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How to prepare for the PMP exam part 2: filling out the application

Cornelius Fichtner, PMP | Oct. 25, 2010
Filling out the application for the PMP exam can be a project in itself. In this second part of's series on preparing for the PMP exam, you'll get some tools and learn some best practices that will help you fill out the application efficientlythus inching you closer to your goal of earning PMP certification.

FRAMINGHAM, 25 OCTOBER 2010 - Once you've determined that you're eligible to take the Project Management Institute's (PMI) exam toward PMP certification, your next step is to fill out and submit the application.

The biggest impediment aspiring PMPs face before taking the exam is filling out the nine-page application. Although the application is straightforward, it requires applicants to convey a lot of detailed information about their project management experience. Gathering all of this information can be a project in itself and can take days if not weeks. Consequently, many who start filling out the application never finish it, and thus their hopes of earning the coveted PMP certification are dashed before they even take the exam.

In this second article in's series on preparing for the PMP exam, you'll learn how the application process works and about its various steps. You'll also get some tools and learn some best practices that will help you fill out the application efficiently.

Step 1: How to Fill Out the Application for the PMP Exam

Too often, I see IT professionals decide to take the exam, but then life intervenes, and filling out the application for the PMP exam becomes the last item on their list of priorities. To avoid failure by procrastination, your best bet is to fill out and submit your application as soon as you have confirmed that you meet all of the eligibility requirements. Filling out the application and later paying the application fee (which ranges from $250 to $555, with most people paying $405) is a great motivator and will keep you focused on your goal: earning PMP certification.

The Project Management Institute prefers that you apply online. A printable version of the application is available, but applying online is simple and convenient. You have 90 days to complete your application from the moment you start filling it out, and you can save what you've written between sessions.

The application is broken into three major sections. The first section asks for your contact information (e.g., name, address, job title, employer's name) educational background and the industry you work in. Section two requires you to list your project management experience hours (i.e., the amount of time you've spent leading and directing project management-related tasks). In section three, you record your contact hours—the amount of time you've spent in project management training or education programs.

Section two will take up most of your time because you will need to provide detailed information about all the projects that you have worked on. For example, for each project, you must document the title you held when you worked on this project as well as the name of the organization that employed you when you worked on it. You must also name a primary contact for this project and describe the tasks that you led and directed, along with the number of experience hours you gained during project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and controlling, and closing.


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