What is the PMP® exam Application Process? How do I record 36 months of experience in the PMP® Exam Application Form?
Today, I am addressing these frequently asked questions raised by PMP® aspirants.
In your PMP® exam application, you need to record the experience of those project(s) where you did Leading and Directing activities.
PMI expects you have at least 36 months of leading and directing experience in the last 8 years. You may get confused by the term “leading and directing project”.
I am quickly explaining what leading and directing project work means:
The PMI® Examination Content Outline, Jan 2021, defines tasks in three domains to lead and direct the project. Therefore, your experience should demonstrate these tasks.
People: This domain includes tasks to lead people associated with the project. Project People (Project team and other stakeholders) are the backbone to deliver project outcomes, and a Project Manager is expected to create a collaborative work environment. Some examples of People domain tasks are:
- Facilitating Project Team in creating Team Charter.
- Helping team members in identifying their strengths and weakness.
- Effective and Proactive Conflict Management.
- Develop team members by organizing training, mentoring, and coaching.
- Performing Performance Assessments.
- Organize team-building activities.
- Ensure work level transparency and accountability.
- Demonstrate Leadership skills.
- Collaborate with Stakeholders in various project activities.
- Organizing Lesson Learned / Retrospective Meetings.
- Facilitate Team decision-making process.
- Organize training and knowledge-sharing sessions for the stakeholders.
Process: The process domain covers processes that help project management by producing project artifacts. Each process takes a set of inputs, applies some tools and techniques, and produces output. The New PMP® Exam expects participants to have experience in predictive or adaptive approaches to project management. Some examples of Process domain tasks are:
- Developing Project Management Plan.
- Identify Project Risks.
- Develop Risk Response Plan.
- Creating Project Scope Statement.
- Creating Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).
- Developing Project Schedule.
- Doing Project Cost Estimation.
- Facilitating Backlog Refinement Meeting (Adaptive Approach).
- Prioritizing Product Backlog (Adaptive Approach).
- Doing Release Planning (Adaptive Approach).
- Doing Iteration Planning (Adaptive Approach).
Business Environment: This domain covers understanding the business environment within the context of organization and project. It includes activities like making sure the project meets regulatory and compliance requirements, reviewing external influences on project scope, supporting organizational change. Some examples of Business domain tasks are:
- Regular assessment of project environment
- Identification and management of Compliance Requirements
- Planning and managing organizational change
- Identification of Project Outcome metrics
- Tracking and Reporting of Project Outcome metrics
- Facilitating activities related to Benefit Realization
For an in-depth understanding of these domains, please refer to ‘PMI® Examination Content Outline.’ PMI considers you have Leading and Directing experience if you demonstrate overall experience in at least three or four tasks in the People & Process domains and at least one task in the Business Environment domain. You may probably miss experience in one of the domains in a few projects, but your overall experience should cover all three domains.
How to start filling PMP Exam application?
Now, let’s discuss how to start filling PMP application? The following section includes the answers to questions like –
- Where Can I Get the PMP Application Form?
- How do I apply for the PMP application?
Steps to fill PMP Exam Application –
1. Log in to pmi.org
2. From the top navigation bar select Certifications -> Project Management Professional (PMP)® -> Apply for PMP Certification
3. Your PMP exam application form opens and asks for details for the following sections–
- Academic Education – This section asks for details of your highest level of education.
- Professional Education – This section asks for details of 35 hours professional education course related to your PMP certification. iZenBridge provides ‘iZenBridge – PMI® Authorized PMP® Exam Prep Course’ to fulfill this professional education requirement.
- Experience – In this section, you need to enter your project experiences, starting with the most recent. Here, in this section, you need to mention your leading and directing experience.
- Exam Details – This section asks for general details like your address, name on certification, name on your ID, etc. For more details, kindly refer FAQ below – How Do I Complete the Exam Details Section?
How to Fill Work Experience details in the Experience section:
Now let’s see how to fill Work Experience details in Experience section – Kindly note when you will save the experience of the first project, the system will calculate months of experience using provided project dates. If your experience is less than 36 months, you will be asked to provide details of the second project. And it will continue till you reach a total of 36 months of experience.
Filling Experience section mainly needs three types of details
- Project Information– It includes the title of the project, start, and end date, project budget, team size, project approach or life cycle, and your job title. The Project Title example could be the name of your project; suppose you did a project to maintain customers records, the name could be like “Customer Relationship Service” You just need to see what you called this endeavor in your organization.
- Organization Details– It includes mainly organization name, your functional reporting area, and organization primary focus for the project as follows:
- Functional Reporting Area – This refers to the team you are part of. For example, you are working in the Information Technology (IT) Department of an Insurance Company, so IT is the” Functional Reporting Area”.
- Organization Primary Focus – This means the industry in which the organization operates. Insurance is “Organization Primary Focus” (From the above example).
- Project Budget – If you are not aware of the exact budget, you can put it as classified, but try to put some close numbers, an accurate number is not required.
- Team Size – Avoid selecting “classified”, because the project manager must be aware of the team size. So, there must be a number to it.
- Approach / Methodology – You need to select from the dropdown. In case it is both agile and predictive, then please select Hybrid from the dropdown. In case you select Agile, or Hybrid then please ensure to reflect the same in the project description.
- Project Description– Here, you need to provide a high-level description that summarizes your Leading & Directing experience that includes the project objective, its outcome, your role & responsibilities on the project, and deliverables. A typical response is between 200 to 500 words. Try to pick activities from all those three domains where you have spent work time and summarize them under this head. Following are the guidelines for better presenting your experience:
- Start with a project goal: The very first step in all projects is to recognize the outcome expected from the business. So, start the project description with a one-sentence final project outcome or goal, which is “what” will the project accomplish? Like a hospital management system may have a goal that patients will not wait longer than 30 minutes to see a doctor.
- Think, in each project, what you did in each domain: It is crucial that you invest time to deeply think about what you did in the project and in which domain these activities belong. Afterward, snap up your thought with the description. Again emphasizing, Leading & Directing experience is required in each of the domains when all projects are totaled, but not on each project.
- Start writing project description: Once you listed down tasks for each domain, mention the description in a way that communicates your experience well using appropriate tools & techniques and outputs in aligning with the PMBOK® and PMP® content outline.
Format of Work Experience details for Experience section:
Now come to the format of the description given and recommended by PMI. It mainly answers the frequently asked question- what do I put For PMP experience examples?
- A brief, one-sentence objective: as mentioned in “Start with a project goal”
- Your role, responsibilities, and Deliverables: Here you need to mention your responsibilities aligned with tasks of Domains (mentioned in PMP® content outline). So, you need to provide a high-level description that summarizes your experience and includes the project objective, outcome, your role on the project, your responsibilities, and deliverables
As I said, you need to summarize deliverables by domains (People, Process, Business Environment), so when you describe domain-wise tasks description, it should also communicate the output of that activity.
Like, Facilitate Stakeholders in the workshop for Requirement Document. Here, in minimum words, you mentioned many things like you did not create a requirement document in silos. You worked with stakeholders. By naming tools and techniques, you increased the weight of the description. Here, the Requirement Document is the output.
Based on the above guideline, a project experience summary look like the following:
Goal: One sentence project goal as mentioned in the “Start with a project goal” section’
Project Description: mention a brief idea of your role and an overall brief summary of your work.
People: mention People domain activities that you did in the project including the outcome of that activity.
Process: mention Process domain activities that you did in the project including the outcome of that activity.
Business Environment: mention Business Environment domain activities that you did in the project including the outcome of that activity.
Project Outcome: If the project is completed, mention the project outcome in relation to the project goal.
Once again, I am emphasizing that while mentioning your experience in People, Process, and Business Environment, please take care of guidelines that are discussed in “Think, in each project, what you did in each domain” and “Start writing project description” sections.
Sample PMP Exam Application:
Following is the PMP® experience or Project Description example for your reference:
Goal – Set up a subcontract agreement for the construction of a New Civil precasting yard to produce concrete sleepers & foundations by outsourcing Local Community Subcontractors
Project Description – Worked as Project Engineer and responsible for Identification / Negotiation / Finalization / Mobilization of Multiple Subcontractors to achieve completion of Procurement of Civil precasting yard facility.
People: Work with Stakeholders to negotiate execution strategies. Ensure needed training after doing a training gap analysis to internal technical personnel to manage interface management of various subcontractors. Practiced Servant leadership for the team mainly to remove impediments to work with different stakeholders. Negotiated the subcontract agreements with stakeholders using decision-making tools and conflict resolution. Involved in building the team with appropriate skills & ensuring knowledge transfer regarding the client approved pre-casting procedure, client codes & Standards / Specifications.
Process: Involved in identifying stakeholder communication needs using expert judgment and communication requirements analysis to include in the subcontractor agreement. Assess & manage risks iteratively & prioritize them using risk data quality assessment so that the right subcontractors are identified & mobilized to precasting yard.
