The CAPM® examination is a serious element of earning the CAPM® credential. The 150 question, proctored exam must be completed within three hours.
When to use
When your application is approved, you will receive an eligibility letter. This letter provides instructions for scheduling the exam. You have one year to take the exam. If you do not pass the exam on the first try you can retake the exam up to two more times, for a total of three.
Refer to the CAPM® Handbook for details about how the exam is administered.
The exam is a 150 question multiple choice exam. The questions test your knowledge of the information in the PMBOK® Guide. You must thoroughly know the PMBOK® Guide to be able to answer most questions correctly. You may be an expert at project management in your organization, but you need to be an expert in the recommended approach and practices of the PMBOK® Guide. That means you need to know their processes, the inputs and outputs, their recommended sequence and their definition of terms. I have worked with enough organizations to know that everyone does project management differently. However, the exam will only test one way, the PMBOK® Guide way.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying there is anything wrong with the PMBOK® Guide way. I am just saying that it is probably different than what you are used to doing, so you need to study and learn the PMBOK® Guide way.
The percentage of correct questions needed to pass can vary based upon which questions you get correct or incorrect. On every exam there are 15 questions that are being evaluated to determine if they should be added to the test bank. Those questions will not count towards whether you achieve a passing score. While the success rate for passing the exam does vary over time, a good rule of thumb has been that your chance of passing on the first try is only 50-50, unless you take a CAPM® Preparation course. Your results will be immediately available to you with a printout of the areas where you scored well and the areas where you did not.
When applying for the exam you need to indicate the language in which you want to be tested. The following languages are currently available: Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (simplified and traditional), English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.
The questions are spread across the thirteen chapters of the PMBOK® Guide. The breakdown of questions is:
Testing is normally conducted as an online proctored test or at a Pearson Vue testing centers which are located in cities around the world. When you get your eligibility letter you can go online to their site and select a location and date for your exam. If you do not live within 300 km (186.5 miles) of a Pearson Vue site and are unable to do a proctored exam, PMI will make a provision for you to take the test on paper.
When arriving at the testing facility you will need to provide government issued identification that includes your picture and signature. Arrive at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start of the test. This allows time to get settled so you are ready as soon as the test starts. You have 3 hours to complete the test, and the computer will cut you off at the end of the hours. There are no scheduled breaks during the test. You may not bring the following items or people into the room where you will be taking the test: food, beverages, calculators, cell phones, pagers, tape recorders, sweaters, coats, book bags, luggage, eye glass cases, children, visitors, dictionaries, books, or any other personal item. You are allowed to have a pencil and blank note paper.
Hints & tips
- When completing the application, create a document file or folder that has all the backup information.
- A technique that I recommend is that you arrive at the testing center well before the start time. Review one last time the areas that you think might be the most difficult for you. Then enter the test room and before you start the test, write down on your blank paper the items that you just reviewed. It might be formulas, definitions, or diagrams. With those ready for reference during the test, initiate the exam at your test station.
- If you are doing an online proctored exam, you cannot have any paper in the room with you that has writing on it at the start of the exam. So, wait until the exam has started, then write down your memorized notes.
Lesson notes are only available for subscribers.
PMI, PMP, CAPM and PMBOK are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.