Tuesday, July 21, 2020

PMI Online Proctored Exams - How to Take it Step by Step?



The Project Management Institute (PMI®) has started offering the online proctored exams over a couple of months before. Hence, you can go for either:
  • Traditional Center Based examination, or  
  • Online Proctored examination 

A proctor is an individual who actively monitors test-takers during exams. The proctor does it via the webcam and microphone.

Specifically, the online proctored version for the PMP exam has been introduced since April, 2020. The below steps for the online proctored exams are applicable (so far) for:
  • Project Management Professional (PMP®) examination 
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®) examination 
  • Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP®) examination
  • Professional in Business Analysis (PBA®) examination

The steps are divided into three broad levels.
  • Before PMI Online Proctored Exam
  • During PMI Online Proctored Exam
  • After PMI Online Proctored Exam

Since 2008, whenever I speak at an event related to the exams or take management classes, I’ve divided the exams into the above three sections. Hence, in this case too, I'm taking the same approach.

If you are going for the online proctored exams, go through all the ones mentioned below. The content of this article is primarily taken from PMP Live Lessons, PMP 35 Contact Hours Online Course, and Various PMI Exam Prep Books

While preparing the content, I’ve referred to the resources from PMI, PearsonVUE® and feedback from successful PMPs, ACPs, CAPMs. Also, as I speak with many aspiring credential holders, their inputs and pain-points have been considered. Thank you everyone for giving your inputs. Without your inputs and feedback, it would not have been possible.

Now, let's check the details in each of the above broad level steps. 


I. Before PMI Online Proctored Exam

1. Take the pre-requisite training related to PMP, CAPM, ACP or PBA exam. 

2. Make your payment to PMI. PMI emphasizes it. Without payment you can’t schedule the exam or seat in the exam. Also, without payment, you are unlikely to be serious for the exam. 

3. Schedule your exam. You can schedule your exam by going to: Login to “https://pmi.org” site and go to "Review Application Status" under “myPMI” tab. Click "Schedule Exam". It will direct you to PearsonVUE site for the online exam.

You can also directly login from PearsonVUE site to schedule your exam.

4. Ensure to have a proper system and settings. Ensure to have proper Windows OS (10, 8.1) or MacOS (10.13 or above). Do NOT use Windows Vista, XP, or 7 or Linux/Unix. 

5. Use the latest Chrome, Safari, Mozilla, Edge or any other browser. Enable internet cookies. Many forget to do so.

6. You must have these: 
  • A reliable internet connection.
  • A reliable webcam with microphone. 
  • A mouse. Use a USB connector mouse. Do NOT use an optical mouse.
  • Reliable power connection.
  • A quiet and undisturbed place. No one should enter your room during the exam, else the exam will be terminated.

7. Run a System Test a few days before the exam. Download the OnVUE online proctoring software from PearsonVUE. As you run the software, it will ask you to kill the non-essential applications. 

8. Be familiar with the Calculator, White Board etc. These are available on the exam screen. Most likely they will be on the upper part of your exam screen.
A whiteboard overview is available at:
https://home.pearsonvue.com/op/online-proctored-whiteboard-overview 

9. Online calculators may not be similar to the digital calculators available in your operating systems such as Windows or Mac. They may be different. 

Calculator Guide: https://home.pearsonvue.com/Clients/ASNT/ASNT_Calculator_Guide.aspx  

10. The online exam asks for a self-check-in process, which happens just before beginning the exam. 

11. Self-check-in 30 minutes before the exam day. To self-check-in, go to: 
https://pmi.org” -- “Certifications” tab -- “Apply Now”. This will show you the "Certification Program Overview" page. Here you will have to click "Begin Exam". 

The "Begin Exam" link - available 30 minutes before your scheduled exam time. 

12. During self-check-in, you will be prompted to take: your headshot photo, photo of your identification or ID (such as driving license, passport, national ID card etc.; these should be original documents), photos of your surroundings, i.e., front, back, left, and right.

13. Ensure to take a photo for the "access code", a numeric code. This code is the only way for you to get back in the exam if you are logged out, computer crashes, freezes etc.

