Certification Insider

Helping you earn and maintain your PMI certification. Passing the PMP Exam is tough, but keeping your PMP Certification alive is just as challenging. Preparing for the exam requires an in-depth study of the PMBOK Guide and dedicated study discipline. And once you are PMP certified, then you are required to earn 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every 3 years to keep your certification alive. Let me help you make this journey easier with tips and tricks on how to prepare for and pass the exam as well as efficiently earning your PDUs once you are certified.

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Recent Posts

The 7 Things You Need to Pass the PMI-ACP® Exam

How To Become PMI-ACP Certified Even After A Disappointing Class

Free Sample PMP Exam Questions for Free. No need for sign-up

6 Reasons Why You May Have Failed The PMP Exam 3 Times

Free PMP Exam Sample Question

The 7 Things You Need to Pass the PMI-ACP® Exam
Categories: Agile, Eligibility, PMI-ACP, PMI-ACP Exam, The Agile PrepCast

The Project Management Institute (PMI®) has developed a set of criteria and credentials for recognizing project management professionals who use Agile methodologies in their project, the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® certification. The credentialing process is fairly rigorous, including: 2,000 hours or twelve months of general project management work experience, 1,500 hours or eight months of Agile specific project experience, and 21 hours of training in Agile specific practices. The amount of material that is covered by the PMI-ACP Exam is extensive and can seem overwhelming, but don’t be intimidated! Having and using the 7 items in this article will ensure you are prepared to meet the exam head-on and achieve optimal results both on exam day and in your future career.

1: PMI-ACP Handbook

The PMI-ACP Handbook gives you all the details of the PMI-ACP Exam process including exam policies and procedures. The first two sections are a must read for anyone considering PMI-ACP certification. These sections cover the must know basics such as exam eligibility requirements, how to complete the online application, the payment policy, and the PMI-ACP Exam blueprint. Knowing and understanding this information will go a long way to reducing your exam day stress.
The PMI-ACP Handbook is available for free online at: www.agileprepcast.com/acphb

2: Time

The material covered by the PMI-ACP Exam is extensive, detailed, and spread throughout many sources of reference material. This is not an examination you can “cram” for in a couple of weekends or simply rely upon your experience and pass. Plan to take the exam after spending 10-12 solid weeks of studying for an hour or two just about every day. Of course you will need to develop a schedule that is flexible enough to fit in with the rest of your responsibilities and commitments.

3: Study Plan and Schedule

As a project manager, you are aware of the importance of planning and scheduling. Take those valuable skills and create a study schedule for 10-12 week period that fits well with the rest of your responsibilities. Depending on your job and household commitments, you may need to schedule more or less time. Take a practice exam to identify the areas that you need to spend more time focusing on during this 10-12 week period. Make sure your schedule is realistic and set weekly goals to track your progress. Don’t forget you also need to include time in your schedule to take breaks and participate in activities you enjoy.

4: Study Materials

The PMI-ACP Exam, unlike the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam, does not have a primary publication for examinees to study. Instead, PMI provides a list of reference
Visit www.agileprepcast.com for PMI-ACP® Exam Resources P a g e | 2
materials. You can download this list for free at: http://www.pmi.org/Certification/~/media/Files/PDF/Agile/PMI000-GainInsightsAIGLE418.ashx
A second source is the PMI-ACP Examination Content Outline. This document covers information about the Agile tools and techniques as well as the Agile knowledge and skills that will be covered in the PMI-ACP Exam. I recommend that you ensure that any PMI-ACP courses or books you purchase cover all the items listed in here. Download it at: http://www.pmi.org/Certification/~/media/Files/PDF/Agile/PMI_Agile_Certification_Content_Outline.ashx

5: Self Study Course

With the great number of material covered by the PMI-ACP Exam another option is to enroll in a self-study course. The latest generation of self-study comes to you in the form of Agile Podcasts / Videocasts. These can be downloaded to your smartphone, laptop, tablet, computer, or other portable media device. This makes your PMI-ACP Exam training portable, allowing you to listen or view whenever you have some free time.
Self-study Agile Podcasts cover agile frameworks, tools and techniques, knowledge and skills, and methods required for the exam in everyday English. As an added bonus, taking your lessons in this way can count toward the required 21 contact hours of Agile specific training.

6: PMI-ACP Exam Prep Book

There are a wide variety of PMI-ACP Exam prep books available, which are also sometimes called “study guides”. They explain the concepts covered in the PMI-ACP Exam and can be a great addition to the reference materials suggested by PMI. Go to your local bookstore and select one that fits with your style of learning and covers a variety of high- and low-yield topics.

7: Questions, Questions, Questions

A large number of free PMI-ACP Exam sample questions are available from a variety of resources on the internet. Free questions are a good place to start, but will only go so far for you. You will also want to subscribe to an online PMI-ACP Exam Simulator in order to access the highest quality of sample questions.
Your study plan must include answering as many practice questions as possible and taking several complete 120-question practice exams. This type of preparation will allow you to evaluate your study progress and prepare you for the format of the real thing. You will be nervous on exam day, but being familiar with types and formats of questions will help reduce anxiety and prepare you for success.

In conclusion: preparing to pass the PMI-ACP Exam can be a stressful process, but it does not have to be. Include these seven items in your studies and you will reduce anxiety and exam day stress. Study hard and good luck!

Posted on: April 02, 2014 12:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

How To Become PMI-ACP Certified Even After A Disappointing Class
Categories: Agile, PMI, PMI-ACP Exam, study, The Agile PrepCast

Even if your classroom experience is disappointing, you can still go on to pass your PMI exam. Felix Rodgers, PMI-ACP, is one successful candidate who had a less than good experience of his training course.“It was really interesting stuff,” he said, in an interview with Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM, host of The Project Management Podcast. “Even though the actual study guide we used in class wasn’t up to par.”

Luckily, Felix had a good trainer who helped to address some of the problems with the course materials. “He jumped in with stories of some of his work experience in large companies and explained some of the projects he worked on. I also learned that my trainer was later hired to update the study guide for the training company and it’s much improved now.” Despite the poor experience of the course, Felix felt ready to take the exam straight afterwards. However, he ended up waiting about a year due to work and personal commitments, although he would recommend others to take the exam as soon as they can.

“I also wish I’d have given myself a little more time to go over all of the different concepts that maybe on the test,” Felix said. “The totality of my experience had been with Scrum, one of the frameworks for Agile that’s part of the test. I felt very comfortable with that, but I was very weak with Lean and XP and they were the things that going in, I knew I didn’t have a lot of experience with.”

Felix bought some books and did some reading, and sure enough, the first few practice exam questions that he took were about Lean. “As you look at those questions, you start to worry: Am I going to have issues with this?” But as his studies progressed, Felix felt more confident. “I can’t stress that enough to people that you have to take practice exams,” he said.“The more testing that you do, the more prepared you’ll be.”

After the classroom course, and his break from studying, Felix spent two or three months reviewing for the exam. Everything in his study plan led towards his scheduled exam date. He studied for a couple of hours on weekdays and longer at the weekends, which is when he took his practice exams. He even considered taking another classroom course, but due to the investment, decided to give self-directed study a chance first.

He used Andy Crowe’s study book, The PMI-ACP Exam: How To Pass On Your First Try. “It’s a really good book,” he said. “I went through it about three times and it has really good test exams in the back. What was interesting about these questions is that when I actually took the test, I wasn’t too far off as far as what I saw in the actual exam.” The realistic questions helped Felix prepare. “It’ll ask a question but it’ll just twist just a little bit,” he said. “It kind of makes you take a second, a third and a fourth look at that question.”

Felix also found the focus on the 12 principles in the Agile Manifesto and the Scrum guide very useful. “If you’resolid with your principles, you always refer back to that,” he said. “If you’re in doubt when answering a question, always rely on what the actual Agile principles say. I did that for more than a few questions.”

On the exam day, Felix was a little late to the test center as he hadn’t worked out exactly where it was. He was able to enter the room without problems and noticed that there were cameras taping the exam and the candidates. “I went through the tutorial just to understand the system,” he said. This was valuable as the majority of Felix’s test questions had been in books. “They walk you through the process of how to mark things, how to go back and once you’re done with everything, you can click to finish. It’s a quick tutorial.”

During the exam, Felix found that his practical experience of managing projects using Scrum for 8 years was valuable, and he was confident with those questions. However, the majority of questions he marked for review were about Lean or XP. He finished in about 2 hours, but thought that was too quick. “Am I going out at a good pace? Am I too slow? Am I too fast? You’ve got to try to pace yourself to make sure that you get everything answered and also that you provide yourself with enough time to go back and review the ones that you had some questions about.”

The bulk of the questions were somewhere between the hard and medium category,” Felix said. Once he had finished the exam, Felix completed the feedback survey and received his results. He had passed! He received his score report, which was stamped in the bottom corner and then he was able to use PMI-ACP after his name.

As soon as he got in the car he posted his results in Facebook, and then started thinking about the next credential he could take, the Risk Management Professional exam. He sees instant applicable value for these courses in the real world. “In the work that I do now for a defense contractor, we’re trying to include Agile into the military and government culture,” he said. “They’re willing to try these types of techniques. I love the challenge of trying to apply things that I know work very well in the commercial world to a world that’s, let’s be honest, is not usually known for quick iterative releases.”

Overall, Felix felt that his study plan combined with practice exams and real world experience helped him prepare, despite his poor classroom course. “It is really important to get a good teacher along with good content,” he said. The Agile PrepCast would have been great for him. “For me it meant a lot of studying but I am so excited to have it and be able to use these kinds of skills and techniques in my current job and in the other future endeavours.”


Posted on: March 01, 2014 12:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Free Sample PMP Exam Questions for Free. No need for sign-up

Test your PMP knowledge right now with this 8th Set of 15 free PMP Exam sample questions in an online exam:


This exam is just one of a series of 8 exams. To sign up for all our free exams please visit http://www.free-pm-exam-questions.com/

Don't let this chance pass by. Practice always makes perfect!

Until Next Time,
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP
President, OSP International LLC

Posted on: February 13, 2014 08:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

6 Reasons Why You May Have Failed The PMP Exam 3 Times
Categories: Education

While I hope it doesn’t happen to you, some people fail the PMP exam 3 times. If you do find yourself in that situation, you will have to wait a year from the date of your last exam before you will be able to apply for your PMP certification again.

Over the years, I have found several reasons why someone continues to fail the exam. However – and as hard as it may be to hear this – if it happens to you then you have to acknowledge that you are part of the problem! You are the one taking and failing the test and you should carry some responsibility for not being able to pass because many, many other people do manage to get through it each year.

But on the other hand PMI has made this exam extremely difficult, and by sitting for the exam multiple times you have proven that you are serious about passing the exam, getting your PMP Credential, and
distinguishing yourself from your peers. You can still keep your head up high!

So once you are prepared to accept the complexities of the exam and your role in failing it, then you

need to change your exam taking strategies and take a look at your exam techniques. You can make changes that will help you overcome those difficulties. First, you need to establish why you have failed and
then you can take action to improve your chance of passing the exam next time. So let’s look at 6 reasons why you may have failed the PMP exam and what you can do about them.

1: You lack understanding of the PMP exam concepts

Perhaps the reason for failing the exam 3 times is simply that you don’t understand the concepts in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) - Fifth Edition or they did not sink in properly. While you may have studied everything several times, for some reason you simply haven’t been able to get them to make sense in a way that allows you to apply the concepts and pass the exam.

Action: Get yourself a "Study Buddy". Find someone in your area, company or PMI Chapter who is also studying and meet with them on a weekly basis. Review the concepts together and most importantly explain to each other how you understand the concepts. You can also work together on practice questions and explain the reasons for your answers. Making a case for why you think the answer you choose is the
“best” answer will help both you and your buddy learn and more importantly remember the concept. After all, the best way to learn something is to teach it, wouldn’t you agree?

