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How do I Get the PMP Certificate?

“If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves.”

Thomas Edison

The following image shows a way to the certification exam that has been well-proven, including the recommended amount of time:

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Everyone applying online for a certification exam with PMI has to prove project management experience and training attendance. This experience has to be sub-divided into a specific structure. There are five "Performance domains" (also known as "Process groups"), each including a set of tasks in which the candidate must have acted in the past:

- Initiating
- Planning
- Executing
- Monitoring and controlling
- Closing 

In case of an audit, meaning a detailed check of the information given in the application (happening with appr. 10% of all applications) by PMI, a contact person has to be named. This can be a manager, a project customer / sponsor, or similar.

Exam requirements vary according to the applicant's education level:

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When should one be certified?

If your project is in a hot phase, it may be better to wait for things to calm down, but do not wait too long. It takes most candidates between two and eighteen months to go through the process of becoming a PMP credential holder.

Your projects are always in hot phases? In that case, you need the certification even more urgently. It may help you prevent a burn-out or even a damaged health, when you follow proven processes instead of being occupied fixing troubled projects all the time.

What should you do after the seminar?

After deciding to get certified, applying online to take the exam and having been admitted, there is one year left to book an individual appointment with the exam hosting company Prometric. A computer-based exam costs 340 Euro for PMI members, and 465 for non-members. PMI membership costs 105 Euro per year, which means it pays back, also considering the fact that members enjoy many other benefits as well.

For exam preparation100 hours are recommended, after attending a preparation seminar, mentored self-directed learning has proven to be a valuable strategy. This means that exam applicants attend special training, read literature on the topic, and use sample question collections, apps, and podcasts on the topic, etc.

The two most important single documents one should know in order to pass the PMP certification exam, are:

Note: On 31 July 2013, the new PMBOK Guide 5th Edition will replace the current 4th Edition.

How many correct answers should be aimed for in sample tests?

Collections of sample questions with a higher level of difficulty, where a majority of questions is not inspired only by contents of the PMBOK® Guide, but of other source literature as well, the target should be a result of 75% of correct answers. In some rather simple tests, meaning those that are tightly connected with the PMBOK® Guide, at least 82% should be answered correctly.

If these results are reached during the preparation process, the exam may likely be passed on the first try.

Then, the PMP certificate is awarded for a period of three years. After this time, it has to be renewed by showing evidence of certain activities―details can be found here.