One of the steps in your journey for obtaining a PMP certificate, is of course submitting your application.
In this post I will cover the steps included in this process, and walk you through them, one by one.
This post is part of the “Obtaining a PMP Certificate – Practical Guide and Study Notes” series. Be sure to check the series page for additional guides and PMP Study notes.
The PMP application process is made out of several steps.
- Create a free account at PMI.org
- Apply for PMP certification
- Complete the application process by submitting project information and PMP Exam preparation workshop completion certificate.
- Complete the audit process (if selected)
- Pay for the exam, schedule and reserve your spot.
Let’s go over the steps in more details one by one.
Create a pmi.org account
- Go to http://www.pmi.org/ and click on “Login / Register” at the top-right corner.
- Follow the on screen instructions for creating your account, and click “CREATE ACCOUNT”.
- Wait for the follow up mail to arrive, confirm your registration, and then login to your account.
Optional: Purchase one-year PMI membership
This is completely optional, but highly recommended.
I will discuss the PMI membership later in this series, but the fact is that you DO NOT need to be a PMI member in order to register to the exam, or maintain your certification.
However, there are two reasons to have an active PMI membership
- PMI member will pay $405 USD for the exam
- Non PMI member will pay $555 USD
- PMI membership cost $129 per year
So basically, having an active PMI membership saves money on the exams. Discounts also apply on 2nd exam attempt in case you do not pass the first time.
* All data in the part is accurate as of July 2016. Please always visit pmi.org for most recent information.
- It is easier to maintain your certificate and obtain PDUs with an active PMI membership (I will discuss that later, at the “maintaining your certificate” chapter).
Applying for PMP certification
Once your PMI account is active, and your PMI membership is valid (if you choose to have one) you can proceed to the application page.
- Click on certification at the navigation bar, then choose Project Management Professional (PMP)
- The application wizard will show up. The wizard will guide you through the process of submitting the required information to complete your application.
Follow the wizard step by step, verify that the information is correct, save and continue to the next step.
Application requirements – Project Experience
The complete list of requirements can be found here.
I have chosen to focus on the PM experience part of the application and share my own personal experience, as this is the most complicated part of the application.
Depending on your formal education, you will need to between 4,500 and 7,500 hours of leading and directing project in order to qualify for the exam. For each project you will need to provide detailed information, such as start and end date, location, organization, your role in the project, the primary stakeholder etc. This is relatively easy.
However, this is not the end of it.
You see, applying for a PMP certification, is like writing your CV all over again, PMI style, and here come the hard part.
For each project you will also need to specify how many hours you spend on each domain (initiation, planning, execution, monitor and control, and closer). You will also need to write a description of the project using 300 to 550 characters, PER PROJECT!
If that sounds like a lot of work, that you’re right. It is not easy to summaries long projects using so few characters, but think about it as a test to your PM skills. Delivering the message in short, and to the point!
Some tips for choosing the right projects for your PMP application
- Remember that about 20% of the PMP aspirants are being selected for the PMI audit.
While I will cover the PMI audit process in details at the next chapter, I will simply say that the audit means you will need to get the stakeholders signatures on the project description, information, and your role in the project.
Assuming that you have multiple project to choose from, it will be wiser to specify projects and stakeholders who will make it easier for you to acquire a formal approval for them, in case you are chosen for the audit.
- Use PMI terminology when describing the project. Planning, lessons learned, updating business documents, and process assets are all good examples. Do not make up things, or try to over use buzz words, but keep in mind that you are applying for a PMP certification, and you should use the PMI terms.
- Keep in mind – You do not need to report hours in a domain area, if you did not participate in it.
One of the projects I included in my application was the establishment of an IKEA store in Israel. I joined the organization after the project had already began, and I did not participate in the Initiation phase, and missed some of the planning phase too. I did not hide that in my application, in fact I made it clear as I could that I joined at the end of the planning phase, and yet I took the time to study the plan, and influenced what I still could.
- Continuing directly, from the previous tip I cannot emphasize the importance of this tip enough. Whatever you do, do not, under any way, lie or write things that are not accurate in your application.
First, it goes against the PMI code of ethics, and that alone is a good reason not to do it.
Second, keep in mind you may be audited. If the audit process will find a false reporting – say bye bye to your application, and certification.
Important tip about exam registration
During the exam registration process you can choose a translation language for the exam.
Translation means that in addition to the English version, you also get the question translated to your own language (in a computer based exam, the screen is simply split to two, the English version of the question at the bottom, and the translated version at the top).
While I have a lot to say (not necessarily in a good way) about the quality of the Hebrew translation (on some occasions it looks like someone just processes it through Google translate) I strongly recommend that choose to add translation to your native language.
The exam is mad out of 200 multiple-choice questions that you have to solve in 4 hours, and you don’t have scheduled break (that means that if you go out for a break, the click is still ticking). That does not give too much of a spare time. You do not want to find yourself in a situation when you are debating what is the exact difference between arbitration, litigation and negotiation- take my word for it! I’m fluent in English, and did not use the translation too much, and still it saved me a couple of questions. So it defiantly help, and it doesn’t add any extra fee.
What happens after submitting the project information?
- After submitting the project information you’ll be asked to submit information about the PMP exam preparation workshop you attended. Then you’ll have the option to review your entire application, and submit it.
- The next step after submitting the application is paying for the exam.
- Once you paid your application will enter either audit, or review phase, which upon successful completion will result in approval and instruction on how to schedule and reserve a seat for the exam.
Exam Layout and score
I will discuss the exam in more details later. But in order to give you a general idea about the exam layout
- The PMP exam is made out of 200 multiple choice questions.
- The duration of the test is 4hours, with no scheduled break.
- 25 question are for statistical sampling only – meaning you do not get any point if you answer them correctly.
- There is no “passing” score. The final score in your exam will be PASS / FAIL.
- To properly evaluate your readiness for the exam you’ll need to pass at least 4 mock exams with a passing score of 80% (160 correct answers out of 200 questions).
That’s it for this part of the PMP post series.
Check out the complete set of posts here, subscribe to receive notification on future post, or visit back soon.
As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome.