(Updated May 2018: aligned to PMBoK Guide 6th Edition and new CAPM Exam version!)
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 to 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.
"Through 2020, 1.57 million new jobs will be created each year, and qualified practitioners are in demand. With the CAPM Certificate, you’ll be on the fast track to opportunity. - PMI!
Step 1: Learn about CAPM® Certification, create a study plan and apply
- CAPM® Overview
- CAPM® Credential Handbook
- CAPM® Exam Content Outline
- 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
- CAPM® Sample Questions
- 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 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.
How to create my CAPM study plan right?
It all depends on your schedule, availability and dedication, but my recommendation for a regular full-time working professional is planning 2-3 month for CAPM preparation.
Because a regular CAPM Training includes 23 hours of project management education. But you will be spending more time to make practice tests, going over notes, remembering formulas, and going over unclear parts that you could not understand well in first attempt etc.
Therefore, a typical CAPM preparation takes around 60-80 hours in total. If you consider that you will be able to study only in the evenings, during weekends and public holidays, we assume that you can spare around 6 to 8 hours for CAPM study each week. And this makes 8-10 weeks preparation time in total.
You can plan 6 hours of study per week based on your schedule. For instance, you can study 2 hours on Monday, 2 hours on Wednesday and 2 hours on Sunday. Or, if you want to leave the weekend empty, you can swap Sunday study with the Thursday. The days you will study for CAPM may change week-to-week but try to keep at least 6 hours of study time.
There might be long public holidays or specials days ahead that you won’t be able to study. Plan these weeks as free and make your CAPM study plan accordingly.
Step 2: Start with PMBOK® Guide – but be prepared to move beyond
Any CAPM candidate needs to read or furthermore to 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; Amazon or any other book store of your choice. If you are a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI)®, you will be able to download 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 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 Sixth Edition yet. One such resource is CAPM®/PMP® Project Management Certification All-In-One Exam Guide, Fourth Edition by Joseph Phillips. 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).
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 for CAPM Prep Books (in no particular order!):
- CAPM®/PMP® Project Management Certification All-In-One Exam Guide, Fourth Edition by Joseph Phillips
(We will add other books as soon as they are available for the new PMBoK Guide and the new exam version!)
Step 3: Take an exam preparation course and earn your 23 contact hours of project management training which are a requirement for exam application!
Here are our recommendations for great course options:
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! (click on the Link for further information!)
Discover The Reliable Way To Gain CAPM® Certification And Kickstart Your Project Management Career
-23 contact hours of CAPM® Certification Training designed by industry experts
–Learn at your own pace whenever and wherever you want, even if you work full-time
-600+ CAPM® practice questions help you prepare for certification exam
-Sample CAPM Certification exam – get fully exam-ready ahead of the big day
-CAPM Cheat Sheets and more
This On-Demand CAPM course effectively prepares students for the CAPM topic areas and certification exam. Access unlimited intensive course lessons, from any computer with a web browser. This CAPM course includes 60+ interactive course lessons, 23+ PMI contact hours, all study materials, CAPM quizzes, PMBOK exercises, and much more. Click HERE for further information and more details …
This course provides 25 contact hours and is taught by project management author and expert Joseph Phillips. Joseph is the author of several project management books from McGraw-Hill, the American Management Association, and Dummies Press. He is certified as a PMP, PMI-ACP, ITIL, Project+, and is a Certified Technical Trainer.
Step 4: Optimize your preparation by utilizing an online exam 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 a 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 the 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 exams and other material:
Practice is the key! - Make Practice as much as Possible
The best tip I can give for you for passing any certification exam is: Do as much practice as you can.
This is best done by utilizing a professional online exam simulator like the CAPM Simulator.
Mark your answers and check whether you can score over 70% from each quiz and from sample CAPM exams. My recommendation is, if you can score over 75% from every NEW mock exam CONSISTENTLY, you can confidently pass the real CAPM exam as well.
How to work with an online exam simulator?
Once you finished a mock exam, go over your wrong answers that you selected. Your wrong answers show your weaknesses. Especially go through the knowledge areas where you made the most mistakes.
Going over the same section for the 2nd time will strengthen your know-how and reduce the risks of selecting wrong options during the real CAPM exam.
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 takes 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 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. Mark it and move on.
We have conducted a prep guidance program which is initially build for the PMP Exam preparation but can be used for CAPM preparation also. Just have a look – it is FREE!
All those tips and even more PLUS a structured study guide PLUS additional checklists (like an “Exam Day Count down” for instance …) PLUS Expert advice PLUS a great community of PMP aspirants … this all you can get by enrolling in our completely FREE “Project Manager’s Exam Prep Guidance” –Program:
More than 2,400 aspirants already joined us!
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.