Before appearing for the PMP certification exam, you must complete the PMP Application Process. However, some applications may be randomly selected for a PMP Application Audit. A PMP Application audit does not result in an automated rejection, but it's PMI's way of maintaining the credibility and integrity of the PMP Application process and the certification.
Because PMP certification holders are highly regarded in the industry, PMI wants to ensure that only the right candidates qualify for the exam and use the application and audit process as a filtration mechanism. Having said that, if you follow the PMP Application audit process as prescribed by them, you will be able to pass the audit easily and continue with your PMP certification journey.
Additionally, in this blog post, I have covered everything you need to know about your PMP Application audit, such as what entails a PMP Application audit, common reasons for PMP application rejections post-audit, tips to pass the PMP Application audit and valuable resources for PMP Application assistance.
What is a PMP Application Audit?
As mentioned earlier, some PMP Applications may get selected for an audit, and although it may seem like a roadblock, it can be reasonably easy to pass if you follow the steps in the process. Therefore, it's a process you should not be afraid of, and if this gives you some reassurance, hundreds of candidates pass the PMP Application audit every month.
PMI states that the application process is totally random and that any application can get audited at any time. However, the reality is that only a small percentage of applications are audited. Therefore, your PMP application may or may not get audited at all.
What is PMI checking in the PMP Application Audit?
PMI clearly states on their website that you must have led or directed projects. Hence, they want to see that you've done some serious project management work instead of playing an individual project contributor role only.
The following scenarios apply to your experience and would be considered a project:
You hold the title of a Project Manager, Project Coordinator, or Program Manager and call the shots in the project, making important decisions that matter to the organization.
You take significant responsibilities in the project, such as what a project leader would do, but don't hold the Project Manager designation.
You are part of a functional area of the organization which is carrying out a project which feeds into a larger project.
You are directing an initiative which involves developing a new product, improving a process or work streams of the organization, developing a system, launching a product, promoting and distributing a product etc.
You work for an organization whose primary business is to execute projects. Therefore, you move from one project to another from time-to-time or manage multiple projects simultaneously.
These are a few examples provided above which may apply to your project management experience and qualify you for the PMP. However, the underlying theme is that you must have led, directed and managed from the forefront initiatives in your organization.
In addition to the experience, they verify your academic and professional education information, which means that you should possess documentation to evidence these too.
How to pass the PMP Application audit?
If you are selected for a PMP application audit, then you must submit the following supporting documentation:
Education Verification: Copies of your diploma, bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D. degree certificates or global equivalent.
Project Management Experience Verification: Digital verification from your supervisors/managers/senior colleagues validating your experience.
Professional Education Verification: Digital Copies (PDFs/image files) of contact hours certificates from the training company to fulfil professional education requirements.
All document and reference submissions are done digitally now.
Once your application audit documentation is submitted, you will receive an email from PMI informing you that they have received the audit materials, and they will inform you of your application status within a maximum of 5 business days.
How do you know if your PMP Application is being audited?
You might be wondering when you will know if your PMP application is being audited. Once you've gone through the education, experience and exam details pages and hit the submit button, PMI will immediately let you know if your application is being audited on the next screen.
See the screenshot below of the application audit notification page. You will also get an email notification about your selection for the audit.
What are some of the common reasons for a failed PMP Application audit?
People fail the audit for a variety of reasons.
Common reasons for PMP Application audit failures and rejection are your reference fails to verify your project experience or denies it, not being honest about your job title and responsibilities, Project Management role is not good enough, unclear project objectives, or your project work comes across as operational or administrative.
You can see detailed reasons for PMP Application rejection in this blog post, where we show you examples of rejected applications and why they were denied after an audit.
How to avoid a PMP Application audit?
PMP Application audits are random, and there is little you can do to avoid it. However, you can be well prepared with the audit package and information should your application be selected. This means talking to your references ahead of time and letting them know that in the event of an audit, they would need to verify your experience, obtaining the contact hours/PDUs certificate from the training organization and keeping a copy handy of your degree certificates for submission.
Useful tips to pass the PMP Application audit and process
Here are some tips to pass a PMP Application audit should your application get selected.
Write clear project descriptions on your application.
Use PMI language on your application.
Include only those projects where you really played the role of a Project Manager.
Describe your contribution to the project concretely.
Keep your audit application package ready.
