Now here is the second part of the story about the experience of getting the PMP certification. I am also sharing tips for you to pass this test.
Hey Crizpers, in the previous Part I we have touched base on the PMP and PMI terms, discussed why would this certification be needed. We have also talked about the options to qualify for the exam and what background is required to become eligible for the test. I have advised on the professional education hints and important nuances you are to consider while planning your work. Let’s move on further.
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Time to complete your application for the PMP exam. What is good here, once the application is started you have 90 days to complete and submit it. This is a strong stimulus once started the professional education. Besides, I believe that 3 months should enough to get prepared for this test, although it depends on your availability and personal capabilities. Therefore, as soon as you start the course I would advise to start the application.
Regarding the application itself, you might find it a bit tricky to complete, thus I would recommend watching a video or two with the detailed description of how to complete the application. Luckily, there are many of them on YouTude. PMI also provides tips on completing the application. And they reply very promptly both via email or in the chat, so you could address your questions and concerns directly to the Institute.
I would share just a couple of heads-up for your reference.
Your experience will be estimated in the projects you have managed and their duration. First of all, this must be an non-overlapping experience. Thus, if you have managed several projects simultaneously, you will be able to pick just one within the given period of time.
Every project should be separated into the five general process groups: Initiation; Planning; Execution; Monitoring and Controlling; Closing. Every group assumes that a certain percentage of the project time is spent for the specific process.
And, the description of your experience should also correspond to the five general process groups and relevant project management activities.
Besides, be realistic. There is a little probability you have managed the project 8 hours a day, as Project Managers usually have other activities and accountabilities.
The experience description will also require the contact information of your references. Would be the best to contact these people in advance confirming they agree to be a point of contact for PMI in order to verify your work experience. It is important, as you could fell under an audit and in this case the Project Management Institute will be reaching out to there reference guys for the formal confirmation. Besides, if an Audit will not happen during the application procedure, PMI may initiate it any time after even if you have already passed the test.
As a PMP candidate you will have to accept the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct which explicitly describes the ways you should act as a PMP holder. This document is available as an open source on the PMI website, so you could familiarize with it in advance.
Before the application is submitted, make sure to review it a couple of times to polish and to remove any typos you could accidentally put it. Once done, decide whether you are willing to become a PMI member. The membership is held on a paid basis and provides a number of advantages, such as Chapter membership, discounts for the exams and other. You could look for more details on the official PMI website. But need to decide before the submission to get the final price, as you will need to pay for the exam right away. Once done, you will have a generous 1-year timeline for taking the test.
Audit. Is it a Kill-Point?
Here we come to the moment when you need your references. I will tell from my personal experience as I have fallen under an audit. If you got there during your application process, you will know that immediately. So, once submitted, I have seen a happy notification that my profile is chosen for an audit. It was really disappointing for me as I had a very limited timeline for taking the test from the personal reasons. And another constraint was that I have always worked in the international companies and therefore most of my references were distributed all over the globe.
I have received the instructions from the PMI and had to move on as soon as possible to deal with this activity. Moreover, I was scared to lose all the knowledge that I have been putting into my brain during the professional education. The happy thing was that PMI representative responded to my emails almost instantly and I was supported by them on all the stages of the Audit.
Audit assumes the confirmation of all the information that was provided in the application. And this should be confirmed in a hard copies by the regular mailing of delivery service.
Therefore, I have printed the professional education certification.
I have made the translation of all the pages of my Bachelors’ Degree certification at the agency and copied the original document.
The most challenging part was to collect my references in the hard copies. Here is the thing, I had to send the files from PMI by post to the references if not able to meet personally, and ask them to send the signed documents back to me in the envelopes. Once all the proof is collected, it should be sent all together to the PMI in the envelope too..
Here I want to THANK all of my colleagues and clients who has agreed to be the point of contact for the Project Management Institute. Guys, you helped so MUCH in this challenging effort and I really grateful to you!
Long story short, finally all the necessary information was collected, received by PMI and the Audit was passed. Yey!!!
SO, if you have fallen under an Audit during the application, this is not the end of the world. Do your best to collect all the required documentation as soon as possible. You are not eligible even to schedule your test until the Audit is passed, so hurry up!
Schedule the Test
Finally, we have got to this point. Now, when you have your ID information from PMI you can schedule the exam date and time. The scheduling can be done only from the official website of the global testing services provider. This is Prometric Center.
The procedure of scheduling the test is not complicated and could be done on their website quite intuitively. But you should not stretch the timeline here too as the number of sits per exam is limited and you need to be pretty shifty to grab the place on the desired date.
