Changes in CAPM exam 2019: Here's everything you need to know

PMI offers various professional courses, and one such certification is the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). This certification is for professionals who aspire to gain more responsibility, take up more extensive projects, as well as add project management skills into their current role.

The strength of these certifications lies in their flexibility and not tied to any single method, standard, or organization. They’re transferable across industries and geographic borders.

CAPM Certification Exam

The CAPM examination consists of 150 multiple-choice questions, of which 15 are pre-test questions. The pre-test questions won’t affect your scores but would serve as an effective way to test the validity of future examination questions. All questions are placed randomly, so the candidates can’t identify the 15 questions.

The allotted time to complete the CAPM examination is three hours. Albeit, most aspirants who do well in the mock exam use less than the stipulated time. If you take the exam at a test center, you may take a break if needed. However, if you do take a break during the exam, your exam clock will continue to count down.

CAPM Exam Preparation

Breaks are not allowed during the online proctored test for any reason, and leaving your desk will terminate the exam. You're not allowed to eat, drink, smoke, and chew gum during the exam.

Some of the things you should know about the CAPM examination are:

  • Global workgroups of project management practitioners develop the questions and independently validated it
  • You can get your reference information from the PMBOK sixth edition
  • Monitoring is by psychometric analysis 

CAPM Examination Blueprint:

The CAPM examination blueprint identifies the proportion of questions from each chapter of the PMBOK® Guide that will appear on the examination. The questions are derived by combining the overall evaluations of:

  • Importance
  • Criticality, and
  • Frequency

Then it converts the results into percentages. 

PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition Chapter 














Percentage of Questions















CAPM Exam 2019 has changed

PMI recently changed the CAPM certification exam.

Changes include: 

  • The application
  • The exam
  • The CAPM certification
CAPM Exam 2019 has changed

The Application

No need for the working experience now!

The new changes have eased out the eligibility criteria for aspirants. Since 28th August 2019, new CAPM applicants’ eligibility isn’t based on satisfying the 1500-hour work experience requirements. 

However, applicants must still meet up with the 23 hours of project management education. But you don’t need to possess any project management experience. Hence, anyone with 23 contact hours and a secondary diploma can apply for the certification.

The CAPM application process is straightforward. First, check if you qualify and try to meet up where you don't. For instance, if your contact hours aren't complete, try to make it up.

Then apply either offline or online, your choice. Albeit, the online method beats the offline process in the time it takes you to get approval. If you apply online, you'll get approval within 24 hours, while the offline process takes eight to ten days.

You can't afford to make mistakes, so take your time. You have 90 days to complete your application. So even if you're filling it online, you can always save it and continue anytime within the 90 days.

Application Review

After submitting the online application, the PMI will review it in 24 hours. You should expect the offline application review to take more days, as stated earlier.

The PMI will send you an email to instruct you on how to make payments if your application is complete. The body may also ask you to clarify any issue they have with your application. But once you've cleared any doubts, you'll get the payment instruction email as well.

You have the flexibility of three attempts to pass the CAPM exam within a year. If you're unable to pass the exam, however, you'll have to wait another year to try again.

CAPM Audit

After payment, you'll find out if you're selected or not. You'll get an email with a detailed guide on how to complete the audit. Again, you have 90 days to do this, after which your one year eligibility period starts counting.

This process is random and unavoidable, so it'll be a smart decision to prepare for it.

The Exam



Though the CAPM Exam has changed, you need not worry much about that or panic. This change is minimal. 

Before now, the format for PMP and CAPM questions were reasonably the same. But now the PMI plans to introduce the exam questions in two parts in the new pattern

  • The first pattern consists of matching questions with corresponding processes. This process ensures that the candidates will pay more attention to project management processes while preparing for the exam. Also, you get to understand practical applications.
  • The second pattern will test your knowledge deeper. Here you have multiple-choice questions that have multiple correct answers. You need to go through all the given options thoroughly before picking the right choice (s).

You also have to pay more attention to understand the literature (study materials) properly. Since the options look similar, it may be confusing. Hence it’s helpful to know that the instructions give you clues to indicate how many answers to pick.

Both the above changes have been implemented since September 2019.

Important question: Will CAPM syllabus change? 

The answer is, “NO.” So applicants can continue to use the same PMBOK® 6th edition until 2021 when the new version is expected to be out. Hence, the questions are derived from the PMBOK® 6th edition itself.

How CAPM Affects PMP

This information is for applicants who wish to pursue the PMP certification after obtaining a CAPM credential. In the past, candidates with CAPM certification were required to obtain 35 hours of project management education to apply for PMP credential. But now, based on the new change, PMI has abolished that criterion. 

Hence, the applicants having CAPM credential, are no longer required to possess 35 hours of project management education to get the eligibility.  

PMI has updated the syllabus for the CAPM exam.

While researching CAPM applicants, PMI discovered that most of the prospective CAPMs don’t have enough working experience. So they simply removed this eligibility criterion.

Also, the above changes will impact professionals in a positive way. More aspirants that opted out because of the eligibility clause can plan to get certified. Overall, the changes are useful for CAPM aspirants.

CAPM Certification Validity & Renewal

CAPM certification validity is for five years. If you wish to renew your credentials after the validity, you must reappear for the CAPM exam to maintain the credential. The renewal fee is as normal as the CAPM exam fees.


Since applicants haven’t seen this two-part format of exam questions, a few uncertainties are involved in the pattern. It may inevitably create some sort of psychological pressure on the applicant’s mind. 

However, the new pattern exam still follows the PMBOK 6th edition, so participants need not worry. Going through this PMBOK will ease out your fear to a great extent. Make sure you read this 6th edition of PMBOK thoroughly. 

As stated earlier, the new changes in the CAPM exam will be helpful if you want the coveted PMP credential after it, as PMI is also planning to bring these changes in the PMP exam soon.

Who Should Apply?

The CAPM certification offers recognition to practitioners who are interested in Project management also, if you’re just starting a career in this field or a project team member and wish to demonstrate your project management knowledge.

If you’re wondering if CAPM is right for you, then ask yourself if you'd like to 

  • Manage larger projects
  • Gain more responsibilities, or
  • Add project management skills into your curriculum

PMI’s CAPM certification identifies professionals who have taken project management as their key domain. These individuals wish to prove themselves in that profession. 

PMI provides a collection of terminologies, best practices, guidelines, and processes in its Project Management Body of Knowledge(PMBOK). This guide also outlines generally recognized practices in the CAPM certification tests. Also, it signifies that individuals have a strong knowledge of project management principles and practices as prescribed in PMBOK. 


CAPM applicants will find PMI’s new changes helpful because it simplifies career progression. It also saves you money that you would have otherwise spent on trying to get 35 contact hours. 

These new changes may require some processing time on your part. You’ll need to prepare, but after the mock tests, you’ll find out that it gets easier. But these changes will surely make the applicants more knowledgeable, and practically more confident.

Click here to get CAPM certified.

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Sanjeeva Nagmoti