PMP. How to get Certified. Part I

Sharing insights and tips from the personal experience on how to pass the Project Management Professional Certification exam.

Hey Crizpers, I am sure many of you heard about the PMP. You know that PMP is a kind of certification that confirms the Project Manager’s experience and compliance with the specified standards.

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Well, this was the first certification I have found out about. And as it was so much popular and all the global companies say they appreciate the PMP Certified specialists, I have decided to make a hop. Thus, once known, it was put into my target to become a certified practitioner, the sooner the better. Here the story starts. By the way, in my previous article (Certifications. What choices does a Project Manager have?) I have made the PMs certifications overview. You might be interested to compare PMP with other options and to decides which one you would prefer to move on with.

In this topic I would like to share my experience and tips for those who are willing to pass the PMP exam. When I have been preparing, I was seeking for ANY insight and unfortunately it is really few valuable information out there. To find something relevant you need to hop from one site to another to gather all the tips you are able to find. Hope my heads up here will serve well for you.

What is PMP?

This certification is provided by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is a global non-profit professional organization for Project Management. Was founded in 1969. Its services include the development of standards, research, education, publication, networking-opportunities in local chapters, hosting conferences and training seminars, and providing accreditation in project management. 

Why PMP?

Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification – is a globally recognized professional credential for project managers which is offered by Project Management Institute (PMI). PMP requires a certain level of education, skills and experience in your background in order to qualify for the exam. This means, it confirms not only the level of knowledge and skills, but the competency record of those who are allowed to pass the test.

Why PMP?

I bet one of the first questions would be: Why do I need this? There are multiple benefits the PMP certification could bring you. On another hand, there are many other valuable certifications available for you. Or, there is even an option to stay as is, without any cert. This would be your choice whether you want to become a PMP or not, hope this article will help you to make it. Meanwhile, here are some pros for PMP that I have allocated.

New Career Level

PMP is a certain stage of your career. Having a PMP certification allows you in some cases to confirm your proficiency with no words just providing the cert. This means you have the experience, knowledge and its confirmation by the global organization that is known worldwide.

Besides, this certification is recognized by any industry. Remember, Project Management is generic, cross-functional, multi-applicable. And this is applicable to PMP as well. Every industry the Project Management is performing at appreciate this professional certification.

Knowledge Shape

Another great benefit of passing PMP is that you will need to take the professional courses before the exam. This is a great opportunity to structure all of your experience. While working in the field a lot of things are done intuitively and considering the previous background. And here some academic touch is missing. While studying, the most curious and exciting thing is to match your experience with the information you are obtaining during the course. Personally, I loved it! From that point you are not just feeling that you are doing right, but knowing that from the educational record.

Who Wins?

Your PMP adds value not only to your resume, but to the company you are working at. So that you are aware, this is a great chance to take another step for the business, especially if you are a sole PMP certified resource. Besides, for some projects it might be a rigid requirement from the customer to have a PMP onboard. Therefore, having a certification is not only the personal advantage. And, here you could contribute to the higher income.


Additionally, this achievement confirms your dedication to the job. As mentioned, according to the PMP certification requirements, to qualify for the exam you need to have a certain Project Management experience. And, to maintain the certification, you need to work and study Project Management further. This means it is a constant continues professional evolvement you are addicted to.

More Pros

My favorite benefit is that you are getting new rewards to your self-respect. What could be better being a CAN-DO person in your professional life? So once done, you are welcome to praise yourself for these super-powers.

And if you would ask me why have I personally chosen PMP, besides the benefits above, I would say: firstly, everybody around is chatting about this certification, and secondly, I had not had that wide outlook at the time I have decided to go with PMP. For your reference, I would advise checking out my previous article about the Project Management certifications. Perhaps you would find some other option as a very advantages for your personally.


This is the first thing to check before pushing forward with any other stuff. Initially I wanted to hop in and start working towards earning the certification ASAP. However, cruel world dropped me down when I have found out that I still do not have enough experience to proceed. SO, first of all, make sure that you have the required NOT-overlapping project management experience to start your application for the PMP.

What is needed to move on?

Higher Education OR additional years of the Project Management work;


Professional working experience;


Professional education OR as a new requirement that I have found this year, a presence of the CAPM certification.

What is CAPM?

Certified Associate in Project Management is the one that is mentioned as an optional criteria for taking the PMP. Here we can define that CAPM is more affordable and available. This certification could be considered as a step #1 in the PMI stages of certification.

Requirements to qualify for the CAPM examination are:

  • a Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or the global equivalent), AND
  • 23 hours of project management education completed by the time you sit for the exam. 

