Updates from QA Training

MSP® Re-Registration – Which Path to Follow

This entry takes a look at the options available for keeping a learners' MSP 'Registered Practitioner' and/or 'Registered Advanced Practitioner' status up-to-date.


Ian Clarkson | 19 May 2015

I regularly get panic phone calls from learners about MSP Re-Registration and whether or not they are still MSP qualified. Quite simply, don’t panic!! Learners are still MSP Practitioner/Advanced Practitioner qualified - it is just the currency of knowledge that cannot be claimed.

Throw into the mix that for MSP, a leaner can re-register at either MSP Practitioner or MSP advanced Practitioner. If you are struggling to equate to these terms, it may be that as you are eligible for re-registration, your original exams were called ‘Intermediate’ and ‘Practitioner’. Confused?

Prior to 2007, there were 3 MSP certifications – Foundation, Intermediate and Practitioner. Post-2007, the names changed (but level of qualification didn’t) to: Foundation, Practitioner and Advanced Practitioner. So, someone who was originally ‘Intermediate’ qualified needs to re-register at Practitioner level. Someone who was originally ‘Practitioner’ qualified needs to re-register at Advanced Practitioner level. So, does that mean you need to sit two exams to keep up-to-date? Not at all - a learner will only be required to sit the re-registration exam for the highest level of qualification they have achieved. For example, a learner who holds the Advanced Practitioner certificate would only be required to take the Re-registration exam for this level.

So, where do I book my re-registration exam? First of all, consider what level you want to re-register at – Practitioner or Advanced Practitioner, as the format varies considerably. Whilst you should always look at what level of qualification you need personally or professionally, let’s not kid ourselves that format of the exam is not a major contributing factor.

The format of the MSP Practitioner Re-registration exam is:

  • Objective testing examination (a classification of learning objectives within education based on Bloom's Taxonomy)
  • 3 questions each worth 10 marks
  • An overall score of 15 out of a possible 30 is required to pass
  • One hour 15 minutes duration
  • Open-book (only the MSP Guide is allowed).

The format of the Advanced Practitioner Re-registration is:

A 2000 - 4000 word "dissertation" (suggested target 2500 words) on a specific subject (selected from a range of topics) demonstrating application of MSP. It would ideally be based on a "real life" programme that the candidate has worked within. If this is not possible (if a candidate has not recently worked within a programme or their programme contains classified information), it would be acceptable to base it on the Advanced Practitioner Case Study "MSP Care". There are no time restrictions imposed on this dissertation. The dissertation will be marked out of a possible 75 marks with the candidate needing 38 marks to achieve a pass. Should the candidate fail the Re-registration, feedback will be provided. The candidate is permitted to update and re-submit their paper, however should this second attempt be a fail and detailed feedback is given then the candidate must submit a new paper. Instead of the re-registration paper, a candidate also has the option to sit the full Advanced Practitioner examination to re-register at this level.

Simple really! Or is it? Consider the following scenario. A learner first passed their MSP Intermediate or Practitioner exam in 2006. The MSP official publication has gone through two updates since then and the exam format has changed. As exams are based on the most recent version of MSP a learner not only has to get up-to-speed on the changes in MSP, but also in the exam technique (objective testing examination).

Consider the format of the Practitioner exam:

Objective testing examination

  • Objective testing examination
  • 8 questions per paper, 80 marks available in total
  • 40 marks required to pass - 50%
  • Two-and-a-half hours duration
  • Open-book (only the MSP Guide is allowed)

And the format of the Advanced Practitioner exam:

  • Essay based
  • 3 questions per paper, 75 marks available in total
  • 38 marks required to pass - 50%
  • Three hours duration
  • Open-book (other material in the form of course notes, examples, copies of presentations, etc. can be used during this examination but no electronic aids, such as laptops, may be used).

Compare this to the MSP re-registration options (above). A learner who originally studied on two versions of the MSP manual and a different exam format, in my experience, will struggle to make the step-change in capability to confidently attempt and pass their MSP re-registration exam at either level (Practitioner or Advanced Practitioner).

Life is invariably busy for us all and the thought of sitting down and writing a 2000 – 4000 word dissertation is not appealing. I am being honest and, of course the decision is your own over which route to take.

So what I am going to do is re-take the Advanced Practitioner exam again. This will re-register me at the highest level of MSP certification and keep me up-to-date for another 5 years. And this is what I advocate here. Re-take the Advanced Practitioner exam and keep your knowledge current.

Of course, if you want to do it all of Foundation, Practitioner and Advanced Practitioner again, please feel free and this would certainly give you the best preparation, but if you are regularly involved in programme management, I suggest an Advanced Practitioner event would suffice.

Take a look at the range of QA MSP courses and why you should choose QA for your MSP journey.


MSP® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited.


QA Training | Ian Clarkson

Ian Clarkson

Head of Project Management

Dr Ian Clarkson is Head of Project and Programme Management at QA, providing business direction and ownership of QA’s portfolio, programme, project and risk management curriculum. Ian is an experienced lecturer, author, speaker and consultant, having delivered programmes and projects in all industry sectors. This extensive hands-on experience coupled with a background in education has made Ian well-known and highly respected in his field. Ian currently works with a team of highly experienced lecturers and consultants helping organisations excel in all aspects of portfolio, programme, project and risk management.
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