Thursday, May 04, 2023

ACP Success Story: If You Have Prepared Well for Your PMP Exam, The ACP Exam Will Be A Cakewalk

 By Sandip Kumar Nath, ACP, PMP

During my PMP certification preparation, I have already done a good amount of study in Agile concepts. So, I was already in a mindset to get an Agile certification. I’ve been a certified PMP since June, 2021.

Before taking any decision, I had reached out to my mentor, Satya Sir and shared my thoughts.  His first advice to me was to take a break, enjoy the moment of my PMP success, and then go for PMI-ACP. He also informed me that other Agile certificates will explain only about a specific Agile methodology whereas ACP will help me to understand Agile concept as a whole. 

So, I have set my mind to go for PMI-ACP certification to understand Agile deeper and better.

ACP 21 Contact Hours
Every action item should have an owner and estimated time (ETA) associated with it. After completing my 21-hour training, the first thing I did was to fill the ACP exam form and submit.

A week later my application was approved and on the same day I paid the exam fee and scheduled a target date. I targeted for exactly 12 weeks.  

Now my actual preparation has started.

Resources Used
You can use any material you feel comfortable and available to you. But refer to the Agile Practice guide read at least once. This book is very basic and doesn't elaborate much on agile specific methods but gives good clarity on the differences between Traditional Project Management and Agile Project Management.

My primary resources were these: 

As I am a PMP, it helped me a lot in my preparation for the ACP exam. I have again gone back and studied the book, I Want to be a PMP by Satya Sir, but this time I have read only the topics which were relevant for Agile concepts.

As mentioned earlier, I passed PMP on 19th June 2021. And I felt 70% of the questions asked in the PMP exam were based on agile concepts. My personal experience in PMI-ACP was, if you have prepared really well for your PMP exam, your ACP exam will be a cakewalk. I was mentally prepared that I will not get any direct questions and the same happened in the real exam.

You can read my PMP Success Story here:
PMP Success Story: Focus, Consistent Practice and Self-Belief Will Make You A PMP

Own Study
I had a simple plan and as per this plan, I wanted to put around 400 to 450 hours of study. It includes the Books, Blogs, Articles, available Questions and Answers. There were enough. So, I had planned for 4-5 hours per day for the next 12 weeks.

In addition, I followed this free course from scrum alliance.
Name of the course: Introduction to Scrum ( and PM Prepcast Simulator

My preparation was smooth and I faced no difficulty in preparing or submitting the application form.  

ACP Exam Experience
My exam was scheduled center based on 10th March 2023 but Pearson canceled it. So, I again booked the slot in Pearson Shivaji Nagar Branch, Bangalore on 19th April 2023, 8am.

I had taken my PMP exam from home but this time I have decided to take my ACP exam from Pearson. Though I did not face difficulties by taking the exam from home last time, I still encourage you all to go to the center and give the exam.

Both taking the ACP exam from home and center have their pros and cons. For example, while taking the exam from home: 

  • You have your own known and comfortable environment; at the same time, you must make sure that you have a reliable internet connection.
  • Ensure to find a quiet place so that you can concentrate on the exam.

If you are taking the ACP exam from center:

  • Please do not carry anything except a valid ID (Aadhar ID is not accepted).

I reached around 7:20am to the center and after all formality I hope I have started my exam around 8 am.

ACP Exam Taking Strategy

I followed the below ones while taking the exam.

  • My first and foremost strategy was to make myself as calm as possible. 
  • I was mentally prepared that this exam will NOT be easy with a positive note that I WILL PASS.
  • I always read the question first so that I will NOT miss key words like NOT, LEAST, MOST, EXCEPT, ALL, ALWAYS, NEVER etc. This is crucial, otherwise I will choose the wrong answer. 
  • Then I read the scenario or the problem statement to understand which context the question was asked. 
  • Final step to read all given answers choices and choose the correct option(s). 
  • Time management was a big factor.  My plan was to take 60 min per 40 questions.

Type of Questions Faced in the ACP Exam
Below is my experience with the types of questions faced. 

  • I had NO direct questions, NO key words. All questions were scenario-based.
  • Around 80% of questions were one or two liners. Very few questions had three to four sentences or more. 
  • I faced NO mathematical questions. Hence, I did not use calculator.
  • For your exam, you need to be very clear about roles/responsibilities of Stakeholders (Internal and External).
  • Many ACP exam questions were from Agile events, Stakeholders, Agile Team. These will be related to ACP Exam Domains.

During the exam, there will be some interruptions due to candidate movements and mouse click sounds! But I used the headset given me which helped a lot. This you can’t use at home if you opt to take an exam from home.   

In addition, as per exam rule you have to report 30 minutes before your scheduled time. So, it is always better if you reach a little early.

Suggestions for ACP Aspirants

  • Fix the exam date ASAP. Until you do not have the exam date, you will NOT be able to plan and execute your preparation.
  • Focus is the key. Focus on your study plan, focus on the topic you are studying now, focus while answering questions. 
  • Try to understand each topic you read and make your own notes while reading. 
  • During the exam usually, you can eliminate two answers easily but if you have difficulty in choosing between two, re-read the QUESTION first.
  • If the above step is not working for you, re-read the problem statement which has a lot of distractions and unnecessary information, considering the real question.


  • During the exam, never think about the previous question(s) you already answered or the performance of your previous section. 
  • Avoid brain dump if possible. Please do not take unnecessary tension before the exam and brain dump will NOT help you in the exam.

It's a pleasure and privilege to write my experience and share with you readers. I believe, it will help you in your endeavor to be a PMI-ACP.

Wish you all the best for your ACP exam.

Brief Profile: Sandip Kumar Nath, PMP, ACP
Senior Manager – Delivery, Datamatics.

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