PMP Certification Preparation Training: Frequently Asked Questions


Project Management Training from Watermark Learning is designed to help elevate your career. We offer you the preparation and training needed to pass the PMP® Certification Exam.

Find frequently asked questions and answers below. The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® GUIDE) - Fourth Edition is the current edition, and the PMP Exam is based on it. The FAQs below pertain to the current exam to help you get started:

  1. What is the PMP Certification Examination?
  2. What are the education or work experience requirements needed?
  3. What is the cost of the exam?
  4. How many hours of study time are necessary to pass the exam?
  5. What study materials are needed to prepare for the exam?
  6. How many questions are asked in the PMPexam?
  7. How can candidates apply to sit for the exam?
  8. How long does it take for PMI® HQ to process the exam application?
  9. How will the applicant know if the application has been processed?
  10. After the application has been processed, how long do candidates have to take the exam?
  11. How do candidates schedule time to sit for the exam?
  12. What if a candidate has to cancel after scheduling the exam?
  13. What if candidates do not pass the exam?
  14. What if I need to retake the PMP Certification Preparation class?
  15. What is the cost to retake the exam?

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1. What is the PMP Certification Examination?

The PMP examination is comprised of 200 mutually-exclusive, four-option, multiple-choice questions. The exam is designed to test for an understanding of how to apply project management practices to achieve project objectives.

2. What are the education or work experience requirements needed?

Candidates must complete the verification section of the online application to apply to take the PMP Exam. There are two sets of experience requirements depending on whether or not an applicant holds a baccalaureate degree.

For candidates who hold a baccalaureate degree:

  • 4,500 hours minimum PM experience gained within the last 8 years prior to application and covering at least 36 unique, non-overlapping months are required. This experience must include leading and directing the project. If the applicant worked on multiple projects during the same month, the hours count toward the 4,500 hours required, but any month in which an applicant was working on more than one project would only count as one month toward the 36 months required.
  • At least 35 contact hours of specific instruction that addresses learning objectives in project management are required. Hours may include content on project quality, scope, time, cost, human resources, communications, risk, procurement, integration, or stakeholder management. Instruction may be delivered by a PMI Registered Education Provider*, university or college, internal corporate learning program, distance-learning program, or any other formal learning resource. No time limit is associated with when the 35 hours were accrued.

For candidates who do not hold a baccalaureate degree:

  • 7,500 hours minimum PM experience gained within the last 8 years prior to application and covering at least 60 unique, non-overlapping months are required. This experience must include leading and directing the project. If the applicant worked on multiple projects during the same month, the hours count toward the 7,500 hours required, but any month in which an applicant was working on more than one project would only count as one month toward the 60 months required.
  • At least 35 contact hours of specific instruction that addresses learning objectives in project management are required. Hours may include content on project quality, scope, time, cost, human resources, communications, risk, procurement, integration, or stakeholder management. Instruction may be delivered by a PMI Registered Education Provider*, university or college, internal corporate learning program, distance-learning program, or any other formal learning resource. No time limit is associated with when the 35 hours were accrued.

*Watermark Learning is a PMI Registered Education Provider, providing quality educational opportunities to project managers. See our complete list of project management courses which meet PMI's specific instruction requirements.

3. What is the cost of the exam?

Cost for PMI members is $405.
Cost for nonmembers is $555.

The cost for PMI membership is $129/year (plus a $10 application fee).. Membership in a local PMI chapter is an additional fee which varies by chapter. Check the PMI website for the chapter fees.

4. How many hours of study time are necessary to pass the exam?

Although it certainly depends on individual learning styles and comfort level with exams of this type, students should expect to spend around 40-50 hours studying for the exam in addition to the time spent in the classroom.

5. What study materials are needed to prepare for the exam?

Watermark Learning provides complete course materials to its PMP Certification Preparation students. Besides hundreds of pages of useful information, study aids, and references, students in our classes also receive a 90-day subscription to our PMP Online Simulation Exam with over 500 practice test questions. Candidates are advised to purchase the current edition of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, available at the PMI Bookstore or other retailers. PMI Members have access to a free e-copy of the PMBOK Guide online that may be downloaded and printed. (Note that the entire document is over 600 pages.)

Sample exam questions and suggested reading are also available on the PMI web site.

6. How many questions are asked in the PMP exam?

The PMP examination is comprised of 200 mutually-exclusive, four-option, multiple-choice questions.

7. How can candidates apply to sit for the exam?

Candidates must complete an application. Candidates are encouraged to apply online at pmi.org. (Printable application forms are available at pmi.org.) Once started, the application may not be cancelled but may be saved unfinished. It will remain open for 90 days.

8. How long does it take for PMI HQ to process the application?

Online applications are typically processed within five business days. Individual applications submitted by mail take approximately 10 business days. Corporate applications submitted by mail take 20 business days.

9. How will the applicant know if the application has been processed?

Once the application and fee have been processed, PMI will electronically send the Examination Scheduling Instructions, confirming that the applicant is eligible to take the exam.

10. After the application has been processed, how long do candidates have to take the exam?

Eligibility is good for one year from the day that the application was approved. The exam may be taken three times within the eligibility period should applicants not pass on the first attempt.

11. How do candidates schedule time to sit for the exam?

Once eligible to take the exam, the examination scheduling instructions received from PMI will instruct the applicant to contact Prometric at www.prometric.com to select a date and location for taking the exam. The PMP exam is a computer-based exam and may be scheduled by applicants at any time available at any of the Prometric sites.

Information about site locations and scheduling may be found at Prometric’s website. Select the “Professional Licensure and Certification” for test type and “Project Management Institute” for testing program.

12. What if a candidate has to cancel after scheduling the exam?

You may reschedule or cancel your exam if done at least two full days prior to your exam date. However, canceling or rescheduling the exam within 30 days of a scheduled exam date will incur a rescheduling fee. Be sure to confirm the cancellation/rescheduling guidelines with Prometric when scheduling the exam.

13. What if candidates do not pass the exam?

Candidates who do not pass the exam may retake the exam two more times for a total of three times within one year of application approval. If candidates are not able to pass the PMP certification exam within their one-year eligibility period, they must wait one year from the date of the last attempt to reapply for the PMP credential. Applicants who chose to apply for a different PMI credential, such as the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®), may do so at any time.

Check out Watermark’s 10 Tips for Passing the PMP® Exam...the Second Time for insights on how to prepare for retaking the exam.

14. What if I need to retake the PMP® Certification Preparation class?

Watermark is committed to helping you pass the PMP Certification exam the first time. If you take one of our public PMP Certification Prep classes and don't pass the exam, or if you were unable to take the exam after attending a class for some reason and need to retake the class as a refresher, you may register for an upcoming public Watermark PMP Certification Prep class free of charge (space permitting).

Students retaking the class must bring their original course materials. If you have lost your course materials, or if the course version has changed since you last took the class, you can purchase new course materials for only $150. Call Roberta Hoffman at (952) 921-0900, ext 208 or via email for more information.

15. What is the cost to retake the exam?

Cost for PMI members, $275. Cost for nonmembers, $375.

What Our Clients Say

“I passed my PMP exam, Yay for me! The study material that Watermark provides is spot on and was of great help. Sample questions were extremely helpful. Majority of the questions I had were scenario related and I had to identify what PMBOK says is the right answer (like you taught us in the class). I also had quite a few math questions, and the formulas that you had asked to memorize came in handy.”
- Shuja Ahmed, PMP, MCPM