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Project Manager’s Guide to Passing PMP Certification Exam like a PRO

May 2022 by MARIA FORSBERG

The industries where PMP certified project managers are highly demanded include – IT, healthcare, construction and civil engineering, and financial institutions. If you’re working as a Project Manager already, securing a PMP certification can be a big value add to your resume and career.

 

But before you think about earning this credential, it is essential to dive deeper into the certification process and answer questions like - ‘’Is the PMP certification worth your time, effort, and money?’’ And that's what we at Readynez have analyzed for you in this information-packed article to help you pave your way to become a PMP Certified Project Manager.

The demand for Project Management Professionals is on the rise and is expected to continue growing for many years to come. Nearly 22 million new project-oriented jobs will be created worldwide, by the year 2027. Given this growth, project management has emerged as a lucrative career option and has greatly amplified the demand for certifications such as PMP, which attests and recognizes highly skilled Project Managers.

 

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The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, if you already don’t know, is focused around preparing an existing Project Manager to develop soft as well as hard skills needed to lead a team in today’s rapidly changing work environment. Today, the benefits of a PMP certification seem immense as the value of the PMP certification has grown by over 25% over the past few years. This certification is designed for project management professionals, by project management professionals, and substantiates that you have the management leadership skills that employers seek to make their projects successful.

 

How does the PMP Certification add value to a Project Manager’s Career?

The benefits offered by the PMP certification are here to stay and are not just limited to securing higher salaries across the arc of your career. In fact, the PMP gives you credit for what you already know and sharpens your existing skills. It pushes you to excel and then attest your management excellence. Here are some key ways in which a PMP Certification can add value to your career:

  • It enhances specific soft skills that are in high demand
  • It increases the professional credibility of your resume by demonstrating a commitment to excellence and the capability to perform at the top levels
  • It guarantees in-depth knowledge and increased earning potential globally as the PMP certification is trusted in more than 80 countries worldwide
  • It grants you access to networking opportunities across the globe by virtue of the global recognition given to your knowledge and expertise after clearing the exam.
  • It trains you in five main project management processes, e.g., planning, initiation, implementation, monitoring, and control
  • It shows that you have the aptitude to drive business results and increase your organization’s market value
  • It ensures that you earn higher than the average salary of a Project Manager. For instance, the average salary for PMP certified professionals in North America is 25% higher than those without it

 

Who is eligible for the PMP Certification exam?

If you have a high school degree or equivalent, five years of experience in project management with at least 7,500 hours on leading projects, and 35 hours of project management-related education, you can very well appear for the exam.

 

How much does the PMP Certification Cost?

The PMP certification fees may typically cost anything between USD $50 to USD $3500 conditional upon the training institute, training format, and the country of residence. However, this cost can vary from country to country. For instance, in India, it costs around $555 USD if you’re not a PMI member. The cost for candidates with a PMI membership is $405 in the US. This implies another cost in the form of a PMI membership, which sums up to $139 USD ($129 plus $10 as a one-time application fee). So, by enrolling yourself as a PMI member, you will save $150 on the exam fee and $100 on re-examination fees.

As per the Project Management Institute (PMI), you must complete 35 hours of training which constitutes the first component of the PMP certification. The training cost depends on the mode of the program opted by you and your country of residence. The physical workshop, on one hand - provides you an opportunity to meet other aspiring Project Management Professionals and form a solid network. It also gives you access to one-on-one interaction. On the other hand, online training is far less expensive than its classroom counterparts and gives you the benefit of training in the comfort of your home. After a sincere cost-benefit analysis, you must choose the mode of training that best suits your study style.

In order to take a second attempt at the PMP exam, you will have to bear an additional cost of $375 USD if you’re not a member of PMI, otherwise $275 USD only.

 

Is there a Renewal cost attached to the PMP Certification?

PMP certificate holders are required to renew their certifications. This means you don’t need to undergo the application procedure from scratch if you intend to maintain your PMP credentials. This renewal ensures that the skills of the PMP-certified project management practitioners are updated as per the needs of the day. The PMP renewal fee is $129 USD for each year after you have successfully earned 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) in a three-year cycle.

 

What does the PMP exam format look like?

The PMP exam is a closed book exam, which means that you cannot refer to any study material while writing your examination. Since no two candidates receive the same set of questions, there is no fixed score that you can extrapolate for cracking the exam.

The PMP Certification exam comes in a Multiple-Choice Question (MCQ) format. You have to answer 200 questions in 4 hours, out of which you will be scored for 175 questions. The score of the 25 pretest questions will not be considered for your final score.

The exam is designed to check your proficiency in 3 main domains of any project that you may have to deal with as a Project Management professional - People, Process, and Business Environment. Each of these aspects do not have equal significance during the life of a project. The percentage of questions asked from each domain varies in the exam.

