PMI-ACP Certification FAQ

PMI-ACP FAQ

PMI-ACP Certification Exam

PMI-ACP® Exam: 3 hours with 120 questions

The Project Management Institute Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP®) Certification is intended to certify the skills and knowledge of Agile project practitioners.

How long is the exam?

The length of the PMI-ACP® is 3 hours, candidates can end the exam any time after the start of the exam should they wish.

How many questions are there?

There are 120 exam questions in the PMI-ACP® exam (20 questions of the 120 questions are classified as “pre-test” questions which will not be counted towards the candidates’ final score).

On average, PMI-ACP® candidates can have 1.5 minutes for each question. The questions are usually short questions with 1-2 lines. Longer questions can also be found but the frequency is much much lower than that of the PMP® Exam.

One of the best place to take a look at the sample question is at the blog of Mike Griffiths, who is one of the members of the PMI-ACP® Exam steering committee (the committee that created the PMI-ACP® Exam). You can get the look and feel of the PMI-ACP® Exam questions there.

For reference, the PMI-ACP® certification examination fee is US$435 for PMI members and US$495 for non-members.

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For most cases, PMI-ACP® aspirants would fill the online PMI-ACP® Certification application form online at PMI website.

You can partially fill the PMI-ACP® application form and have the form saved on the PMI web server for up to 90 days. The PMI-ACP® application form include parts on your personal particulars, your Agile project experience / project team experience and your 21 Contact Hours of Agile project education.

The part considered to be the most difficult is the “Agile project / project team experience” as a project description for each individual project is needed. PMI would review the application case by case for “completeness”. There are many cases that the PMI-ACP® Exam applicant would need to rewrite and re-submit the project descriptions to PMI through email as PMI considers the project description “not satisfactory or complete”.

One way to avoid resubmission of project description for the PMI-ACP® application is to take reference to project experience description samples that have successfully been accepted by PMI.

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Unlike the PMP® Exam which is largely based on the PMBOK® Guide, there is not an official guide published by PMI for the PMI-ACP® Exam. PMI, however, does publish a list of recommended “Reference Materials for PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP®) Exam” which includes the following 11 Agile books:

  • Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great by Esther Derby, Diana Larsen, Ken Schwaber
  • Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition by Alistair Cockburn
  • The Software Project Manager’s Bridge to Agility by Michele Sliger, Stacia Broderick
  • Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins
  • Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products – 2nd Edition by Jim Highsmith
  • Becoming Agile: … in an Imperfect World by Greg Smith, Ahmed Sidky
  • Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn
  • The Art of Agile Development by James Shore
  • User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development by Mike Cohn
  • Agile Project Management with Scrum by Ken Schwaber
  • Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility by Alan Shalloway, Guy Beaver, James R. Trott

These Agile books together takes up over 3800 pages of contents, it would take PMI-ACP® Aspirants ages to read them all, let alone remember the contents. Also, PMI just states that the books “may be useful when preparing for the PMI-ACP® exam”, however, they also recommended PMI-ACP® candidates to look for “additional resources and study opportunities as necessary”.

Luckily, some leading Agile experts have tried to help PMI-ACP® Exam candidates by condensing the required Agile knowledge into PMI-ACP® Exam reference books / study guides with around 300 pages. The following two PMI-ACP® Exam prep books are the most popular and trusted on the market:

You can get a preview of the above books by clicking the Amazon links. I did purchase another PMI-ACP® study guide in order to be better prepared for the exam, however, the quality was really BAD. The so-called PMI-ACP® study guides are just discrete exam prep notes packaged into an e-book with no authority on the correctness of the content (in fact I have found lots and lots of mistakes). If you need PMI-ACP® Exam study notes, I have uploaded mine this website and is available for free.

Further reading: Recommended PMI-ACP® Book: RMC PMI-ACP® Exam Prep by Mike Griffiths

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In additional to the Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential, PMI offers several certifications in project management and related fields, namely:

  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®) certification
  • PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP®) certification
  • PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP) credential
  • PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP) credential
  • Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP) credential
  • Program Management Professional (PgMP) credential

Of all the certifications offered by PMI, the PMP® Certification is the most popular.

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PMI asks PMP® / PMP®-ACP candidates to gather all the audit documents (including certificates and sealed experience verification envelopes) in one package and send the package by mail or express courier back to:

PMI Global Operations Center
(Attn: Certification Audit)
14 Campus Blvd., Newtown Square, PA 19073-3299 USA

Partial / Incomplete submission of audit documents will result in automatic fail of the PMI audit.

It will take PMI 5 – 7 business days to clear the audit checking and an “audit pass” email will be sent to your email account once you have successfully cleared the audit. The email will contain information on how to book a PMP® / PMI-ACP® exam session with Prometric.

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No.

Whether your PMI audit result is successful or not, PMI will not return the audit package to the PMP® / PMI-ACP® applicant. Therefore, only photocopies of the certificates are required by PMI instead of the original ones.

PMI will need to retain the audit package according to its internal auditing procedures.

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First and foremost, the PMP® or PMI-ACP® candidate is not able to proceed with the certification application and examination. The certification fee paid will be refunded (with the subtraction of the processing fee).

