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Everything You Need to Know About the PMI-CP Certification & How I Passed the Exam

PMI-CP Certification Exam

PMI-CP, which stands for Construction Professional in Built Environment Projects, is PMI’s latest project management certification. Launched in August 2022, this credential is tailored to help professionals overcome the increasingly complex challenges in the construction field, as the Project Management Institute claims. 

The Construction Professional in Built Environment Projects (PMI-CP)™ certification is crafted to represent a valid proof of your knowledge and experience when it comes to managing construction projects. If you want to demonstrate your skills in leading and keeping large and complex construction projects on track, you should pursue this credential!  

Whether you’re a project manager, an engineer, or an executive, earning the PMI-CP certification can be your stepping stone to building a successful career in the construction field. As of November 2023, PMI-CP is held by a total of 57 professionals around the world according to PMI.

PMI-CP certification holders
PMI-CP Certification holders

Exam Prerequisites

Sitting for the PMI-CP certification exam has no education requirements. However, 3+ years of work experience in the construction/built environment field is a must to qualify for the exam. Before you can apply, you’ll have to complete 7 self-paced course modules and pass 3 micro-credentials.

A micro-credential is earned by completing the eLearning course and taking an exam of 60 or 75 questions. These questions are more direct and less complex than the final PMI-CP exam.

To apply for the PMI-CP exam, you will need to fill in and submit some information including your past experience in the construction field. A number of applicants may be selected randomly for audit during the application process. In this case, you will need to provide proof of your experience.

Exam Format

The exam consists of 170 multiple-choice questions and a duration of 230 minutes. During the PMI-CP examination, you can take two 10-minute breaks: the first after you complete questions 1- 57 and the second after you reach question 114.

PMI-CP Exam Format and Duration

You’ll have to confirm that you reviewed all of your answers before taking each of the 10-minute breaks since you will not be able to return to the questions from the previous section when you are signed back.

Exam Syllabus

In order to evaluate and verify your industry knowledge and experience as a professional in the construction sector, the PMI-CP exam tests your information and proficiency in 4 main domains: 

  1. Contracts management (51% of exam questions)
  2. Stakeholder management (15% of exam questions)
  3. Strategy & Scope management (29% of exam questions)
  4. Project governance (5% of exam questions)
PMI-CP Exam Domains

You can check the Exam Content Outline (ECO) to go more in-depth into each of the domain’s tasks, enablers, and details.

Exam cost

The PMI-CP exam cost comprises the exam fee plus the cost of the 7 self-paced models mentioned above in the Exam prerequisites section. 

Each of the 3 micro-credentials cost  $140:

  1. Built Environment Project Communication Pro (Course + exam): $140
  2. Built Environment Technology and Innovation Pro (Course + exam): $140
  3. Built Environment Performance and Materials Management Pro (Course + exam): $140

The rest of the 4 eLearning courses cost $69 each: 

  1. Interface Management in the Built Environment (Course only): $69
  2. Scope and Change Order Management in the Built Environment (Course only): $69
  3. Contract and Risk Management in the Built Environment (Course only): $69
  4. Execution Planning in the Built Environment (Course only): $69

After completing all 7 models, you’ll be able to apply for the exam and take it either at a testing center or online, which either way will cost you a fee of $349.00.

PMI-CP Certification Cost

You will not be charged for rescheduling or canceling your exam 30 calendar days before the appointment date. However, you will be charged a fee of $70 if you reschedule or cancel your exam within 30 calendar days of the exam appointment.

If you do not pass your first attempt, you can retake the exam 3 times within a one-year period. Once you get your PMI-CP certification, you’ll have to maintain it by earning 30 Professional Development Units (PDUs) within 3 years and paying a predetermined renewal fee.

How I Passed the PMI-CP Exam

I passed my PMI-CP exam on the 1st of October scoring above target in all 4 domains. My preparation journey took 6 months: 3 months to complete the online self-paced models and 3 months to prepare and take the exam. My studying was sporadic due to my day-to-day job duties. Most of the preparation took place during weekends, but I had to skip some weekends for different reasons. Looking back, I do not recommend extending your exam preparation for such a long duration. A 2 to 4-month period is enough and way more practical to have a fresh memory of all the information you learned.

