Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon ~ updated 30 Apr 2015
Adobe PDF icon

What's the Difference Between the CAPM and PMP Examinations

~ By Dr. Joseline Edward Lucas

Multiple-choice exam sheet and pencil

Founded in 1969, the Project Management Institute (PMI) is best-known as the publisher of, "A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)." PMBOK is considered one of the most important tools in the project management profession today. The PMI offers two levels of project management certification, Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) and Project Management Professional (PMP).

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

PMI certifies project team members as Certified Associate in Project Management or CAPMs. The certification process requires a candidate to document their work experience and pass an on-line exam. Here is the full requirement for the CAPM:

  • Number of scored questions: 135
  • Number of pretest (unscored) questions: 15
  • Question type: Multiple-choice
  • Time allowed: 3 hours
  • Educational background: Secondary diploma (high school diploma, or global equivalent)
  • Required project management experience: 1500 hours of work on a project team, or 23 hours of formal project management education
  • Project management education: not needed
  • Exam Fee for CBT: €185 for PMI members and €250 for non-members
  • Maintenance Requirement: Re-exam after 5 years for recertification

The CAPM exam is split into areas with a candidate expected to answer questions in each area:

  • Fifth Edition Chapter 3: Project Management Processes 15%
  • Fifth Edition Chapter 4: Project Integration Management 12%
  • Fifth Edition Chapter 5: Project Scope Management 11%
  • Fifth Edition Chapter 6: Project Time Management 12%
  • Fifth Edition Chapter 7: Project Cost Management 7%
  • Fifth Edition Chapter 8: Project Quality Management 6%
  • Fifth Edition Chapter 9: Project Human Resources Management 8%
  • Fifth Edition Chapter 10: Project Communications Management 6%
  • Fifth Edition Chapter 11: Project Risk Management 9%
  • Fifth Edition Chapter 12: Project Procurement Management 7%
  • Fifth Edition Chapter 13: Project Stakeholder Management 7%

The full detailed requirement can be found in the PMI's Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) Handbook (PDF)

Project Management Professional (PMP)

PMI certifies project managers who lead and direct project teams as professionals, or PMPs. The certification process requires a candidate to document their work experience and pass an on-line exam. Here is the full requirement for the PMP:

  • Number of scored questions: 175
  • Number of pretest (unscored) questions: 25
  • Question type: Multiple-choice
  • Time allowed: 4 hours
  • Educational background: Category 1: Secondary degree (high school diploma, or global equivalent) or Category 2: Four year degree (bachelor's degree or global equivalent)
  • Required project management experience: Category 1: Minimum 60 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience during which at least 7,500 hours were spent leading and directing the project or Category 2: Minimum 36 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience during which at least 4,500 hours were spent leading and directing the project
  • Project management education: 35 hours formal education
  • Exam Fee for CBT: €340 for PMI members and €465 for non-members
  • Maintenance Requirement: Collect 60 PDUs within 3-year cycle

The PMP exam is split into areas with a candidate expected to answer questions in each area:

  • Initiation 13%
  • Planning 24%
  • Executing 30%
  • Monitoring and Controlling 25%
  • Closing 8%

The full detailed requirement can be found in the PMI's Project Management Professional (PMP) Handbook (PDF)

The main difference between the two exams is the focus. Most of the CAPM questions are from the surface of the subject and about the processes. You can expect a lot of direct questions related to process input, tools and outputs. In the PMP exam, questions are more difficult and delve deep into the subject. You can expect several situation-based questions, where PMI wants to see whether a candidate can apply PMBOK guidelines when deciding on a course of action.


Dr. Joseline Edward Lucas wrote the article "What's the Difference Between the CAPM and PMP Examinations" and recommends you visit Way2PM Blog for more information about the PMP Exam and project management in general.

Find more information about CAPM and PMP on the PMI website


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
Out of 90, 76 or 12, which is the smallest?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

The Top Five Software Project Risks

Colour risk blocks falling

A look at the top five software project risks identified in 'Waltzing with Bears' and how they have solutions rooted in Agile methods.

Project Planning a Step by Step Guide

Businessman finding the solution to a maze

The key to a successful project is in the planning. Creating a project plan is the first thing you should do when undertaking any kind of project.

Top 10 Benefits to Earning a Certification

University students in a classroom watching a presentation

Is it worth putting in all of the work? Consider these benefits of earning a certification, and if you see the benefits for your situation, go for it!

Top 10 Steps to Successful Goals

Businessman sprinter winning a track race

Help avoid the great 'Rinse and Repeat Trap' by following these 10 steps to setting successful goals. You may have to work for it, however!

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Aimee Windmiller-Wood commented on…
Top 10 Qualities of a Project Manager
- Thu 23 February 5:06am

Liam commented on…
High Anxiety: Managing Projects With Your Pants Down
- Fri 17 February 9:27pm

Daniela commented on…
Better Coaching Using the GROW Model
- Thu 2 February 3:21pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Help With My Project Management Dissertation https://t.co/EoVJgBqYum #projectsmart #pmot about 4 days ago

General Project Management • Prince2 Advice https://t.co/pP7mAnGTJP #projectsmart #pmot about 5 days ago

General Project Management • Re: Interview Help 30-60-90 Plan https://t.co/BNA7TTqz1I #projectsmart #pmot about 5 days ago