The PMP application process: what to expect when you apply

The PMP application process: what to expect when you apply

The PMP application process consists of your application followed by an exam.

In your PMP application, you will need to describe your project management experience and qualifications using the language of PMI’s PMBOK.

If PMI has concerns with your stated experience or qualifications they will ask you to either:

  • revise your application wording to address their concerns;
  • resubmit your application at a later date after earning more PM experience; or
  • never apply again (if you were dishonest).

Tip: I created FastPMP™ to help you get your application accepted while avoiding the hassles.

Once your application is accepted, you pay the exam fee and may be selected for an application audit. If you weren’t audited or you pass the audit, you then have one year to successfully pass the exam.

The PMP exam is 4 hours and 200 multiple-choice computer-based questions proctored usually at a Pearson VUE exam center. The questions are based largely on your understanding of PMI’s PMBOK, which may be different from the concepts you’ve used in your real-world project experience. Therefore, even a highly experienced project manager will need to study PMBOK quite a bit and do practice exams in order to pass the exam. The questions in the most recent version of the exam can often be things like “what should you do if…” and the answers they want are very prescriptive things like “consult the risk register and hold a meeting with the stakeholders” rather than my preferred answer “it depends”.

The application process begins with a free application you submit to PMI where you describe your project experience and if they accept the application, then you pay to write the exam and have one year to pass the exam (or pay another fee to retake the exam). 

To help you learn how ready you are to apply for the PMP, I’ve created a 3-minute assessment…