What is the PMP Exam and Its Format?

PMP is considered to be one of the most coveted certifications project managers across the world aim for when looking at extending their knowledge in the project management sector. It follows a course at the end of which a PMP® Exam must be undertaken for the certification to be issued to the project manager who, once passed, will have what many consider to be the gold standard in this field.

When preparing yourself there are a few things that you should know beforehand. In this article, we will cover as much as we can to give you a better idea of what you will need to prepare before going forward with this endeavor which can ultimately take your career to new heights.

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Exam Prerequisites

PMP Exam Prerequisite

Before sitting for the PMP exam, a number of prerequisites must be met in order to be considered eligible. There are two sets of requirements one of which must be met in full before sitting for the exam. Keep in mind that PMI reserves the right to audit the information given so it is never wise to cheat as this could result in a permanent suspension from sitting for a PMP exam. Audits are done on a random basis so always be sure to provide as clear and concise information as possible in your application.

The first set of requirements includes a 4-year degree which needs to be supplemented by 4,500 hours of experience leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.

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If you do not have a degree, you will need to comply with the second set of prerequisites which substitutes the4-year degree with a secondary degree or equivalent. Project management experience, in this case, needs to including 7,500 hours of leading and directing projects along with 35 hours of project management education.

What is acceptable as project management hours is listed in the application itself as well as PMI’s website so make sure you read the instructions carefully to avoid being disqualified.

The 35 hours of project management education you will be able to accumulate through attending the PMP course. There are several ways to accomplish this however attending a course by a PMI certified center ensures that your hours are verified by the training provider who has been accredited by PMI. Always ensure that the training provider you choose is able to issue you with such a certificate before committing time and money so that the hours you spend will count towards this requirement.

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Exam Structure

PMP Exam Structure

The exam itself is based on the PMBOK guide which is generally covered extensively during the course. Exams are closed book meaning no reference material may be brought in for the examination which is 200 questions long. 12.5% of those questions, which is 25, are test questions that PMI puts into fine tune their examination processes. These questions carry no marks however you will not know which ones they so always answer to the best of your ability and keep calm to ensure you answer as correctly as possible.

Exam questions are split across the five performance domain which is covered in the PMP exam. These 5 performance domains are something all project managers are very much familiar with however the course will make sure that you also become familiar with the terminology used in the PMBOK so always pay attention during lectures and take notes to remember what you learn.

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Throughout the exam, different performance domains are given different percentages and as such you will, for example, have more questions about the execution phase than the closure phase. This does not mean that one is more important than the other as questions from all performance domains will count towards your final score.

The exam itself is done online at a Prometric center however if one isn’t available within a reasonable vicinity, paper-based questions may be made available to you in these circumstances. Each question will have 4 possible answers with only one of them being correct. Whilst many might think that this type of exam is easier than others, keep in mind that PMI wants to uphold the standard which PMP is known for and as such the questions can be more difficult than you think. Study well and you will do well.

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Exam Results

PMP Exam Result

Once the exam has been undertaken, results become available immediately for those taking the computer-based exam. In order to give you a better picture of how well you performed in the exam, you will also be provided with a scoring system for each project management process group covered in the exam which scoring system ranges from ‘above target’ all the way to ‘needs improvement’. This will help you understand which areas you need to focus on the most so that you may become a better project manager and achieve more in your career.

If for one reason or another you had to undertake the written exam, you will typically have to wait around four weeks before you receive the result. Whilst this might be a very stressful time, it always helps to keep reading and learning about best PMP practices so that no matter what the result, you will still be in a position to offer better project management within your work environment.

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PMP is as highly regarded as it is because of the processes put in place to ensure that those that pass the exam and receive a certificate are able to uphold the standards and values that PMP represents. Without this, the certification would lose its value which is highly regarded across the globe and can provide project managers with ample opportunities for growth. As such it is highly recommended to put in the time and effort to learn what the PMBOK represents as it will surely help you become a better project manager and a better person.

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