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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.

The total number of experience hours that you need to document in section two depends on your educational background. If you have a bachelor's degree, you will have to document 4,500 hours that were performed within the last eight years. If you don't have a bachelor's degree, you'll need to document 7,500 hours.

Gathering all the necessary information about your project management experience hours and contact hours can be a project in itself. I therefore recommend the following best practice: First collect all of that information offline using the Experience Verification Worksheet, a tool that I provide to all my students for free. Gathering that information ahead of time makes filling out the application a much smoother process.

Before you can submit your application, you must read and agree to the Project Management Institute's Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. It's a small box on the actual application that you have to check, but it is very important. By ticking this box you agree to henceforth manage your projects according to very high standards.

Step 2: The "Application Completeness Review"

After you submit your application online, the Project Management Institute takes five days to review your application and make sure it's complete. (If you mailed a paper application, the review process takes 10 days.) If your application isn't complete, the Project Management Institute will let you know and ask you to complete it.

Step 3: Pay the Fee

Once the Project Management Institute verifies that your application is indeed complete, the organization will send you an e-mail requesting you pay the fee to take the PMP exam. You cannot schedule the exam until you have paid this fee. You can submit your payment online and at the same time select whether you want to take the exam on paper or on a computer, if you need a language translation aid or any other special accommodations, such as wheelchair accessibility or a large font computer screen if you're visually impaired.

Step 4: Prepare for a Random Audit

Your application may be randomly selected for an audit. The Project Management Institute elects to audit some of the applications it receives for the PMP exam to ensure that only qualifying candidates take the exam.

If your application is selected for an audit, you will be notified by e-mail after the Project Management Institute receives your payment. From the day the PMI notifies you of the audit, you have 90 days to send in your audit materials, such as copies of your training certificates that show that you have the 35 required contact hours. Once PMI receives your audit materials, reviewing and processing them takes five to seven days.


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