Tips for Passing the CAPM®

September 9th, 2019   |    By Matthew Volk

Recently, I managed to pass the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® within 4 weeks, scoring "Above Target" in all 13 exam domains.

TLDR:
In this blog post, I hope to share some of the resources, tips, strategies, and approaches I used myself to pass the 150 question, multiple choice CAPM exam.


Time Studied: 4 weeks
Pages of Notes Taken: 114
Money Spent on Study Resources: $107.93
Cups of Coffee Finished: 77

All said and done, I studied for about 4 weeks averaging 0-3 hours a day except for the last week where I crammed and studied about 8 hours every day. The last week is definitely when everything clicked. Keep in mind that before starting to study a month ago I didn't even know what the PMI was, had never taken any PM courses, and am only familiar with the CAPM because a potential new opportunity requires the certification. I had to go from 0 - 100 real quick. If I can do it, you can do it too.

Introduction

The CAPM is an entry-level certification for project practitioners. Designed for those with less project experience, the CAPM is intended to demonstrate candidates' understanding of the fundamental knowledge, terminology and processes of effective project management.

Personally, I had enough experience in project management to qualify and sit for the PMP exam, however I wanted to test the waters and obtain my CAPM first. I figured that the CAPM would give me a good idea of what to expect if I chose to take the PMP exam sometime in the future.

Results:

CAPM results

Resources + Strategy

  • Joseph Phillip's Udemy Course  (https://www.udemy.com/capm-pmbok6) - Watched it about 3.5 times, the first time I blew through it on 2x speed to get a general understanding of what the test was, and the next couple times I watched it I took pretty detailed notes, then went back and watched the sections I was the most unfamiliar with. Highly highly recommend this course; the PDF resources that come with the purchase were immensely helpful, especially the memory sheets. Also, the 200 question process test at the end of the course was probably the practice test that was most similar to the kinds of questions that were on the CAPM. Not exactly like them, but closer than the other resources I used.
  • CAPM Pocket Prep  (https://www.pocketprep.com/exams/pmi-capm/) - Bought the $34.99 package with 750 questions, took about 70 "quick 10" exams, and one 100 question exam. I'd say these questions were pretty similar to the exam, but I want to emphasize that there wasn't a single practice test I found anywhere online that was worded like the actual CAPM. The questions on the actual test weren't harder, just more vague.
  • Ricardo Vargas Process Flow  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GC7pN8Mjot8) - Watch this until it clicks. I found out the guy in the video sat on the board of the PMI, so he definitely knows what he's talking about.
  • Rita Mulcahy CAPM Exam Prep 4th Ed.  (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1943704139/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_h0eCDbE92H7DJ) - Bought it for the extra 150+ practice questions, but the questions in this book were extremely easy compared to the actual exam. This is a great resource to get a practical understanding of each of the ITTO's for each process without having to repeat the redundant ones.

Conclusion

The test was a little more difficult than I thought, and even when I hit "submit" I still wasn't quite confident that I passed. It's hard to explain, but none of the practice questions I found online, in the Rita book, or even in the Udemy course which is highly recommended by others were written like the actual CAPM exam questions. Like I said above, the best way I can describe them is that the questions on the actual test were just "vague". I think if I had spent more time trying to understand the ITTO's, understanding why each input, T&T, and output belongs in each process they would have seemed less vague. Do you know what the purpose of the "collocation" T&T is in Develop Team? Do you know why it belongs in there, and not in, for example, Plan Resource Management? If not, review more. For each question, I could easily eliminate ~2 of the answers, but there were probably 30 questions or so that I was totally stumped on. I only used one EVM formula, a couple schedule network questions, and also to note, there were a TON of agile questions.

Also to note, AFAIK the CAPM test is changing to include more than just multiple choice answer types. This definitely hasn't happened yet, as I only had multiple choice options. I would assume this is happening toward the end of the month. More detailed information included in the link below:
https://www.pmi.org/update-center/certification-changes/capm