Best CAPM Exam Tips10 things to know when preparing for your CAPM exam

For many people, the idea of taking the CAPM exam can be a little scary and overwhelming. Not to worry: We’re going to break it down here in ten easy steps to help you feel ready.

1. The basic facts

How much does it cost?

The 2021 cost is $225.00US for PMI Members and $300.00US for non-members of PMI.

Pro tip! PMI membership costs $129US per year, and if you become a member before taking the exam, you save a little on your exam fee and get access to resources that will help you prepare for the exam.

When and where can I take the exam?

If you take it online, you can choose pretty much any date, time, or location – it’s very flexible. You need to book in advance and be prepared to be video monitored by a live proctor during the online exam.

Note: The online proctored test is not available in some countries because of government sanctions. If you are in one of these countries and try to book online, you will not see any availability for online testing. In-person paper-based in-person exams are offered a few times a year in some countries where online isn’t an option. Check the PMI website for details.

To take the exam in person, check Pearson VUE’s website for the schedule at a location near you.

How long is the exam?

The exam is 150 questions long. It starts with a 15-minute tutorial followed by three hours to complete the exam, with no scheduled breaks.

Note: If you take the exam at a test center, you are permitted to take a break, but the clock keeps ticking during your break. Breaks are not allowed during the online exam for any reason, and leaving your desk will terminate the exam.

What questions are on the exam?

Questions are multiple-choice and follow the chapters of the PMBOK® Guide, with a set number of questions per chapter. See the CAPM Handbook for a breakdown.

2. Exam results and retakes

When do I get my results?

Right away, no waiting. Regardless of whether you take the exam in-person or online, you get your results immediately after you complete the exam.

What if I fail the exam?

Can I try again? You can take the exam up to three times in your one-year eligibility period, and fees are associated with re-examination. Details for re-examination can be found in the certification handbook – but who needs that stress? Our 100% pass guaranteed CAPM course will help you prepare, and make sure you pass the first time!

Don’t waste your time or money – study and prepare for the exam so you can be more confident of a good result.

3. How to prepare

If you haven’t done this already, check out the PMI’s CAPM Handbook. You’ll want to download, print, or bookmark it. It’s a handy overview, and reading it is one of PMI’s expectations before you take the exam.

Don’t miss the opportunity to use your 23 contact hours of required training to help you prepare for the exam. Our course counts, and that can check two boxes for you – meeting the eligibility requirement AND helping you prepare. Brain Sensei’s Complete CAPM Exam Prep Course includes interactive modules, practice questions and exams, content summaries, and self-assessments.

You also get access to a private Facebook group to ask questions if you get stuck, get support, and compare notes. It’s online so that you can do it anytime, anywhere, and it’s not dull. The unique storytelling and spaced repetition system (SRS) keep it exciting AND have better results.

With mini-quizzes and exams at the end of each module, you always know how you’re doing. And that’s not all: there are four complete practice exams, with questions and a format that mimics the actual CAPM exam, so you know you’re ready by exam day!

You’ll also need the A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), published by PMI. With our prep course guiding you, you’ll only need to read specific sections, not the whole thing. This guide is written in PMI language and will be a great reference tool for areas where you need to dive deeper to be successful.

What comes next?

Just like with anything you tackle, you need a plan and a schedule. It might even help to think of it as a project: Set your objectives, identify your timeline, map out tasks and dependencies – and make sure you stick to your plan.

Tip: Most people who weren’t successful on their first try with the exam say that either they didn’t do enough practice tests, or they didn’t budget their time correctly.

4. Practice exams – aka “the secret ingredient to your success”

Nothing helps you know you’re ready like a practice exam.

When you’re doing your practice exams, approach them just like the “real thing.” Make sure you’re ready to focus for three solid hours to build your confidence for exam day. This simulation also gives you the chance to work out any wrinkles: Are you budgeting your time well?

If taking the exam online, practice in the space you’ll use on exam day. Is your chair comfortable? How’s the lighting in the room at the time of day you’re going to do the exam? Are your keyboard and mouse in good order?

5. Set-up requirements and location tips (online exam)

For the online exam, you need a reliable internet connection and a device with a webcam. Your webcam needs to stream video at a high resolution so the proctor can monitor and support you. This requirement is one reason the internet connection is so important: you are using it to take the exam, and the proctor is using it to monitor the exam. Complete system requirements are listed on Pearson Vue’s website.

Make sure you run the system tests before your exam, more than once. Some people find that a wired connection is more robust than a wireless connection. Also, in some home networks, you can even disable other connections while you’re in the zone (sorry, roomies, no Netflix!).

Once the exam and the clock start, there’s no stopping it. If you have technical difficulties, your proctor will do their best to help you, but the clock keeps ticking, and that time will be lost. So, make sure your technology is good before you start!

Try to find a quiet, private place with no distractions. Think about the time of day and factors like glare coming through windows onto your screen, your comfort sitting there for three hours, warmth or air drafts, or noisier times of day in the area you’re choosing.

Once the exam starts, no one can enter or be in the room, and you can’t talk, stand up, or move from your seat. During the check-in process, the proctor may ask to see the walls, floor space and desktop. This check confirms that you don’t have unauthorized aids, like books, notepads, post-it notes, papers, pens, pencils, or other writing instruments. Extra monitors must be unplugged, and other computers must be turned off. If you cannot complete this room scan, you might not be permitted to proceed or take the exam.

6. Exam logistics

It might come as a surprise that you’re not allowed any writing instruments, not even a blank page or scratchpad. There are digital tools, though: there’s a built-in calculator to help you get the numbers right AND a built-in whiteboard, where you can make notes, sketch, or work through your ideas.

Once you start the exam, your computer is locked down, and you won’t be able to browse the internet or use other applications. It’s just you, your brain full of information, and the exam!

Oh, and another thing that’s worth mentioning: no phones allowed during the exam. Let friends and family – and anyone else who might reach out and expect a quick response – know that you will be unreachable at that time.

7. Before the clock starts

Here are some tips before you sit down to set yourself up for success.

  • Get a good night’s sleep. Don’t stay up late cramming! You already did the work. You studied and prepared. Being alert will help you navigate tricky questions.
  • Ensure you’re well-hydrated and not hungry, but don’t drink too much water right before the exam – and use the bathroom before you settle in.
  • Ensure your clothes are comfortable and suitable for sitting for long periods and at appropriate room temperature.
  • Get into your space early. The online check-in is 30 minutes before the test start time, but it’s wise to give yourself extra time. Aim to be unplugged from the rest of the world. Get into the zone an hour before your exam starts. Use the time to adjust window blinds or the temperature, make sure your chair and desk are comfortable – not to mention giving yourself a chance for that last-minute bathroom break or snack before you get started.

8. Once you get going …

Chances are your exam prep included a lot of practice questions and exams, and you developed some strategies that will help you on exam day.

Your exam prep was probably online, just like the exam. By the time you sit down, you will have done a lot of tests and questions. Let the familiarity help you feel comfortable.

9. Manage your pace

Just as you had a strategy to study for your exam, budget your exam time. Three hours sounds long, but it can pass by quickly, and you need to use your time wisely.

If you’re prone to rushing when nervous, take a moment once every ten questions or so and take a couple of slow, deep breaths. This exercise helps your brain have the oxygen it needs and may help you focus. The more relaxed you are, the better you’ll do.

If you learned during your practice exams that you struggle to complete the entire exam in three hours, keep track of your pace so you can adjust if you need to. You may want to check the time every 10 or 20 questions. Simple math suggests that 150 questions in three hours are just over a minute per question. Some questions will be faster and slower, so try to budget in chunks, such as 10 minutes for every 10 questions or 20 minutes for every 20, plus or minus 1 or 2 questions.

10. Most important thing to remember

You worked hard to get to this point. Don’t let your nerves get in the way. People who don’t pass often say either they didn’t prepare enough – which isn’t you because you’re doing this research to ensure you’re ready – or they ran out of time during the exam. Both of those are 100% within your control. You’ve got this!

