While I was studying for my PMP certification I had a lot of questions concerning the process itself, the importance of the PMI membership, how to maintain the certificate after passing the exam and so on.

While some of the question had clear answers, others did not. In this post I will answer some of the frequently asked questions regarding PMP certificate.

This post is part of the “Obtaining a PMP Certificate – Practical Guide and Study Notes” series.
Visit the series page for more free content.

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Do I need a PMP certificate to be a project manager?

In short the answer is no. But in details the answer gets more complicated.
It really depends on your industry, and specific project / company requirements.

I have managed projects for years without PMP certificate, but on the other hand some companies, sectors, or markets require it. I have obtained my PMP certification as part of my own personal development process, it is a certificate I wanted to own. The best advice I can give you is to check the requirements, and best practices in your local region/country / company etc.

One thing is for certain, holding a PMP certification will defiantly boost your resume and may improve resume and prestige over similar candidate without certificate.

Does having a PMP certification makes one a good project manager?

No it doesn’t. Just like any other certificate, having one and being good at it is not the same thing.

I have met, and worked with, project managers without PMP certificate who did far better job than other with one.
Having a certificate (or to be honest, the process of studying the PMBoK and obtaining deep understanding of the project manager lifecycle) does provide with a great set of tools for project manager, but this set of tools must be put into use to make a difference.

I have heard that the studying take a lot of time. Do I need to quit my job?

While studying for the PMP exams takes time, you most certainly DO NOT need to quit your job for that.

With proper preparation and time  planning it is most possible to combine even a full time job with studying for the PMP exam. I know this from firsthand experience, as I was  holding a full time position as the IT Infrastructure Manager for IKEA is Israel, while studying and obtaining my PMP. And trust me when I say that this is a challenging, full time,  position.

Is the certification for life?

Yes and no.

  • Yes – Once you have passed your PMP certification exam, you do not need to pass the exam again, as long as you obtain, and report PDUs as required.
  • No – If you have failed to acquire and report PDUs, your certification will be revoked. In such case, you will need to take the test again, and reacquire your certificate.
What is the PMI Audit?

The PMI audit is the process where you have to prove to the PMI institute that the information you specifies in your application for the exam is accurate. This is done by:

  1. Having the application material downloaded to your PC in a PDF format.
  2. Getting the stakeholder you specified for each project sign up on the project information.
  3. Include formal certification regarding your formal education.
  4. Send everything to PMI.

While this may sound a long and tedious process I can assure you it doesn’t have to be. I have completed my audit process in about three weeks time, out of those, two weeks “spent” on getting an English version of my B.A degree from the university office.

More information can be found at the “Why you should not fear the PMI audit” post.

Must I be a PMI member to register for the exam?

No. You can register for the exam without being a PMI member.

HOWEVER, and this is a real BUT, I do encourage you to register for a PMI membership before registering for the exam, at least for one year.

  • Annual  PMI membership fee is $129 (+$10 application fee if this is your first registration).
  • PMP Exam fee: For non PMI members $555, For PMI members $405
    So basically registering for the PMP exam as PMI member saves money.

But there is more. There other benefits for PMI members, including many free resources to obtain PDUs (we’ll discuss them next), so it is very very reasonable to give PMI membership a go at least for one year.

What are PDUs?

PDUs are short for personal development units. PDUs are required to maintain your PMP certificate valid and up to date, one you passed the exam. Detailed information about PDUs, and about maintaining a PMP certificate can be found here.

Must I be a PMI member to keep my certification?

No. You do not have to be an active PMI member to keep your PMP certification. You need to acquire and report the required amount of PDUs. See more here. However, PMI membership also give you access to premium content, webinars, online conferences and more at projectmanagement.com.  This content makes it a lot easier to obtain PDUs and based on my own personal experience I do recommend it.

What is the PMP exam layout?

The exam is made out of 200 multiple choice questions.
Each question tells a story about an issue / a scenario in a project, with four possible answers to solve the issue. You should identify and choose the BEST possible answer for each question.

More details about the exam layout and metrics are available at the “Registering for the exam” post (Link will be updated shortly).


What is the passing score of the PMP exam?

Basically there is not “passing score”.

The final score at the exam is PASS/FAIL only, with more detailed information on every domain knowledge (Initiating, Planning, Execution, Monitor and Control, and Closer). As a rule of thumb, you should aim for a score of 80% (answering 160 question out of 200) in order to guarantee your success.

I’ll cover that later at the post covering the exam itself.

How many times I can take the exam?

You can take the exam three times during one year period. If you have failed three times, you will have to wait for a whole year before applying again. However with proper planning you shouldn’t worry about that!

This post is part of the “Obtaining a PMP Certificate – Practical Guide and Study Notes” series.
Visit the series page for more free content.

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