There may be some follow-up actions by the PMI depending on the cause of failure of the PMI audit:

  • if the audit fail is due to incomplete information (including the documents are sent to PMI in more than 1 package), no action may be taken by PMI, but the candidate will only be able to reapply to the certification 1 year later;
  • if the fail is due to fraudulent information, PMI may take disciplinary actions (including banning from application to PMI certification for life) to the candidate in question as PMI takes integrity very seriously.

Therefore, when submitting the PMP® application / PMI-ACP® application, always make sure you are entering truthful information. Honest is the best policy.

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If you decide NOT to proceed with the PMI Audit for whatever reasons, e.g. time clashes, supervisor disagreed with your claimed time, personal issues, etc., you need not do anything. PMI considers it an automatic audit fail if it does not receive your audit package within 90 days of the notice of PMI Audit.

Ultimately, PMI will refund the examination fee you have paid, minus the processing fee.

You will be able to apply again for the PMP® Certification / PMI-ACP® Certification one year after your original PMP® application / PMI-ACP® application submission date. But you should note that your application will be subject to a PMI Audit again.

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No.

As PMI-ACP® stands for “Project Management Institute Agile Certified Practitioner”, the keyword here is “practitioner“. As long as you are a member of a team practicing Agile project management (there is no limitation on the Agile methodologies), you would fulfill one of the basic requirements for PMI-ACP®:

  • 2,000 hours working on project teams as a member or project leader within the last 5 years
  • 1500 more hours working on Agile project teams / with agile methodologies within the last 3 years
  • 21 Contact Hours of Agile project management / practices training

As you can see, again the keyword here is “working on“, you can be a developer, sponsor, product owner, business analysts, etc. as long as your projects make use of Agile methodologies.

If you happen to be a PMP®, the 1st requirement for the 2000 working hours will be automatically fulfilled as the number of hours of project management experience required to fulfill PMP® requirements is more.

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No.

Being a member of PMI is not a requirement for the PMI-ACP® Exam application. You can create an online account on PMI website and proceed to fill out the online PMI-ACP® application form. Or, you can download a PDF copy of the application form and fill in by hand.

But, being a PMI member will give you discounts for the PMI-ACP® Exam fee, re-exam fee as well as FREE webinars to earn you PMI-ACP® PDU.

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The short answer is “unknown”. The Project Management Institute does not disclose the passing score nor how many questions a PMI-ACP® candidate need to answer correctly. The PMI-ACP® exam candidate does not even know their scores for the exams, just a proficiency level.

This is because the PMI-ACP® Exam is based on ‘sound psychometric analysis’ (which is a modern way of keeping the standards of those who pass the PMI-ACP® Exam). Also, since most of the PMI-ACP® Exams are administrated on computers, the question sets of individual candidates are different, hence the passing scores for individual exams will need to be adjusted to the overall difficulty of the set, i.e. NOT the same.

However, according to the trainers of PMI-ACP® Agile Certification aspirants, most of them would estimate that the passing score is around 70% (which, by the way, is a bit higher than the passing score of PMP® Exam). This may be because the PMI-ACP® Exam is a bit easier than the PMP® Exam.

When you are attempting the PMI-ACP® sample exam questions, try to set a higher standard (e.g. ~75% – 80%) so that you can walk into the PMI-ACP® Exam centre with confidence.

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The PMI-ACP® Exam is not that hard or difficult if you have ample preparation for the test:

  • 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 PMI-ACP® Exam prep as the PMI-ACP® tests you on broader Agile knowledge than specific Agile methodologies (e.g. Scrum, XP, Lean, Kanban are among the most popular exam topics).
  • 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 PMI-ACP® Exam questions there.
  • Practice more PMI-ACP® Exam sample questions (many are FREE).

These together will take around a total of 120 hours to prepare well for the PMI-ACP® Exam. You are also advised to write your own PMI-ACP® study notes for your last minute revision.

The majority of PMI-ACP® Exam questions are less than 3 lines, indicating the questions are not as difficult or hard as the PMP® Exam. And you have more time answering each question (around 1.5 minute per question – reference: how long is the PMI-ACP® Exam?). 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.

Most of the PMI-ACP® Exam candidates consider the Exam to be moderately easy (in particular when compared to the PMP® Exam). However, PMI-ACP® aspirants need to prepare seriously for the Exam in order to guarantee a pass in the first try.

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As of now, the PMI-ACP® Exam cost is:

  • US$435 for PMI members (for reference the PMI membership fee is US$120 plus an application fee of US$10)
  • US$495 for non-members

In additional to the PMI-ACP® Exam fee, you may also need to take into accounts:

  • the Agile course / PMI-ACP® Exam prep course which would give you the required 21 Contact Hours of Agile project management education (~ US$179.99 for the Agile PrepCast™ that I took)
  • a PMI-ACP® Exam Prep reference book – PMI-ACP® Exam Prep by Mike Griffiths – which is considered by many to be “The Textbook” for the PMI-ACP® Exam (~US$64 on Amazon)
  • PMI-ACP® sample exam questions for you to try and understand your weak areas / knowledge gaps (luckily there are many free PMI-ACP® sample exam questions on the internet)
  • a small amount of money for sending and posting the PMI-ACP® audit (if lucky enough to be selected for an audit, the postage is usually several bucks)

Considering all of the above, the estimate for the PMI-ACP® Exam cost is in the range of US$435 (the bare minimum) to US$830 (transportation cost to the exam centre excluded).

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In order to get PMI-ACP® certified, you will have to

  1. meet the PMI-ACP® Certification requirements;
  2. fill an application form, pay the PMI-ACP® Exam fee and pass a PMI audit (if required)
  3. reserve a seat at a PMI-ACP® Exam center;
  4. prepare for the PMI-ACP® Exam
  5. sit for the PMI-ACP® Exam and pass the exam.

The above steps to get PMI-ACP® certified are described in more details below:

1 Meet the PMI-ACP® Certification requirements. You should have have both hands-on project management experience and formal project management education:

  • at lease secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree, etc.) ; and
  • 2,000 hours of general project experience (spanning at least 12 months) ; and
  • 1,500 hours of Agile project experience (spanning at least 8 months over the past 3 years) ; and
  • 21 contact hours of project management training or education in Agile methodologies

You should have already obtained the 21 Contact Hours (Agile education) before submitting the PMI-ACP® application form.  If you still haven’t obtained the requried Contact Hours, why not select a course that can also helps you to prepare for the PMI-ACP® Exam (I used the Agile PrepCast™). Taking a course dedicated to the PMI-ACP® would help build a firm foundation of your PMI-ACP® Exam study.

2 Create an account at PMI website (becoming a paying member of PMI is optional) and enter the online PMI-ACP® Certification application form with details of your project experiences and education. Once your PMI-ACP® application is checked initially for completeness, you will be asked to pay the PMI-ACP® Exam fee:

  • US$435 for PMI members (for reference the PMI membership fee is US$120 plus an application fee of US$10)
  • US$495 for non-members

You may be required a PMI audit on a random basis. You must complete the audit before being able to proceed to the following step.

3 After you have successfully paid (and also pass the PMI audit), you will receive an email with instructions and your own “exam code” to book for a PMI-ACP® Exam session at your locally available PMI-ACP® Exam centers. Schedule your PMI-ACP® as early as possible to avoid full booking on your preferred exam dates. You will be able to change your exam seat reservation later if needed (fees may apply).

4 Prepare for the PMI-ACP® Exam may normally take around 120 hours in total, depending on the style of your preparation, of course. Normally, PMI-ACP® Aspirants would base their study on the following:

  1. A PMI-ACP® Exam Course (can be bootcamp or online PMI-ACP® course)
  2. Study a PMI-ACP® Exam prep book (recommendation: PMI-ACP® Exam Prep by Mike Griffiths) at least twice
  3. Practice PMI-ACP® Exam sample questions

It is advised to write your own PMI-ACP® study notes during your studies or obtain some notes from other PMI-ACP® Aspirants.

5 After you have fully prepared for the PMI-ACP® Exam (it is preferred that you can get at least 70% in PMI-ACP® sample exam questions), you are ready to take on the real PMI-ACP® Exam. There are altogether 120 questions to be answered in 3 hours. The PMI-ACP® Exam is not very difficult but you have to know the materials very well. On average, you have 1.5 minutes to answer each question.

After you have finished the PMI-ACP® Exam or the time is up, your answers will be marked by the PMI Server and a proficiency level would be shown for your exam performance on “Agile Tools and Techniques” and “Agile Knowledge and Skills” and also a final pass / fail grade.

If you pass the PMI-ACP® Exam, congratulations! You are a PMI-ACP® immediately! You will be able to get the credential PMI-ACP® right after your name from that very moment on.

If you fail (which is somewhat unlikely if you have prepared well), you will have two more chances to sit for the PMI-ACP® Exam in the remaining time of the 1-year exam eligibility period. You have to pay the re-examination fee (USD$335 for members / USD$395 for non-members) for the PMI-ACP® exam and rebook your seat as before.

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Yes, each PMI-ACP® candidate is allowed up to 3 times to try the PMI-ACP® Exam in the 1-year eligibility period.

That is, if the candidate fails the first attempt of the PMI-ACP® Exam, they will need to submit the re-examination fee and schedule the re-examination just like the first try.

If the candidate fails again the second attempt of the PMI-ACP® Exam, they will need to submit the re-examination fee and schedule the re-examination for the last time.

However, if the candidate fails the third time in the 1-year eligibility period, they will have to wait 1 year from the date of the last PMI-ACP® Exam before being allowed to apply for the PMI-ACP® Certification again.

You may consider the following alternative: if you have failed twice in your PMI-ACP® attempt, you may wish not to proceed with the third attempt and wait till the 1-year eligibility period is over. Then you can apply for the PMI-ACP® Exam immediately after your eligibility period has expired and get 3 more chances in the new 1-year eligibility period.

