Tips And Tricks You Need To Know To Pass The PMP Audit
Most candidates that want to take any Project Management Institute certification exam know of the existence of PMP audits, but do you know exactly what it is, when it’s supposed to be done, why it happens, and most importantly, how?
It’s pretty common to seek some help when it comes to passing your PMP Audit. This blog post will walk you through all of the details and important information you need to know regarding the PMP application audit process to keep yourself up to date and as competent as you should be.
Keep reading for some valuable advice and tips that will help you get through your Project Management Institute Audits with no trouble, plus all of the answers to the questions we mentioned before, so you know when it will happen, why it happens, and the way it’s performed.
What Is The PMP Audit, And What’s The Purpose Of It?
The Project Management Institute Audit’s main target is to examine the PMP candidate’s applications and make sure they meet all of the preliminary conditions, so the only people who end up taking the exams are actually qualified and are meeting all of the current standards for PMI certifications.
Basically, the purpose of the PMP audits is to verify and corroborate all of the documents submitted through the certifications and make sure everything is legitimate, and that all of the professionals certified by the Project Management Institute are genuinely deserving of the title.
Project Management Institute Certifications That Go Through An Audit
Every Project Management Institute certificate goes through the audit process, some of the certificates like the Project Management Professional, Professional in Business Analysis, Portfolio Management Professional, Agile Certified Practitioner, Program Management Professional, Risk Management Professional, and Certified Associate in Project Management, among others, have a particular number of candidates picked at random to undergo an audit.
Talking about every and each certification would make this blog impossibly long and would end up giving everyone who tries to read it a big headache, so let’s focus on the most popular ones that get the higher number of candidates applying for them.
1. Project Management Professional (PMP)
Let’s start with the audit for Project Management Professional (PMP) Applications.
As we mentioned before, there are certifications that have pre-requirements you need to complete before you can become a candidate, so the audit’s main goal is to check that every application is meeting all of them.
Some of these conditions are:
- A four-year degree
- 36 months leading projects
- 35 hours of project management education or training
In other words, the audit will review that the education and hours of project management education are all in order, including the four-year degree, high school diploma or equivalent to it, as well as the number of hours of directing projects. The hours of project management training refer to any courses or training the applicant went through, which can be replaced by a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certificate from the PMI.
Thus, you can foresee the audit process will examine every piece of data supplied in your application and verify that all of the documents are valid, so they can approve you as a viable candidate.
2. Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
Just like the PMP, the audit for Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) applications focuses on verifying the information on the candidate’s documents, but unlike the PMP, the Project Management Institute established the requirements for the PMI-ACP to be slightly different, focused more on Agile knowledge and background.
Here are some of the pre-conditions you need to fulfill before applying for the PMI-ACP:
- A secondary degree
- Twenty one hours of PMI ACP experience
- Twelve months of general project background (within the last five year)
- Eight months of agile project background (within the last three years)
The 12 months of general project experience can be replaced by a current PMI PMP or PgMP certificate. Note that it is not necessary to have any of them, just another option you can use in case you already acquired them.
Remember the Project Management Institute Audit’s objective is to research the accuracy of every piece of reported information each candidate supplies. This is all done to confirm every application follows all of the pre-conditions before the exam.
3. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
The audit made by the Project Management Institute for the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) application focuses on two very small, but extremely important assortment of pre-requirements.
The PMI mandates all CAPM exam candidates should have the following before applying:
- A secondary degree (High school diploma, Associate’s degree, etc)
- 23 hours of project management education
These prerequisites need to be 100% completed before you can take the exam, and remember, the PMI will check them thoroughly if you are selected for an audit.
It’s worth noting that the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Basics online course can fulfill the 23 hours of project management education prerequisite.
How To Respond To The PMP Audit If You Get Selected
There is no way to predict whether you will be selected by the Project Management Institute for an audit. No matter how well you prepare your application, this process is completely randomized and occurs after everyone has already submitted their application.
Each certification will have a certain number of candidates selected for an audit, so you can forget about it unless you are notified that you have been appointed for a Project Management Institute Audit.
As we said earlier, the main goal of the Project Management Institute audit is to verify the knowledge and education of each applicant by analyzing the documents they submitted, and by doing that, they keep the prestige and credibility of every PMI certification holder.
