PMI-ACP Exam Structure
- There are 120 total multiple-choice questions that make up the PMI-ACP exam
- 20 randomly selected questions are included and do not count towards the pass/fail determination
- There are 3 hours to pass the exam
- PMI does not publish the passing score, but it is assumed to be in the range of 65-70%
- Students may bring blank “scratch” paper with which to draft responses, such as for formula-based exam questions.
Taking the Exam
- Bring your PMI authorization letter, as well as two forms of ID, to the exam center.
- At the beginning of the PMI-ACP exam, use your scratch paper to “download” all of the formulas, concepts, and key facts you have committed to memory. To save time, perform this activity immediately after the initial computer tutorial which allows 15 minutes.
- Plan your breaks during the exam.
- If you have exam time remaining, review the questions you “marked for review”. Use all the exam time you have until each question has been reviewed twice.
Attend Practice Tests (exam simulator)
The PMI-ACP exam is not just about your knowledge in Agile, Scrum, Kanban etc. It’s about your reading and comprehension skills as well. You really need to practice before you take the real exam. It is advisable to take at least 4-5 practice tests before appearing for your exam.
Create a Study Plan in Advance
While preparing your exam plan keep the following points in mind:
- Keep 10-12 weeks of study to prepare fully, while scheduling the exam.
- Manage your work and personal commitments such that you get a good amount of uninterrupted study time every day.
- Allow adequate time with enough breaks to understand all the key points
- Take up a PMI-ACP exam preparation course, which can provide the required 21 contact hours training
- Avoid cramming on a lot of books when there is a limited amount of time to study.
- Take as many practice exams as possible.
PMI-ACP Exam Tips
The PMI-ACP exam is a multiple-choice test that asks one to recognize correct answers among a set of four options. The extra options that are not the correct answer are called the “distracters”; and their purpose, unsurprisingly, is to distract the test taker from the actual correct answer among the bunch.
Students usually consider multiple-choice exams as much easier than other types of exams; this is not necessarily true with the PMI-ACP exam. Among these reasons are:
- Most multiple-choice exams ask for simple, factual information; unlike the PMI-ACP exam which often requires the student to apply knowledge and make the best judgment.
- The majority of multiple-choice exams involve a large number of different questions – so even if you get a few incorrect, it’s still okay. The PMI-ACP exam covers a broad set of material, oftentimes in greater depth than other certification exams.
Regardless of whether or not multiple-choice testing is more forgiving; in reality, one must study immensely because of the sheer volume of information that is covered.
Although 3 hours may seem like more than enough time for a multiple-choice exam, when faced with 180 questions, time management is one of the most crucial factors in succeeding and doing well. You should always try and answer all of the questions you are confident about first, and then go back about to those items you are not sure about afterwards. Always read carefully through the entire test as well, and do your best to not leave any question blank upon submission– even if you do not readily know the answer.
Many people do very well with reading through each question and not looking at the options before trying to answer. This way, they can steer clear (usually) of being fooled by one of the “distracter” options or get into a tug-of-war between two choices that both have a good chance of being the actual answer.
Never assume that “all of the above” or “none of the above” answers are the actual choice. Many times they are, but in recent years they have been used much more frequently as distracter options on standardized tests. Typically this is done in an effort to get people to stop believing the myth that they are always the correct answer.
You should be careful of negative answers as well. These answers contain words such as “none”, “not”, “neither”, and the like. Despite oftentimes being very confusing, if you read these types of questions and answers carefully, then you should be able to piece together which is the correct answer. Just take your time!
Never try to overanalyze a question, or try and think about how the test givers are trying to lead astray potential test-takers. Keep it simple and stay with what you know.
If you ever narrow down a question to two possible answers, then try and slow down your thinking and think about how the two different options/answers differ. Look at the question again and try to apply how this difference between the two potential answers relates to the question. If you are convinced there is literally no difference between the two potential answers (you’ll more than likely be wrong in assuming this), then take another look at the answers that you’ve already eliminated. Perhaps one of them is actually the correct one and you’d made a previously unforeseen mistake.
On occasion, over-generalizations are used within response options to mislead test takers. To help guard against this, always be wary of responses/answers that use absolute words like “always”, or “never”. These are less likely to actually be the answer than phrases like “probably” or “usually” are. Funny or witty responses are also, most of the time, incorrect – so steer clear of those as much as possible.
Although you should always take each question individually, “none of the above” answers are usually less likely to be the correct selection than “all of the above” is. Keep this in mind with the understanding that it is not an absolute rule, and should be analyzed on a case-by-case (or “question-by-question”) basis.
Looking for grammatical errors can also be a huge clue. If the stem ends with an indefinite article such as “an” then you’ll probably do well to look for an answer that begins with a vowel instead of a consonant. Also, the longest response is also oftentimes the correct one, since whoever wrote the question item may have tended to load the answer with qualifying adjectives or phrases in an effort to make it correct. Again though, always deal with these on a question-by-question basis, because you could very easily be getting a question where this does not apply.
Verbal associations are oftentimes critical because a response may repeat a keyword that was in the question. Always be on the alert for this. Playing the old Sesame Street game “Which of these things is not like the other” is also a very solid strategy if a bit preschool. Sometimes many of a question’s distracters will be very similar to try to trick you into thinking that one choice is related to the other. The answer very well could be completely unrelated, however, so stay alert.
Just because you have finished a practice test, be aware that you are not done working. After you have graded your test with all of the necessary corrections, review it and try to recognize what happened in the answers that you got wrong. Did you simply not know the qualifying correct information? Perhaps you were led astray by a solid distracter answer? Going back through your corrected test will give you a leg up on your next one by revealing your tendencies as to what you may be vulnerable with, in terms of multiple-choice tests.
It may be a lot of extra work, but in the long run, going through your corrected multiple-choice tests will work wonders for you in preparation for the real exam. See if you perhaps misread the question or even missed it because you were unprepared. Think of it like instant replays in professional sports. You are going back and looking at what you did on the big stage in the past so you can help fix and remedy any errors that could