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The number of PMI-ACP® Certification holders increases steadily over the year of 2014, the trend is expected to continue in 2015. In December 2014, there are 7182 PMI-ACP® Certification holders worldwide, with an increase of 195 PMI-ACP® from the month before.

The following table lists how many PMI-ACP® Certification holders are there throughout the world in the year of 2014 from May to December:

Month How many PMI-ACP® Change
Dec 2014  7182  +195
Nov 2014 6987   +102
Oct 2014 6885  +217
Sep 2014 6668  +218
Aug 2014 6450   +229
Jul 2014 6221  +230
Jun 2014 5991  +220
May 2014 5771

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PMI-ACP® is an acronym for “Project Management Institue – Agile Certified Practitioner“.

The PMI-ACP® is a certification offered by PMI (which is also offering the most popular certification in project management – the Project Management Professional PMP®).

The PMI-ACP® is offered in response to the ever increasing popularity and adoption of Agile project management methodologies. The PMI-ACP® is a recognized certification to demonstrate the Agile project knowledge and how the knowledge is applied and practiced in real world projects. Unlike other Agile certifications which focus on a single Agile methodology (like the ScrumMaster), the PMI-ACP® will test your general knowledge of Agile and Agile methodologies.

Further reading: The Whats and Whys of the PMI-ACP® Certification

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PMI-ACP® stands for Project Management Institute Agile Certified Practitioner while CSM stands for Certified Scrum Master.

CSM (Certified Scrum Master)

  • Certified Scrum Master is a popular Agile certification
  • Only about the Scrum (one of the Agile methodologies)
    • understand the fundamentals, terminology, practices and principles and roles of the Scrum methodology
  • For Scrum Master or Scrum Team Member in the IT / software industry
  • Requirements to get CSM
    1. NO experience prerequisite;
    2. need to attend a course on CSM;
    3. take and pass the CSM exam, which has only 25 questions AND almost everyone can pass it
  • Very easy to get CSM

PMI-ACP® (Project Management Institute Agile Certified Practitioner)

  • Popularity is growing over the several years since its introduction in 2011/2
  • The certification syllabus is more extensive
    • The PMI-ACP® Exam tests on everything about Agile, from Agile Manifesto, different Agile methodologies and frameworks (Scrum, Kanban, XP, Lean, etc.) to Agile tools, techniques, skills, etc.
  • For everyone involved in Agile projects
    • e.g. project managers, product owners, Agile coaches and trainers, developers, testers, business analysts, etc.
  • Requirements to get PMI-ACP® certified:
    1. A minimum number of hours of general project experience and Agile project experience;
    2. 21 Contact Hours in Agile project education;
    3. pass the PMI-ACP® audit of your application (if being selected);
    4. take and pass the PMI-ACP® exam, which has 120 questions (lasts for 3 hours), it is not easy to pass the PMI-ACP® exam without over a hundred hours of hard work
  • Much more difficult to get PMI-ACP®

CSM vs PMI-ACP®

CSM is quite different from the PMI-ACP® certification. You may judge whether to get CSM or PMI-ACP® based on the comparison above.

If you work sole with Scrum and if your organization requires a certificate for your Scrum knowledge, then CSM is certification to go. However, if your team practice other Agile methodologies and if you would like to have an Agile certificate that’s rigorous and valuable, PMI-ACP® is your definite choice.

One word of caution is that since PMI-ACP® has just been around several years, quite a few HR practitioners may not be aware of its existence. You may need to explain the values of PMI-ACP® to them.

Further reading: The Whats and Whys of the PMI-ACP®

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In order to be eligible to take the PMI-ACP® Exam, candidates need to have obtained at least 21 Contact Hours of Agile project education – the Agile project education can be anything related to Agile (e.g. CSM, PMI-ACP® Exam Prep courses, Lean, XP, Agile coaching, Agile methodologies, etc.).

Among the various Agile courses, perhaps the PMI-ACP® Exam Prep courses (also known as PMI-ACP® training)  is the most useful to help PMI-ACP® aspirants to pass the PMI-ACP® Exam.

PMI-ACP® training courses are courses that teach the students all the relevant Agile knowledge and concept that are necessary for the PMI-ACP® Exam (i.e. the PMI-ACP® training course syllabus IS the PMI-ACP® Exam syllabus). As we all know, the PMI-ACP® is about general Agile knowledge as well as various Agile methodologies, having education in one of the Agile methodologies will only help you to answer part of the questions.

That’s why PMI-ACP® aspirants are encouraged to take PMI-ACP® training courses that help them to be fully prepared for the actual PMI-ACP® Exam. During the PMI-ACP® training, all the tools and techniques, skills and knowledge that have been mentioned in the PMI-ACP® Exam Content Outline will be touched on.

PMI-ACP® aspirants are also encouraged to search for PMI-ACP® training that is provided by PMI R.E.P. (Registered Education Provider). The PMI-ACP® course I used for my PMI-ACP® Exam is the Agile PrepCast™ which is reasonably priced but excellent in quality. You may wish to learn more about my PMI-ACP® Exam experience and the study resources here.

