Step-by-step PMP Certification Guide 2021
~ All you need to know about the Project Management Professional (PMP®) Certification of the Project Management Institute (PMI) that the PMP® Handbook doesn’t tell you clearly
This Complete PMP® Certification and Study Guide is dedicated to the many thousands of PMP® aspirants visiting my blog in the search for the best way to achieve PMP® success.
Your feedback and questions have prompted me to prepare this special guide to help all project managers aiming to gain the initials “PMP®” after their titles easier.
It is my humble wish to provide all Aspirants with the most detailed online guide to familiarise themselves with the application and certification processes and procedures and how to prepare and study well for the actual exam by the with the ultimate aim to get the Project Management Professional Certification credential in the first try.
This guide is the fruit of many hours of labours — trying to condense a huge amount of information into digestible bits. I have been there before, so I understand the quest for a comprehensive and yet easy to understand guide to PMP® Exam application and preparation.
It is my gift to all Aspirants. Wish you PMP® success!
Note: The PMP® Exam sees an update from 2nd Jan 2021. This Guide is useful to Aspirants who would like to prepare and pass the PMP® Exam from Jan 2021 and beyond.
Introduction to this Guide
Learning all the stuff required for the exam is already a daunting task, let alone understanding all the intricacies of the certification process as well as handling all the administrative tasks such as the composing the project description and collecting all the documents required for the fearful PMI audit.
It is no wonder why PMP® is often considered one of the most difficult professional certifications to achieve.
But this also means that the certification is one of the most valuable certifications for professional working in project management field owing to the “rigidity” of the certification process.
The information presented by the PMP® Handbook published is quite informational …… yet, reading the Handbook alone would not lead you to navigate easily through the various processes to success as PMI compose it really in the form of a “standard” (just as the PMBOK® Guide is not easy to read). As an example, what can be counted as “contact hours” or “working experiences”? Or how to write the project description that satisfies PMI requirements?
Fear not, this Guide attempts to answer all your questions during your PMP® application and study in the hope of helping you get certified.
This Complete PMP® Certification and Study Guide will guide you through the certification process — from initially understanding what the certification is about, successfully completing the application form (including satisfying the audit requirements), studying and preparing for the actual examination …… to collecting PDUs to maintain your credential (i.e. re-certification) after you have gotten your certificate.
This guide will try to answer all the application and study related questions you might have to free you more time to concentrate on your study for exam success. This guide is applicable to Aspirants in the United States, Europe, Asia and all around the world. The PMP® Exam is basically the same no matter where you are taking the exam (except that there are language aids available for aspirants whose mother tongue is not English).
About the Author
The author of this guide is Edward Chung, PMP®, PMI-ACP®, ITIL® Foundation.
After going through the PMP® certification process all alone by googling and wasting dozens of hours…… I couldn’t help but think that if I could eventually get certified, the first thing I would do was to write a detailed account of my certification experience to help fellow Aspirants ease the certification journey.
This guide is the second step to re-organize the exam process in a more systematic and easier-to-understand way after answering hundreds of Aspirants with their queries.
Contents of this Guide
- The PMP® Certification Process Overview
- How Much Time, Effort and Money are Required for the PMP® Credential?
- How to Get the Required 35 Hours of PMP® Training Cheap and Easy?
- PMP® Study Resources: PMBOK® Guide, PMP® Guide plus Practice Exams
- How to Correctly Fill the Online PMP® Application Form?
- How to Pass the PMP® Audit Process Smoothly?
- Schedule and Take the PMP® Certification Exam
- Once You have Passed the PMP® Exam …
- What You Should Know about PMP® PDU
These 9 sections are meant to help you navigate through, firstly, the application process, then study and exam and finally getting PDU for re-certification.
Reading them 1 by 1 and carrying out related actions in sequence will guide you through the certification process with ease.
After communicating with hundreds of Aspirants, it is found that the most pressing questions they had are: do not know where to begin the journey. Is it to begin with a complete study of the PMBOK® Guide? Or to get the 35 Contact Hours of Project Management? Or to fill in the online application form?
The following outlines the recommended sequence leading to certification:
- Don’t read the PMBOK® Guide on your own, take a course that helps you prepare for the exam (formerly called PMP® Exam Prep course). In fact, there are lots of choice ranging from face-to-face classroom lecture, online courses and podcast courses. However, from 2021, PMI doesn’t allow course providers to claim they are offering PMP® Exam Prep courses anymore (only the ones offered thru PMI/PMI Education Partners are allowed to be called Exam Prep Courses and no more pre-recorded courses are allowed). Don’t worry, you can still get much help from taking online courses that offer training in passing the PMP® Exam, the only downside is that you will need to collect the course outline and syllabus to get the 35 Contact Hours of Project Management education which well justifies the much lower price tag!
- Purchase/borrow all the required study materials including the PMBOK® Guide, at least one reference book and some practice/mock exams
- Apply online for the exam. You will need to describe your working experience in PMI’s terms and the prep course you have taken will help you finish the application form easily.
- Fix a date for your exam after you have received confirmation from PMI or passed the audit, if applicable.
- Study hard for the exam with your study materials. Working on as many as practice exams as possible.
- Pass the exam.
- Begin earning PDUs for your 3-year recertification cycle.
Following the above sequence will allow you to go through the certification process in the most logical and easiest way.
Get an overview of the certification process with the help of an infographic.