The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification is a great way to distinguish yourself as a project management professional if you don’t yet have the experience required to obtain your PMP certification. All you need is a high school diploma and 23 hours of project management education, which can be earned through an approved CAPM exam prep course. CAPM is also a great way to brush up on project management concepts while you study for your PE exam or FE exam in the engineering fields.
Our team of experts tested 18 of the most popular CAPM prep courses to determine which provides the best preparation for the exam. We only looked at courses that were available online because we wanted our recommendations to be useful to everyone. There may be some in-person courses in your area as well, and these are worth considering too if you learn best in a structured classroom environment. Each course was evaluated on its study materials, student support and overall comprehensiveness. We also spoke to former students of the programs to get their insights into how well they felt the courses prepared them.
After reviewing all the data, we came up with three finalists worth considering. Project Management Academy was our favorite because its courses are available online or in-person nationwide and they provide an impressive 35 contact hours of education — that’s 12 more than the minimum needed to sit for the exam. But depending on your learning style, you may prefer one of our other top picks instead. We recommend checking out all of our reviews before you make any decisions in order to ensure you find the program that’s best for you.
A Full List of Every CAPM Exam Prep Course Worth Considering
Our three finalists are listed below, followed by the other 18 companies we considered. Click on the links to view courses on the company websites and to learn more about each of our finalists.
The 3 Best CAPM Exam Prep Courses
|Project Management Academy||$1,895|
|Project Management Institute||$350 - $400|
The Other 15 CAPM Exam Prep Courses We Considered
|Cheetah Learning||Visit Site|
|Global Knowledge||Visit Site|
|Learning Tree International||Visit Site|
|Master of Project Academy||Visit Site|
|PM Exam Simulator||Visit Site|
|PM Study||Visit Site|
|PMT Institute||Visit Site|
|Project Manager Training||Visit Site|
|Project Masters||Visit Site|
The Most Important Features: Accessibility, Comprehensiveness, Study Materials and Student Support
We focused on four key areas when choosing the best CAPM exam prep courses — accessibility, comprehensiveness, study materials and student support.
All of our finalists offer either self-paced or live online courses that you can attend from anywhere there’s an internet connection. In-person courses are also a plus, but not a requirement. For live courses, we looked at how often new classes start and when they are taught to ensure there are options to fit every schedule. For self-paced courses, we compared the access periods for each program. We also preferred programs that are mobile-friendly, so you can view the materials from your smartphone, tablet or computer.
In order to take the CAPM exam, you must have at least 23 contact hours of education from a Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.). It’s important to make sure that the provider you choose is an R.E.P. or any classes you take won’t count toward your educational requirements. All of our finalists fulfill this criteria. The Project Management Institute (PMI) provides the required 23 hours of contact hours while Instructing.com and the Project Management Academy go above and behind with 25 and 35 hours of instruction, respectively.
Most CAPM exam prep courses include a study guide, question bank, flashcards, video lectures and full-length practice exams. Instructing.com stands out here with dozens of worksheets, 14 module exams and a final exam. It also incorporates numerous activities and games into its program to keep learning engaging and fun. PMI deserves a mention here as well. As the creator of the CAPM exam, it’s the best place to turn to for realistic practice questions and simulated exams. These are a critical part of your studies because they help you gauge your performance and pinpoint the areas you need to review further.
Live classes are the best for student support, because you can just ask your instructor any questions that come up. Self-paced courses often don’t provide any assistance at all, though some, like Instructing.com, have email support or discussion boards where you can post questions and get answers. It’s not as prompt as in-person or phone support, but it’s better than nothing. Project Management Academy stands out the most in this category for its post-class tutoring and application assistance and its money-back pass guarantee.
Choosing the Right CAPM Exam Prep Course Delivery Type for You
There are three main types of CAPM exam prep courses. The right one for you depends on your location, budget, schedule and how you learn best. We’ve outlined each type below in order from least expensive to most expensive.
- Self-Paced: You buy the course materials and study them when it’s convenient.
- Live Online: You sign in to a virtual classroom and learn from a remote instructor.
- Live In-Person: You travel to a physical location and learn alongside other students.
- Cheapest programs
- Plan your own schedule
- Study at your own pace
- Must keep yourself on track
- No customized instruction
- Little or no instructor help
Who It’s Best For
Self-paced courses are the most common for CAPM prep. They’re a good fit if you like being able to plan your own schedule and you’re able to keep yourself on task.
- Attend anywhere
- Personalized help available
- Schedule keeps you on track
- Less interactivity than in-person courses
- Potential for technical issues
Who It’s Best For
A live online course is your best bet if you prefer learning in an interactive environment, but you don’t live near an in-person location or you can’t commit to traveling regularly.
- No distractions
- Familiar learning environment
- Live interaction with others
- Requires travel
- Can’t adjust schedule
- More expensive than online programs
Who It’s Best For
A live in-person course is a good fit for residents of major cities who learn best in a traditional classroom environment. These courses may not be available where you live.
Full Reviews of the Best CAPM Exam Prep Courses
Project Management Academy Review
Best for comprehensiveness and accessibility.
Project Management Academy is the best choice if you prefer learning from a live instructor. It hosts live online courses starting every few days and in-person courses in 36 states. Classes are designed to serve individuals interested in the PMP and the CAPM exams, so they provide a full 35 contact hours of education, which should be more than enough to prepare you for the simpler CAPM exam. It’s also a great way to introduce yourself to the basic principles of effective project management if you intend to try for PMP certification down the road.
What to Expect
Courses run from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. for four days. Students of the virtual class can choose whether Eastern or Pacific Time works best for them. Most courses run from a Monday to a Thursday, but there are weekend classes available for those whose schedules don’t permit weekday attendance. Unlike most live exam prep courses that will postpone classes until they have a big enough group, all of Project Management Academy’s courses are guaranteed to run at their schedule start time, even if you’re the only student in the class.
The four-day bootcamp is designed to take you through the key material that will appear on the test and to answer any questions you have about it. After that, you’re left to review the remaining course materials on your own. You’re given the most recent edition of the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide, along with strategy guides, exercises and over 2,000 practice questions. You can review the material with a series of online video lectures available through your Project Management Academy account instead if you prefer this to reading. There’s also a 200-question mock exam that you take on the last day of the bootcamp under simulated test conditions. It’s graded automatically just like the real CAPM test, so it should give you a good estimation of what your score would be on the real exam. It can also highlight the areas you need to go back and review.
The best time for asking your questions is during the live bootcamps, but if something comes up after that, don’t worry. Project Management Academy hosts free tutoring webinars every Friday at 3 p.m. ET. These are Q&A sessions where you can ask the instructor about any concepts or practice problems you don’t understand. There’s a support email as well if you don’t want to wait for the webinars to get your questions answered. