If you’re considering pursuing the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification, you may already know that a solid exam preparation course can greatly enhance your chances of success. With numerous options available in the market, it’s essential to choose the best CAPM exam prep course that aligns with your learning style and requirements.
In this article, we will guide you through the process of selecting the ideal CAPM exam prep course to support your CAPM journey.
CAPM: What is it?
CAPM stands for Certified Associate of Project Management and is the go to certification for individuals getting started in the field that may not have received a four year degree or haven’t had any work experience. The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers CAPM to help those who want to get the experience to become Project Management Professionals (PMP).
The contact hours earned for CAPM never expire so they can count towards the hours needed when you have enough experience to move forward with your PMP, and the formal coursework centered on project management allows you to focus on the knowledge areas and processes necessary to work on the tasks to get that experience.
CAPM certification requirements
Project Management Institute (PMI)
PMI is the world leader of CAPM certification. They are globally recognized for their standards and hold their members and certificate holders to a code of ethics and best practices that makes them the model in the field of project management.
PMI offers the exams but the training itself is up to you.
Reasons for getting CAPM certification
CAPM certification is based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). The PMBOK provides you with the most advanced techniques, tools, and information to start your career in project management on the right foot.
CAPM is globally recognized, allowing you more access to international projects and collaborations.
Holding a CAPM certificate increases your pay as well as your value to companies throughout the world.
CAPM certificate holders demonstrate they are moving forward in their careers and employers are more likely to work with them as they reach the goal of becoming a PMP certificate holder.
Also, if you hold a CAPM certificate and join PMI, you will have a huge network of project managers, materials, workshops, and learning opportunities that will keep you on the path. There are many local chapters as well that give you the chance to network, find a mentor, or even become one.
CAPM Eligibility Requirements
The requirements for CAPM certification are quite simple. You need to hold a minimum of a secondary degree or global equivalent, like a GED in the United States and you need to have 23 contact hours.
Contact hours are focused coursework, a way to become familiar with the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).
CAPM Education Courses
Before you can apply to sit for the exam you have to complete the 23 contact hours. As stated earlier, the contact hours don’t expire, so you may wish to go forward with a PMP course or a course that provides you with the full 35 contact hours necessary in order to sit for your PMP in the future.
Many companies provide CAPM education, but there are some key elements that you need to decide on before choosing which one to take.
The first question to answer is ‘does the trainer/training provide a certificate of completion?’ PMI often audits applications for the exam to make sure the experience and/or education documented on certification applications is valid and accurate. A percentage of applications are selected randomly and if you are audited you will need to provide PMI with all documentation required by PMI in order to proceed with the audit and go forward with the exam once your application is approved.
Location is the next consideration. If you are in an area where you can find live in person training, you may want to receive your training in a traditional classroom setting. This provides you with student as well as trainer interaction. However, there are many online options available as well, allowing you to attend training wherever you may be, at home, or off site at a project.
Time and Learning Style
Time is another factor. There are a variety of ways to get your required contact hours.
- Bootcamp training is intensive training focused on the PMBOK. They can be offered online or in person. They generally have strict attendance requirements, so missing a class can mean you have to pay for the entire course again and take the entire course again. If this occurs you may not receive any of the contact hours required.
- Traditional classroom training, either online or in class is scheduled over the course of weeks or months. It allows students more time to digest the information.
- Many online programs have self-paced focused training. This not only allows you to learn where you want, but when you want to. Evenings, lunch breaks, weekends, with self-paced learning you pick the place and the time.
You can earn CAPM contact hours through
- Chapters of PMI
- Exam prep course providers
- Project management programs/seminars/workshops sponsored by your company
- Training institutes
- Distance education providers and
- Academic programs
Make sure that you aren’t confusing contact hours with Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) also known as Professional Development Units (PDU). There are many ways that you can earn these once you have your certification that do not meet the contact hours requirements.
Each project management focused hour of coursework equals one contact hour. As stated above, if your end goal is to achieve other certifications, you may want to go forward with a course that provides you with contact hours above the 23 required for CAPM certification.
Factors to Consider
When evaluating CAPM exam prep courses, there are several key factors to consider:
- Content Quality: Assess the course content to ensure it covers all the CAPM exam domains and aligns with the latest CAPM exam outline.
- Instructor Expertise: Look for courses taught by experienced instructors who possess in-depth knowledge of project management principles and the CAPM exam.
- Course Format: Consider your preferred learning style—whether you prefer self-paced online courses, instructor-led virtual classes, or a combination of both.
- Practice Questions and Simulations: Check if the course offers ample practice questions and simulations to help you familiarize yourself with the exam format.
- Student Reviews and Testimonials: Read reviews and testimonials from previous students to gauge the course’s effectiveness and student satisfaction.
- Cost and Value: Evaluate the course’s pricing in relation to the provided features, materials, and support to ensure you’re getting good value for your investment.
Popular CAPM Exam Prep Options
There are several popular CAPM exam prep options to choose from:
- Online Courses: Online CAPM exam prep courses offer flexibility and convenience, allowing you to study at your own pace and access course materials anytime, anywhere.
- Instructor-Led Courses: Instructor-led CAPM exam prep courses provide the opportunity to interact with an instructor and fellow students in real-time, fostering a collaborative learning environment.
- Boot Camps: CAPM exam prep boot camps are intensive, accelerated programs designed to cover the exam content in a short period. They are ideal for individuals with limited time for study.
- Study Guides and Books: CAPM study guides and books provide comprehensive content and practice questions to supplement your self-study efforts.
- Online Forums and Communities: Engaging in online forums and communities dedicated to CAPM exam preparation can provide valuable insights, study tips, and support from fellow CAPM aspirants.
Tips for Selecting the Right Course
Consider the following tips to help you choose the right CAPM exam prep course:
- Research Multiple Options: Explore different CAPM exam prep courses to compare their features, content, and student reviews.
- Take Advantage of Free Trials: Many online courses offer free trials or sample lessons. Take advantage of these opportunities to assess the course content and teaching style.
- Seek Recommendations: Reach out to project management professionals or colleagues who have recently earned their CAPM certification for their recommendations and insights.
- Check for Additional Resources: Look for courses that provide additional study materials such as flashcards, cheat sheets, and audio lectures.
- Consider Support and Assistance: Evaluate the level of support provided by the course, such as access to instructors or a dedicated support team.
- Set a Study Schedule: Determine the course duration and schedule, ensuring it aligns with your availability and allows sufficient time for study and practice.
- Read the Fine Print: Review the refund policy, course access period, and any additional fees or requirements before making a final decision.
Taking the CAPM Exam
Once you’ve taken your course and know that you have met the eligibility requirements it’s time to get to the exam.
First you will need to apply online at PMI and receive confirmation. If you are selected for an audit you will need to provide them with the documentation they require to proceed. Back to PMI membership, if you are a member your fee for the exam is $225. Students can get a reduced rate annual membership with PMI for $32 per year. Non members of PMI will pay $300 for your certification exam fee.
Remember, PMI membership isn’t just about saving money on fees. It’s about becoming part of the global community of certified project managers, keeping you up to date and knowing the trends to come. Set a date for your exam on the Pearson VUE center link at pmi.org. Make sure that you provide yourself with plenty of time to study.
The exam itself consists of 150 multiple choice questions, 15 of which are considered pre-test questions which don’t affect your score. The exam lasts for 3 hours with no scheduled breaks. If you require a break it will be taken off of your exam time.
PMI has set the following standards for the questions on the exam:
- Introduction to Project Management 6%
- Project Environment 6%
- Role of the Project Manager 7%
- Project Integration Management 9%
- Project Scope Management 9%
- Project Schedule Management 9%
- Project Cost Management 8%
- Project Quality Management 7%
- Project Resource Management 8%
- Project Communication Management 10%
- Project Risk Management 8%
- Project Procurement Management 4%
- Project Stakeholder Management 9%
Best estimates are that a percentage above 70% will allow you to pass the exam and become a CAPM certificate holder. You can take the exam up to three times within a year after originally submitting your application.
But you’ve studied, you’ve passed the practice exams at 80%, and you’ve got this. Welcome to your career!
Sign-up for a 7-day free trial! Try the first two modules of Brain Sensei’s story-based PMP and CAPM Exam Prep courses and a mini practice exam and see how it all works
Sign-up for a 7-day free trial!
Try the first two modules of Brain Sensei’s story-based PMP and CAPM Exam Prep courses and a mini practice exam and see how it all works
Choosing the best CAPM exam prep course is a crucial step towards achieving your certification goals. Consider the factors mentioned above, explore various options, and take advantage of available resources to make an informed decision. Remember, the right course will provide you with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to excel in the CAPM exam and kickstart your career in project management.
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