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PMP® FAQS

What is PMP?

PMP stands for "Project Management Professional". It is a certification scheme designed by the Project Management Institute® in order to standardize the assessment of project management leadership ability. It is aimed at those with an established background in project management.

You can find out more on our What Is PMP® page.

What are the benefits of PMP certification?

For individuals, a PMP certification can significantly increase your expected salary. It can also provide greater opportunities in the project management field. It will consolidate your existing demonstrate your ability to direct project management activity to both employers and peers.

For organizations, PMP certified teams are better at realizing project benefits. They have been shown to deliver more objectives on time and to specification than non-certified managers. 80% of high-performing projects include certified project managers on their team. That's because they make the difference in key areas: from management of risk, to value management, project strategy, and post-project analysis.

What is the eligibility criteria?

To be eligible for the PMP certification, you must meet certain educational and professional experience requirements. All project management experience must have been accrued within the last eight consecutive years prior to your application submission

  • A four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent). A minimum three years / 36 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience during which at least 4,500 hours were spent leading and directing the project* and 35 hours of project management education,
    OR
  • A Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent). A minimum five years / 60 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience during which at least 7,500 hours were spent leading and directing the project* and 35 hours of project management education.

* Leading and directing the project as identified with the tasks, knowledge, and skills specific in the Project Management Professional Examination Content Outline. You should have experience in all five process groups across all your project management experience submitted on the application. However, on a single project, you do not need to have experience in all five process groups.

Do I need to become a PMI® member before booking the PMP exam?

Technically, no. But it is the best and most affordable method available, and the one most recommended by us at Project Management Qualification.com.

You may, for example, purchase the exam as a non-PMI member for $555 USD.
The combined cost of PMI membership, plus the exam at the membership rate, is $544 USD.

So if you apply for the PMP exam after joining PMI, you can make a saving on booking costs.

There are also numerous other benefits of becoming a PMI member.

What are the benefits of signing up to PMI?

The Project Management Institute is a leader in the project management industry and its certification schemes are well-known and prestigious worldwide.

As a full-time PMI member, you will have access to:

Knowledge Resources: Digital editions of standard PMI publications, plus hundreds of downloads from templates to articles and papers.

Career Development: Career guidance and job board can help you find employment, plus methods for earning your Professional Development Units (PDUs).

A Worldwide Community: Join local PMI chapters in more than eighty countries at ProjectManagement.com. Connect with others to create, debate and rate content, and earn badges for your participation.

Rewards & Discounts: Receive up to 20% discounts across the PMI Store, from books and media to training courses and exams. Be first in line for special PMI events and programs.

How do I apply to PMI?

First it is important to determine whether you meet the eligibility requirements. Applying for the exam without the requisite eligibility is a waste of both time and resources.

Then you must fill out the PMP exam application form. It is readily available online, or in a printable format to be sent by mail.

The application is divided into three sections, and it requires a lot of information. For this reason PMI allows you to fill it out in multiple sittings (although you still need to finish the application within 90 days of starting). You will be asked to provide:

A) General information about yourself
B) Project management experience
C) Details of your 35 contact hours

Take your time to provide all the correct information – it will be difficult to alter any details at later stages.

Once you have submitted your application, it should take a maximum of 5-7 working days for the PMI to review it. Providing that nothing in your application requires clarification, you will then pay your fee. PMI membership and the PMP exam combined costs $544 USD.

What's the best way to earn 35 contact hours for the PMP certification?

The ILX PMP online learning course takes between 35 and 40 hours to complete, earning you 35 contact hours. To achieve 35 contact hours, you must complete the ILX PMP online course in full across all modules, along with the exam simulator, spending a minimum of 35 hours in total.

I think I have 35 contact hours from a few years ago. Have they expired?

Your contact hours, wherever you attain them, should never expire. You can use them to apply for the PMP exam at any time, so long as they were attained before application.

What is the cost of PMP certification?

For only $700 USD you can gain 12 months' access to our award-winning and multimedia online exam preparation materials.

Purchasing the exam through PMI, with membership fees and discounts, amounts to $544 USD.

This brings the total to $1,244 USD, all for a project management qualification that will see you through the rest of your career.

What is the PMP exam format?

The PMP certification exam consists of 200 questions. Out of the 200 questions, 25 are considered pre-test questions, which will not affect your final score in any way.

Generally, exams are complete using computer-based testing which is the standard method of administration for PMI. Exams are also sometimes available via Prometric testing centers.

The total allotted time for the CBT examination is four hours.

What is the required passing score to complete the exam?

PMI does not publish the precise amount of correct answers required to complete the PMP certification.

Information used to be more freely available. But since the passing requirement has changed multiple times over the years, it's best to take any definitive claims found around the internet with a pinch of salt.

What is the PMBOK® Guide?

PMBOK® Guide stands for 'Project Management Body of Knowledge'. Since its first publication in 1996, the guidance manual has gone through several editions. It is now in its fifth edition as of January 2013.

It is generally seen as the standard setter for project management guidelines, processes, techniques and terminology. It provides a complete framework for project management, drawing on the best practices of worldwide professionals in various industries.

The standard guidelines it contains are considered industry agnostic, able to be applied and implemented in practically any domain.

It is important to note that the PMBOK® Guide is a framework. It is not a strict, step-by-step project management methodology.

Is the PMBOK® Guide everything I need to pass the PMP certification exam?

To achieve a PMP certification you have to understand this book. Do not make the mistake of avoiding it. However, understanding this book is no guarantee of a successful examination.

It's true the PMP exam is based on the PMBOK® Guide. In order to pass the exam, though, you should also refer to other study materials.

Combining the guide with our innovative online training materials should prepare you fully.

If you need extra help, there are many PMP reference books and exam prep guides available through stores across the internet.

How much time should I spend for exam preparation?

The recommended study time with our online/e-learning training is approximately 30 to 40 hours before you are ready for the PMP exam.

What type of questions are covered in the PMP exam?

ITTO (Input, Tool & Technique and Output) based questions:
Selecting the correct input, tool & technique or output for a given process.

Definition based questions:
Among the most simple multiple choice questions in the exam, you may be asked to choose the correct definition of "secondary risk" for example.

Situation based questions:
Solving mathematical formulas, often using the critical path method, PERT, earned value management, etc.

Interpretation based questions:
Testing your ability to analyze data to find the desired answers and solutions.

Professional and social responsibility based questions:
Demonstrating your ability to follow the PMI code of ethics and professional conduct.

What if I don't succeed in my first exam attempt?

Don't worry. You have three total attempts available within the one year of your eligibility period.

However, you must use all your attempts within that year. Failure to meet this deadline will mean you have to re-apply for the PMP exam after another one year's suspension.

It's worth noting that the exam fee for second and third attempts will cost less. PMI members will pay only $275 USD for computer-based testing, and $150 for paper-based tests.

To prepare yourself for exam resits, you should utilize our online training materials to test and benchmark your PMP knowledge. It has been specially designed to allow you to track and monitor your own progress with an exam simulator included in the e-learning package. Also ensure that you study the PMBOK® Guide in great depth.

When will I receive my PMP certification exam results?

You will receive your PMP exam results shortly after completing your exam at your designated test desk.

What is a PMI audit and what happens if I fail?

If you will be subject to a PMI audit, it will be after you have completed your application and paid your fee. If you are not selected for an audit, you will be made aware.

When selected for an audit, the PMI will ask for documentation and proof of your experience and contact hours. After sending them by mail, it will take a week at most to review and respond. After successful completion of the audit, you will be able to finish your PMP exam application.

If PMI is not satisfied with what you have provided, you will be notified. Follow their instructions and you won't have anything to worry about at all.

If you should fail the audit, it will be for one of the following reasons.

The PMP exam is deemed beyond your capability:
PMI may not be able to verify the information you have given them for some reason.

In this case you will be refunded your fee, minus a $100 USD admin fee. You will be able to reapply for the exam and there will be no suspension period.

You decided not to complete the audit:
If you don't reply to the audit call, or fail to supply the information within the 90 day time limit, you will fail the audit.

In these cases, your fee will be returned minus a $100 admin fee. However, you will be banned from PMP exam applications for one year.

You provided false information:
This is a special case wherein you have provided incorrect information and then tried to persuade PMI to believe your false claim.
Do not do this.

Your money will be returned with $100 deducted. But if PMI discovers you have intentionally falsified information, you will be banned from applying for the PMP exam for life. If you provide false information by mistake, you must notify your PMI contact as soon as possible to correct the error.

How can I evade a PMI audit?

It is not really possible to avoid an audit. The PMI selection process for audits is entirely random and determined by their own internal procedures.

As they state: "All applications are subject to an audit, although only a percentage of applications are selected… The selection of an application for audit is random."

You may be able to limit the chances of your being audited. Do this by ensuring all of the information you provide is accurate, up-to-date, and in line with eligibility requirements.

What is the PMI's Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Program?

The PMI CCR program is necessary for any certified Project Management Professional wishing to maintain their credential.

Your PMP certificate expires after three years. That is unless you complete the CCR program by earning 60 PDUs before the expiry date.

PDUs can be attained by pursuing relevant education and volunteering opportunities via PMI-approved providers and methods.