14. Self-check-in typically takes 15 minutes, ONLY if you have completed your system test before.

15. A tutorial will be there at the beginning to know the functionalities available on your screen such as Calculator, White Board. If you want, go through it.

16. Don’t take anything into the room. Don't take pen, pencils, paper, writing material or equipment, mobile phones, and watch.

17. Don't eat, drink, chew, or speak during the exam. Your exam may be terminated due to it.

18. You can have water with you. However, just confirm it with the proctor.

19. Before entering the exam space (room), you can have a look at “PMP/CAPM/ACP Formula Gold Cards”. This you can download and take a print-out. These formula gold cards are part of all my courses and books – PMP, CAPM, ACP or other.


II. During PMI Online Proctored Exam
The below notes are to be followed while you are during the exam, i.e., within the four-hour duration.

1. After self-check-in and the tutorial, the exam will begin. You have to confirm that you are ready to start the exam. The proctor will initiate the exam. 

2. Write down the formulas that you couldn’t remember, only after the exam starts. This you can do on the whiteboard and drag to your left or your right (i.e., panning) so that you have enough space to write further. You are unlikely to forget everything, but some you may not remember. Write only those down. It will take a few minutes of your time. 

3. If you need to write down the process sequence flows, you can also write them down with shortened words on the exam whiteboard. Again, you should do this only after the exam starts. It will take a few minutes of your time, if you can afford it.

4. As your exam begins, all your actions will be recorded henceforth. Your system (laptop or desktop) will be locked in.  

5. During the exam, don't make sounds or noises. Don't cover your face with your hands. Don't move your head away from the webcam.

6. After 89-90 questions, you will be prompted to take the break. The break is optional

***Important Note***: This break is NOT available for shorter duration exams such as CAPM and ACP examinations. This break is ONLY applicable for longer duration exams such as PMP and PBA.

7. Before taking the break, review all the questions you have marked and submit. You won’t get a second chance to review. So, do not think about it later. 

8. During the break, go out, stretch your legs, have your food and/or drink. Come back before the completion of the 10 minutes break or your exam will be terminated. Inform the proctor and proceed with the next part of your exam. 

9. Complete from the exam. Take all questions. There is no negative marking. 

10. You can use both the calculator and white-board together during the exam.

11. Review the remaining questions before completing or submitting your selected choices. If you have marked any questions, you can decide to select those only to be reviewed. 

12. After you have completed your exam, you will be asked to take an optional survey. 

Next, your result will flash on the screen. 
It will say “CONGRATULATIONS…”.

13. Close the application and ONLY THEN leave the webcam. Don’t leave the application and webcam till you have completed your work. Your exam will be considered invalid, even though you have completed the exam.

14. After the exam is over, you may be somewhat exhausted or tired. It’s natural. You have been sitting at one place for around or over 4 hours now. Relax and take a small rest.


III. After PMI Online Proctored Exam
1. Check various sites on your result. It will be available on the PMI’s online registry. You may receive congratulation emails from PMI.

2. You are certified PMP, CAPM, ACP or PBA now. Celebrate your success. Reward yourself.

3. Follow the other tips and notes mentioned for the “Traditional Center-Based” Exam, except the ones which are solely applicable to online. They are clearly noted in my previusly mentioned book and courses.


Finally, as mentioned earlier, these steps, notes and tips are based on inputs from many test takers. I had taken the exams long back in traditional center-based mode. There may be small variations in aforementioned steps for online proctored mode. So, while I expect the steps to be similar, the final exam experience will be yours. 



References:
[1] PMP Live Lessons - Guaranteed Pass or Your Money Back, by Satya Narayan Dash

[2] PMP Online 35 Contact Hours with MoneyBack Guarantee, by Satya Narayan Dash

[3] I Want To Be A PMP - The Plain and Simple Way, 2nd Edition, by Satya Narayan Dash

[4] I Want To Be A CAPM - The Plain and Simple Way, 2nd Edition, by Satya Narayan Dash

[5] I Want To Be An ACP - The Plain and Simple Way to be a PMI-ACP, 2nd Edition, by Satya Narayan Dash

 

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