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Online Resources You Can Use to Prepare for the Project Management Professional Certification

written by: Nacie • edited by: Marlene Gundlach • updated: 5/24/2011

Receiving your official PMP certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI) is an accomplishment that garners respect from colleagues and the potential for increasing salary. Learn about the certification process and the best online resources here.

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    PMP Certification Requirements

    The PMI began offering the Project Manager Professional (PMP) credential in 1984 to acknowledge and honor proficiency in project management. In order to be eligible to take the PMP certification exam, the certification hopeful needs to meet certain requirements as well as have their application approved.

    Basic eligibility requirements for the PMP credential vary depending on whether the applicant holds a bachelors degree or not. For those who do hold a BA, they include 4,500 hours running projects and three years minimum of professional project management experience. For those who do not hold a BA, requirements include 7,500 hours running lead on projects and five years professional experience. Both BA and Non-BA holders must have 35 hours of project management education, pass a multiple-choice exam testing basic ability in project management, and follow the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

    After these eligibility requirements have been met, a certification hopeful may send in an application to the PMI either online or through the mail for consideration for the exam. If the application is approved, the PMI will send back information about when and where the applicant may sit for the exam.

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    The Exam

    After successfully filling out an application and having it approved, the certification hopeful may then sit for the PMP exam. The PMP certification exam is made up of 200 multiple choice questions that must be completed within a four hour period. The questions cover a variety of topics that are designed to challenge the test taker’s knowledge and experience with project management and common industry concepts. A good portion of the exam is directly related to the material found in the PMP Credential Handbook, found on the PMI website.

    There are six sections, or domains, of project management that are tested in the exam:

    1. Initiating
    2. Planning
    3. Executing
    4. Controlling
    5. Closing
    6. Professional Responsibility

    Each domain has various tasks associated with it, and each task is addressed through specific questions. The number of questions pertaining to each section is not equal, and most of the weight is placed on the planning, executing, and controlling domains.

    In order to pass the exam, the test taker must answer at least 106 questions (60%) correct. An applicant may attempt the exam up to three times for up to a full year after their application has been approved. Those who seek certification do not need to be current members of the PMI to sit for the exam or qualify for a PMP credential, however the exam is considerably more expensive for non-members ($555) than for members ($405).

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    Best Online Resources

    It is clear that considerable prowess and effort must be shown on the part of the applicant in order to even be able to sit for the exam. To ensure that the hard work leading up to the exam isn’t wasted, it is imperative that the test taker prepare themselves thoroughly through classes, study groups, and online resources.

    Like most topics on the internet, searching for PMP Certification preparation yields many results, the bulk of which will not be helpful to the serious student. However, there are several resource sites that offer test prep and practice questions that are genuinely helpful, such as the following:

    • Oliver Lehmann’s Self Assessment Test: This site has long been regarded as one of the best test prep resources online. Mr. Lehmann holds a PMP credential and runs a Project Management Training business through his website. His self assessment test offers the credential hopeful 75 free test prep questions in a timed environment. Read his long testimonial list to see the number of current PMP holders who thank him for their success.
    • PMStudy.com: This test prep site, designed by current PMP holders, is affiliated with the PMI and has a good collection of guides as well as a simulated test. One of the best features of this site is the chapter by chapter test of the key information located in the Project Manager’s Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), a main study material for the exam.
    • 4PM.com: Started in 1986 by four project managers, this organization offers the tools to get an applicant ready for the PMP through an online class environment. For $995, students get one on one mentoring with an online instructor, video lectures, personal assessment test, and a guarantee that they will pass the exam. This expensive yet comprehensive option has received sterling reviews from those who have participated.

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