How to take PMP without leaving your home. Personal experience

6 min

A few weeks ago I was able to successfully pass the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification exam, and in fact there is nothing special about it, other than taking the test without leaving my own apartment. Today I will share the features of the online exam, and I really hope to inspire those of you who have long wanted to get certified, but have postponed it for a long time.

What changed?

2020 is a time of change! This year, many companies have learned how to do business and provide services online, changes have also affected the International Institute of Project Management (Project Management Institute – PMI). In April, PMI made it possible for the first time to take the PMP certification exam remotely – at home or in the office, any day of the week, 24/7. Online exam takes place under the supervision of an observer based on the OnVue platform.

PMI claims that the only difference is that you can now take the exam in pajamas!

In addition, PMI has given up on updating the exam on July 1 and has extended its current version until the end of this year. Read more about the new version of the exam. here

The most important rules of the online exam:

  1. A nice bonus has appeared – 10 minute break while taking an exam that does not count towards the total test duration (240 minutes). The break comes automatically – after answering the first 89 questions, a window opened to me where I could return to the previously marked questions, revise the answers and go to the break. But keep in mind that after a 10-minute break it will no longer be possible to return to the questions from the first part of the exam.
  2. During the exam, your webcam and microphone will be turned on, and all your actions will be recorded for 4 hours… Therefore, you should not even try to break the rules described below.
  3. When taking the exam online it is forbidden to use any writing instruments… Now you will take all notes and drawings using Whiteboard, a built-in program like Paint. I advise you to practice in advance to draw the critical path in Paint, this is a non-trivial task.
  4. Electronic devicesincluding watches, better to move away, and completely turn off the phone so that calls and messages do not bother you.
  5. Food and drink prohibited… I think it’s not scary, because during the 10-minute break in the middle of the test, you can have time to take a sip of water and even have a snack.
  6. No one should enter the room where you are taking the exam.and no one should talk to you.

PMI warns that if one of these rules is not followed, the exam may be forcibly completed without a refund.

What does all this mean?

If you have been going to pass PMP for a long time and have been postponing this moment for a long time, I assure you, now is the right time. You have every chance to prepare (I advise you to lay on this from 2 to 4 months) and pass the exam before the end of the year current edition in a convenient place and at a convenient time!

How to take an exam from home

I will not go into detail about the requirements for an applicant for PMP status, how to make an application, etc., this article is devoted to a greater extent to the new format for passing the exam. The instructions below are for those who are admitted to the exam and have already paid for the certification.

The main 3 steps you need to follow to get your certification online are described on PersonVue website

Step 1. System test

Use the computer from which you plan to take the exam, click on “Test my system” and follow the instructions on the screen. Make sure that the test is successful and that you are technically able to take the exam from home. It is important that you have a stable internet connection. For example, I rebooted my router a few hours before the exam so that the Internet would not freeze.

Step 2. Registration for the exam

Now you can set the day and time for the exam. Go to the “Login” button (the credentials match the account on the website) and you will be taken to your PersonVue personal account, where you will have the opportunity to select the “online proctored testing” option and set a suitable date and time for passing the test.

Step 3. Passing the exam

30 minutes before the appointed time, you need to go to your PersonVue personal account, go to the “Purchased exams” section and click the “Start exam” button (it will not appear before). All other programs on the computer, except OnVue, will need to be closed. Next, the most interesting thing will begin – checking the identity of the examinee and the requirements for the workplace. You will be asked to enter a phone number, then an SMS will come with a link, after clicking on which you will need to perform a number of actions:

  • Take a selfie (don’t forget to comb your hair).
  • Take a photo of an identity card (passport or driver’s license, I used a foreigner).
  • Photograph the workplace from four sides. There should be no unnecessary items in the workplace, and of course, no cheat sheets.

After a few minutes of waiting, during which your identity will be verified, a window for passing the exam will automatically open on your computer. Go!

In the middle of the test, you will find a 10-minute pause, which I wrote about above. After 4 hours, the exam will end and you will be immediately notified if you have completed your certification. If successful, in a few days you will receive the coveted PMP certificate and a detailed report with the results by mail.

A few words about preparation

There are many articles and tips on the internet on how to prepare for the exam. I will briefly share what helped me, in addition to personal motivation, patience and will.

  1. My acquaintance with PMBoK began with 5-day course preparation for certification in the training center “Project Practice”. This training is aimed specifically at passing the test. As a gift, a book is given with a large number of test tasks, similar to the exam.

    Taking this opportunity, I want to thank our lecturer Igor Borisovich Khrapkov for his enthusiasm and energy, it was he who inspired me to pass the PMP!

  2. Reading books from Rita Mulcahy… It is advisable to read in the original, since there are no official translations into Russian.

    The book is very voluminous (about 700 pages), but it is easy to read. It contains many assignments and tests that focus on understanding the important concepts required for certification. Even if your level of English is not too high, you do not need to be afraid of this book, because this is a great chance to combine useful with useful and improve professional vocabulary during preparation. Do not be lazy to do all the tests and assignments from the book, because they help you understand the essence of possible questions on the exam, and you do not have to memorize anything.

  3. Exam simulators

    There are a myriad of exam question apps and sites out there, but not all are equally good for preparation. I share the resources that I liked:

    • Simulator on the website of the Alexey Minkevich School of Management… A free resource in Russian with the ability to take tests on topics and two full tests for 200 questions.
    • Tests on the EDUHUBSPOT website… English-language courses and tests, only the first 3 sections are available for free, to access the resource you need to register. After registration, every day you will receive one test question from the lecturer by email explaining the correct answer.
    • Online simulator exam from PMClub… Open source, but registration is also required. The platform is different in that your results are saved for three months and you can track your progress. More than 1000 questions in the database, the essence and form of submitting questions are similar to those that I met on the exam.

That’s it! I spent about 3 months for the entire preparation period, but the last month was especially intense, I lived for several weeks seven days a week, and my Sunday morning traditionally began with a four-hour test on a simulator. I perceive the traversed path as an exciting journey or a game. It was not easy, but interesting and informative.

Some argue that the certificate is just a piece of paper, and it does not help in any way in life, on real projects. I cannot agree with this, since during the preparation process I managed to significantly structure my knowledge and approaches to project management. I constantly “tried on” the situations and problems described in the questions, lived through them, analyzed them. I think that now I will take a fresh look at the various difficulties and problems that I face in my professional activity, because I know that there is always the “most correct” solution.

Author: Valeria Suvorova, Project Manager, Information Security Center, Jet Infosystems


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