Do You Know the Difference Between the CAPM and PMP Examinations?

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is the leader and the most widely recognized organization in promoting project management(PM) best practices. It was founded in 1969 and started offering the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certifications in 1984. These exams are gaining lots of popularity and demand in all areas of business and have become the industry standard certification for PM.

PMI certifies managers as professionals, or PMPs. The certification process requires that a candidate document 4,500 hours of work experience (roughly 4 to 5 years of experience) and pass an online exam. Below shows the PMP exam details:

Number of questions: Scoreable: 175 & Pretest: 25
Maximum time allowed: Four hours
Question types: Multiple choices
Minimum educational background: Category 1: Bachelor's degree & Category 2: High school diploma
Minimum project management experience: Category 1: 4,500 hours & Category 2: 7,500 hours
Minimum formal project management education: 35 contact hours
Exam fee: $405 for PMI members and & $555 for non-members

Exam Specifications
• Approximately 11% of the questions are from Project Initiation
• Approximately 23% of the questions are from Project Planning
• Approximately 27% of the questions are from Project Execution
• Approximately 21% of the questions are from Monitoring and Controlling
• Approximately 9% of the questions are from Project Closing
• Approximately 9% of the questions are from Professional and Social Responsibility

Likewise, PMI certifies project team members as a certified associate in PM, or CAPMs. The certification process requires that a candidate documents 1,500 hours of work (roughly 1 to 3 years of experience) or more as a project team member and pass an online exam. Below shows the CAPM exam details:

Number of questions: Score-able: 135 & Pretest: 15
Maximum time allowed: Three hours
Question types: Multiple choices
Minimum educational background: High school diploma, associate degree, or equivalent
Minimum project management experience: 1500 hours of work on a project team, or 23 contact hours of formal project management education
Minimum formal project management education: Not Required
Exam fee: $205 for PMI members and & $300 for non-members

Exam Specifications
• Approximately 4% of the questions are from Project Management Framework
• Approximately 4% of the questions are from Project Life Cycle and Organization
• Approximately 11% of the questions are from Project Management Processes
• Approximately 11% of the questions are from Project Integration Management
• Approximately 11% of the questions are from Project Scope Management
• Approximately 11% of the questions are from Project Time Management
• Approximately 9% of the questions are from Project Cost Management
• Approximately 7% of the questions are from Project Quality Management
• Approximately 7% of the questions are from Project Human Resources Management
• Approximately 7% of the questions are from Project Communications Management
• Approximately 11% of the questions are from Project Risk Management
• Approximately 7% of the questions are from Project Procurement Management

The main difference between these two exams is the focus. Most of the CAPM questions are from the surface of the subject and more about the processes. You can expect lot of direct questions related to process input, tools and outputs. However in PMP exam, questions are more trivial, tricky and deep in the subject. You can see several scenario based questions where PMI wants to see whether a candidate can apply PMBOK guidelines when making a decision on a course of action.