How hard is the test? Will I pass? Do I need to read the book?
Many folks who sign up for PMI ACP exam prep hope for an easy way to pass the certification exam. And while we can help you prepare and offer tips and insights into preparing for Agile Certification, it still requires real work.
In preparing for the test, I took about 2 months to go through the prep materials and take practice exams. The exams are beneficial, as they cover a broad range of topics that might not have been in your study materials. This ensures you’ve covered all the areas on Lean, Agile, and Kanban.
Test Prep Resources –
To begin with – you will need PMI’s Agile Practice Guide.
This guide is very misleading, it’s only 170 or so pages, but plenty is buried in the details. There is a glossary of terms which is helpful to ensure you are familiar with Agile terminology. This comes in handy when trying to remember the difference between Acceptance Test Driven Development versus Test-Driven Development.
I recommend you go through this guide three times. First, just read it to begin to understand the concepts and absorb the terminology. Second, after a few practice exams, go back and revisit the areas that are still challenging. Lastly, before the test (a day or so before), go through it one more time. By now, you’ll have taken plenty of practice exams, so this last review will help you with areas that remain elusive.
Secondly, a good book of practice exams.
I used the PMI-ACP Exam prep from PMtraining.com. I used the same 3x criteria. There are 21 sample exams (40 questions) and Knowledge area quizzes related to the 7 Pillars: Team Performance, Continuous Improvement, Value-Driven Delivery, Stakeholder Engagement, Problem Detection and Resolution, Adaptive Planning and Agile Principles and Mindset. The practice exam would take me about 30 mins, and I took 2 a day leading up to the exam. I took the exams over about a month, typically taking 2 practice exams a day.
The first time I took all the tests and scored between 65-80%. I felt like the scores were too close to the passing cutoff, so I went through it a second time. This time I had learned from the last pass and scored in the 80-90%. At this point, I felt pretty confident about taking the test.
My last pass was a day or so before the test; I focused on the questions I had gotten wrong when taking the exams. This helped me focus on the areas I still struggled with.
Because the exam can pull from various Agile resources, I used Google to fill in any concepts I hadn’t seen in the books but showed up on a practice exam.
Taking the Test –
I signed up to take the test online. You have 3 hours for 120 questions, which I found to be plenty. There are no test question giveaways. You have to have a good working knowledge of the Agile Mindset and the various methodologies. There were often multiple “right” answers, but one would be better than the other depending on how the question was worded.
You can mark questions for review, so if at the end, you have time – you can go back to those flagged items.
Take a deep breath and dive in. Fill in an answer for each question. Even if you don’t know, you might guess right.
Result and what’s next.
I received my test results immediately after submitting my answers online—no waiting around, which was great. I am now a Certified PMI-ACP practitioner. All I need to do to maintain it is to complete 30 PDUs over the next 3 years.