Read Our Reviews

Brain Sensei is rated 4.69 out of 5.0 stars based on 72 review(s).


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The Course documents should remain open for longer than 6 months, given that PMI gives you 365 days to prepare for exam. Also, the option to extend visibility for the course documents, costs almost a 5th of the course, but opens up the docs for just 30 more days. Propose to extend this to 90 days at the very least.

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Your course, quizzes at the end of most modules and practice exams truly challenged me. I definitely derived the value and knowledge I was looking for in preparation for taking the PMP Certification Test. In particular, I appreciated the explanations that popped-up in the tests after an answer was submitted - very educational and helpful to my learning/understanding the material and concepts better. Some areas that could be improved (and some of this is nit-picking) include: * Some of the grammar and overall sentence structures, particularly in the latest set of practice exams, needs to be cleaned-up. Some were missing 'of', 'for, or had an extra 'an' in the narrative - got confusing at times. * In the practice exams, I'd like to see shorter sentences rather than the flurry of 'and' and 'or' conjunctions that made reading the sentences go on forever (had to read them multiple times to truly understand their meaning). That said, I enjoyed the overall online course taking experience and thank you for accommodating my requested time extensions. Best regards, Scott Conn

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Need improvement in presenting more relevant real exam type questions. The practice exams are too simple and easy and do not prepare you for the real exam. Otherwise, good concept presenting material

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Teaches the PMP in a solid manner, some things you need to know as a potential consumer: -The Samurai backstory is extremely short, and didn’t really assist me with recall in any in-depth way. It only gave broad brush-strokes as to what each phase entailed. -MOST of what was on the test was covered in the lessons, however if I had zero real prior PM knowledge prior to the test, I would have failed. -The first practice test forces you, as the student to actually read into the PMBOK, which was a benefit in the long run as it assisted me with quickly referencing what I needed to find. -The course will likely cover wave tops and subjects, forcing me to self-study for a week before my test... not a bad deal all things considered. -Brain Sensei’s course has incorporated Agile into one of their practice tests, and this test IS mandatory. This may seem strange, and I didn’t get a satisfactory reason why I needed to take a purely Agile test when I only wanted to take the PMP, for anyone else in this scenario, this is the reason: In June, PMI is revamping the PMP test to include Agile as a significant portion of the PMP. Brain Sensei is just ahead of the curve trying to get students prepared... fret not. Their customer service is extremely responsive and does take care of their members. My program had a couple bugs, and the customer service fixed my problems within 24 hours. All in all... it was absolutely worth the money for me.

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At first, I was attracted to Brain Sensei training for their original learning program using a Samurai's story. And indeed it made the whole learning experience funnier - so easier. I felt like the Samurai. Then, I was amazed by The Brain Sensei Team's reactivity and help when I reached out through Their support was constantly reliable and efficient. I appreciated their professionalism and didn't feel on my own. At last, the course and the practice exams proved to be efficient since I passed the PMP exam - with 'Above Targe't in all Domains. So thank you so much Brain Sensei Team !! Charlene

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SO far I am thoroughly enjoying the Brain Sensei PMP prep course. I have taken a Project management class as a part of my degree which I recently completed and project management has always interested me. I find the course to be educational and easy to follow. I am grateful that this course has been designed in such a way that is simple to understand all of the complexities in project management and that allows me to study at my own pace.

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The content is good and easy to understand

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This review is based on completing all course work through module 102. The story and interactive nature of the course are helpful for learning and relating the material. It would be nice to have the page numbers to the PMBOK guide where references are made to it. Other information that will be helpful, are the explanations to the practice questions at the end of each module. These are provided only after immediately answering the questions. Having these available in the score summary from the 'history' tab will be helpful to refresh why the answer is correct and other options are not.

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Clear and precise explanations of how things work. I was never lost navigating the course.

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Good course, but a few grammatical errors with how some questions were worded.

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It was good!

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Loved the unique approach and it still had all the info I'd expect from a full PMP exam prep course. Very responsive on questions too.

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