you have not scheduled the exam.
  • If you scheduled the exam and did not attend it, and you also couldn’t provide a proper reason to cancel/reschedule the exam to Prometric.
  • If you failed the PMP exam.

Summary

You can get your money back minus 100 USD if you want your refund at least 30 days before the expiry of your eligibility period. If you failed the exam, did not show up for the exam, or your eligibility period is expired, you are not entitled to any refund. However, in the case of extenuating circumstances you can receive a full refund.

Once you have joined the PMI, you can download the latest version of the PMBOK Guide from the PMI’s website for free.

Please note that opening an account at PMI.org and getting a PMI membership are different things.

Anybody can go to the PMI website and open an account but to join the PMI you will have to pay a 139 USD fee to the PMI.

I am updating this blog post with this information because many of visitors thought that after opening an account with the site they will be able to download the PMBOK Guide for free.

So, they opened the account, tried to download the PMBOK Guide, and when they failed they contacted me about the issue. They were thinking that signing up for the site is the same as signing up for the PMI membership.

Once you subscribe to the paid PMI membership you can download the PMBOK Guide as many times as you want and for as long as you maintain your membership with the PMI.

In addition to the PMBOK Guide, there are many other foundational standards, practice standards, and frameworks available for you to download free of charge.

These standards and frameworks are as follows:

Foundational Standards

  • Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3®)
  • The Standard for Program Management
  • The Standard for Portfolio Management

Practice Standards and Frameworks

  • Practice Standard for Project Risk Management
  • Practice Standard for Earned Value Management
  • Practice Standard for Project Configuration Management
  • Practice Standard for Work Breakdown Structures
  • Practice Standard for Scheduling
  • Practice Standard for Project Estimating
  • Project Manager Competency Development Framework

After joining the PMI, you will be able to download the latest version of the PMBOK Guide for free. Not only can you access the PMBOK Guide; in fact, you will be able to download all foundation standards, practice standards, and framework, which may save hundreds of dollars. Therefore, I suggest you get a PMI membership as soon as possible.

Summary

After joining the PMI, you will be able to download the latest version of the PMBOK Guide for free. Not only can you access the PMBOK Guide; in fact, you will be able to download all foundation standards, practice standards, and framework, which may save hundreds of dollars. Therefore, I suggest you get a PMI membership as soon as possible.

Visit the benefits of PMI membership to read more about these benefits.

Technical skills represent topics of PMIs certificate within the project, program, and portfolio management. When you earn technical PDUs, these are always applicable to your PMP® but the reverse may not correct.

For example, if you are PMI-ACP® and PMP® certified, your technical PDUs in Agile topics will also count for PMP® certification. PDUs related to the PMP® topics, may not get counted for your PMI-ACP® certificate.

Here I am listing some of the PMP® topics can be included in Technical Project Management (but not limited to)

  • Data gathering techniques
  • Data Modelling
  • Earned Value Management
  • Project Schedule Management
  • Project Scope Management
  • Project Budget and Cost Estimation
  • Requirement Management and Traceability
  • Project Risk Management
  • Project Governance

 

Minimum & Maximum Technical PDUs for PMP®, PMI-ACP®, and PMI-PBA®: The minimum and maximum Technical PDUs requirements are as follows:

Technical PDUs

Strategic category of Talent Triangle represent the skills helps to deliver better business outcomes. These are the processes; tools & techniques contribute to the larger organizational strategy.

Following are the few examples of strategic business management (but not limited to):

  • Benefit Management and Realization
  • Business Models and Structures
  • Benchmarking and Competitive Analysis
  • Customer Relationship and Satisfaction
  • Market and Industry Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliances
  • Operational Functions (Finance, Marketing, etc.)
  • Strategic Planning, Analysis and Alignment

 

Minimum & Maximum Strategic PDUs for PMIs Certification’s: The minimum and maximum Strategic PDUs requirements for each PMI’s certificate are as below:

Minimum & Maximum Strategic PDU

Leadership skills are essential in working together to meet the upcoming project milestone. You should have the ability to articulate the project vision and influence others to help achieve that vision.

Following are the few examples of leadership business management (but not limited to):

  • Negotiation skills
  • conflict management
  • problem-solving
  • team building,
  • cultivating your emotional intelligence and influencing skills irrespective of your formal leadership role are a few critical areas of leadership skills.

 

Minimum & Maximum Leadership PDUs for PMIs Certification’s: The minimum Leadership and maximum leadership PDUs requirements for each PMI’s certificate are as below:

Minimum & Maximum Leadership PDUs

Before reporting these PDUs, you need to map each Online and Digital media PDUs in either one of the following three categories of Talent Triangle:

  • Leadership
  • Technical
  • Strategic

Following guidelines can help you to map your learnings in the above categories:

 

Step 1:

Login at pmi.org using your user id and password.

Step 2:

Go to your dashboard and then select Report PDUs as shown below:

Report Online or Digital pdus

Step 3:

Now ‘Report PDUs’ screen will appear. Here you need to select “Online or Digital Media” under Education category as shown below:

Online or Digital Media under Education category

Step 4:

Fill details of Provider, Title, Date Started and Date Completed. Provider and Title details will come from the source of your digital or online content. If you are watching any video from iZenBridge YouTube channel, in this case provider will be “iZenBridge” and the Title will be the name of video.

The provider of your online or digital media can be any PMI REP (Registered Education Provider), or it may be any third-party.

Description and URL of online media are optional details.

provider of your online or digital media pdu

When you scroll in the same screen, you are also required to fill the number of PDUs for the relevant category of Talent Triangle. You are required to divide the PDUs among TechnicalLeadership, and Strategic PDUs. And the division will depend on the content of pre-recorded videos or webinars.

You can count 1 PDU for each hour of watching online or digital content. You may find that online or digital content belongs to all three categories, or it may fit only one/ two categories.

PDUs for the relevant category of Talent Triangle

Step 5:

Click on “I agree this claim is accurate” and Submit your PDUs claim.

Step 6:

It’s done