How To Become A Certified Project Management Professional (Part 2): Passing The PMP® Exam

1. Become a member of Project Management Institute (PMI)®.

Even though it is not a compulsory requirement to become a PMI® member, it is highly recommended. By registering online to be a member of PMI®, you save money on exam fees - $405 for members and $555 for non-members, as of March 2019. A standard PMI® membership costs $129 per year, plus a $10 application fee. You can also join a local chapter beside the international organization. This costs roughly an additional $30 as of March 2019, but will offer additional networking and job-hunting opportunities. 

2. Apply and pay for the PMP® exam online.

Enroll on PMI®’s website at, and fill in an online form that shows your experience and education. Once you’ve submitted your application, you should receive an eligibility email in 3 to 5 business days. Then, pay your exam fee, $405 for PMI members and $555 for non-member as of march, 2019. Some applicants are selected for physical audit by PMI®. If chosen for audit, you will need to submit hard copies of your credentials to prove your education, work experience and training. It may take 6 weeks for your audit to get approval, after which you can schedule your exam.

3. Schedule your exam through the website.

You have 1 year to take the exam after the approval of your application. Instead of administering the test themselves, PMI use an international testing company called Thomson Prometric. Locate the nearest testing center and schedule your test date through Prometric’s website at It is highly recommended to schedule your test 3 months out, which gives you enough time for preparation but isn’t so long that you’ll lose motivation.

4. Study for the exam.

You can choose either study independently or join a PMP® preparation class. The decision depends on the time and money allocated for the process. Independent study guides and sample exams cost about $200-300 with 2-3 months of study time compared to a PMP® prep class of $1,700-$2,400 with 3-5 days of participation. No matter what learning method you take, you need to master the entire A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute Inc., 2017. For your information, passing rates are higher for those who enroll in classes.

5. Pass the exam and earn your certification.

The PMP® exam must be taken in person with 200 questions in 4 hours. Your results are informed right after the test is finished, and your certification will be mailed about a month later. If you don’t pass the exam on your first attempt, retake the test within 1 year of eligibility period. You are allowed to take the exam 2 more times during that one year. If you happen to fail 3 times, you must wait 1 year from the date of the last exam to apply for the certification again. 

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