Recently we’ve seen a trend: The Project Management Institute (PMI)® appears to be doing more Project Management Professional (PMP)® audits. That’s where they review your application in detail prior to approving you to take the PMP® Exam.
But there’s another part to this trend: we are seeing more people failing audits and reaching out for help. If that’s you, don’t worry: I’ve got you covered with this article. And if you are in the middle of your PMP training and preparing your application right now, read on: I have some great tips to help you avoid the headaches audits can bring.
Why PMI® Does Audits
First, you should know that being selected for an audit is random. There’s nothing on your application that flagged it as being worthy of a second look. PMI does, however, reserve the right to audit any candidate at any time – that’s clear in the PMP Handbook.
PMI does audits to ensure the standing of the PMP credential. The application team wants to make sure that their policies are fair and that they are only moving people to the next stage of the process who are eligible for the credential.
In other words, audits protect you because they ensure the value of the PMP credential stays high. As PMI can’t subject every application to an audit, they select a proportion to review.
The Audit Ensures That You Are a Project Manager who Leads & Directs Projects
One reason that the PMP credential has such a high regard around the world is the fact that it is reserved for a very particular group of people: project managers who lead and direct projects. And the audit ensures that you - the applicant - meet this qualification. So let’s make sure of that:
If you or the work you are responsible for do not meet all of these criteria then you should not apply for the exam.
Where the PMP Audit Fits Into the Application Process
If you are selected for a PMP audit you’ll find out by email after your payment has been processed.
You’ll have 90 days to provide the information that the audit team needs. Once you’re successfully out the other side of the audit, your one-year examination eligibility period starts.
How You Can Fail The PMI Audit
There are 3 ways that your application could result in an audit failure:
1. No Fault
Top Reasons For Failing The Audit (And How To Avoid Them)
So what could result in your application failing the audit process? Here are some of the top reasons we have gleaned from students and what you can do to avoid them happening to you.
Your experience entries do not meet the requirements of the PMP credential
The work experience you’ve listed is not aligned with the project management process areas (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling and closing). It might not be possible for PMI to see what role you took on the project. They need to see that you lead and directed the project.
They also need evidence that you have experience in each of the process areas. You don’t have to show experience in every area for every project but the totality of your application should document that you have experience that stretches across the whole of the Exam Content Outline.
You’ve submitted experience that wasn’t on projects
PMI doesn’t care about the work you do outside of projects. If you are not clear enough to determine whether they are truly projects, PMI may deem that experience inadmissible.
You’ve grouped information about multiple projects
PMI wants to review what you did on each individual project and your application will be rejected if you group information about multiple projects.
You included voluntary projects
While working on projects unpaid can give you considerable experience, for the PMP® application PMI only wants to see projects that “represent professional and compensated work.” If you include voluntary work this could cause you to fail.
You didn’t submit all the required audit information in one go
PMI requires that you send all your audit information back in one bundle. If they receive an incomplete submission from you, that’s an automatic fail.
Boost Your Chances of Success
Going through an audit isn’t the end of the world. If your application is solid, the audit process doesn’t take long and you can start preparing for your exam. If you want to avoid the extra steps and stress that an audit might bring, it helps to have an experienced PMP coach review your application. This can give you confidence and ensure that your investment in your application has the best possible chance of success.
You might also choose to use a PMP coach if you’re preparing a new application after failing an audit. They can help you select appropriate, different projects that are new for PMI’s review: the audit team may not pass projects that previously failed.
If you’ve been audited once you should expect to be audited on your next application. It might not happen: but it’s highly possible. Using the tips in this article you’ll be well prepared in case that happens.
About the author: Cornelius Fichtner, PMP is a noted PMP expert. He has helped over 40,000 students prepare for the PMP Exam with The Project Management PrepCast at http://www.pm-prepcast.com and The PM Exam Simulator at http://www.pm-exam-simulator.com.
Effective immediately, Project Management Institute (PMI)® and Prometric have made the following change to the examination format of all PMI® certifications: You are no longer allowed to take any notes during the 15 minute time of the tutorial.
Here is what this means for you.
PMI Brain Dump Policy
Here is PMI’s policy on this matter and what will be enforced at Prometric testing centers:
Are Brain Dumps Now Forbidden?
No. The policy states that you are still allowed to use a brain dump, but you are simply not allowed to write it down during the 15 minute tutorial. You have to wait until the exam has officially started. And once the exam clock is ticking, then -- and only then -- are you allowed to write down your brain dump.
Writing down your brain dump after the exam countdown has begun will of course "eat up" exam time that you could spend answering questions. So if you are concerned about not having enough time to answer all questions, then spending time to write down your brain dump may not be for you. However, spending a moment of your actual exam time in the act of getting everything you memorized onto paper will additionally give you confidence in your exam knowledge, and you now have a physical reference to go back to during the heat of the exam.
PMI Still Allows Brain Dumps
To clarify the policy, Gregg Shaffer (Manager, Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.) Program) posted the following comment on LinkedIn:
"To be clear, PMI still allows “brain dumps.” However, because of the importance of the tutorial, PMI simply states that the practice of “brain dumps,” in alignment with industry best practices and standards, not be allowed until after the tutorial is completed. We ask all to please respect and follow this direction."
We Recommend: When in Doubt... Ask!
At this time it is still early days and the exact implementation of this new policy may vary from one testing center to another. We therefore advise our students to ask the following questions before walking into the testing room:
Here is what one of our students reported back regarding this new policy:
When I did my exam last week, I went in knowing I couldn't do a brain dump. So I spent 5 minutes going through the tutorial, started my exam, and did the brain dump as soon as I started the exam. If you go into the exam treating it as a 3 hour and 50 minute exam instead of a 4 hour exam, then you can take the time to do your dump, and just pace yourself slightly faster to complete the rest of it.
"I was given my paper when I was seated, and told that I wouldn't be able to write anything until I clicked the "start" button. Although in my case, I just had a bunch of EVM formulas, and in the end, there only a handful of questions that required EVM formulas..." Matt Mcdonnell
A Brain Dump is NOT = Exam Success!
Lastly, don't forget that a brain dump will not 'make or break" your exam. It is nothing more than a security blanket. The real factors that will bring you success on the exam are your experience as a project manager, your understanding of the material, and the hours and hours of preparation and taking sample exams that you put in.
Having Your Personal Brain Dumps is STILL Valuable
Are you wondering if you should still develop your own, personalize brain dump, what to put on it and what the "secret" of a brain dump is? Read this article:
Read this Forum Post
The Project Management Institute (PMI)® Educational Foundation is a charitable nonprofit organization, with the mission to inspire and empower people to realize their potential and transform their lives and their communities through the use of project management knowledge. This interview with Suketu Nagrecha, PMIEF Chair, was recorded at the 2016 PMI Global Congress in San Diego, California. We discuss:
Full disclosure: My own company is a PMIEF donor and offers certification scholarships primarily for PMP exam prep. If you are thinking of earning a PMI scholarship but lack the means to do so then please visit https://www.project-management-prepcast.com/scholarships to learn how to apply.
In our previous article we discussed the 7 questions that most of our PMP Exam coaching students ask us as they start out their journey. However, over the years we have identified a second set of 7 questions - the questions students SHOULD be asking us but they don’t. Here they are:
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.”