Involved in analyzing & Categorizing stakeholders using stakeholders mapping to develop, execute & validate a strategy for stakeholder engagement in scrutinizing the subcontractors in terms of capability, suitability, reliability to produce products as per organization project requirements. This process ends up with Subcontractors/suppliers to be included in the organization’s pre-approved vendor list.
Involved with the team in defining change management, establishing contract governance structure, defining escalation path, defining product quality, Management of project artifacts, Inspection policies, terms & conditions, payment terms, etc are structured, recorded & articulated to be included in the Subcontract agreement which will become the basis for the planning, managing, controlling & monitoring the subcontractors by operations team during the contract duration.
Involved in procurement management activities includes identifying subcontractors/ suppliers from the pre-approved Vendor list, assisting centralized procurement team in procurement process / Negotiating/finalization, expediting vendor documents approvals.
Worked with team and stakeholders in establishing criteria in the agreement for Final Inspection / Acceptance of deliverables to validate the scope including a list of related document deliverables for review/approval during the execution of the contract.
Business Environment: Facilitate stakeholders meeting to determine the impact on the organization due to the long-term subcontract agreement & prepare necessary action to resolve.
Coordinate with the Quality assurance team to determine & ensure the subcontractor’s agreement includes all the necessary compliance needs, i.e. Security, Health, Safety & regulatory compliance. Include a necessary clause in the subcontract agreement to address the impacts due to continually changing external business environments on the project scope & compliance needs.
The Subcontract agreements for the construction of a new Civil yard facility were handed over to Organization Operations for the planning, executing, managing, controlling & monitoring of the subcontractors during the duration of the contracts.
I hope this blog has sufficiently answered your all queries related to how to fill PMP exam application form. Good Luck with your PMP® Certification Exam.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How long does the PMP® application take to process?
Answer: PMI takes 5-10 calendar days to verify your eligibility criteria mentioned in your submitted experience and/or education. In case upon PMP® application submission, your application has been selected for an audit it is up to you to close this process ASAP. PMI® gives you 90 days to submit the supporting documentation. Once PMI receives your documents, they usually take 5 business days to complete the audit.
Q: Can I take the PMP® exam without experience?
Answer: You can start preparing in case you have not earned a minimum of 4500 hours or 36 months (if you have a degree) of experience to 7500 hours or 60 months (If you have a secondary degree). You can earn 35 contact hours and start preparing, once you have sufficient experience, you can submit the PMP® application. Many candidates do it in case they lack a couple of months of experience for eligibility.
Note – You only need 24 months of experience if you have a bachelor’s degree from GAC accredited program. Also, you can use the GAC coursework to fulfill the 35 education contact hour requirement.
Q: Can I get a PMP® certification without a degree?
Answer: Yes, in that case, you need to show more experience compared to degree holders. You need to fulfill 7500 hours or 60 months of experience. This can be earned in 5 years of work experience.
Q: Should it be a continuous experience of 36 months? How does PMI treat Gap?
Answer: You need to earn these 36 months within the last eight consecutive years prior to your application submission. For more details, please refer to the following blog: I Am Experienced, But Unemployed. Am I Eligible For PMP® Certification?
Q: I do not have a formal project management role, but I did PM work in bits and pieces. Am I eligible to apply?
Answer: PMI® is not expecting a formal project manager role for this certification. If you have 36 months of Leading & Directing experience in the last 8 years, you are eligible for the PMP exam. For more details, please refer to blog – My Designation Is Not Project Manager – AM I Eligible For PMP® Certification?
Q: Can I download a PMP Application Form in PDF before final submission?
Answer: No, you cannot download the PMP application. We advise involving PMP experts in reviewing the experience section by writing the description in a separate document. Once you feel it is good t go, you can paste that description in the online PMP application form.
Q: How do I complete the education information Section in my PMP application?
Answer: Many times, I received questions like – How Do I Fill in the Project Management Education Section? In the PMP exam application, you need to provide details of your Academic and Professional Education. Academic education is related to your highest level of education and professional education is related to your 35 contact hours of training to cover the PMP exam content outline. Kindly note, iZenBridge PMP course is not just for getting a 35 PDUs certificate; it is a complete association with iZenBridge to get your certificate in the first attempt. Our PMP course includes the following 4 critical components to ensure success in one go –
- Live Trainer mentorship to give a kick start to learning,
- Easy to understand the self-paced learning material,
- Good quality mock exam questions to practice, and
- Continuous assistance to clarify doubts during PMP® preparation
Q: What do I put for PMP experience examples related to my industry?