2: You struggle with standardized exams

Many students know the material, have the experience and have prepared well, but then they simply "freeze up" during a standardized test. They find the pressure too intense and can’t perform with that
amount of stress.

Action: Unfortunately I'm not a psychologist and frankly I don't have a silver bullet for helping you through this. Everyone deals with test anxiety differently. You could take a lot of complete, 4-hour exams in order to prepare yourself using test conditions. Think about the exam as a chance to reward yourself for all your studying instead of something scary to be tackled. Visualization, working with a colleague, journaling and building your self-confidence may also help.

3: English may not be your first language

My own mother tongue is German and I must admit that when I took the exam I had difficulty understanding and clearly distinguishing between the various PMI terms and concepts that were so new to me.

Action: PMI offers language aids in 13 languages. This means that during the exam you can switch back and forth between the English text and the translation. However, bear in mind that doing this is time
consuming and these language aids are difficult to use in an already stressful and time-constrained situation.

4: You can’t handle the exam room distractions

The exam rooms are not only used for PMP exams, so people will be coming in and out and there could be other distractions. The most severe case of this that I know of is a student who reported that a maid came into the exam room and cleaned her screen while she was taking the exam - she failed her test. Of course this is rare! But you should be ready for any sort of distraction during the exam and able to
recover from it quickly (or ignore it completely).

Action: Take your laptop to your nearest coffee shop and take 2-3 sample exams right there in the midst of all the hustle and bustle. Learn to focus!

5: You didn’t take any practice exams

Unfortunately some of my students didn’t listen to my advice and attempted to take the PMP exam several times without logging on to a PMP exam simulator and practicing at home. Practice exams really will help you perform better during the real thing.

Action: Sign up for a PMP exam simulator. Take some practice exams.

6: You’ve lost confidence

After failing the exam several times it’s not unusual for someone to lose confidence in their ability to pass. I see this often: students just don't believe in themselves any longer.

Action: This is the moment when a PMP coach needs to be brought on board and you have to stop self-study as it will no longer work for you. The PMP coach (either in-person or virtual) will work with you

individually or in a very small group to review the PMP concepts and go through hundreds of exam questions to explain them. This is a great way to get a professional’s insight into how to approach the questions and build your confidence at the same time.

Once you’ve examined your own reasons for failing the exam you may find that it’s because of something different to these points. That’s OK - everyone is different! The main thing to remember is that while the PMP exam is tough, it isn’t impossible and it can be passed. So don’t get discouraged. Tackle the situation as you would any other failed or failing project: analyze what is going wrong, make changes to your project management plan and then bring the project to a successful close. After all, that’s what we project managers do!

Posted on: February 05, 2014 11:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Free PMP Exam Sample Question

The following PMP® exam sample question is taken from the Free PMP Exam Simulator (The answer is at the very bottom):


You are managing a software development project. In the middle of the project, you find out that you are way behind schedule. Your company has invested a lot in this project, and if you don't deliver the project on time, it will be a total disaster. You analyze your project schedule to adjust it so that you may be able to complete the project on time with the existing resources. You find out that you have a lot of discretionary dependencies in your project schedule. What is the best way for you to adjust the project schedule so that you may be able to complete the project on time?

A) Keep the discretionary dependencies intact and apply Crashing    
B) Keep the discretionary dependencies intact and apply Fast Tracking    
C) Remove the discretionary dependencies and apply Crashing    
D) Remove the discretionary dependencies and apply Fast Tracking


Hint: You need to find a way out of this problem with your existing resources.


All our questions are updated to the latest PMBOK® Guide standard. Stop by at http://free.pm-exam-simulator.com and try the PMP Exam Simulator free for 3 days. We also offer 110 free questions at http://www.free-pm-exam-questions.com. We are a PMI Registered Education Provider.

Until Next Time,
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP
President, OSP International LLC

Answer and Explanation:
The Correct Answer is D. As you need to find a way out of this problem with your existing resources, you can't apply the Crashing technique. You can only apply Fast Tracking after removing the discretionary dependencies from the project.

Posted on: February 02, 2014 06:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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