While booking the sit, provide the personal information from the ID docs which you will be able to take with you on the test date to confirm your personaly.
And, test centers are not available in all of the cities, so you may need to choose where to travel. In some places it may be allowed to take a hand written test, but I would prefer the computer one. At least, there is a lower possibility of a mistake by the human factor and you will know the results instantly.
- If you feel you need any special accommodation, you need to inform the test center about it in advance, during the sit reservation.
- Inform them if you need earplugs, eyedrops or anything else during the reservation too.
- You can request for the translation assistance. I would advise taking it even if you are very confident in English. First of all, the exam lasts 4 hours, so you could lose concentration as you will be tired. Next, this may help if any unknown word pops up. However, the test itself will be anyway in English.
The Day has come. A few common tips for the exam date:
- Come to the Prometric center 30 mins before the test.
- Have the printed booking confirmation with you, as well as your ID docs.
- Take a bottle of water and a snack. They will allow you to make breaks as needed. But remember, the timer for the test will not be stopped during these breaks.
- When you are working on your test, mark the questions you are concerning about. Complete all that you know and in the end return to the concerning ones if you will have enough time for this. Anyway, do not leave blank questions. Even if you are not sure at all, ANY response is 25% chance that you have answered correctly.
When the time comes, you could enter the testing room. Do not have any illusions if you are planning to chit, it will not work. There is a room with supervisors. And you will be informed about the rules on how to behave in advance.
They are providing headphones, not sure what for, but they are not helping to get rid of the possible distractions, so I would suggest taking the earplugs if offered.
Go and do your best!
From the early morning and until the afternoon I was VERY intense! My hands were shaking, I was trying to kick up everything that I have learned. The most scary moment was when I have clicked to the submit button and was waiting while my exam results are being calculated. I have even closed my eyes during these moments. What was a relief to find out that I have passed the test. I even could not recognize that all was over and I could relax now. That was a shock! Hope you will take it easier.
I am keeping my fingers crossed you have passed it too!
Once done, CELEBRATE! You deserved that! Treat yourself, let you family, friends, colleagues and manager know you have done it.
Now you are a PMP and you could be proud of yourself for this challenging achievement.
Is it Worth all the efforts?
You tell me! I say, yes. Every experience worth the efforts you have put in it building your professional personality. Otherwise, you will not be you.
What is next? Once you have fully enjoyed the output of the labor you have brought to your professional path, now it is time to think of your further career steps.
Find out how you are going to apply this goal within the current horizons.
Think of the possible evolvement stages.
Decide, how are you going to maintain your certification.
Let’s talk about the PMP certification maintenance. Remember, you need to renew it every 3 years. If missed, you will lose your cert. And keep in mind, all the necessary activities should be taken and submitted to PMI before the expiration date.
Generally, having a PMP means your dedication to the Project Management path. Thus, should work towards your professional evolvement constantly further. That is why during the time you are getting closer to the cert expiration date you need to permanently work on the new achievements.
Anyway, I guess it sounds more terrifying than it is in the reality. To maintain your PMP you need to earn 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every 3 year. And there are various opportunities to do that. This actually could be fun!
To give you a brief overview, being a PMP means you are proficiently performing your Technical; Leadership; Strategic & Business skills. Maintaining your certification suspects to develop yourself further in these areas.
To earn your PDUs you could do the following:
(min 35, max 60 PDUs)
Knowledge is always a value. Basically, you could earn all 60 points by the additional professional education. All you need is to find the professional courses you are interested in. Don’t forget to check whether they are given by the PMI Certified Training Provider and how many PDUs could be earned within the course. Most likely you will need to take several different courses within the following 36 months. By the way, each of 3 Project Management professional skills require not less than 8 points.
(min 0, max 25 PDUs)
Earning PDUs by Giving your skills and knowledge back. This could be writing a book or some articles, organizing meeting, giving presentations, share your knowledge with peers, volunteer and so on. And, which is interesting, working as a practitioner. Thus, being a PM you could earn your PDUs too. However, there are certain limitations for this section. By the Project Management work you could earn not more than 8 PDUs. And for Giving Back in general they allow to submit up to 25 PDUs. Another opportunity to get the points is to visit the PMI Chapter meetings. Personally, I have never tried that myself, just heard of that possibility.
Now, you could develop your plan of the professional growth and move on for the new skills and knowledge!
Let me know if you are willing to pass the PMP? Was this information helpful? Are you already a PMP? If so, do you feel it is worth your efforts? And are there any other tips you could share?