Answer: It is a frequently asked question which I receive “Do you have samples for the experience section of PMP application related to my industry?” Sometimes, I receive requests to share samples of industry-specific details to fill in the experience section. Here, the important point is whatever is your industry like construction, IT, automobile, oil & gas; you don’t need to mention details that can’t be understood outside of your business. PMI expects your project description in the language of activities and tasks mentioned in the PMP exam content outline. This description need not be industry-specific.
Q: How do I complete the exam details section?
Answer: After providing education and experience details you need to provide information for the Exam details section. Here you need to provide the following details–
- Your address
- Your name on Identification. The name must exactly match how it appears on your ID. You will not be able to sit for your exam if the name does not match.
- Your name you expect in the certification. This is the name that will appear on your certificate upon passing the exam. This does not have to match the name on identification.
- Your email address
- Your phone number
- The country where you want to take the exam.
You’ll also be asked to state if you wish to request any exam accommodations, for example, due to disability and/or other conditions that may impair your ability to take the exam.
Q: How do I submit my PMP application?
Answer: After providing information about your Academic Education, Professional Education, project experience, and exam details first make sure the application is complete and accurate. You can take expert advice in reviewing your PMP application. Kindly note, our PMP course comes with support in filling PMP® examination application form. Our expert trainers stay personally connected with you at every step of your PMP® Certification.
After final review, the last thing is to read the terms and agreements and then tick the boxes stating you agree to those terms and that all the information you have provided is accurate. Now you can comfortably ‘Submit Application.
Q: Do I need to add my references to the PMP application form?
Answer: No, now it is not needed. You are no longer required to provide details of the contact person related to your project(s) experience. However, in case your application comes in audit, you need to provide details to prove that you did work on the projects stated in the application, which includes the signature of reporting person of each project.
Therefore, it is a good idea to talk to your project sponsors or managers and let them know you are applying for PMP certification. Tell them that if your application is selected for audit, they will be asked to verify your experience including the months you worked.
Q: How long do I have to complete the PMP Application?
Answer: Once you start filling PMP exam application, you need to finish it within 90 days. Afterward, the application will be expired, and all save data will be gone then you need to start all over again.
Kindly note, if you are prepared with all the required information, you probably won’t need that long. You can save the application as you go, leaving it unfinished and coming back to it when you have more time or more information. You will be able to edit the information that you have already entered up to the time that you Submit the application to PMI.
PMI sends to your email if you haven’t logged back in to complete the form, and you can easily access your application from your mypmi.org dashboard.
Q: What If I notice errors after I submit my application?
Answer: In this case, connect to the PMI customer care. PMI is usually quite helpful in getting mistakes corrected so let them know as soon as you can and take whatever steps they ask you to.
Q: How long does PMI take to approve my PMP Exam application?
Answer: PMI usually takes around 5 days to approve the PMP® applications.
Q: What is a PMP exam application audit and why does PMI conduct PMI audits?
Answer: The PMP application audit is a process to verify the experience and/or education listed on your PMP exam application. PMI selects a certain number of applications randomly for an audit. The purpose of the audit is to maintain the credibility of the PMP certification program and the certification holders.
Q: When do I know my PMP Application has been Selected for an Audit?
Answer: PMI will inform you through an email if your application comes in audit upon submission of the application. In this email, PMI will list all documents they need to verify your experience and/or education details mentioned in the application.
Q: How do I submit my audit documents to PMI?
Answer: If your application is selected in audit, you can upload requested documents through the MyPMI dashboard and select ‘Access Audit Package’. You can upload academic and professional education requirements through your Audit dashboard. Additionally, you can send references electronically.
Q: How many days do I have to complete the audit package?
Answer: You have 90 days to complete and submit your audit paperwork. You can log into your PMI.org dashboard to view the number of days left to complete your audit process.
Q: Does PMI extend my 1-year eligibility window if my PMP application is selected for an audit?
Answer: Your one-year eligibility window will begin only after the completion of the audit.
Q: Can I avoid the PMI Audit?
Answer: No, you can’t avoid the PMI audit because PMI selects applications randomly for the audit.
Q: What should I Do if I get audited and my application is rejected?
Answer: It is a rare case if you submitted all required documents requested by PMI. PMI normally provides the reason for rejecting your application, so read your email carefully to understand why your application was rejected. In general, a careful review of this email is enough, still, you can also connect to the Audit team by requesting PMI support. If you get feedback from the reviewers, it will help you to address concerns to make the audit process successful.