5 Questions You Should Ask Before Choosing a PMP® Exam Prep Provider

Choosing the Right PMP Exam Prep Provider

Passing the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam is hard. Exam prep courses help, but only if you choose the right PMP® Exam Prep Provider.

The Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification is one of the most recognized and valued designations in the industry, and an important step in building your skills and advancing your career as a project manager.

Unfortunately, estimates indicate that only around half of test-takers pass the PMP exam the first time they take it. PMP exam prep courses can provide you with a thorough understanding of the five process groups and ten knowledge areas the exam covers, as well as proven tips and strategies to help them be successful on the PMP exam, and can greatly improve your chances of passing.

Beware, not all PMP exam prep courses are created equal. Here are 5 questions you should ask before choosing a PMP® exam prep provider.

1. Are you a Project Management Institute® Authorized Training Partner (ATP)? PMI ATP Seal

Authorized Training Partners are organizations that PMI has approved to offer project management training and exam prep courses. Earning this designation is difficult, and maintaining it means frequent audits to ensure we are open, honest, and evidence-based in our claims of success.

What does that mean for you? Transparency. PMI holds its Authorized Training Partners accountable for every claim they make, from pass rates to the backgrounds and experience of their instructors.

Check to see if a PMP Exam Prep provider is a PMI ATP.

2. What is your pass rate?

As we mentioned above, estimates indicate that only about half of test-takers pass on the first try. Increase your odds by looking for a PMP® exam prep provider with a pass rate greater than 90%. And, don’t be satisfied with a simple answer – ask how this data is collected.

Providers that rely exclusively on voluntary reporting will have artificially high pass rates. Look for a provider who proactively reaches out to participants at disciplined intervals to inquire about progress. Even better, look for a provider that regularly checks their roster of past participants against PMI’s PMP directory.

3. Does your course satisfy the required 35 hours of project management education I need to get certified?

PMI Authorized Training Partners’ course curriculum includes PMI-licensed, and -approved training content and meets the required 35 hours of project management education needed to earn your PMP certification. Although you can earn training requirements through courses offered by non-Authorized Training Partners, PMI may audit your professional development units, which puts an undue burden on you and slows down the application process.

Further, ATPs are certified to issue professional development units toward the 60 hours needed every three years to maintain your certification. Note that these are distinct from the 35 hours of project management education needed to earn your initial certification.

4. Is this a “boot camp” or a course that covers the content in-depth?

If you’ve already completed a substantial amount of self-study (good work!), a shorter “boot camp” approach might work for you. But, considering the additional content agile and hybrid concepts added to the exam, we have seen greater success from a full five-day course that covers the content and gives you an opportunity to practice.

The extra time is necessary to manage your energy (breaks are important!) and to cover the material at a pace that allows for deeper discussion and review of difficult concepts. The most common comment we get from class participants is, “I wish there had been a sixth day!”

Our next PMP Exam Prep begins on September 14th, 2023.

5. Do you provide support beyond the training?

Quality programs should provide additional support with access to things such as test prep software, quizzes, practice exams, and additional study aids. But, you should also ask specifically about after-class coaching, study groups, contact with the instructor outside of the classroom, and the support they provide through the application process.

Choosing the right PMP® Exam Prep Provider is crucial to your success in passing the challenging PMP exam. With so much at stake, it’s important to ask the right questions before making a decision. By asking these five essential questions, you can make an informed choice and greatly improve your chances of achieving PMP certification and advancing your project management career.

If you have questions about how The Persimmon Group can support you in your journey to becoming a certified PMP credential holder, contact us, and a member of our project management team will reach out to you. 

PMP, ATP, and PMBOK are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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