(Updated May 22nd: guidance description enhanced)
Regardless of your career stage, the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® is an asset that will distinguish you in the job market and enhance your credibility and effectiveness working on — or with — project teams.
Organizations with standardized practices attain better results, as shown in our 2015 Pulse of the Profession® report. Because the CAPM® recognizes your knowledge of the profession’s preeminent global standard, you’ll stand out to employers and be poised to move ahead.
Project management is a rapidly growing profession. Through 2020, 1.57 million new jobs will be created each year and qualified practitioners are in demand. With the CAPM, you’ll be on the fast track to opportunity.
Who Should Apply?
If you’d like to manage larger projects and gain more responsibility or add project management skills into your current role, then the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is right for you.
CAPM Exam Guidance
To earn your Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® certification, you need to meet the experience and education requirements, and pass the CAPM® examination, a 150-question, multiple-choice test.
Regardless of how advanced your project experience or education might be, you should still prepare vigorously for the exam. Successful CAPM® candidates typically use multiple study aids — including courses, self-study and study groups — and will spend many hours to prepare, so make sure you leave yourself plenty of preparation time before you take the exam.
Step 1: Get familiar with the basic resources and create your own study plan:
- Review the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® Handbook
- Enroll in a formal study course (on- or offline) offered by PMI chapters or accredited Registered Education Providers (R.E.P.s). For instance: CAPM Prep Cast
- Review the latest edition of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)
Develop a study plan and dedicate a regular time to study.
If you want to pass the CAPM exam, you will need to have a plan to study in manageable chunks and establish discipline to follow through on the plan. The study plan includes what you are studying, how much time you plan to spend per day, what topics you plan to cover, and what materials you will use.
Make sure you have time to change your plan based on practice test results. For example, if you scored low in risk and procurement management topics on a practice test, you should change your study plan to emphasize those knowledge areas to bring yourself up to speed.
Whether you are self-studying or participating in a class, you need to be able to devote time to regular study in order to be adequately prepared for the exam. We have found that many CAPM test candidates do not need a boot camp, but it is vital that you are adequately prepared before you sit for the exam.
Step 2: Start with PMBOK® Guide – but be prepared to move beyond
Any CAPM candidate needs to read (and study) the PMBOK® Guide at least once, if not twice. The PMBOK® Guide is the primary source for exam questions, so you need to be familiar with it. Second, reading the PMBOK® Guide all the way through gives you more knowledge about its structure, which will help you look up key topics later on. If you need a copy of the PMBOK® Guide, you can purchase one at PMI’s store. If you are a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI)®, you also get a free digital copy.
On your first time through the PMBOK® Guide, we recommend reading and taking notes on a maximum of one knowledge area per day. At this pace, you will get a quick overview of processes and learn more about how the guide works. After you are more familiar with the PMBOK® Guide, you can go back through and take more detailed notes in order to develop a greater understanding.
Please find some further guidance on how to work with and through the PMBoK Guide effectively in this article: ☛ “How To Get CAPM® Certification Using Four Study Techniques”
Review the latest edition of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)
Study additional sources to supplement the PMBOK® Guide.
Only a few books devoted to CAPM exam prep have been updated for the PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition. One such resource is Rita Mulcahy’s CAPM® Exam Prep, Third Edition by RMC Learning Solutions. This book combines full knowledge area coverage with practice questions and innovative ways to reinforce your understanding of inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs (ITTOs). Another useful resource is CAPM®/PMP® Project Management Certification All-In-One Exam Guide, Third Edition by Joseph Phillips. Although it covers the PMP exam as well as the CAPM exam, it has been updated for the PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition.
If you come across a source that tells you there are topics you will not need to know for the exam, make a note to study these topics later. This practice will help you in two ways. First, if the topics do appear on the exam as regular or pretest questions, you will know the answer, which will boost your confidence. Second, you will almost certainly need to know the topics for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam later. Choose a time after you have completed the basics of your study to revisit these topics and you will set a foundation for future success.
