PRINCE2® certification experience

4 months after getting the PMP certificate, I was eager to gain more knowledge, since my current project was gradually nearing completion.

I chose PRINCE2, as an alternative to the PMI methodology that is widespread in the UK and European countries.

I chose to pass the PRINCE2 Practitioner examination (PMP certificate holders do not have to pass the Foundation exam) as my final goal in terms of studying this new methodology.

Exam preparation

It took me 6 months to prepare for the exam. At the end of December, I ordered the official edition of Managing Successful Projects with Prince2® on Amazon for 43 euros (by the way, it can be used during the exam) and, from then on, I started watching video tutorials from the online course PRINCE2 Practitioner.

The benefit of the course is that 30% of the lessons are free of charge, so you can evaluate whether such a presentation and delivery suit you, and whether you’re interested in the course itself.
(Note by pmclub: demo access can be requested in the chat on the bottom right).

The course itself is in English, led by Frank Turley and Nader K. Rad who distinguish themselves through their very clear pronunciation, so that you can practice listening to English while learning.

At the time of writing, the course costs 38,199 rubles, including the exam voucher fee.

So, I had completed 30% of the course by the end of the New Year holidays. At that moment, I finally received the book from Amazon, and I switched to a print source of information. By the way, the book is cognitively simpler than PMBOK. I’d also like to point out its ease of navigation.

Having finished reading the book by the beginning of April, I decided to pay for the remaining 70% of the video course and the exam voucher.

Over the next 2 months I completed the course watching 1-2 lessons per day. On average, each video lasts 10-15 minutes.

And… the icing on the cake — after completing the video course, you can get 48 PDUs. It’s worth it if you have a PMP certificate.

While watching the video tutorials, I couldn’t help feeling like there were still not enough materials comparable to those from the book by Rita Mulcahy for the PMP exam. The search for analogues for PRINCE2 led me to the book PRINCE2 Study Guide by David Hinde for 24 euros. This textbook can be effective when revising for Foundation and Practitioner exams. The book I had ordered from Amazon arrived just at the moment when I was completing the video course.

I spent the next month reading the book at a leisurely pace (two days for a chapter — 30-40 minutes a day). The book is also written in English.

Examples of the exams

The paid video course provides you with 4 test forms. One more example of the exam can be found in the book by David Hinde. In addition to a separate chapter with tests after each section, there are sample questions, as in the book by Rita Mulcahy. On the whole, doing 5 different tests should be enough to prepare, if you can answer 70-75% of the questions correctly.

Registration for the exam

One has to take the exam using the PeopleCert platform, which is the only authorized provider for PRINCE2 Practitioner.

Registration for the exam is simpler compared to PMI, no need to fill out an application form. It also provides lots of scope for choosing the date and time of the exam.

This is probably due to the fact that the exam is taken online, and PMI now also offers plenty of choices for distance learning. But when I took my PMP at Pearson Vue center last year, the choice was quite narrow, only 2-3 dates over the next few months.

One more feature: a free date change if you submit a request more than 48 hours before the exam. This option came in handy when I decided to bring the exam forward by 4 days (I felt over-prepared. In addition, I decided to move the exam to my day off so as not to have to request leave of absence).

After registration, you need to install a special application from PeopleCert on the computer which will be used for the test, and check the functionality, including audio, video, and connection speed.

Sitting for the exam

The application can be launched 10 minutes before the examination.
During this time, we checked the sound, visual display, and chat availability. I also had to provide identification documents containing my full name in English (you can show either a foreign passport or driving license; I had both documents ready).

The proctor also asked me to rotate the camera 360 degrees and show the room where I was going to sit the exam, the table where my laptop was resting and the book Managing Successful Projects with Prince2® for the presence of unnecessary materials (I pointed the camera at the book and flipped through the pages). After all the verification procedures, the proctor asked me to press Start Exam when ready.

The exam consists of 68 questions and the examinee is given 2.5 hours. There is no Russian version of the exam in contrast to PMI PMP. However, I recommend taking both exams in English. Non-native speakers are provided with some additional time. Thus, the total test time was 3 hours 8 minutes.

Questions can be marked and answered randomly.
You can take a break during the exam. If you need to leave the room, the proctor will ask you to point the camera at the door. There must be a record of your leaving and coming back.

To pass the exam, you need to get 55% of answers correct. The counting system is transparent, no answers have added weight.

The official publication really came in handy, I managed to answer about 10 questions using that book — you need to know where to look things up :-).

In total, I answered 53 questions correctly and had about an hour left. The preliminary score is shown immediately, while the official result is sent by email within two working days after the records check (they probably watch the video, record the screen, or play back the sound).

The official results contain a breakdown by area (principles, topics, processes), the same as occurs with PMP results, as well as the certificate itself.

The certificate has a limited validity period and it can be renewed in a manner similar to the PMP certificate, through training, professional activities, and participation in various events.

It feels like the exam is easier than the PMI PMP, because in the PMP examination the allocated time is barely enough to answer all 200 questions and review the marked questions.

A specific feature of the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam is a project scenario which some questions refer to. This scenario is available during the exam.

Another feature is matching questions, where you need to match the values from the left column with the ones from the right column.

I wish everyone good luck with revising for and passing the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam!