Disclaimer: Please note that the observations and advice given in this blog post are my own. I don’t guarantee that by following the given suggestions you will not be selected for an audit. You may or may not be selected for an audit and you should be prepared for it if you are applying for the PMP exam.
First, you should know that you cannot avoid a PMP audit because the selection of an audit candidate is a random process and only the PMI knows how this process works.
According to the PMI,
“All applications are subject to an audit, although only a percentage of applications are selected for an audit. The selection of an application for audit is random.”
You should never be afraid of an audit because failing to pass an audit will not sentence you to a life of imprisonment.
However, I also do not mean you should invite the PMI to conduct an audit on you. I believe there are some red flags which may trigger an audit and make you a more likely candidate for auditing.
Here I’m going to list some points you should take note of while filling out the PMP exam application form.
Okay, let’s get started.
Project Management Experience
If you have made any mistakes in filling out your experience, this may be a red flag and you may be given an audit. For example, if you provide any overlapping experience or any gaps in your experience, you may be called for an audit.
There are many ways to earn 35 contact hours and one of them is through a PMI Registered Education Provider (REP). If you get your training through any REP, there will be no issues. However, if you have earned the contact hours through any other means, PMI may audit you to verify your claim.
Please note I’m not saying that you must earn contact hours only through a REP; you can earn them in any way recognized by the PMI. However, sometimes an aspirant may think that particular activity qualifies for contact hours, but in reality, it does not. So, this may again be a red flag.
The PMP certification is for professionals working in project management. In the job responsibilities section, if you are providing many activities that are not related to project management, the PMI may ask you to clarify your job responsibilities by auditing you.
In your job responsibilities, you should show you are experienced in all project management phases.
Numbers of Hours per Year
Usually about 2,000 hours of experience is enough per year. However, if you provide excessive working hours per year, the PMI may need to verify this fact by conducting an audit. Fill in this information carefully and do not put excessive hours per year.
If you have less experience, I would suggest you not apply for the PMP exam until you have completed your experience requirements and then apply.
A Few Tips for Completing the PMP Application Form
Now I’m going to give you a few pieces of advice you should keep in mind while filling out the PMP exam certification application form to avoid any confusion.
Let’s start with the project management experience. If you have any overlapping experience, provide the experience as one project, since you cannot add overlapping experience. For example, let’s say the duration of one project was from January to June, and the duration of the second project was May to December. In this case, you will count your experience as 12 months, not 14 months.
Now we come to the project management training. To be sure to earn these 35 contact hours from any registered education provider; do not opt for an unknown, unregistered, low quality, cheap option. Registered education providers’ courses are preapproved and their course content is reviewed by the PMI.
If you try another option, it might raise a red flag. Therefore, before signing up for any training course do your own due diligence.
Under the job responsibilities section, make sure you give them your experience relevant to project management. Do not include your non-project management activities here, as doing so may cause suspicion. Therefore, before giving the job responsibilities note them down on a separate paper and review them at least twice. Once you are satisfied with the information, you can submit it.
Now we come to project management experience. Many professionals make mistakes while filling out the numbers of hours. Please do not put excessive numbers of hours per year. Count your experience in hours carefully and note it down. Usually in a year professionals do work approximately 2,000 hours. Therefore, under normal circumstances, if you are giving experience for the last five years, then the total number of hours during this tenure should be around 10,000 hours.
Also, make sure you have counted your experience corresponding to all fives phases of the project and have distributed it accordingly.
These are my recommendations to you to avoid sending an audit invitation to PMI.
Also, make sure of a few more things before applying for the exam. This will help you in case you’re selected for an audit.
- Keep all educational and experience certificates ready with you.
- Contact all your previous bosses under whom you have worked, or their replacements in case the original boss has moved elsewhere. Inform them about your application and tell them that the PMI may contact them to verify your experience.
- Don’t forget to inform your current boss, because he is a more likely candidate to be contacted by the PMI if you’re selected for an audit.
I hope all your concerns have been answered here. If you need any further information, feel free to contact me through the comments section. There is no way you can avoid the PMP audit, since it is a random process and anyone can be selected. Therefore, you should prepare yourself before applying for the exam by assuming that you are going to be audited. This will make you more careful and well prepared in case you are selected for an audit. Supply the correct information, keep all documents with you, inform your bosses about it, and you will be good to go.
If you follow the above-given suggestions, I can assure you that you will be in a much better position to tackle the audit.