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For PMI-ACP® aspirants taking the computer-based testing (CBT), you will be able to find the “PMI Eligibility ID” and the “Eligibility Expiration Date” in the email PMI sends you once you have successfully paid the PMI-ACP® exam fee or completed the PMI-ACP® audit.

However, the link to the Prometric website where you can schedule your PMI-ACP® exam is nowhere to be found in the email.

The Prometric webpage to schedule the PMI-ACP® Exam is here:

http://www.prometric.com/pmi 

In the section labeled “I want to…”, you will need to select the right side (i.e. for PMI-ACP® candidates). Then you can follow the instructions online to continue finding a location for your PMI-ACP® Exam centre and book a session for your exam. You will need to have your PMI Eligibility ID with you while you are making the booking.

After you have finished your exam booking, you will be given a 10 digit unique confirmation number. Remember to keep this confirmation number in case you would need to reschedule your exam date and venue.

For further enquires about how to schedule your PMI-ACP® exam on Prometric, you may consult the PMI Exam Scheduling Instructions.

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For the PMP® Exam, the PMBOK® Guide (A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge) is believed to be the most popular study material / book. Many PMI-ACP® aspirants would ask is there a PMBOK® Guide equivalent for the PMI-ACP® Exam.

The answer is, unfortunately, NO. PMI does provide a list of PMI-ACP® Exam reference books (a total of 11 Agile books with over 3800 pages!) which, in total, is way thicker than the PMBOK® Guide. That’s why some project managers consider the PMI-ACP® Exam to be even more difficult than the PMP® exam.

Fortunately, there are some PMI-ACP® Exam prep books that have summarized all that are required for the PMI-ACP® Exam into a single book:

This is my recommended exam prep book for the PMI-ACP® Exam. I made use of this book during my exam study and considered it to be excellent in quality. The author Mike Griffiths is a renowned Agile trainer and practitioner who has help formulating the PMI-ACP® Exam structure and syllabus – who else could be more familiar with the PMI-ACP® Exam than this insider?

In the PMI-ACP® exam lessons learned I have read, almost 90% of the authors used this PMI-ACP® Exam prep book to help them prepare and pass the PMI-ACP® Exam.

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Head First PMP®

For those who are familiar with the PMP® Exam, or who are PMP® themselves, the PMP® Exam prep book “Head First PMP®” should be a popular choice for their PMP® exam. The Head First PMP® book is written using “the latest development in cognitive science” and is most suited visual learners. A lot of diagrams, charts, illustrations and games are included in the Head First PMP® book.

Head First PMI-ACP® Book?

For the PMI-ACP® Exam, one can’t help but wonder is there a PMI-ACP® Exam prep book called “Head First PMI-ACP®”. Since Agile embraces charts and diagrams, it seems the format of the Head First PMP® a perfect match for Head First PMI-ACP® or Head First Agile book…

Unfortunately, the answer is NO. The authors of the Head First PMP® do not write the Head First PMI-ACP® for PMI-APC aspirants.

Great News! Head First Agile will be available for PMI-ACP® Aspirants in 25 June 2017. Though Head First Agile is primarily about Agile concepts, it intends to have 100% coverage of the exam syllabus for PMI-ACP® exam — including end-of-chapter quizzes, exam tips and guide and a full-length PMI-ACP® practice mock exam.

The sad news is that PMI-ACP® aspirants have to wait several more months to get the book. Meanwhile, there are currently two other tried and tested PMI-ACP® Exam prep books on the market:

The links of the above PMI-ACP® Exam prep books go to the Amazon website where you can get a preview of the books. I did make use of these exam prep books for my PMI-ACP® Exam and they are really of superb quality. If you have the budget, do purchase these two books for your PMI-ACP® study and you will not regret it.

Further reading: Recommended PMI-ACP® Book: RMC PMI-ACP® Exam Prep by Mike Griffiths

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Though PMI requires PMI-ACP® applicants to have 21 Contact Hours of Agile project education, the “Contact Hours” do not require direct contact indeed – i.e. there is no need to have face-to-face classes or lectures.

PMI recognizes the advancement of technology and approves online education as a legitimate way to earn the 21 PMI-ACP® Contact Hours. However, not all online courses are eligible for counting as Contact Hours: the online Agile courses must have an end-of-course assessment (mostly in the form of online quizzes).

In addition, PMI would not tell you whether your online Agile courses are recognized for the PMI-ACP® Contact Hours. They only list a number of sources that can provide the Contact Hours. It is the responsibility of the applicant to assure that the course meets the requirements of PMI. Only in the PMI-ACP® audit will PMI tells you whether they accept your course or not. And you are not allowed to submit replacement course if the original course is not recognized. It is far safer to enroll in PMI-ACP® 21 Contact Hours online courses provided by PMI R.E.P. (Registered Education Provider). The courses provided by PMI R.E.P. are pre-approved by PMI to meet the requirements and you will only need to include a printed copy of the course completion certificate in the PMI-ACP® audit package.

Further reading: How to Earn PMI-ACP® 21 Contact Hours Online?

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Sometimes, PMI-ACP® aspirants may encounter courses that gives both the contact hours and professional development units (PDU). What is the difference between Contact Hours and PDU?

