Should I re-sit the APM PMQ now or wait for the new format?

Paul Naybour

At the moment, we’re receiving a wave of questions from people, all centered around a common question – which PMQ exam to take.

“I am currently studying to resit my PMQ that I failed at the end of last year. I’ve been a project manager for a while and have pretty much spent most my career within projects, but struggled with the PMQ exam and it’s format… I’ve never been good at written exams and my last attempt really brought that to light.”

In this post, I will discuss the advantages of both re-siting the existing PMQ format, or waiting for the new APM PMQ.

What is the new format of the APM PMQ?

As you may have seen on our website, a previous blog post, or LinkedIn, the APM PMQ exam format is changing. The mos significant changes are:

  1. A change from long essay style questions to a mixture of multiple choice, select from the list (missing word), short answer, and long answer questions.
  2. The content of the course has been updated and revised to align with the existing APM competence framework.
  3. The exam is now delivered in two parts, with a rest break in the middle.
  4. The grades for each paper are normalised, meaning there is no set ‘pass mark’

If you took the exam in the old format and failed, you may well be wondering if you should resit now using the old format or wait for the new format to come out. The answer, like most things, is it depends! There are pros and cons to each approach. The factors to consider are:

Advantage: Avoid essay-style questions

Moving away from essay-style questions will help those who find this exam format particularly difficult. The old style required fairly detailed written answers to 10 two-part questions, which in some ways assessed the ability to write well and quickly. Some people found this question style didn’t fit their learning style. If you are one of these, then waiting for the new format exam may be an advantage because while there are five ‘long answers’ in the new paper, these are more concise than the old paper.

Disadvantage: Multiple choice questions mean you have to know the content very well

On the other hand, with the old exam, if you understood the core principles of project management, it was fairly easy to write and answer a question such as the ’causes of conflict in a project?’. You need to know the right answers in a multiple-choice exam at this level. So your knowledge of the contents will need to be better.

Disadvantage: There are several major and minor changes to the syllabus

As our previous blog post explained, there are several new topics and many minor syllabus changes. So, it is not just a matter of taking the exam in the new format with the same knowledge. There are new topics to study, and some existing topics are presented differently. Depending on when you took the original exam, you may need to re-do the whole course.

In summary, should I re-sit the existing exam or wait for the new one?

I think it depends; if you failed the existing exam with just a few marks, then it is often worth taking a resit. Just improving your exam technique can often result in a pass. If you struggled with the written format of the old exam, then it may be worth waiting for the new exam to be launched in September 2024, but you may have to undertake some distance learning study to prepare for the latest topics and active the new style of exam questions.

Either way, call us to discuss the best option for you.

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