Taking the PMP® Exam Online or In Person

You’ve made the decision to take the PMP exam. Now you need to consider whether to take the test online or in person. Understanding the pros and the cons of each option will help you select which is best for you. You can always find the latest on the PMP exam here. As you consider your course of action, let’s start by describing what it looks like to take the PMP exam online.

What Does Online Proctoring Really Mean?

Taking the test online is a relatively new option. You should become familiar with how an online exam is executed. To take the PMP exam online, you need a quiet, private space. You should plan on having NO interruptions from colleagues, family, or pets.

No one is allowed in the room while you are taking your online test. The proctor will invalidate your exam if you are moving around or there is a lot of noise during the test. Make sure you have a strong internet connection and use a reliable and fully charged laptop or desktop computer.

During the online check-in process, your proctor will verify your identity using a current government issued ID. You will be asked to take four photos of your work area to make sure your space is in compliance. You can check-in up to 30 minutes before the exam is scheduled to get settled in.

Compliance means no materials, books, notepads, pencils, pens or other writing instruments nearby. Other electronic devices such as phones and watches (including smartwatches) must be removed and shut off. You can expect the PMP test to last for four hours. Find a space where you will be comfortable. Remember, you cannot eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum during the exam. Plan accordingly.

What are Some the of the Online Test Features?

During the exam, you will have access to some online features. You may have the option during the exam to use ONVUE’s built- in digital whiteboard for note taking. Since you are not allowed to use physical scratch paper for note boards, you can use the white board for those purposes. You are able to practice using the online white board anytime. You’ll also have access to an on-screen calculator.

Choosing the Online PMP Exam

Taking the PMP exam online is a relatively new option. It is convenient to take your test from home, but it requires a preparation, no interruptions and a strong, reliable internet connection.

Let’s look at the Online Exam PROS:

  • Avoid the risks of COVID 19. If you are worried or are high risk, this is an important health consideration.
  • Flexible times and days of the week – 24/7. This gives you more test date options, domestically and internationally, than in person.
  • Test sooner. More dates are available online compared to in person. You are also less likely to experience date and venue changes.
  • No travel During COVID, limited test center availability could mean you have to drive farther away to take your exam.
  • Test in the comfort and familiarity of your home.

Online Exam CONS:

  • Potential inability to have a quiet space free of interruptions. This may create an added level of test anxiety.
  • Risk of not being compliant. Your movements are limited. You cannot talk, even to read a question out loud.
  • Issues with technology and connectivity.  Make sure you are familiar with the system requirements,  perform a system test and a strong internet connection.
  • Delays in proctor communication online.

Why Consider the Taking the PMP In Person

The PMP test has been offered in person for decades. The process of in-person testing is known and the experience is well-documented. However, in our current environment, it can be challenging to find an in person center to sit for your exam at the time you want.

In Person PROS:

  • Known rules, environment and protocols clearly laid out by the in person test center.
  • Test centers are available around the world.
  • Ability to provide accommodations. PMI regularly handles requests for PMP test accommodations. Contact the program directly to determine your next steps.
  • Ability to use center-provided writing materials, including an erasable note board.
  • You get a 10-minute break, same as the online test, after you complete and submit Part 1 of the exam. You can also take unscheduled bathroom breaks.

In Person CONS:

  • Extended wait time to schedule your test due to lack of availability. It may take more time to find a date that works for you. We recommend you check the Pearson Vue website daily, or several times per day, to see if new dates and times open up.
  • When scheduling the test, only a few in-person locations show in the search results. The test center uses distance to display information. Consider expanding your search to a wider radius from home, to find more in-person centers.
  • Cancellation uncertainty. There is the potential that your test date could get canceled or moved because of the COVID 19 environment.
  • In person testing requires you to wear a mask the entire time, including during the test.
  • Potential exposure to COVID 19. Test centers have detailed information on their procedures.

Can I Change my PMP Exam from Online to a In Person?

You can change your test option even after you have registered to take the PMP test. To change your PMP exam from online to in person, you need to cancel your online appointment. You will receive a refund for the class. You must pay for and schedule a new exam. The same is true if you change your test from in person to online.

When changing your online class to in person, you may not find the same date you originally schedule. Dates and locations may also be limited. A word of caution: Don’t cancel your online or in-person appointment until you find a date that is a suitable replacement.

Up Next, It’s About Preparing for the Exam

Once you get your exam date schedule, you can focus on studying for the exam. To prepare for the PMP® exam, check out RMC’s training options for self-study, instructor-led virtual training, classroom training and eLearning courses.

RMC provides the most effective and innovative project management training available. we focus on teaching valuable, real-world skills and practical techniques to help you learn more in less time. Good luck!


Cate Curry
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