Here is how the PMP online exam works in practice.
Before the exam:
During the exam:
After the exam:
Let’s look at each of those steps in more detail so you can get ready for the test.
There are four steps to work through before your exam day. Here’s what to do.
The PMP exam requirements have not changed. You still need
When people ask us what online classes do I need to take for the PMP exam, we are slightly biased! Given that we provide one of the top rated online courses (that meets the 35 hours requirement too), we recommend taking our video training class and using the PMBOK® Guide 7th Edition as one of your main study guides.
Go to www.certification.pmi.org/ to register with PMI so you can apply for the PMP certification. It’s a very easy process, as long as you have collected all your evidence in advance. Make sure you have all the relevant information to hand, such as your previous employers and the projects you have worked on.
If you do need to pause your application and come back to it later, you can easily do that. The system will save your progress so you can return to it when you have time.
When your application is considered successful, you will receive an email inviting you to book your test. Navigate to the PearsonVUE website and book your exam time and date. Follow the instructions in your email.
Chantal shared her online exam experience and says: “Right after booking, you will get an email from PearsonVue to confirm your appointment. Read that email as it contains information about what to do before the exam and on exam day as well as the rescheduling/cancellation policies.”
Preparing for the online exam is a little different to preparing for going to a test center. During your PMP exam preparation, you’ll still want to use a variety of PMP exam prep books to review the topics and take a dedicated training class that will guide you through the material so you are confident about the subject matter.
In addition, most successful candidates go through the process of selecting a PMP exam simulator to get familiar with the types of questions and format of the software used during the test itself.
So far, so much the same as if you had booked into a test center. What’s different is the prep required for taking your test at home.
Here are some additional pointers for preparing for the online exam at home.
Run a system test. Use the system checker tool on the PearsonVUE website.
Prepare a space for the test. Find a private, quiet location in your home or workplace where you can sit for the whole duration of the test without being distracted or disturbed. Make sure the walls are empty and your desk can be cleared easily.
Get your ID ready. Make sure you have the right ID and it is to hand for the online checks when you connect for the test.
By the time you get to exam day you’ll be completely ready. There actually isn’t that much to do on this day – apart from taking the test itself! Here are the two steps to follow.
Doing the online PMP examination means following a very specific check in process. Here’s how to check in online on the exam day.
Step 1: Ensure you have the OnVUE software
On exam day, you can check in online 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. Log into the OnVUE system: you already created a login when you scheduled your exam, so make sure you have those details handy.
Running late? Don’t panic too much. You can check in up to 15 minutes after your scheduled appointment time.
Click the ‘Begin Exam’ button to start the check in process. You will see a button that says ‘Copy Access Code’. Click to copy the code. It is unique to you (so don’t copy the code in our image below!).
Next, click ‘Download OnVUE’.
If you have already run the system test as part of your tech check, you might already have it on your computer.
Once the OnVUE application is downloaded, navigate to the file and click to run it. It will not run automatically so you have to kick off that process manually.
Close all your other applications. OnVUE will try to close them for you but we think it’s more controllable to do it yourself if you can.
We recommend you start the check in as early as you can. Andrew found it a time-consuming process. “I found the registration took longer than I expected,” he says. “My laptop took nearly 5 minutes to display the exam screen after running the system checks, which was a little unnerving.”
Step 2: Take your check in photos
The system needs confirmation that you are who you say you are and that you are completing the test in an appropriate location. That’s why you are asked to take photos of:
You can use your mobile phone or a webcam to take the photos. Follow the system instructions to take and upload the pictures.
Tip: Your headshot photo will be compared to your ID photo, so take your picture against a plain wall to make it easy for the comparison to happen. Try to look as much like your ID photo as possible!
You’ll be asked to take four photos of the area where you are taking the test. These give the greeter and proctor confidence that they have a full view of your workspace. They are looking for things like writing on notices on the walls or on boards that might be notes for you, or having other people in earshot. This check is to make sure that you are unable to cheat during the test.
Christiana says her online exam process went smoothly. “The check-in process was easy and it is nice you can use the Pearson mobile app to take the pictures that are required,” she says.
Step 3: Accept terms and conditions
Next, agree to any terms and conditions you see on screen. If you do not agree, your testing session will be over before you have even begun!
The terms are essential for moving ahead to the exam. For example, you might see a requirement that you do not share the test questions with other candidates.
You may also have to provide your phone number in case the proctor needs to get in touch with you for any reason.
Step 4: Verify your test
The software will check that you are sitting the right exam. It will ask you to verify that you are here for the PMP exam online and not any other test.
Step 5: Meet your greeter and go!
The system isn’t completely automated. You’ll also see a greeter, or proctor, who will also check your ID and workspace meet the requirements. Once they are happy, you are cleared to go ahead and start the test.
Once your proctor has released your test, the exam begins!
At that point you have the option to get a tour of the software, and we recommend that you do that. Even if you have used an exam simulator, it is still worth familiarizing yourself with the tool and it only takes a few minutes.
Keep your original booking email.
Your confirmation email from PearsonVUE will include a link to check in. Keep that email safe until test day. Use the link to check in. You can choose whether to scan the QR code and do the check in on your phone or do it at your computer. Using your phone will make it easier for taking the photos.
Monitor your body language.
One student had their examination revoked due to reading out the questions. “I did read aloud on the first question,” they said. “I wasn't aware that mumbling was not allowed in the exam as well.” Don’t read aloud, don’t cover your mouth or face and stay in view of the camera at all times.
Use your breaks carefully.
The PMP exam allows for breaks, but you must be back on time. If you run over on your break you will not be allowed another one. Another student used their breaks for stretching and snacks. “When you take the exam at home, after 60 questions your timer will stop and a 10 mins timer will start,” they say. “During that time you can step out of the room and have light snacks and beverages. I personally had some fruits to keep myself energetic and hydrated. Basically, you don't have time to take a full meal.”
Congratulations, you have finished the PMP online exam! There are only two more things to do.
When you have completed the exam, you will see your test score on screen. There may also be an optional survey. You’ve already spent a lot of time at the computer answering questions, so don’t feel you have to take the survey!
Read the instructions on screen very carefully so you exit the application properly. If you don’t follow the instructions, you might find your exam revoked. While you will no doubt be excited with your success and keen for a stretch, stay seated and in view of the camera until you have completely exited the program.
The very final thing to do is to take a giant breath and appreciate how far you have come. You’ve achieved a huge milestone in your project management career and you should be very proud of what you accomplished.
If you can, take the rest of the day off to decompress from the experience and to enjoy your success.
There is a lot to think about when taking the online PMP exam. Minimize stress on the day by using a PMP exam simulator that carefully mimics the digital test environment. That’s one less thing to worry about! You’ll already be confident navigating through the exam and as soon as you get going you’ll be on familiar ground.
In this article, we reviewed the important things to know when taking your PMP exam online including how to prepare, how to check in and what happens when the exam concludes. Now you are ready to take the PMP exam at home. Good luck with your test!
Copyright © 2008 - 2023 OSP International LLC.
The PM Exam Simulator is a mark of OSP International LLC. PMI, PMBOK, PMP, PgMP, PfMP, CAPM, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, and PMI-PBA are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.