The 3 micro-credentials that you have to earn in order to be eligible for the exam are way easier than the PMI-CP exam, taking into consideration that the 1st micro-credential only included 75 questions while the other 2 comprised 60 questions each. What I found to be annoying about these questions though is that they mainly rely on memorization. Therefore, it’s important to take them right after completing the corresponding course. These questions are not situational, they’re rather direct. I’d say time management is also key to passing the micro-credentials. A colleague of mine failed one of the micro-credentials because he took it lightly. So, keep in mind that micro-credentials require the same serious and focused preparation as the formal exam.

After completing the 7 courses, I applied for the final exam. I received the approval after 1 or 2 days. Some people go through an audit which requires providing a justification of work experience in the construction field. Afterward, it took me 2 months to decide to schedule my exam in a 2 weeks period.

At this point, I was a bit nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. I found nothing on the internet; no prep courses or books, just one mock exam on a website that ended up being a scam. I asked some people on LinkedIn about their experiences with the exam and they said that the material of the 7 e-learning models was helpful. So, I went back to the guidebook that included all the courses’ content and I skimmed it. That’s the only thing I did to prepare for the exam.

PMI-CP Exam Study Plan

I chose to take the exam online. The check-in process went smoothly. The proctor asked me to turn the camera on to check the office and when they did, they asked me to remove a garbage bin from the office. During the exam, they told me to keep my face within the camera frame once and that’s it.

Some of the exam questions were straightforward. However, many were actually quite difficult, especially the ones with similar options that made it difficult to choose the right answer. All of the exam questions are situational, even the questions asked directly were presented within the context of a particular situation.

The body of the questions was long including up to 5 sentences. I usually skip reading the first two sentences to save time, and if I figure out the answer, I move on, otherwise, I go back and read the whole question. In the end, I had 10 remaining questions and only 5 minutes left. So, I just read the final sentence including the question, and selected the most suitable option. 

Time management is really crucial to pass your exam. In my case, time ended and I didn’t manage to answer the last question. Regardless, I got a “Congratulations” message on the screen which I did not expect as I thought I’d receive my result a few days after the exam. After two days, I received the result report showing an Above Target score in all 4 domains.

PMI-CP Exam Tips

To recapitulate my experience, here are the main points that I think a PMI-CP aspirant should keep in mind:

  • The exam is aligned with the content of 7 modules. 
  • Understanding the use of the “Compass” tool and its role in improving project team communication.
  • Understanding how and when to use the Monte Carlo technique.
  • Changes should ALWAYS be submitted to the Change Control Board (CCB)
  • Knowing the difference between project delivery methods including Design-Bid, Design-Bid-Build, Integrated project delivery (IPD), and Construction Management At Risk (CMAR).
  • Understanding Value engineering and how it’s used to solve problems, reduce costs, and improve quality. 
  • Being able to interpret the values of the Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) 
  • Knowing the common sections of a contract.
  • Understanding the usage and role of innovative construction materials such as Light-Generating cement, Translucent wood, Self-Healing Concrete, etc.
  • Learning about the usage of different technologies such as drones, smart watches, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), etc. in construction projects.
  • Being able to assess a project status using Earned Value Management (EVM) (SPI, EV, AC, CPI, etc.)
  • Understand how and when to use the “Obeya” tool to promote effective and timely communication. 
  • Getting familiar with implementing Interface management and using its terminology.

Considering how challenging it was to find prep material for the exam, I decided to create a small set of practice questions to serve as guidance on what to expect in your PMI-CP exam. You can check out these questions either on Amazon or on Udemy under the title of PMI-CP Practice Tests.

I hope sharing my experience helps you successfully pass your exam! You can also check out the following YouTube video and the below presentation. If you have any questions or inquiries, don’t hesitate to reach out!