PMP® Certification Process

Here are 7 steps to getting certified with the Project Management Institute (PMI)  .

Step 1 Apply for PMI® membership

Sign up for a PMI membership on the PMI website: You are able to become a member without being certified. There is an annual fee associated with signing up for a membership, but you will save money overall.

PMI membership benefits:

  • Free soft-copy of latest edition of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide)
  • Free access to Project Management books online
  • Access to leadership and volunteer opportunities
  • Access to a library of webinars addressing project management trends, best practices, how-to-guides, etc
  • Save on your examination fee

Even with the cost* of the PMI membership, your exam fee is cheaper:

Discounted PMI member exam fee: $405.00
PMI membership fee: $129.00
PMBOK® Guide softcopy: $0.00
Total: $534.00

Non member exam fee: $555.00
PMBOK® Guide hardcopy: $45.00
* (as of July 2013)

The PMBOK® Guide becomes the most used resource in your study plan leading up to the exam.

Step 2 Create a study plan

Recall your study habits from school and remember what worked or didn’t work for you. Create a study plan that will fit into your work and life schedule.

Taking a PMP®  Certification Prep course is recommended for accelerating your study and which also provides the required 35 hours of project management education to meet the  PMI application requirements. For PMP Prep courses in your see Public Course Locations and Schedules.

There are also many sites online sites that provide study guides for your reference. Be reasonable with the amount of studying you can do each day as there is a lot of material to cover for the exam. Remember to schedule in time to review and practice exams.

Step 3 Start you application with PMI online

List out all projects you will be using for the application. Split the project management hours between the 5 different process groups to ensure some experience in all processes. This is the easiest way to ensure you have met the hours and months requirements.

For each project write out, in less than 500 characters, a description of what your responsibilities were. Include specific process names and ensure you have a good spread across the knowledge areas.

Gather the contact information of all supervisors for the projects listed on your application form – contact the supervisors to let them know you are applying with PMI so they are preparing in the case that your application is chosen to be audited.

Start your online application – fill in the application form.

Getting audited

A small percentage of applications will be chosen to be audited at random. If your application is selected, you will receive an email notification and there will be an audit package indicating the additional procedures that need to be completed. This includes obtaining handwritten signatures for each project to vouch the hours and description reported, copies of training certificates, etc to be mailed to the PMI.

Step 4 Meet the requirements

You can start the online application even though you haven’t met all the requirements as you can always return to the application to finish it once all requirements are met.

There are different requirements that need to be met for the PMP® and CAPM® certifications. You must ensure that all the requirements before submitting your final application.

PMP® application requirements include one of the following:

Category 1 -

  • Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent
  • 4,500 hrs of project management work experience in project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control, and closing processes, more than 3 years of non-overlapping project management experience
  • 35 hours of project management courses

Category 2 -

  • No Bachelor’s Degree
  • 7,500 hrs of project management work experience in project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control, closing processes. more than 5 years of non-overlapping project management experience
  • 35 hours of project management courses

Step 5 Book your exam via Pearson Vue Testing Center

Once you have received the email that your application has been approved, book your exam online through thePearson Vue website: www.pearson

Exam sites are available in most major cities. Make sure to book an exam date that fits into your study plan so that you will not be pressed for time to write early just because of the availability of exam dates. An option is to take some time off work near the exam date to review and do practice exams so you are not tired on the day of the exam.

Step 6 Study

Take your study plan and stick to it!

Being well prepared is ½ the battle to ensure you pass the exam. The more prepared you are, the less you will likely feel flustered or nervous at the exam which will help you recall the information more easily.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t rush – there’s an abundant amount of time
  • Answer every single question – you can mark questions you’re unsure of and come back to it later
  • Make flash cards to memorize all formulas- these become guaranteed points
  • Each question is worth the same amount of points – if you get stuck on a questions, make your best guess, market it, move on and come back to it later
  • No food or drink is allowed in the exam room so eat beforehand, but not too much
  • Do 200 questions for each practice exam to get used to sitting for a long duration and having your brain stay focused
  • Get used to having distractions in the room – there will be others in the exam room taking tests so there will be typing and clicking in the same exam room
  • Exam room may be extreme warm or cold, so be prepared

Step 7 Take the Exam

The exam is in the form of multiple choice questions split between five process groups:

  • Initiating the project
  • Planning the project
  • Executing the project
  • Monitoring and controlling the project
  • Closing the project

The exam is a computer-based test offered through the Pearson Vue testing centers.

Exam Number of Questions Time
PMP®  200 4 hours


The exam consists of 200 questions. 25 of these questions are not included in the exam scoring, therefore the score is calculated out of 175. There are four multiple choice answers per question, one of which is correct.

For more details PMP® exam, go to  



Candidates who take the computer-based test receive their results (passed or not passed) immediately upon completion. PMI also evaluates proficiency levels in each project management process group from high proficiency to low proficiency in a score report which the candidates receive after the examination.