4 Things to Know about the PMP Exam

4 Things to Know about the PMP® Exam

Are you planning to pursue a career as a Project Management Professional® credential holder? If so, you’re making an exciting decision! Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification holders have a much higher earning potential than their non-certified counterparts. A PMP® credential holder earns 22% more on average than project managers who haven’t earned their certification. Like any big milestone in your career, preparing to take the Project Management Professional exam requires a lot of work. But whether you’ve been contemplating this career move for a long time or you’re just starting the process, there are a few things you should know before you take the PMP exam.

Find out four things you may not know about taking the PMP exam. Learn how those pieces of information could impact how you prepare for the exam.


7 Secrets to Passing the PMP Exam

1. You Should Take a PMP Exam Prep Course

The PMP exam isn’t like some ordinary test you studied for in college. It’s a comprehensive exam which tests aspiring certification holders’ in-depth understanding of the skills needed for successful project management. That means an exam prep course is essential if you want to be adequately prepared to pass the exam.

There’s another reason taking an exam prep course is beneficial. To qualify to be a PMP certification holder, you have to earn 35 hours of formal project management education. Taking a PMP certification training course and earning educational hours at the same time essentially crosses two major items off your to-do list – preparing to pass the exam and meeting your educational requirements.

As you’re evaluating different PMP certification training courses to take, make sure that you’re choosing one that has been approved by PMI to provide project management training. If you’re putting in all that effort, you want to be positive that you’re only choosing a member of PMI’s Authorized Training Partner (ATP) program. Otherwise, your courses could be determined not to count toward meeting your requirements.

2. You Can be Subject to an Audit

To maintain the integrity of the PMP exam and those that pass it, Project Management Institute (PMI) has the right to audit anyone who takes the exam. The audit verifies that all exam requirements have been met as reported. Any candidate can be audited at random, even after you have received the PMP certification. Not only would an audit be inconvenient, it could also cost you money if you fail to prove your eligibility.

If you fail to meet the audit requirements, you will not be allowed to take the exam. The potential for an audit makes it imperative that you partner with a member of PMI’s Authorized Training Partner (ATP) program who is approved by PMI to provide project management training. 

3. Failing the PMP Exam Isn’t the End of the World

While passing the PMP exam would be a huge milestone in your career as a project manager, there’s still a chance you may fail. And if you do, that’s not the end of the world. Even if you do fail after your first attempt, you have two more attempts to pass during the year that you are eligible to take the PMP exam.

One way to mitigate the risk that could come with failing the exam is by choosing a PMP training course that has a money-back guarantee if you don’t pass. While not many prep course providers offer this, some of the top ones do.

If you’ve chosen a prep course provider that has a money-back guarantee, you must commit to following their process. When you don’t, you could lose eligibility for reimbursement. For example, Project Management Academy offers a reimbursement guarantee, but you must align with two key requirements:

  • You must attend the entire project management certification course and complete three full-length practice exams using Project Management Academy’s online training portal.
  • You must make all exam attempts within 120 calendar days of completing the exam prep course to be eligible for reimbursement if you do not pass in three tries.

Finding an exam prep course with a money-back guarantee also reveals a lot about the confidence the provider has in their course. It will give your peace of mind as you continue through the process of preparing for the exam. And as long as you complete these courses and follow the provider’s guidelines, you won’t worry as much about not passing or losing your investment in the prep course.

4. You Must Maintain Your Credentials

When the test is over and you passed, your work to become a PMP certification holder is complete, right? Not exactly. Though you have passed the exam and become a PMP credential holder, you still must take steps to maintain it.

This process primarily involves engaging in the Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) program. Every three years after earning your PMP credential, you must show that you have earned 60 PDUs in that timespan. This demonstrates that you are still active in the project management industry and up-to-date on any industry developments.

To maintain your certification, there are a couple of different ways to earn PDUs, including:

  • Education – Engaging in learning opportunities focused on the PMI Talent Triangle® can help you earn PDUs.
  • Giving Back to the Profession – You can also use your knowledge and skills gained as a PMP certification holder to contribute to the project management profession.

It’s important to note that as part of the 60 PDUs you are earning, a minimum of 35 education PDUs must be earned, and a maximum of 25 PDUs can be earned by giving back to your profession.

Taking and passing the PMP exam is a huge accomplishment. Now that you know some important facts about taking the PMP exam, you’re better prepared to pass the test. Be sure to select the right exam prep course provider, since this decision could mean the difference between passing and failing. With enough prep, you’re sure to pass the exam and become a PMP credential holder.

Do you want to learn more about becoming a PMP credential holder and passing the PMP Exam? Explore The Complete PMP Certification Guide now.

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Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO
Director of Product Development at
Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO