PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner Exam, Part 1: Applying and Preparing for the exam

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This past year I decided to try something new — I decided to get a certification. I looked at many of the certifications on the market, for both Business Analysis and Agile Practices. In the end, I decided to go with the Agile Certified Practitioner, both because I’ve been working on many agile projects and because there is currently a need for it in the industry.

Let me begin with a disclaimer: this is not a step by step post on how to take the ACP test or prep for it. It’s about my experience doing both. I will have a second part where I will relay my experience with the test itself!

I began by applying for the exam. To be able to sit the PMI-ACP exam, you have to have 2,000 hours of project experience and 1,500 hours of agile experience (for a total of 3,500 hours of experience). If you are already a PMP, then you can skip the 2,000 hours of project work and just show your agile experience.

On top of this, you need 21 hours of agile training. The PMI application process was very straight forward. I had figured I might apply for a certification at some point and kept pretty good records of hours worked on my various projects from our timekeeping system, so entering my project and agile experience was not difficult. In addition, I had recently attended/taught our Agile Product Owner and Business Analyst class at ArgonDigital, so I had my training hours as well.

I submitted and a few weeks later was accepted to sit for the exam. From there, it took me a while to determine to take the exam, and I paid for the exam. You can’t select a date until you pay for the exam ($495 for non-PMI members and $435 for PMI members). However, you can pay for the exam and not select a date to take the exam as long as you pick a date and sit the exam before your 1-year eligibility expires (1 year from when they’ve accepted you to sit for the exam). When you pay for the exam, your application may be randomly selected to be “audited.” My application was not audited so I do not know what this entails.

From there, I had to determine my study strategy. I read many blogs (like this one!) online and settled on a few strategies. I would read two ACP prep books (The PMI-ACP Exam: How to Pass on your First Try by Andy Crowe and PMI-ACP Exam Prep by Mike Griffiths) and take free practice tests online.

So far, I have taken about 300 PMI-ACP practice questions through various online sources and read about 1.5 of the 2 books I bought. I did not find the online questions to be super useful as of yet, but they were somewhat good practice for the practice exams in my books. The book by Andy Crowe was a very good, concise explanation of the test and what is in it. However, the PMI-ACP exam changed in late 2015, so this may not be the best resource anymore. The book by Mike Griffiths (PMI-ACP Exam Prep) so far has been very good (but very dense!). This book has been updated for the new version of the exam so it should better reflect what is in the current version of the test.

All in all, I’m almost ready for my exam. I will write again after the exam to explain my experience with the exam and if I am then an Agile Certified Practitioner!

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