Rafting with the PMBOK® Guide

How did rafting help me become CAPM certified? Read on and find out...

Certified Associate in Project Management… a mouthful, a cool sounding title that looks awesome on my resume, on LinkedIn, hell, even on Facebook. Of course that’s not the reason why I went for it.

Why I chose to be CAPM Certified?

Well… Threon offered the possibility to all employees to get certified as Certified Associate in Project Management, so I didn’t just choose to become CAPM certified, I grabbed this opportunity with both hands. I saw this as the perfect chance to further enhance my project management knowledge.

CAPM conditions

Before you can have a go at the CAPM examination you have to prove that you meet a basic experience or knowledge level. There are two possibilities:

  1. You have enough working experience, this means having 1500 hours of “professional experience on a project team”.
  2. You have followed a full Project Management training of at least 23 hours, covering all PMBOK® Guide Knowledge Management Areas by a certified trainer.

I am still young and so is my career, so the first possibility was no short term option. As Threon was willing to invest in me, the second option was an easy choice.

Sleeping, eating and rafting with the PMBOK®?

Within our company I wasn’t alone. A total of 20 colleagues from all corners of our company were eager to grow their project management skills and obtain the status of CAPM. To reward their enthusiasm, our management chose to organize two 2-day training sessions to get up close and personal with the holy grail of Project Management, ‘the PMBOK® Guide - fifth edition’. Both times from Friday to Saturday, which allowed some spare time for teambuilding activities, like rafting.

Through practical examples and cases our senior consultants used their field experience to bring the written word in the PMBOK® Guide alive. The 4-day training provided us with in-depth knowledge, caveats, pointers and plenty more! We were ready to study for the exam.

Tips and tricks to survive the CAPM exam

Completing 150 multiple choice questions in just 3 hours; challenging? Let me share some tips and tricks with you based on my experience. If you take the following 4 pointers into account, passing the examination will seem like a piece of cake.

  1. Set the date

Really, just schedule a date at an examination center near you (Prometrics). If not, you will always have “too much work” and postpone the examination. Common sense, but otherwise you’ll never get certified. It’s also important to set the date shortly after the training, within one or two months. This gives you enough time to study and not enough to forget what you've learned ;).

  1. Test yourself

Don’t take a mock exam. Take at least 5! The test exams produced by Threon gave me a good sense of what the real exam is like. It’s a perfect tool to identify the Knowledge Areas that need more of your attention.
Forcing me to deal with the PMBOK® Guide every day, I subscribed for our in-house Prepmail tool. Every day I received an email with a new PMBOK® Guide question. The immediate feedback is just one click away!

  1. Take your time

On the day of exam, breathe in, breathe out and take your time. The timer only starts when you press the start button on the screen. So before you press that button, take some time to write down your memory aids (knowledge areas, process groups, tools & techniques). In my experience time is not an issue. I even had time to go through the question list twice.

  1. Don’t get fooled

The common themes of the CAPM exam are the process groups and the various knowledge areas. The input, tools & techniques and output streams are very important, obviously. Because the differences can be very small, sometimes it will seem like every answer is correct. That’s why it’s very important to read your questions thoroughly. Sometimes there are pitfalls in the way a question is posed. “Getting” the question and its particularities is very important.

I hope that my experience can help you to get an idea how to get certified. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Good luck!



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