Passing the PgMP Examination
Once your application is approved, you’re on your way to a 170-question, four-hour exam. That’s right[md]it’s a four-hour exam. You can breathe a sigh of relief, though: Only 150 questions count towards your score. The remaining 20 questions are considered seeded questions that are sprinkled throughout the exam. You won’t know if you’re answering a live question or a seeded question, and the pool of responses helps PMI determine the validity of the seeded questions for future test takers.
The exam is delivered through Prometric Testing Centers, and PMI will give you exact directions on how to find and schedule a testing center near you once you’re approved for the exam. You’ll receive an Authorization to Test Letter (seriously, that’s what it’s called) from PMI. The letter will provide a secret code and a phone number to coordinate your exam time with Prometric.
When you enter the testing center, you’re given two pencils, five sheets of blank paper, and some earplugs. You’ll log on to a computer with the help of the exam proctor, and then you’re on your own. A quick tutorial will show you how to use the exam software, but if you’ve ever played solitaire on your computer you should be bright enough to handle things. The tutorial does not eat into your exam time.
Once the exam officially starts, a timer begins counting down your remaining hours, minutes, and seconds. (Um, that’s remaining in the exam, not your life.) You can take breaks, do yoga, even do some silent hambone if you want to, but you can’t stop the exam timer once the exam begins.
When you complete the exam, your answers are tabulated and you’re given some immediate feedback. Basically you’ll know in a matter of minutes whether you passed or didn’t. It’s the longest few minutes of your life. Once you pass, you’d assume that you’re now officially a PgMP, but that’d be a bad assumption.
Completing the Multi-Rater Assessment
Once you pass the PgMP examination (congrats, by the way), you still have one last hurdle before you’re in the club: the multi-rater assessment (MRA) process. The MRA is like a 360-degree performance assessment of your work as a program manager. You must choose a supervisor, four colleagues, four direct reports, and three professional references to all review your performance as a program manager. That’s right: You get to pick the people doing the review.
The survey these people will complete about you has 70 questions about your role as a program manager. Each question will rank some aspect of your performance on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most favorable.
Once this MRA is complete and PMI approves the reviews completed about you, you’re officially a PgMP. You’ll have to maintain your PgMP status by earning 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) per three-year certification cycle. A PDU is basically an hour of continuing education, though you can earn PDUs for volunteer work, contributing to the project management knowledge base, and other activities. Incidentally, if you’re also a Project Management Professional, you can maintain both certifications at once with just 60 PDUs.