How hard or difficult is the PMI-ACP Exam?


I have both tackled the PMP and the PMI-ACP® Exams administrated by PMI. My experience tells me that the PMI-ACP® Exam is not that hard or difficult if you have ample preparation for the test.

  • I passed with all Proficient in my PMI-ACP® Exam while I got 4 P and 1 MP for the PMP Exam. So for Aspirants who have attempted PMP Exam before, the good news is PMI-ACP® is a bit easier.
    • You have around 1.5 minute to answer each question — the time is more than enough for most candidates. Some candidates can even finish all the 120 questions within 1 hour and take an extra hour for re-reading the questions and checking the answers.
    • According to the feedback of many Aspirants who are PMPs, the exam is considered to be moderately easy (in particular when compared to the PMP Exam).
  • But if you have never attempted PMI Certification exams before, tackling the PMI-ACP® Exam would be a little bit trickier than other professional exams as PMI has its own way of doing exams:
    • The majority of PMI-ACP® Exam questions are situational — the format is somewhat like this: you have got a situational in which you need to decide which is the best course of action to follow from a choice of four, and two or even three of theses choices are logical actions but you need to choose “the best according to PMI”.
    • You have to follow strictly the check in and check out procedures of PMI exams and you need to get accustomed to the exam interface.
    • The exam covers a lot of different Agile favours, including Scrum, Lean, Kanban, Extreme programming, etc. that one need to understand in details.
    • Perhaps one of the most difficult part of the certification is to fulfil the experience requirement on traditional project management as Agile project management is very different from waterfall.

It would normally take around a total of 120 hours to prepare well for the exam (of course that depends on the Agile knowledge and experience one has — I have known someone who can pass with 1 week of study though).

  • You should select an Agile course that helps you to prepare for the PMI-ACP® Exam (I used the Agile PrepCast™). Though any Agile courses (e.g. ScrumMaster) with over 21 hours of course duration will satisfy the 21 Contact Hours requirement of the PMI-ACP® Certification, taking a course dedicated to the PMI-ACP® would help build the foundation of your exam prep as the exam tests you on broader Agile knowledge than specific Agile methodologies.
  • Read and study the “pseudo-official” PMI-ACP® Exam textbook – PMI-ACP® Exam Prep by Mike Griffiths – at least twice and finish all the sample exam questions there.
  • Practice more PMI-ACP® Exam sample questions (many are FREE).
  • You are also advised to write your own study notes for your last minute revision.

That said, with proper training and preparation, Aspirants would be able to pass the exam in first try. You may refer to my PMI-ACP® Exam experience here.

FAQ Category: PMI-ACP Certification Exam, PMI-ACP Exam Prep

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Further Reading: The PMP Certification Guide provides you with step-by-step instructions on how to get started with your PMP Certification journey. Read it now!

Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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