CAPM Introduction (2023)

A brief introduction to the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification including eligibility criteria, application process, administration, exam format, exam fee, and list of important documents.


Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®) is an entry-level certification for project management. It is accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI®), USA. CAPM certification is designed for project team members, entry-level project managers and qualified undergraduate or graduate students. CAPM is also suitable for anyone switching into Project Management profession. CAPM demonstrates a good knowledge of Project Management terminology, concepts and methodology.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for CAPM certification, you need to meet BOTH the following requirements.

  1. Secondary diploma (high school diploma or global equivalent)
  2. 23 contact hours of formal project management education or training
BrainBOK CAPM Pro meets the 23 hours of education requirement

Application Process

  1. CAPM application needs to be submitted online through PMI’s Certification Portal. Refer to the CAPM Application Process - Step-by-Step Guide.
  2. CAPM application may get audited on random basis.

About CAPM Exam

A summary of important points you need to know about the CAPM exam before you get started.

  1. The CAPM exam tests an individual’s knowledge of the project management and business analysis concepts in predictive, adaptive, and hybrid project environments.
  2. The exam is usually a computer based test, though paper based test option is available under special cases.
  3. The exam is administered in English but language aids are available for 15 languages upon request.
  4. The exam is administered by Pearson VUE at their testing centers. You need to book your exam date and go to a test center to take the exam.
  5. The exam can be taking online from the comfort of your home or office. Refer to CAPM Online Proctored Exam for details.
  6. The exam fee is $300 for non-members, and $225 for PMI members (membership fee is $139).
  7. CAPM exam is 3 hours in duration and consists of 150 questions, of which 15 are pretest (not scored) questions.
  8. The exam ‘syllabus’ is outlined in the CAPM Exam Content Outline.
  9. The exam is 180 minutes in duration and consists of 150 questions, of which 15 are pretest (not scored) questions.
  10. The exam is divided into two sections of 75 questions each.
  11. The computer-based test has one 10-minute break. The paper-based test has no breaks.
  12. You can take a break between each section (maximum one break).
  13. You cannot revisit the questions in a section after completing the section.

CAPM Exam Questions

  1. The exam questions are categorized into 4 domains:
    • Project Management Fundamentals and Core Concepts (36%)
    • Predictive, Plan-Based Methodologies (27%)
    • Agile Frameworks/Methodologies (20%)
    • Business Analysis Frameworks (27%)
  2. The questions can be of multiple formats, such as:
    • Multiple choice single answer
    • Multiple choice multiple answers
    • Drag and drop
    • Hotspot
    • Animations/comic strips
  3. Some questions may require the use of a calculator. Calculator and whiteboard are built into the exam software, but you can also request a physical calcuator during the exam.

CAPM Passing Score and Validity

  1. PMI does not disclose the CAPM exam passing score.
  2. After you take the computer based exam, you’ll get your result immediately on your computer screen. You’ll also get a printed copy of your exam score report immediately at the test center. Candidates who take an online proctored exam can print out their score report from the PMI online certification system.
  3. CAPM certification is valid for 3 years. During these 3 years, you need to earn 15 PDUs to renew your certification.

Important Documents

Here’s a list of all the important documents that you should download and read before you proceed.

PMI Certification Handbook

The PMI Certification Handbook details various aspects of the CAPM certification including application process, payments, PMI audit process, exam policies and procedures, exam administration, exam scheduling, etc. It would take about 2 hours to read this handbook, but it’s a worthwhile investment of time if you are serious about the certification. Take the time to download and read this document before you proceed further. You would need to refer back to this document along your certification journey.

Download PMI Certification Handbook

CAPM Exam Content Outline

There’s a common misconception that the CAPM certification exam is based on the PMBOK® Guide. Let’s dispel this myth right away. The CAPM certification exam is based on the CAPM Exam Content Outline and “not” the PMBOK® Guide. With this clear, go ahead and download the content outline and take about 15 minutes to glance through it. It may not make a lot of sense in the beginning, but will come in handy later.

Download CAPM Exam Content Outline

CAPM Exam is NOT based on the PMBOK® Guide. It is based on the CAPM Exam Content Outline.

PMBOK® Guide

The PMBOK® Guide is one of the main reference guides for CAPM. In PMI’s own words, “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) is PMI’s flagship publication and is a fundamental resource for effective project management in any industry.”

The Guide comes in both PDF and hard-copy format. If you become a PMI member, then you can get the PDF version of the Guide for free and save on the exam fee too. Read 10 Benefits of PMI Membership for details.

For help with downloading the guide, refer to Download PMBOK Guide 7th Ed - FREE for PMI Members.

Download PMBOK® Guide

Agile Practice Guide

The Agile Practice Guide, 2017 is developed as a collaborative effort by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and Agile Alliance. It is another key resource for the new CAPM Exam.

PMI members can download the PDF version free of cost.

Download Agile Practice Guide

The Scrum Guide

Scrum is an agile framework, and is an important part of the new CAPM Exam. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to learn. One of the easiest ways to learn Scrum is by reading the Scrum Guide, which is available for free. You can read it online or download it using the link below.

Download Scrum Guide

PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

In order to apply for any PMI certification, you need to agree to abide by the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Your certification exam may have direct or indirect questions on this topic. Please take the time to go through the document at the link below.

Download PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct


Refer to PMP vs CAPM Certification - Which certification is right for me? to understand the difference between the two certification programs and assess which certification is right for you.

Last updated: January 09, 2024