The Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification - What does it really take?

Insights | 27 June 2016

Did you realise that the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification is seen as one of the most important and internationally sought after certifications for Project Managers? The Project Management Institute’s (PMI)® PMP® accreditation is evidence that you understand the global language of project management.

Facts and figures about the PMP® exam

To become a PMP® credential holder (currently there are over 720 000), you will need to:

1. Submit an on-line application documenting:

  • 7500 hours and 60 unique months (no degree option) or 4500 hours and 36 unique months (degree option) of leading and directing projects (within the last 8 years)
  • 35 hours of project management education

2. Understand the theory, analyse, evaluate and apply (according to different project circumstances):

  • 5 process groups
  • 47 processes
  • 10 knowledge areas
  • Over 600 inputs, tools and techniques and outputs
  • The PMI® Code of Ethics

3. Complete the 200 multiple choice question examination in 4 hours (yes that’s 72 seconds per question

What does it really take to gain your PMP® credential?

Ask anyone with a PMP® certification and they will tell you it was the result of many hours of study, countless practice questions and ensuring you were in the ‘PMP® mindset’ at all times. It is recognising that although you may be an experienced project manager of numerous years, the PMI®’s approach based on A Guide to Project Management (PMBOK® Guide) may be ‘different’.  It is not necessarily saying your experience is ‘wrong’ but it may differ to the preferred PMI® approach.

So… can you really learn everything and be prepared to take the examination with a 2 or 3 day workshop? Realistically… no. Let’s take a step back and understand a little more.

The PMP® exam is not just about the PMBOK® Guide

Did you realise that it is not just enough to have read the PMBOK® Guide with all 47 processes, inputs, tools and techniques and outputs?  Even having a photographic memory won’t get you through.  One book, one ‘Guide’ alone cannot contain all current project management knowledge. The PBMOK® Guide is the foundational basis for the Project Management Professional providing a ‘common language’ and toolkit but is not, nor does it attempt to be, the definitive text on project management.

The PMP® examination expects you, as a Project Management Professional, to apply your knowledge and expertise through situational, application and evaluation questions.  Depending on the size and types of projects you have managed and lead in your career, you may or may not have come across all of the different tools and techniques which can be applied in project environments. Or alternatively you may have applied them ‘differently’ to that of the PMBOK® Guide approach.

It takes time to understand, digest, review, translate and literally live and breathe the content and application of the PMBOK® Guide – not something that can be achieved in a couple of days. The application process itself is quite intensive and requires thinking in the mindset of the 5 process groups.

Success takes time

One of the most successful formulae for passing the PMP® exam is taking a 5 day prep workshop (1 day per week over 5 weeks) over a 5 week period.  This enables you to prepare your application in parallel (and get feedback from an experienced PMP® holder) whilst learning, exploring and applying PMBOK® Guide concepts.  Like anything worthwhile, the PMP® accreditation requires practice, time and commitment.

PMI and PMBOK are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. 

Book your PMI® Exam Preparation Workshop for CAPM® and PMP® Certification Today

2 thoughts on “The Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification – What does it really take?”

  1. JOhn Winney says:

    Hi PM partners,

    I’m a project / program manGer with 20 years experiencE in the Telecommunications industry

    I would like to find out how i can Attain a pmp Qualification befOre the end Of the year.

    Thank you.

    1. PM-Partners says:

      Hi John,

      Thank you for your inquiry. One of our professional Development consultants is reaching out to you via email now.

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