Broadly speaking, Contact Hours and PDU both refers to the duration of Agile education received (i.e. 1 hour of Agile education will give you 1 Contact Hour / 1 PDU). The difference lies in when the Agile education is received:

  • Before PMI-ACP® certified, one will only be able to get Contact Hour. PMI-ACP® aspirants needs 21 Contact Hours of Agile project education to qualify for the PMI-ACP® Exam. The 21 Contact Hours should be finished before submitting the PMI-ACP® application.
  • After passing the PMI-ACP® exam, PMI-ACP® holders can begin getting PDU immediately (there is no need to wait for the arrival of the PMI-ACP® certificate). PMI-ACP® can gain 1 PDU for each hour spent on Agile related course, training, etc. PMI-ACP® holders need to accumulate at least 30 PDU in the 3-year re-certification cycle in order to be eligible for re-certification.

Though some Agile courses can give you both Contact Hours and PDU for PMI-ACP® Certification, you will only be able to get either Contact Hours or PDU from the Agile course you received.

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The exam fee for PMI-ACP® Exam taken on computers (i.e. Computer Based Test CBT) is:

  • US$435 for PMI members
  • US$495 for non-members

The PMI-ACP® exam fee is payable to PMI (not the exam center). You will get payment instructions after your PMI-ACP® application has been checked for completeness. The PMI-ACP® exam fee can be paid online with credit cards which is the fastest way. After payment, you will either get the confirmation email for you to schedule your PMI-ACP® exam OR get an audit email asking you to pass the PMI audit first before booking your exam seat.

Just in case, the PMI-ACP® re-exam fee is also listed below:

  • US$335 for PMI members
  • US$395 for non-members

For reference, the membership fee of PMI is US$120 plus an application fee of US$10 (for the first year only). PMI membership renewal fee is US$120. It seems not attractive enough to apply for the PMI membership just for the PMI-ACP® exam fee reduction of US$60 only. But PMI does provide lots of free resources and free PDU opportunities for your PMI-ACP® 3-year re-certification cycle. The PMI-ACP® re-certification fee is also discounted for PMI members:

  • US$60 for PMI members
  • US$150 for non-members

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In general, one hour of engaging in education/development/service will gain you one PDU for your PMP® / PMI-ACP® re-certification.

You will need to report PDU in increments of 1 PDU except for Category A and B PDUs. If you earn your PDU through Courses offered by PMI’s R.E.P.s, chapters and communities (Category A) or Continuing Education (Category B), you will be able to report the PDU in quarterly increments (i.e. 0.25, 0.5, 0.75 or 1 PDU).

The quarterly increments of PDU reporting is very important for the new PDU requirements to be implemented in December 2015 as PDU activities will be categorized into the following three skills areas:

  • Technical Project Management [minimum 8 PDU]
  • Leadership [minimum 8 PDU]
  • Strategic and Business Management [minimum 8 PDU]

It is likely that one educational course in project management will touch upon more than 1 skill area and PMP® / PMI-ACP® Certification holders will needed to break up the PDUs into the skills areas in order to meet the new PDU reporting scheme and the minimum PDU requirement for each skills area.

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There are a number of Agile certifications around, the most popular ones are Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Project Management Institute Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP®). These certifications differ in pre-requisite, exam content as well as exam difficulty.

Scrum is currently the most popular Agile framework in practice. Scrum Master is a role in the Scrum framework who advocates the adoption and practices of Scrum. In order to obtain the Certified Scrum Master (CSM), one need to attend a course to understand and learn the fundamentals, terminology, practices and principles of the roles of the Scrum Master or Scrum Team Member. There is no prerequisite for Agile project experience and the role you current practice on project. The final exam for CSM is a short 25 questions exam paper and the pass rate is 100%, meaning that if you have the money to attend the CSM training workshop, you are guaranteed the CSM certification.

By contrast, the PMI-ACP® is specifically designed for Project & Program Managers, Product Owners, Scrummasters, Scrum Product Owners, Agile Coaches, Agile Trainers, Sr. Developers, Business and IT Managers with extensive experience in multiple Agile methodologies (Scrum, kanban, XP, lean, DSDM, TDD, ATDD, etc.). General project experience is required in addition to Agile-specific experience and education. The exam is designed to test both the practitioner’s level of professionalism in Agile practices of project management and professional versatility in project management tools and techniques.

The PMI-ACP® is quite different from the CSM certification. Unlike CSM is for Scrum, PMI-ACP® is about general Agile principles. The contents of the exam seem to be more “entry level” but the requirements for the exam is quite high. Not everyone is eligible to take the PMI-ACP® exam to gain certification. There are some pre-requisites for the PMI-ACP® exam:

  1. Educational requirements
  2. Working experience requirements
    • a minimum of 2000 hours of general project experience from the past five years (exempted for PMP® certification holders)
    • a minimum of 1500 hours of Agile project experience from the past three years
  3. Pass the PMI-ACP® exam which includes 120 questions in 3 hours

In order to maintain the quality of the PMI-ACP® certification, PMI will carry out PMI audit for PMI-ACP® certification applicants. If selected, the applicant will need to provide documents and proofs of the education and working experiences.

