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What is the PMI-ACP Exam?

Home The Savvy PM Blog What is the PMI-ACP Exam?
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If you’re looking for a way to step up your game at work, add something new and useful to your resume, or get an edge over other applicants, becoming an Agile Certified Practitioner can help you reach those goals.

As stated by the official website of the Project Management Institute (PMI), “The PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) formally recognizes your knowledge of agile principles and your skill with agile techniques.”

What is Agile?

Agile is a delivery method used by project managers to deliver software cumulatively from the beginning of the project in increments rather than deliver the whole product at the end of the project. Agile project management allows for early changes, the inclusion of feedback, with the goal of delivering a better product.

Agile is about continuous improvement, taking a project from the beginning to end, and allowing client involvement from the start. Encouraging feedback from clients at an early stage instead of when the project nears completion makes for a more streamlined result.

Not only that, but the Agile method can also result in saved money for the company that can quickly be reinvested in future projects. This is because, with Agile, you focus on implementing feedback and new ideas along the way. This prevents wasted time or scrapping large portions of the project after the deadline has been reached.

What are the Differences Between Agile and Waterfall?

The differences between waterfall and Agile approaches are clear. The waterfall approach is a linear management approach in which all requirements for the project are gathered up front, and a plan is made at the beginning. The emphasis is on up-front planning.

With the waterfall approach, you break the project down into many different phases, each phase containing many smaller steps. The development team can’t move onto the next phase until each previous phase is completed.

While the waterfall method may seem more focused on contract negotiation and appeasing stakeholders, the Agile method focuses on customer collaboration and ensuring the customer gets the product they want.

What are the Benefits of Using Agile?

Depending on the project environment, Agile may be the best method at hand. If you, as a project manager, believe that Agile can work for you, you should ride that wave.

Additionally, Agile offers many benefits, including:

  • Empowerment to team and customers, allowing anyone to speak their mind and share feedback they may have
  • Increased accountability
  • Built-in feedback loop
  • Constant contact with the customer or product owner
  • Diversity of ideas because of the number of people involved in the process
  • Promotion of continuous improvement throughout the life of the project

Requirements for the PMI-ACP Certification

In addition to passing the PMI-ACP examination, you must also meet a baseline of requirements, including:

Secondary Degree or Higher: To be eligible to take the PMI-ACP exam, you must have at least a high school diploma or an associate’s degree. Any higher degree will also meet the requirements.

Project Management Experience: Within the last five years, you must have worked at least 12 months on project management teams. If you have the PMP (Project Management Professional) or PgMP (Program Management Professional) certification, you have satisfied this requirement. But, these certifications are not required to apply for the PMI-ACP.

Agile Project Experience: You are also required to have a minimum of 8 months working on agile teams or with agile methodologies within the last three years.

Training in Agile Practices: Also, you must have a minimum of 21 contact hours of training in agile practices from an approved source.

How to Receive Training in Agile Practices

The best way to receive your 21 hours of agile training is to complete an instructor-led online program. An exam prep course will help you satisfy the 21 contact hours needed to satisfy the requirement as long as they’re from an approved or certified source, like Velociteach.

Applying to Take the PMI-ACP Exam

There are a few steps you have to follow in order to apply for the PMI-ACP exam. They are as follows:

  1. You should register to become a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI). While this step is optional, it will save you money on your exam cost and provide you with access to events and webinars to help with networking and continued education.
    • The membership costs $139*, but it will save you $60* on your exam.
  2. Take a prep course in order to prepare for the exam and receive the 21 hours of required contact training needed to complete the certification.
  3. Submit your application through the PMI website and pay the fee. PMI will review your application and respond within 3-5 days.
  4. You’ll have one year after your application is approved to schedule and take your exam. You can take the exam up to three times during this eligibility period.

How is the PMI-ACP Exam Structured?

You will have three hours in total to take your PMI-ACP exam. There are 120 multiple-choice questions. However, 20 of the questions are considered to be “pre-test” questions, and they won’t affect your final score. There are seven different domains or sections to the exam, including:

  • Domain I: Agile Principles and Mindset
  • Domain II: Value-Driven Delivery
  • Domain III: Stakeholder Engagement
  • Domain IV: Team Performance
  • Domain V: Adaptive Planning
  • Domain VI: Problem Detection and Resolution
  • Domain VII: Continuous Improvement (Product, Process, People)

Each domain has a different weight on your score, with some sections like Domain II. Value-driven Delivery counting for 20% of your grade and other sections like Domain VII. Continuous Improvement only counting for 9% of your final grade.

Our PMI-ACP course provides you with all the information you need to pass your test on the first try. And, we guarantee your success. If you don’t pass after your three attempts in your year of eligibility, you’ll get a 100% refund on your course.

With our course, you’ll have multiple chances to take practice exams, giving you a good idea of how well you’ll do on the official exam when it comes time to take it.

How Much Does the PMI-ACP Exam Cost?

The cost associated with taking the PMI-ACP exam may seem high, but the benefits by far outweigh the cost. The impact it will have on your career, your ability to get new jobs in the future, and your ability to get promotions will make it all worth it.

The PMI-ACP exam will cost you $495* if you aren’t a PMI member. If you are a PMI member, the exam will cost you $435.*

How Hard is the PMI-ACP Exam?

The PMI-ACP exam is not considered to be as hard as the PMP exam, but it does require a broad range of knowledge and familiarity with agile topics and concepts, as well as an ability to answer questions quickly and accurately. As the test is only three hours long, you will only have approximately a minute and a half to answer each question.

This is why it’s a good idea to enroll in an exam preparation class. Taking exams can be stressful for a lot of people, so it’s better to be prepared. Plus, on top of that, you can knock out your 21 PDUs at the same time. It’s a win-win!

Benefits of a PMI-ACP Certification

There are so many benefits of being PMI-ACP certified, we might not have enough time to talk about them all. Agile certified roles are increasing in popularity, so it’s a great time to jump on the train and get certified. As agile is a growing trend, you’ll stand out with your certification.

As a PMI-ACP, your job horizon will widen and you’ll be eligible for more jobs with higher salaries. Because the industry is quickly embracing agile, there are more and more job opportunities every day, such as agile coaching jobs and agile project management jobs.

You can also expect to see an increase in salary with your PMI-ACP certification. Scrum Master positions pay an average of $120,000, Agile coach positions pay an average of $160,000, and Project Management positions pay an average of $145,000.

In short, you won’t regret getting PMI-ACP certified, as it will breathe new life into your career and ability to progress forward. The exam may be difficult, and there may be a lot of requirements in order to become certified, but Velociteach is ready to help you get the show on the road with our PMI-ACP exam prep course.


Why do you need agile in project management? | Association for Project Management

PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) | Project Management Institute

Difference between agile and waterfall approaches to project management | Association of Project Management

*Subject to change. These are the fees as of the date of this post.