Passing the Project Management Professional® exam is hard. Exam prep courses help, but only if you choose the right PMP® Exam Prep Provider.
The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is one of the most recognized and valued designations in the industry, and an important step in building your skills and advancing your career as a project manager.
Unfortunately, estimates indicate that only around half of test-takers pass the PMP exam the first time they take it. PMP exam prep courses can provide you with a thorough understanding of the five process groups and ten knowledge areas the exam covers, as well as proven tips and strategies to help them be successful on the PMP exam, and can greatly improve your chances of passing. But not all PMP exam prep courses are created equal. Here are 5 questions you should ask before choosing a PMP® exam prep provider.
1. Are you a Project Management Institute® Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.)?
Registered Education Providers are organizations that PMI has approved to offer project management training and exam prep courses. Earning this designation is difficult, and maintaining it means frequent audits to ensure we are open, honest, and evidence-based in our claims of success.
What does that mean for you? Transparency. PMI holds its Registered Education Providers accountable for every claim they make, from pass rates to the backgrounds and experience of their instructors.
2. What is your pass rate?
Like we mentioned above, estimates indicate that only about half of test-takers pass on the first try. Increase your odds by looking for a PMP® exam prep provider with a pass rate greater than 90%. And, don’t be satisfied with a simple answer – ask how this data is collected.
Providers that rely exclusively on voluntary reporting will have artificially high pass rates. Look for a provider who proactively reaches out to participants at disciplined intervals to inquire about progress. Even better, look for a provider that regularly checks their roster of past participants against PMI’s PMP directory.
3. Does your course satisfy the required 35 hours of project management education I need to get certified?
PMI Registered Education Providers’ course curriculum is approved by the Project Management Institute and meets the required 35 hours of project management education needed to earn your PMP certification. Although you can earn training requirements through courses offered by non-Registered Education Providers, PMI may audit your professional development units, which puts an undue burden on you and slows down the application process.
Further, REPs are certified to issue professional development units toward the 60 hours needed every three years to maintain your certification. Note that these are distinct from the 35 hours of project management education needed to earn your initial certification.
4. Is this a boot-camp or a course that covers the content in-depth?
If you’ve already completed a substantial amount of self-study (good work!), a shorter “boot camp” approach might work for you. But, considering the additional content added to the PMBOK Guide Sixth Edition, we have seen greater success from a full five-day course that covers the content and gives you an opportunity to practice.
The extra time is necessary to manage your energy (breaks are important!) and to cover the material at a pace that allows for deeper discussion and review of difficult concepts. The most common comment we get from class participants is, “I wish there had been a sixth day!”
5. Do you provide support beyond in-person training?
Quality programs should provide a copy of the PMBOK Guide, access to test prep software, quizzes, practice exams, and additional study aids. But, you should also ask specifically about after-class coaching, study groups, contact with the instructor outside of the classroom and the support they provide through the application process.
The Project Management Professional (PMP), The PMI Registered Education Provider logo, and PMBOK are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.