After getting the PMI-ACP® certification, holders will need to obtain enough professional development units (PDU) within the 3-year re-certification cycle in order to re-new their PMI-ACP® certification status.

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No. Though it is often said that the PMI-ACP® Exam Prep Book by Mike Griffiths is almost the “official” study guide for the PMI-ACP® Exam, many PMI-ACP® candidates can pass the PMI-ACP® Exam without reading it. The book by Mike Griffiths is NOT a must read if you have already well prepared for the exam though it is highly recommended if you have just begun the PMI-ACP® journey and don’t know how to proceed with your exam prep or study.

My PMI-ACP® study notes are based on many important PMI-ACP® resources including some of the most important stuffs from the Mike Griffiths book: http://edward-designer.com/web/agile-communications/ If you cannot gain access to the PMI-ACP® book by Mike Griffiths before your exam, you are highly recommended to read my study notes to see if you have missed anything during your exam study.

You are also advised to take more PMI-ACP® practice exams during the last few weeks before the exam (I encountered some questions on the real PMI-ACP® exam that were very similar to the ones listed here):
http://edward-designer.com/web/free-pmi-acp-exam-questions/
( http://www.webexamiq.com/ is my recommended one if you don’t have enough time to attempt all).

Wish you PMI-ACP® success!

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Yes, the original Agile PrepCast™ covers almost all the topics of the new 2015 PMI-ACP® Exam and the team is planning to add the missing topics asap.

The team at Agile PrepCast™ has carried out detailed analysis of the old and new PMI-ACP® Exam outline and found that over 85% of the contents of the new PMI-ACP® Exam have already been covered by the original Agile PrepCast™. The missing contents (e.g. Hybrid models, Agile Mindset, and SAFE) will be covered once all the new video lessons are developed.

If you are planning to purchase the Agile PrepCast™ or you have purchased the Agile PrepCast™ recently, you will be able to get the new video lessons (including 9 new presentations and interviews) once they are released.

But as many PMI-ACP® trainers and consultants have expressed, the new PMI-ACP® Exam syllabus is actually very much similar to the existing one, the changes and updates can be considered as “minor”. The author of the best selling PMI-ACP® Exam book, Mike Griffiths, did not intend to get the 2nd edition published before the implementation of the new PMI-ACP® Exam syllabus as he considers that his book has already covered all the materials of the new PMI-ACP® Exam.

So, if you are planning to take the PMI-ACP® Exam based on the new PMI-ACP® Exam syllabus, you can still make use of all the current PMI-ACP® Exam prep materials (mock exams, text-books, PMI-ACP® Exam prep courses, etc.) for your PMI-ACP® success!

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Below is the step-by-step instruction on how to input the discount offer codes for GreyCampus online courses to get the discounted prices for the ITIL® Foundation, PMP® Certification, PMI-ACP® Certification and PRINCE2® Foundation Certification online courses (click here for the most updated GreyCampus discount offer codes).

Step 1: Click the links below to go to GreyCampus online course website

Step 2: Click the “Enroll” button to go to the payment page

Click the "Enroll" button to go to the payment page

Click the “Enroll” button to go to the payment page

Step 3: Check the “I have an offer code” box

Check the "I have an offer code" box

Check the “I have an offer code” box

Step 4: Input/Paste the Coupon Code/Offer Code there

Input/Paste the Coupon Code/Offer Code there

Input/Paste the Coupon Code/Offer Code there

Step 5: Check the updated price on the left before submitting the Credit Card payment info

Check the updated price on the left before submitting the Credit Card payment info

Check the updated price on the left before submitting the Credit Card payment info

Congratulations! You have just applied the GreyCampus offer code successfully!

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The PMI-ACP® Certification Examination Fee differs between PMI members and non-members:

  • PMI Members
    • Computer-based PMP® exam (CBT): USD$435
    • Paper-based PMP® exam (PBT): USD$385
  • For Non-PMI Members
    • Computer-based PMP® exam: USD$495
    • Paper-based PMP® exam: USD$445

For reference, the PMI-ACP® re-examination fees for PMI members and non-members are listed as follows:

  • PMI Members
    • Computer-based PMP® exam (CBT): USD$335
    • Paper-based PMP® exam (PBT): USD$280
  • For Non-PMI Members
    • Computer-based PMP® exam: USD$395
    • Paper-based PMP® exam: USD$345

Though it is considered almost absolutely necessary to become a PMI member for the PMP® Exam, the benefits for PMI-ACP® aspirants is not that much here. The saving of USD$60 for PMI-ACP® Exam fee for members is less than half of the first year PMI membership fee of USD$139.

But since the PMI membership lasts for 1 year and you will be able to earn some PMI-ACP® PDU for free through the PMI webinars, it is up to your calculation to check out whether being a PMI member brings economical benefits to you.

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As a quality assurance procedure, PMI will select a certain percentage of applications randomly for an audit. An audit is PMI’s way of checking the validity of all the experience / education claimed on the application forms.