Image Source: Peak Business

You are awarded a proficiency level in each domain - ‘Above Target’, ‘Target’, ‘Needs Improvement’, and ‘Below Target’. The first two levels testify that you have cleared the exam. Receiving a 'Needs Improvement’ or ‘Below Target' on one domain does not necessarily mean that you have failed the exam because you may still have cleared it if it’s associated with the domain having a lower percentage of questions.

All questions do not have equal weightage in the PMP exam. The questions have different weights depending on their difficulty level. Therefore, the PMP exam pass rate is contingent upon how many gritty questions you end up answering.

The exact passing score for the PMP exam is unknown because PMI has not revealed it since 2007. However, the score has mostly been around 61% based on past trends tracked before 2005. Therefore, you may consider 61% approximately.

 

What to keep in mind before the D-day of the PMP Exam?

The new PMP certification includes three key approaches- Predictive (waterfall), Agile and Hybrid and this is one of the reasons why the PMP exam requires comprehensive preparation and presence of mind. The PMP exam is not just a theoretical test but a psychometric one as well. The PMP certification can make you the preferred choice for a managerial role because the certificate attests to the certificate holders’ skill in various facets of project management such as people, process and business environment. This exam is not only internationally accepted but sure to enhance your career prospects within your resident country. In addition to a higher earning potential, PMP certification increases the security of your work.

However, gaining a PMP certification is not a cakewalk. The passing rate of the PMP exam is low which is why we can say that it requires sincere commitment and thorough preparation. We would encourage you to consider the option to join preparatory classes designed by Readynez to suit you. You will be trained to clear your PMP certification with ease by the leading PMP-certified professionals from around the world, who will provide you with the necessary training and skills to pass the exam. In the meantime, here are a few additional tips to help you increase the odds of clearing the PMP exam on your first attempt:

  • The PMP exam tests your capabilities in dealing with various stages of a particular project. So, the higher the work experience, the easier it is going to be for you to answer the given questions in the exam.
  • The pre-test questions, which do not contribute to your score, are experimental and are randomly scattered all across the examination. Thus, the only choice you have is to attempt all the listed questions with the same level of sincerity.
  • You receive a total time of 4 hours to attempt the examination during which you cannot exercise any scheduled breaks. In case of urgency, you’ll be allowed a break but your delegated time limit would bear the price for it.
  • The exam takes off with a tutorial which is followed by a survey of roughly 15 minutes. You will be given extra time to complete the survey alongside the four hours allotted for writing the examination. These questions are based on the PMBOK specification as well as the PMP Code of Ethics.
  • For an approximate passing score of 61% in the PMP certification exam, you will have to attempt 106 questions correctly out of 175 questions given, to qualify. Since PMI transformed the PMP exam format in 2007 and stopped announcing the results in the form of percentages, you must ensure you attempt all or at least most of the questions given and definitely aim to answer more than 106 questions right.
  • There are mainly five domain areas in which you need to prove your proficiency and aptitude.

Source: Simplilearn.com

  • There are no hidden costs in the PMP examination; the only 'hidden' PMP certification fee is the opportunity cost of the time spent while studying for the PMP certification exam. So make sure you use your time judiciously well.
  • Given that the exam is fairly tough and requires you to solve a bunch of situational, theoretical, as well as logical, and calculative questions, it is highly recommended that you practice several PMP mock papers.
  • The PMP exam is based largely on the PMBOK Guide, so you can make this your roadmap for studies and then move on to other study material. This can improve your understanding of every topic by presenting the same topic from a different perspective.
  • The PMP exam questions seek to test the application of the theoretical concepts, principles, and ideas explained in the study material. So, simply memorizing everything wouldn’t be enough. The description of many situational questions also includes irrelevant information to throw you off course. A thorough understanding of the key concepts will help you in identifying and ignoring junk information.

 

Need help getting PMP Certified?

PMP certification is one of the world's leading certifications when it comes to factors like demand and employability. Earning this certification is neither easy, nor inexpensive, however, the benefits provided by the PMP exam far outweigh the examination fees, and preparatory cost. You can take the PMP Certification exam from home or in your workplace, whenever it fits in your schedule, to gain that competitive edge. Again, If you need any help with preparation to clear the PMP exam, Readynez is here to guide and assist you at every step of the way to becoming a highly-skilled PMP Certified Project Manager.

You can take the Readynez preparatory classes online or in person at one of our training centers. Most project managers who come to Readynez are actually enrolled by their employers. Thus, you can always speak to your boss about the benefits to your organization and have them fund your certification.

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Through years of experience working with more than 1000 top companies in the world, we ́ve architected the Readynez method for learning. Choose IT courses and certifications in any technology using the award-winning Readynez method and combine any variation of learning style, technology and place, to take learning ambitions from intent to impact.

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