by Andy McClary

QA provides learners with access to the largest breadth and depth of project and programme management learning solutions in the UK and Europe. PMI is the world's leading project management organisation, with over 300 global chapters and 600,000 members.

Together QA and PMI provide an exciting proposition to anyone wanting to pursue a project management career.

Here I'll discuss the two primary PMI certifications we offer at QA.

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

Who is it aimed at?

The CAPM is aimed at people interested in or just starting a career in project management. CAPM certification demonstrates knowledge of the principles and terminology described in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK).


Applicants need to have graduated high school and have attended at least 23 hours of project management education in order to be eligible to take the exam.

The exam:

The exam takes three hours and comprises 150 multiple-choice questions. Fifteen of the questions are unscored: PMI is effectively testing you during the live exam – but this does not have any impact on the results of the exam.

The exam is based upon PMI’s CAPM Exam Content Outline (ECO), which is currently aligned to the 6th Edition of the PMBoK. 

PMBoK Guide: 6th Edition Chapter | Percentage of questions:

  • Chapter 1: 6%
  • Chapter 2: 6%
  • Chapter 3: 7%
  • Chapter 4: 9%
  • Chapter 5: 9%
  • Chapter 6: 9% 
  • Chapter 7: 8%
  • Chapter 8: 7%
  • Chapter 9: 8%
  • Chapter 10: 10%
  • Chapter 11: 8%
  • Chapter 12: 4%
  • Chapter 13: 9%
  • Total: 100%


On 1 August 2021, the 7th Edition of the PMBoK was formally released. However, the ECO for the CAPM has not been changed. This means that when you prepare for the CAPM exam, you must continue to use the 6th Edition of the PMBoK until PMI releases a new ECO.

The courseware for CAPM is created by individual training organisations. QA is a PMI Premier Authorised Training Partner (ATP) and provides courseware that meets the eligibility criteria and satisfies the requirements of the ECO. As and when PMI updates the CAPM ECO, the QA-authored materials will be updated too.

Project Management Professional (PMP)

Who is it aimed at?

The PMP certification is designed by project professionals, for project professionals. It is aimed at experienced project managers.


Applicants holding a four-year degree need to have 36 months (non-overlapping) of experience of leading projects and 35 hours of project management education – unless they are current holders of the CAPM, in which case the education requirement is waived. If applicants only have a high school diploma or global equivalent, the experience requirement is increased to 60 months.

The 35 hours of project management education, and a 12-month experience credit, is automatically awarded to holders of a Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Program-accredited degree program.

The exam:

The PMP exam is 10 minutes short of 4 hours long (230 minutes). It comprises 180 multiple-choice, multiple responses, matching, hotspot and fill-in-the-blank questions. Five of these questions are also pre-test questions and don’t contribute to the exam results.

The PMP exam is a competency-based certification and not a test of the PMBoK. There are nine reference books, including the Agile Practice Guide, which PMI acknowledges as educational resources. 

The PMP exam equally focuses on three domains:

Domain | Percentage of items on test:

  • People: 42%
  • Process: 50% 
  • Business Environment: 8%
  • Total: 100%

he PMP Exam covers predictive (waterfall), agile, and hybrid approaches. The courseware for the PMP exam preparation classes is authored by PMI, and the materials are therefore completely aligned to the PMP ECO. 

This is a new approach adopted by PMI to try and drive up the global quality of PMP exam-based training. As a Premier ATP, QA has developed our own supplementary materials to provide learners with a more engaging and memorable experience, while still providing the full PMI-authored materials.


The release of the new PMBoK on 1 August 2021 does not result in changes to the exam: The ECO has not changed… yet. However, it is the 7th Edition of the PMBoK that should be referenced for exam preparation. It is expected that the ECO will be updated at some point this year, but at this point the precise impact on the exam has not been released by PMI.

Changes to the exam have always traditionally been implemented over a period to allow applicants adequate time to prepare and take the exam. QA will ensure all materials remain aligned with PMI’s exam requirements.

PMI audit

All PMI exam applications are subject to an audit by PMI. Applicants will have 90 days to satisfy the audit requirements.

If a CAPM applicant is audited, PMI will require copies of the high school diploma or global equivalent, and the training certificates for the 23 hours of training requirement.

If a PMP applicant is audited, PMI will require proof of education level attained, signatures of supervisors, managers or sponsors to verify the experience documented in the online application, and the training certificates for the 35 hours of training – unless they're a current CAPM holder.

Certification maintenance

To maintain the CAPM certification, 15 professional development units (PDUs) will have to be collected and recorded every three years.

To maintain the PMP certification, the requirement is for 60 PDUs in the same timeframe.

A PDU equals one hour of ongoing project management education, be that formal training, self-study or giving back to the profession. (Details of PDUs are available on the PMI website.)

Test centre and online examinations

The CAPM and PMP exams are administered by PMI’s testing partner, Pearson Vue. The exams can be taken online and at test centres. The exam is booked directly with Pearson VUE.

Specifically, for those taking the PMP exam online, there are two breaks built into the exam: one after the first 60 questions, and then another after the first 120 questions. It is not possible to revisit the questions after the breaks – so any reviews would need to be conducted before the break is taken.

I hope this gives you some background into the PMI CAPM and PMP exams – all the best of luck and we're looking forward to welcoming you to our courses!

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