Pretty straightforward and painless. And for many Project Managers newbies that could be a great opportunity for getting their first certification. And additional advantage is that CAPM does not require a renewal.

How to Qualify?

How to qualify for PMP

So you see, caring about the professional education should be the last step of your efforts to apply. Besides, the closer is your education completion date to the exam date, the more chances you will not forget any important details or information you need for the test.

Pick a Course

When you know you already have a required experience, or going to have it by the application time, we can thing of the professional education.

The important and, I think, the great aspect here is that PMI allows to take the On-Line course. The rigid requirements here are that the course should be carried by a PMI Certified Training Provider, and the course should cover the required 35 contact hours.

By the way, both requirements are applicable to the on-site courses too, but face-to-face courses are usually way more expensive than the on-line opportunities. So here it depends on your ability to study individually without a personal class attendance, and on the amount of money you are willing to spend.

PMI Certified Training Provider

While picking a course you should first of all check whether a training center has the PMI Training Certification and if that course provides the required number of contact hours for the application. It should be 35, not less. Otherwise, you will need to take additional courses.

Here I assume I need to clarify the difference between Contact Hours and PDUs (Professional Development Units). Frankly speaking, these are the same. But, before you are a PMP, you cannot earn Professional Units, therefore for the candidates they are called Contact Hours. However, while picking the course it is important to find out whether you are taking a PMP exam preparation course. For the exam you need to learn specific information and to obtain the certain knowledge areas. I would advise necessarily looking for the exam preparation course, as PDUs could be offered for any professional education which could be not useful at this point.

Another tip here for those who are not the native English speakers. Choose the course in English. Although for the exam PMI offers translation into other languages, this will be only the complimentary assistance. It is better to study all the term, formulas and other information in the exam language. And, this will be more useful further in your application area.

Once you have picked a couple of nice options among the offered courses, check the feedbacks and reviews. By knowing the percentage of people how passed the PMP exam after the course you will be able to decide how much the offer is efficient.

Next hint. If we are talking about the on-line course, many of them have a pre-view or an advertising welcome video. You absolutely need to check it out. You will have a long journey with the coach, thus make sure you clearly understand the speech.

I have taken courses on Udemy, and I was really amused by the Joseph Phillips’ course for the PMP exam prep. I liked the trainer and I liked his approach to deliver information. For your reference, in his course you will need to take practice tasks. Not sure if other courses require this, but you will not get a course cert until all the practice tasks are completed and submitted.

Study for the PMP Exam

Choose Your Studying Approach

Now you have a course that corresponds to the important criteria and you are ready to move on with your professional education.

At this point it is very important to define how you are going to prepare for the exam.

This means, you need to turn on your Project Management skills and to plan your education as Your Personal Project. It is important to maintain consistency. And, you need to know your dead-lines. Unless you have a hard timeline and a study plan, there is a huge possibility this undertaking will last forever.

Besides, the great advise I got in the very beginning is not to put the dead-line too far. For instance, you feel that you are ready to dedicate 2 hours daily for the professional education. Then calculate it as you do for projects, consider risks and put a realistic dead-line. Do not postpone it for ages. Otherwise, by the end of the course you will forget what was in the beginning and all the time you have spent on that could be a complete waste.

Test Yourself

Within your personal plan consider additional resources you are going to utilize during the preparation for the exam. The important advice here is to find the trial tests. Even if you will know all the term, formulas and other stuff brilliantly, without trying yourself in advance you may not be able to apply the knowledge correctly during the real test.

Great trial tests are offered be Oliver F. Lehmann. Plus, there are many free mobile apps to train in tests. My advice here is to do the tests in every spare minute. In the public transport, while waiting in the line, before the bed-time.. Just do it when you have a moment. And necessarily find the full 200-questions sample versions and try to do them at least several times similar as you will do it during the exam. Allocate 4 hours, sit in the room with no distractions, turn on the timer and work. While training yourself, try to achieve 90% of the correct answers.

I have also heard a lot about the book of Rita Mulcahy –  PMP Exam Prep. I have not read it. Initially I was not able to find this book. I assume it must be available online, but I have my personal habit to read the real books that I can hold in my hands. I know it’s a bit old-fashioned, especially considering the fact I work with internet technologies.. But anyway. Besides, I personally obtain the information better acoustically, therefore online courses work perfect for me. You are to find out what would work better for you.

Hope this was quite informative. In the next topic I will give some more hints on completing the PMP Application; will tell you, what to do in case PMI wants to audit your Application; how to take the test and finally, what to do, once passed.

Let me know what are your preferences in the professional education?