Here are our recommendations (in no particular order!):
- CAPM® EXAM PREP – 3RD EDITION by Rita Mulcahy ☛ https://goo.gl/xbWxpd
- CAPM® Exam Simplified: Aligned to PMBOK Guide 5th Edition by Aileen Ellis
- CAPM/PMP Project Management Certification All-In-One Exam Guide, Third Edition by Joseph Phillips
- Achieve CAPM Exam Success by by Diane Altwies
Step 3: Took a CAPM preparation course and get your required 23 contact hours of project management training.
Here are our recommendations for some good course options (in no particular order!):
What is The PM PrepCast (for CAPM)? It is a videocast with 140 lessons you can access using a tablet, smart phone, computer, or laptop. Once you make your purchase, you will receive a personal link to download the videos. Each videocast is well presented and easy to follow making it easy to study!
This CAPM® training program is designed to ensure that you pass the CAPM® exam in your first attempt. Based on the actual PMBOK® Guide—Edition, the course delivers knowledge of the five process groups and ten knowledge areas as prescribed by PMI®.
The CAPM® certification is valid across industries and is recognized worldwide. This certification will validate your fundamental knowledge of project management and its processes.
The CAPM® training program is ideal for Project Management aspirants who are keen on taking their newly acquired skills to a new level on a global platform. This certification is best suited for:
Project Associates and Executives
Any professional aspiring to be a Project Manager
CAPM® demonstrates your understanding of the principles and terminology of Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)-Fifth Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2013, the standard of project management’s generally recognized good practices.
PMI® members gain many benefits from being part of the world’s largest project manager member association. They can stay tuned to what is happening locally, regionally and globally in the project management profession by reading all the industry publications delivered directly to their inbox. PMI® members can also access thousands of e-books, articles, white papers, trade publications and more to keep their project skills sharp.
Step 4: Finalize your preparation by utilizing a CAPM Simulator!
Take practice exams and note where you struggle.
Consider the following when looking for practice exams:
- Do you get a rating of how you did in each area? PMI provides you this rating when you finish your actual exam. Any area where you score Low Proficient needs more attention.
- Do the answers give you references to the PMBOK® Guide? Looking up these references is a good habit because you get immediate feedback about how to get the question right next time.
Manage your practice exams by keeping the following factors in mind:
- If the questions don’t change, then don’t take the exam more than twice. After two passes through, the exam is of less value because you remember too much. If a resource’s exam questions are drawn at random from a database, you can probably take it more than twice without significant repeat of questions.
- Aim for a score of 75+ percent. If you can achieve this score consistently in every NEW mock exam you take, you should feel confident in passing your real exam.
Quiz yourself using a CAPM Exam Simulator, flashcards and study tables, review your notes from course and take lots of practice exams.
Anytime. Anywhere. Any Device. Best Simulator for the CAPM Exam
Prepare for and feel 100% confident to pass your Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® Exam by using The CAPM® Exam Simulator.
… and it’s the only simulator that offers Live Feedback™!
You may try it for free: FREE CAPM Simulator:
Additional prep material:
- CAPM Exam Flashcard Study System: CAPM Test Practice Questions & Review for the Certified Associate in Project Management Exam (Cards) by Mometrix Media LLC
Step 5: Take the exam and earn your CAPM®!
Manage your time and confidence during the exam.
Managing your time and confidence during the exam gives you the best chance to succeed. Don’t spend too much time on any one question. We recommend spending no more than 30 seconds on a question during the first round, and marking any for review that take longer to complete. When you’ve completed your first round, you can then go back and spend more time on the marked questions. Give yourself a minute for these, and then as a final pass, take your best guess or employ some kind of strategy (like putting all answers as B or C) on any that are still blank. Never leave a question blank. There’s no penalty for guessing, but any blank question is 100 percent wrong.
There are several strategies you can use to manage your confidence. Remember to smile, as it will encourage you to relax, and take short mental breaks with the time you save using your time management strategy. Remember not to get stressed out if there’s one really hard question. It could be one of the pretest questions. Just mark it and move on.
All the best!
We hope that by following these tips and tricks, you will be able to obtain your CAPM® certification. Passing this exam helps you clear a large hurdle and shows your competence and commitment to project management.
Do you have any other concerns going into your CAPM® exam? If you’ve passed the exam, what other tips have you found useful? Please let us know in the comments.
PMI, PMP, CAPM, and PMBOK are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.