The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers several professional credentials, of which the PMP® (Project Management Professional) is one. In fact, the PMP is considered PMI’s flagship credential. It is the one most often sought by project management practitioners and organizations worldwide. Today, let’s explore what the PMP test does evaluate.

What the PMP test does evaluate

The PMP examination evaluates an applicant’s ability to understand and apply the tools, techniques, and generally accepted methods of various project management situations. These situations can range from interactions and conflicts within a project team or with project stakeholders to technical challenges with the schedule, budget, or quality.

PMI continuously evaluates the exam’s questions and content through role-delineation studies conducted by interviewing and researching companies and industries worldwide. As a result, every few years, PMI alters the questions and the subjects. This happened as recently as January 2021 for the PMP exam.

In past years, the test focused heavily on the technical aspects of project management. However, PMI determined this was insufficient in evaluating a candidate’s importance to an organization, and it was misaligned with the value of the credential.

So now, the assessment evaluates the candidate across three domainsPeople (42%), Process (50%), and Business Environment (8%).

As PMI states, “PMP certification validates that you have the project leadership skills employers seek. The new PMP includes three key approaches: Predictive, Agile, and Hybrid.”

So, over the course of 180 questions and 4 hours (with a short break in the middle), the examination intermixes questions across these topics. For example, you would expect to see questions about how to start or initiate a straightforward, simple project using a predictive approach. Similarly, you would expect to find questions about the daily interactions required by you and your team members for a complex, agile initiative.

How to begin the PMP credential

To start the PMP credential, you must be qualified to take the assessment, and then – obviously – you must pass it.

First, you must complete PMI’s online application to attain approval to take the assessment by showing evidence of formal education, experience, and authorized training.

  • Education – This requires providing documentation of a four-year college or university degree. Those without a four-year degree must provide additional experience.
  • Experience – Be aware, the experience part can be tricky because the applicant may have on-the-job know-how but it may be hard to demonstrate proof. If you have an Associate’s degree, a trade school certificate, or no extended learning beyond high school, then you will need to show an increased level of experience.
  • Training – In addition, you must also show evidence of completing at least 35 hours of project management training by taking the PMI® Authorized PMP® Exam Prep from an Authorized Training Partner (ATP).

Once you have completed, submitted, and received approval for their application from PMI, you can prepare and take the PMP exam. Candidates must take and pass the assessment within one calendar year from the application approval date.

The application provides you with three opportunities to take the assessment, but each attempt requires a fee. Unfortunately, it’s not free on the second or third try. You will want to be fully prepared and pass on the first attempt.

PMP Resources

To assist each certification applicant, PMI provides the PMP Handbook. Nearly all prospects have questions about the process and, therefore, it is encouraged that you download and review the handbook. The PMP Handbook addresses the most frequently asked questions.

For approved candidates, PMI provides the PMP Examination Content Outline (ECO) to give further detail about the topics tested. A candidate’s readiness to pass the examination will be based on their ability to answer questions about the topics contained within the ECO, not any other resource.

Many candidates assume that preparing for the exam only requires that they read and understand the PMBOK® Guide. This is not the case. Rather, the guide is just one of many resources candidates can refer to when obtaining knowledge.

Instead, the exam assesses the knowledge of the scope outlined in the ECO. The best evaluation of your readiness is your ability to review the ECO and confidentially respond to each topic and item.

Authorized PMP Certification Training

Springhouse teaches candidates the required 35 hours of formal project management training through the PMI Authorized PMP Exam Prep class.

In the virtual instructor-led course, students learn from a certified PMP trainer about the various domains and topics. Springhouse also provides you with ample resources, such as practice questions and extra reading materials. This helps fully prepare you for what the PMP exam evaluates.

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