PMP exam: Online vs Test Center

Deciding whether to take the PMP exam online or in a test center can be hard since you should put into consideration many aspects and factors before making your choice. Learning about the advantages and disadvantages of both online and in-person testing can help you figure out which option works best for you. Keep on reading to get a clear understanding of what it is like to take the PMP exam at home or in a testing center.

Online

PMI provided PMP applicants with the option to take the test online using a proctored testing software since April 2020 as a result of COVID-19. 

The most obvious advantage of taking the PMP exam online is its convenience as you won’t need to go to and from the testing center. You can take the test using your own computer in the familiarity and comfort of your own home, office, or whatever place you find suitable. Moreover, when scheduling your exam, you can always find an appropriate test date and time since appointments are available 24/7, unlike in the case of in-person testing where appointments depend on the availability of testing centers near you.

Even though it is more convenient for a majority of PMP candidates to take the exam from home, there are certain points to consider before going for the online testing option. The proctored testing software used for the online PMP exam is Pearson VUE’s system test app. This system requires a checking process that takes from 10 to 30 minutes before the exam starts in order to determine whether your computer system is adequate for conducting the exam. The system also checks for any “illegal” programs or apps that might be running on your computer prior to the exam. The proctor will also instruct you to scan your room with your phone or camera to ensure that you are alone and there are no notes written anywhere. In brief, getting your computer and room or space into the required condition to perform the exam can be a bit complicated.

During the online exam, you will be overseen by a proctor the entire time. This applies to both online and in-person tests, but it appears to be more intrusive online due to a number of constraints. For instance, you are not permitted to speak aloud. You are also not allowed to utilize any scratch paper. If you want to take notes, you have access to an online whiteboard. Additionally, you can’t look elsewhere other than at your screen. Movements are restricted during online PMP testing; you can’t turn your face away from the camera and you can’t even put your hands or fingers on your face. If you leave the computer and the proctor’s sight or field of vision during the online exam at any point other than for the built-in break, your exam will be stopped and you will fail. If you do any of these things, the proctor will communicate with you through the mic or direct chat to alert you. This may cause you to become distracted from your exam and end up losing focus.

If you decide to take the exam online, you will need to prepare a calm, secluded space for that. You should have no interruptions from your family, pets, etc. since it will result in exam failure. It’s also possible that you won’t be able to find a quiet place devoid of noise and interruption, which could lead to an anxiety increase during the test which will definitely have an effect on your performance and result.

Last but not least, bear in mind that an online exam requires you to have a computer, webcam, and reliable internet connection. If you experience any technical issues, the proctor will most likely decide to discontinue the exam and you will need to request a retake.

Test center

On the other hand, you might want to take the PMP exam at a testing center for many reasons. For decades, the PMP exam has been only available in person at a testing center. In this case, the testing process is quite simple, known, and well-documented. The rules, protocols, and environment are clearly defined by the testing center. Furthermore, there are test centers all over the world and using the PMI website, you can easily locate the nearest one.

A testing center has a stable internet connection and an approved computer, so you won’t have to worry about any technical issues you might encounter during the exam. During the exam, you can use scratch paper and writing materials provided by the center. One main aspect that you may want to consider when weighing both options is that taking the PMP exam at a testing center rather than at home involves way fewer distractions.

However, in-person testing has a number of drawbacks too. For example, you will have to travel to and from the testing center; this can be inconvenient especially if it is far away from your home.

When scheduling your appointment on the Pearson VUE site, you might find that not PMP exams are not provided at all test centers. Therefore, in order to validate the PMP exam availability, use Pearson VUE’s “seat availability” function.

Due to a shortage of seats, you might end up waiting for a long time to find and schedule a convenient test date. Thus, we recommend that you check the Pearson Vue website on a daily basis on multiple occasions to check if new dates and hours become available.

Deciding whether to take the PMP exam online or in a test center should be a lot easier now that you understand the pros and cons of each option. Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong when it comes to where you should take your PMP exam. After all, everyone has different circumstances and it is all about finding out what suits you best.