For the audit, you will need to submit supporting documents / certificates for the education / working experience entered on the application form within 90 days. The supporting documents should usually include:

The audit package should be send to PMI by regular postal mail or express courier service. PMI does not permit sending the documents through email or fax.

Once PMI receive the audit package, it would normally take 5 – 7 business days to complete the checking and the certification applicant would be notified of the audit results.

Failure to complete the audit would render your certification application unsuccessful. You may request a refund of the application fee (minus $100 processing fee). You will not be allowed to apply for the certification within one year.

Though the PMI audit is not a monster (it is fairly easy to complete and pass the audit), most PMP® aspirants / PMI-ACP® aspirants, by all means, would want to avoid it. However, since the selection for an audit is by random, there is no way to avoid the audit.

Further reading: my PMI audit experience for the PMP® Certification

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The answer is “unknown“. PMI does not disclose the exact percentage of certification applications that get audited. All PMI tells about the PMI audit is PMI selects audit cases by random.

However it is possible to guess the percentage (though quite inaccurate) based on the number of audited applications from the same class of students of PMP® exam prep courses.

It is estimated that:

  • For PMP® Certification, the percentage of getting audited is around 0.5% to 10%
  • For PMI-ACP® Certification, the percentage is much higher at around 10% to 25% (since the number of application is much lower compare to PMP®)

Further reading: I got audited for both my PMP® and PMI-ACP® Certification application.

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I must confess I doubted the “randomness” of the PMI audit before.

I applied to the PMI for both the PMP® exam and PMI-ACP® exam. I got audited for my PMP® application. I fancied that since I got audit for my PMP® application, there would be little chance to be selected for my PMI-ACP® application. But when both my PMP® Certification application form and my PMI-ACP® Certification application form got audited, I am a believer of the random nature of the PMI audit.

But there is an exception to the randomness nature of PMI audit. If you were selected for an audit, failed to return the audit package within 90 days, and then reapplied after 1 year, your application will be re-audited.

In the case of a failed audit, a partial refund will be issued. After the required waiting period before you reapply, you would need to submit another application, forms, and payment, and your application will be re-audited.

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The short answer is: you cannot avoid PMI audit.

PMI states clearly that:

The selection of an application for audit is random.

Since the audit process is random in nature, there is nothing one can do to avoid the PMI audit. All you can do is to get prepared for a PMI audit so that you can pass the PMI audit smoothly:

  1. Get all the education certificate handy
  2. Ask for the prior approval / support of your supervisors / managers for the project management experience (in particular, the working hours you claimed) before entering them into your certification application form

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For the working experience verification forms, PMI requires the supervisors / managers to sign on the forms and put the forms in ‘sealed and signed envelopes‘. The following is the instruction on the PMI audit:

A manager, supervisor, or colleague who is intimately familiar with the experience on your application is required to review your Experience Record and then complete the Experience Verification Form. After they verify, they will put the completed Experience Verification Form and Experience Record in an envelope, sign his/her name over the sealed flap of the envelope, and return the envelope to you via in person or by mail. If one person is verifying multiple projects for the same company, they can fill out one form and initial or highlight on the Experience Record the projects that they are verifying. Faxed or scanned forms will not be accepted as the forms need to be placed in a sealed and signed envelope for security purposes. No substitutions will be accepted.

This paragraph essentially means the following:

  1. Download and print the experience verification forms
  2. Send the printed verification forms, each with an empty envelop, to your managers / supervisors named on your application form accordingly*
  3. Ask the managers / supervisors to write the details on the form and sign, put the signed form into the envelope, glue the flap and sign again across the flap (this makes the ‘sealed and signed envelope’)
  4. Ask them to return the ‘sealed envelop’ to you to be mailed to PMI together with other documentations

* If your manager / supervisor is responsible for more than one experience verification forms, he/she will need to enter the details and signs on one form only and write his/her initials on other forms without filling the details. He/She will then need to put all the experience verification forms into a single envelope and seal it with a signature as usual.

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Not a problem. You just need to write a short notice on the envelope that your manager / supervisor forgot to sign on the envelope for the PMI audit.

Though PMI asks you to request your manager / supervisor to seal and sign across the flap of the sealed envelop in order to properly accomplish the PMI audit, it is possible (or even likely) that your manager / supervisor mails / hands the envelope back to you without the signature on the flap. PMI understands that it might be difficult, if not possible, to return the envelope to get the signature again. It is acceptable to have the experience verification envelope without signature provided that you:

make a note on the back of the envelope in question that the signature was omitted

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If you are the manager for the organization, then you may ask your senior management, if possible, to sign your project management experience verification form for you. Other than senior management, you may ask

 a colleague, peer, client or sponsor who has intimate knowledge of the project [to] verify.

PMI does NOT require managers / supervisors to be the only persons to sign the experience verification forms. As long as the signee who are intimately familiar with the project you have submitted, it is okay for them to sign the form. PMI will accept the experience verification in such cases.

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PMI prefers to communicate over email. You may just send your enquires to PMI at [email protected]

According to my experience, it may take PMI several days to answer your enquires by email.

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