Get your application reviewed by experts who have experience writing hundreds of applications.
Write your project experience across all 5 process groups.
Write your PMP Application in a Word document or notepad, then move the final version to the PMI portal.
Stick to the PMI suggested word limit.
You can also read this article which has detailed step-by-step information on how to write your PMP Application.
Common PMP Application audit questions
#1 How many people get selected for the PMP Application audit process?
PMI releases no information on what percentage of PMP applications get audited, but its commonly believed that 8-10% of applications are chosen for an audit. Verifying this information is impossible as PMI will not release this.
#2 Can I be audited anytime during or after the PMP application process?
Yes, you can be audited anytime, even after application approval and after you've obtained your certification. However, the chances of PMI auditing you after your PMP application has been approved is extremely rare.
#3 Has someone got PMP application approval without an audit?
Not everyone goes through an audit; only a tiny percentage of people do. If you are not selected for an audit, then PMI will review your submitted application information and provide their decision. If your application is solid, then they will approve you.
#4 Does a PMP application audit mean I am not good enough for the PMP?
No, a PMP Application audit is only done to maintain the high standards and quality of the PMP certification and to ensure that the right people qualify. Several seasoned project managers also get selected for an audit, and it's not to question your project management work experience but rather to verify that the information you've provided is accurate.
#5 How many days do I get to complete the PMP Application audit?
PMI gives you 90 days within which the audit materials must be submitted. Incomplete submissions will not be processed and will result in the failure of the audit. If you choose not to comply with the audit, it will result in an audit failure and a one-year suspension period to apply for any of PMI's certifications.
#6 Who needs to verify my project management experience during the audit?
Anyone who worked with you on the project can verify your information, such as your manager, project supervisor, project sponsor or team members. You will need to enter the name of the person who will verify your information on the application audit page.
#7 How soon does PMI approve the application after submitting the audit information?
PMI is quick to decide on your application after the audit information is submitted. This could be as quick as 1 day, but officially, the turnaround time is 5 business days.
#8 Will my PMP application get audited after it is rejected the first time?
Yes, once PMI rejects your application, the next time you submit your information, it triggers an automatic audit. Therefore, you must be prepared with the information required for the audit.
#9 Does a PMP Application rejection mean I cannot reapply for a specific period?
There is no waiting period to reapply after a rejection or a failed audit. However, you must be ready to get audited after the rejection.
#10 Can I appeal the results of a PMP Application audit?
Yes, you can appeal the outcome of your PMP Application audit, but correcting the mistakes on your application and reapplying is better.
#11 Can a PMP application audit be triggered by a typo or other minor error in the application?
PMI isn't necessarily checking for grammar and perfect English in the application and that is not a reason for triggering an audit. The application information has to be clear and easily understood. Therefore, as a professional, you must ensure that there aren't any spelling or grammatical mistakes in the application.
#12 What are the consequences of falsifying information on a PMP Application audit?
The consequences of falsifying information on your PMP application can be brutal and detrimental to obtaining the PMP certification. Choosing not to comply with the audit will result in an audit failure and a one-year suspension period to apply for any of PMI's certifications, and in some cases, may also lead to a ban from taking the exam. Therefore, you don't want to be in PMI's bad books.
#13. What happens if I fail the PMP Application audit more than once?
Whether you've failed the audit once or multiple times, you will need to fix the mistakes highlighted by PMI in your PMP application in order to reapply and pass it. Hence, it is better to carefully scrutinize and fix the errors before reapplying. You should also consider that you may need to reach out to your references to verify your experience details, and you want to avoid troubling them repeatedly by failing the audit multiple times.
#14 How can I check the status of my PMP Application audit?
PMI will send you an email informing you that you have passed the audit and can now pay for the PMP exam.
If you are feeling anxious about your PMP Application and want a PMP Application expert to review your application, then you can consider getting our PMP Application review and rewrite service, which has been used by hundreds of students to pass the PMP Application process on the first try.
The PMP Application review and rewrite service is included for free as part of our PMP Blended Programme, which includes 35 contact hours you need for the application, all necessary materials, videos and tests and fully personalized PMP coaching until you are completely ready for the exam. The PMP Blended programme is our flagship program that has helped hundreds of students pass the PMP certification exam on the first try.
If you have further questions about PMP application audits, reviews or the PMP Blended Programme, you can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.