If you are selected for a PMP audit, you must complete the process they have established and report to them in a period of no longer than ninety days, as noted in the email they will send about it, and the information found in the PMI Handbook.
Let’s continue with more tips on how you should react after getting selected for an audit.
Collecting And Preparing All Of The Documentation For Your PMP Audit
So you got selected by the Project Management Institute for an audit, now what? First of all, you need to check the mandated documents they will be asking from you, which can be anything that will prove to them that the work, education, training and courses experience you submitted is legitimate.
Once you get the hang of what the PMI is asking you to present, it’s time for you to get started and reach out to all of the relevant people that can assist you with collecting the docs you will need.
On some occasions, applicants panic the moment they get selected and end up sending everything they submitted without realizing that the PMI had decided to audit only one of the prerequisites for the exam, so make sure you aren’t sending everything without being completely sure of what exactly it is that they need.
For example, if they need proof that you completed the 35 hours of project management education or training for the PMP exam, you just need to submit the certificate you got from the organization that administered and applied the course. If they need proof of education, sending them your diploma should be enough.
Don’t waste time contacting your employer or any other irrelevant people to the document that you actually need, save your energy for the actual audit requirements.
If they ask you to send more than one document, giving yourself a deadline and planning with care how much time you are gonna need to collect everything will save you from a big headache and you will thank yourself later.
After you’re done acquiring all of the documents they requested, now it’s time to put everything in order. Write a list of all of the items you need to send, and double check each of them as many times as you need to. Nothing should slip your mind.
If you are 100% sure you have everything, now you just need to find a folder to put everything in so it’s all together and ready to be shipped.
Documents and/or Certificates That Verify Your Education
If you completed a course at a PMI Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.), the PMI will ask you to contact them yourself to ask for the required documents that will verify it.
The Project Management Institution won’t contact any education provider for you, not even if they are R.E.P. So remember it’s completely up to you to assemble every document you will be needing.
In the event of taking a course where you did not receive any type of certificate or diploma, the PMI is willing to accept a letter or equivalent from the course provider that can verify that you indeed completed the course with them.
Submitting a degree or diploma that can prove your education should be much easier, since the PMI also takes school transcripts, so if you need to add something that verifies your degree, you can just add a transcript and the PMI will accept it.
Sending Your Documents And Completing The Audit Process
The Project Management Institute has rules and regulations in regards to how you need to send the documents needed for your PMP audit. You can mostly use the standard postal service to send your documentation, or if you want you can use a private express service.
Since they only accept physical copies, you cannot use email or fax to send them over, that is why you should be mindful to plan your package with plenty of time in case something happens and things get delayed. You never know what the state of the postal service will be like when you need your package to hurry up and get to the other side of the world.
So if you were planning to just scan everything and email the PMI, that won’t be possible. No matter the cost, time or effort it takes you to collect everything and put your documents together, if you don’t send them through the mail with plenty of time on a signed envelope, your audit procedure cannot get started.
The PMI will have a reply for you after a period of five to seven business days. During this time, they will carefully review every document you sent and verify their validity.
The response you get from them will depend on the results of their investigation and can go from simply approving the application, requesting more details, or outright rejecting it.
What Happens If You Fail Your PMP Audit, And Is There Any Way To Bypass It?
If you aren’t careful, failing your audit could sadly be the case. In the event that you get rejected, you will need to contact the Certification Department so they can evaluate the situation and decide what the next action should be, since it’s different for everyone.
If you get selected for an audit and neglect to reply and send your documents, this will result in failing your audit. If this happens, you will be able to apply again the next year, but you will still need to go through the audit, since it will automatically be subjected to it again.
So basically, even if you get selected once and ignore it, the moment you submit another application you will be continuing the process from where you left it, audit included.
There is no way to bypass an audit by the PMI. There is nothing you can do to make it more or less likely to be picked. A PMP audit is not a filter for people who are omitting any documents or have found a way to falsify information. Whether or not the person will pass or fail has no correlation to being selected, and as we mentioned, even if you are selected once and wait a year to try again, you will still need to go through it.
The only thing that is left to do once you get selected, is to try your best to complete every of the following tips and tricks we recommend, so you can have more chances to pass your PMP audit.
