PMP certification is the world’s most reputable and popular project management certification. Thousands of professionals around the world look for the ways of how to get PMP certification in their first attempt. Because, it is not an easy exam. You must know how to prepare for Project Management Professional certification exam, how to pass the PMP exam, how to obtain PMP certification and how to renew your PMP certification in order to maintain your credential.
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We have explored the five “how to”s of Project Management Professional certification in this post. Let’s read on to learn all details of PMP certification.
How to Prepare for PMP Exam
The first step of how to prepare for the exam is determining your target the exam date. Of course, everybody wants to pass the exam in a day. However, it is not possible. You might have several years of project management experience; however, this is not sufficient to get Project Management Professional certification. Or, you might have a perfect project management knowledge background. Your project management knowledge alone will not help you to get PMP certification in first attempt as well. You must choose a realistic target exam date.
On average, it takes around five to six months to get Project Management Professional certification for a full-time working professional. While the preparation time might vary for every candidate, this is an average duration for our past 500,000+ students who enrolled in our PMP training. Considering your own schedule, background and dedication, choose a exam target date for yourself.
Once you determined the exam target date, prepare a PMP study guide for yourself. There is a misconception about how to get the certification or how to prepare for the exam that many candidates think that there is one study plan that will work for everybody. No, unfortunately, you must prepare your own study plan. However, you are lucky that we have a good guide for how you should prepare your study plan.
After helping over 500,000 professionals in more than 180 countries with a 99.6% first attempt pass rate, we have prepared a seven step study plan. Read this PMP study plan and create your own prep plan accordingly.
Project Management Professional certification exam will assess both your project management knowledge and experience. Therefore, you must know how to prepare for the exam even if you are a very experienced project manager. One of the critical aspects of how to get PMP certification in your first attempt is enrolling in a comprehensive training.
What are the training options you can attend?
There are several training options in the market. Fundamentally, there are three types of Project Management Professional certification training options you can attend:
- Classroom Training
- Live Classroom Training
- Online Training.
Each of these training options has its own advantages and disadvantages. After 2010s, with the evolution of online training options, most of the candidates opt for online PMP training alternatives. You can read all pros and cons of online PMP certification training options from this post.
Watch the Top 3 Benefits of Online Training
How to Pass the Exam
We have seen the first step of how to get PMP certification in your first attempt. You must prepare a good study plan and you must attend in a comprehensive training. However, these might not be enough to get you ready for the certification exam. We will give you two more hints on how to pass the exam in your first attempt.
1- ) Take Notes During Your Study
PMP certification is a long journey. As mentioned already, it takes six months on average for a full-time working professional. When you are completing the further sections of the exam content, you have to remember what you have learned already. Taking notes is one of the best ways of remembering what you completed during your study.
Go through your notes every two or three weeks to remember old topics you studied. By this way, while you are learning new topics, you will keep remembering the topics you already completed.
2- ) Practice With As Many PMP Questions As Possible
Second trick of how to pass the exam in your first attempt is practicing with several questions. You might access sample PMP questions once you attended in a training. However, we recommend practicing with more than 1,000 sample PMP questions during your study in order to increase your chance of passing in your first attempt.
There are several question resources online. However, make sure that they are up to date and provide accurate answers and rationales. You can search for PMP question bank or other PMP exam question resources. We strongly recommend you to enroll in a PMP exam simulator. Exam simulators will include real-like PMP questions and assess your readiness for the exam. You will have chance to practice several PMP exams and different types of questions. This will double your chance of how to get PMP certification.
While practicing with sample questions, do not forget to take notes about what you answered wrong. Go through your wrong answers and take notes to remember your weak points.
How to Get PMP Certification
How to prepare for exam and how to pass the exam are actually the first prerequisites of how to get PMP certification. Once you completed your 35 hours project management education and if you are satisfying the PMP experience requirements, you can apply for exam to get PMP certification.
There are three ways of how to get certification.
- Paper Application
- Online Application
- Training Provider Application
Paper application and training provider application takes around a month to complete. Therefore, PMI recommends PMP candidates to apply through online PMP application method. After PMI reviews your online application, if everything is ok, you will be good to get PMP certification and you can schedule your exam.
What about PMI audit?
Note that, regardless of the completeness of your application, PMI might audit your application. In that case, you must send the requested files to PMI via mail. Once PMI received your files, they will review and approve your application if everything is ok.
How can you find an exam center?
Once you are eligible to sit for PMP exam, the next step is scheduling your PMP exam through a PMP exam center. You can take PMP exam through Pearson VUE test centers. This is the only way of how to get PMP certification.
Note that, depending on the schedule of the Pearson VUE test center, you might not book your exam on the date you want. We recommend you to schedule your PMP exam date at least one month before to avoid any delays. You can find the find or schedule nearest PMP exam center from this link.
How to Obtain PMP Certification
After you booked your PMP exam from an exam center, go through your study notes until the exam day. Going through your exam study notes will keep your PMP knowledge refresh. We do not recommend a tight study for the last days just before the exam date. Sparing around one hour to go through your PMP study notes should be ok.
On the exam day, make sure you had a good sleep at night. Try to be early in the exam center before the exam time so you can adapt yourself to the exam center atmosphere.
Once the exam time comes, exam test center personnel will check your ID and show your seat and PC for taking the exam. You will have four hours to take exam and 200 multiple choice questions will wait for you to be answered. 25 questions of the exam are not scored and used for quality improvement purposes of PMI. However, you never know which 25 questions are not scored. Therefore, take every PMP question seriously during your exam. You can read more about PMP exam content.
You will have options to mark questions that you are not sure. Use this feature even if you mark an answer for a question that you are unsure. At the end of the exam, it will be good to go through your unsure marked questions.
Once you completed your exam, you can click on complete the exam option and your results will be displayed immediately. Yes! you read correct. You will know whether you passed the exam right after you completed the exam. However, how to obtain Project Management Professional certification is not as fast as seeing your PMP exam results. PMI will send your certification to your mailing address. Depending on your location it might take up to one month to receive your PMP certification.
How to Renew Your Certification?
Ok, you did a hard work and got the certification. Do you know how to renew it? Yes, once you obtained the the certification, you must renew your certification in every three years. To do this, PMI expects you to earn 60 PDU (Professional Development Units).
Following image shows how to renew the certification step-by-step:
There are different guidelines of PMI for earning PDUs. You can read about PMI PDU categories to learn more about what PMI expects from your PDUs. You can attend different PMP PDU activities to earn PDUs. There are requirements for each PMP PDU category and activity. You must ensure that the PDUs you earned will be accepted by PMI.
As a pioneer project management platform, Master of Project Academy developed an affordable and convenient solution for how to renew PMP certification as well.
Based on PMI PDU guidelines, a certification holder can earn all of his or her PDUs from education category. This means, you can attend courses and earn all of your 60 PDUs that you must complete in three-year CCRS cycle.
Traditional way of how to renew the certification is attending seminars, conferences or classroom courses to complete your 60 PDUs. However, this is both time consuming and costly. Master of Project Academy’s 60 PDU course bundle eases the PDU earning process.
60 PDU course bundle includes four courses. These courses and their PDU distribution are as following.
PDU Distribution of Each Course in 60 PDU course bundle (Technical, Strategic, Leadership)
Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Training – 12, 9, 9 = 30 PDUs
Agile Scrum Certification Training – 4, 4, 4 = 12 PDUs
ITIL Foundation Certification Training – 5, 5, 4 = 14 PDUs
Microsoft Project Training – 1, 2, 1 = 4 PDUs
Once a Project Management Professional certification holder completes a training, he or she can submit the PDUs online. You can check the following sample PDU submission for a course. After submitting your PDUs, you will see that PMI approves the submitted PDUs at the end of the page. This is a proof that PMI accepts our PDUs.
Project Management Professional certification is one of the most demanded certifications by the employers in the project management job market.
During this post, we have explored how to prepare for the exam, how to pass the exam, how to obtain the certification, and how to renew it in sequence. Make sure that you have solid plans for how to get PMP. Otherwise, you might fail in your first attempt and you might have to retake the exam.