Training and Certification

PMP® Certification: A look Inside the Exam

January 4, 2016

Bita Beigishah

Earning a PMP® certification takes a lot of hard work, studying, and thorough knowledge of the exam material. This certification is meant for project management professionals with years of experience who are looking to improve their management techniques.  If you’re interested in a PMP® certification, read on to learn what it takes to pass the exam!

PMP® Certification Prerequisites

To earn a PMP® certification, you have to be working in project management already. This isn’t an entry level certification. In fact you have to meet certain requirements before you even apply to take the exam. When you’re ready to apply to PMI®, be sure you have all your experience documented. Your application could be subjected to an audit, so don’t try to apply before you have the appropriate experience.

These are the requirements necessary before you apply to PMP®:

EducationProject Management Experience
High School Diploma or GED            5 years and 7,500 hours
B.S. Degree            3 Years and 4,500 hours

If you find  that you don’t quite have the experience necessary for PMP®, check out this blog post for information on a lower level project management certification!

A Look Inside the Exam Questions

PMP® covers a pretty wide variety of topics.

Time Management

Time Management is something that every Project Manager works with on a daily basis. PMP® expects you to implement procedures, such as 3 point estimation, to help create more realistic timelines for project completion.

There is a specific formula used for time estimates on the PMP® exam. So if you’re asked to give a projected time frame for a project using 3 point estimating, know that (P + O + M)/3 is the appropriate formula. There is quite a bit to time management on PMP®.

Quality Control

One section you may not particularly expect to deal with on PMP® is quality management. One could argue that quality control isn’t the responsibility of the project manager. But the fact of the matter is that you will be tested on this subject if you want a PMP® certification.

You could encounter a question asking how a fishbone diagram helps a project manager. You need to be able to say that they are used to stimulate ideas and explore desirable future outcomes. You may also face scenarios where you have to choose the best course of action according to PMP® processes.

If your employees are having trouble getting work done on time, and are complaining about a specific issue slowing them down, should you estimate time projection again? If you answered yes, you’d be wrong on a PMP exam.

While it might make sense to extend the current deadline, you need to find out what causes delays in the first place. It’s important to be able to figure out exactly what answer the exam expects and that only comes from having a thorough understanding of PMP® best practices, standards, and procedures.

Even if you are a great project manager, if you don’t know the formulas, terms, and problem solving steps as PMP® teaches them, you aren’t going to be able to pass the exam.

If you already knew the answers to these examples that’s great, but PMP® covers a very extensive list of information like this. Check out our PMP® course page for a rundown of what our instructors teach PMP® students to help them prepare for their exam.

PMI® Membership

Since you’re interested in a PMP® certification, you should look into a membership with PMI (Project Management Institute). PMI® is the organization that puts together the PMP®, CAPM®, ACP®, and other certifications. Joining PMI® gives you access to their publications, job seeking resources, discounts, and more. Individual members should expect to pay $129 annually, plus an initial $10 application fee. I know what you’re thinking…”Why do I want to pay MORE to get my certification?”, but hear me out.

According to PMI’s California Central Valley Chapter, membership gives you a significant discount on the exam voucher, bringing the cost down to $405 instead of $555. So you save $150 on the exam, and pay $139 (including the application fee) to join. So you save $10, you’re getting some extra perks as well! You aren’t forced into a contract of any sort, so you can always opt out later if you decide the membership isn’t beneficial for you.

Feel free to reach out to the team at Phoenix TS if you have any further questions regarding PMI® certifications.

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