- Only Send Legitimate Documents You Can Verify
Sending fake information is one of the worst things you could possibly do in your application, and probably the easiest way for anyone to fail their PMP audit.
Some people think they will be able to trick the PMI and sneak in false documents but we can assure you they are always wrong. Doing so will result in complicating this process even more for you than it would be if you just sent the things you can actually verify.
- Thoroughly Check The Legitimacy Of Your Training Programs
Even though it’s not required for you to attend a PMI REP (Registered Education Provider)
course that gives you contact hours, it is still recommended that you carefully check that any training or course you take comes from a valid source and will be accepted by the PMI, so you don’t risk not meeting the requirements.
- Ask Someone Else To Help You Review Your Application
Of course, this one is entirely optional, but imagine how much trouble you would be saving yourself if you ask someone to double check your information and they find you made a mistake.
It’s also possible you could be underselling your experience, and a neutral party will be able to help you make corrections or add anything you forgot to mention like a training or course.
If there is someone with more experience than you that can assist you with reviewing everything before you send it, you’ll be at peace knowing there won’t be anything deceptive or lacking in your application.
Even though passing a PMP audit should be quite simple if you follow the right steps, some people underestimate them way too much and end up failing due to their lack of attention to detail. Sometimes even a tiny error can ruin your application, and that will result in having to wait a whole year.
Let’s take a moment to review all of the important things of notice we have mentioned so far.
Mail All Of Your Documents Together
Everything you need to send for your audit should be in one single physical package. No emails, no faxes, only physical copies sent through the mail will be accepted, and they need to be all together to ensure your audit process goes smoothly.
Even though you won’t be penalized for sending more than one package, it will make it difficult for them to complete your audit, so make sure you reach out and inform them your documents will make it to them in more than one piece, if that is the case.
Do It Yourself
No, we don’t mean it in the usual sense of the phrase. We highly recommend everyone to send their own documents to the Project Management Institute.
Imagine you work very hard and take the time to collect all of the documents required for your audit, only for the person you asked to send them to forget, or damage the papers. You should make sure the envelope has your name and is sent by you, so there will be no surprises in the future.
Only Send Copies
You worked extraordinarily hard to acquire every diploma and certificates you will be sending, so make sure you are ONLY sending copies!
Since they need to keep a track of every auditing process, the PMI won’t be sending a single thing back, so only give them documents you are not going to need them to return. That means no originals at all. If you do, you can say goodbye to them forever.
Don’t Waste Your Time With Translations
Don’t worry about getting a proper translation for any certificate you have in any other language besides English. The only thing they ask for is a very general translation so they can understand the gist of it, it doesn’t have to be as thorough and complete as you might think.
Inform Your Employer
Taking the time to inform your employer about your PMP audit can save you a lot of trouble.
Should the Project Management Institute have the need to contact any of the relevant people mentioned in your application, they could be dumbfounded if they have no context for the call, and give a confused answer that could end up affecting you. Talking to your manager about it can only help you in the event they do get asked, so keep that in mind.
Protect Your Information
This advice can be applied to most things in our current day and age, but in case you need a reminder: protect your information and don’t send anything confidential to the PMI.
If there is sensitive information that needs to be blacked out from your application, the PMI encourages this, just make sure nothing they actually need is censored. Any material used in your audit is secret and completely confidential, you can rest assured they won’t be shared with anyone else outside of the PMI, unless required by law. So even if your employer were to try and request a copy of your documents, they won’t be able to get them by any non-legal means.
Don’t Forget Your Signature
If all goes well, the PMI will be getting a single package from you with physical copies of your documents all together sealed in an envelope with your PMP signature sample in the back.
However, this could get complicated thanks to mail inspections or regulations, so if your envelope cannot be signed in the back, there should at least be a note indicating why.
Let’s Wrap It Up
We’re done! We hope all of this information is helpful and guides you through the process of your PMP audit. To review, remember there is no way for you to escape being randomly selected by the PMI for an audit, the only thing you can do after being notified is to follow up and collect all of the documents for them.
Whether it’s an easy process or not depends entirely on how ready you are, and how much effort you put into it. Having access to the right advice and knowing all the tips and tricks can make it go smoother and help you make sure you pass.
Good luck with your PMP audit!