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How to prepare for the PMP exam part 7: exam day logistics

Cornelius Fichtner, PMP | Nov. 29, 2010
Don't blow your chances of passing the PMP exam and earning PMP certification by failing to prepare for exam day logistics. Here's what you need to do before the exam and on exam day to make sure you're ready mentally, physically and logistically.

1. The check-in process. On the day of your examination, arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment. You will need to sign in, present a government-issued identification, and provide your unique PMI identification code. You may also be asked to provide the confirmation number you received when you scheduled your exam.

If your government-issued ID does not have a photograph or signature, you will need a secondary identification with your photograph and signature, whichever is missing from the primary ID. For a list of acceptable identifications, see the Project Management Institute's PMP Credential Handbook.

The name on your government-issued ID MUST match your name exactly as it appears on your PMP exam scheduling notification. If it doesn't, you will not be permitted to take the test. Neither the Project Management Institute (PMI) nor Prometric (the test administrator) will make any exception, so save yourself a lot of heartache and confirm it as soon as you receive your scheduling notification.

2. What not to bring. The testing center will provide you with paper, a pencil and a calculator (on the exam computer). You may not bring anything--or anyone--with you into the exam room. This includes your cell phone, your own calculator, a coat, dictionary, eye glasses case, etc. Some test centers have lockers for your personal items. The complete list of items that you cannot bring in is in the "Exam Site Requirements & Instructions" section of the PMP Credential Handbook.

3. Expect Murphy's Law. Since every testing center is different, you should expect the unexpected. In my case, noisy construction was going on outside the testing center during the entire exam, and a student from South Africa wrote that he wasn't allowed to take any breaks for any reason. He was told that if he stood up from his chair, this meant that he was done with the exam. So whatever comes your way, roll with it. Concentrate on what is really important, which is taking and passing the exam.

4. Ready, Set, GO! Before you begin your test, you must familiarize yourself with your workstation. Go through the tutorial. Its purpose is to inform you about the logistics of the computer-based PMP exam. You will probably be familiar with it if you studied using a PMP exam simulator that paralleled the PMP exam logistics. Even so, watch it to make sure there are no surprises.

You have 15 minutes for the tutorial, but you should be finished in about 5. Use the rest of the time to get ready. For instance, since you cannot bring your notes with you, do a "brain dump" by writing down the most important facts for you to remember on your scrap paper before you begin the test. Then, take a deep breath and click "Start Exam."


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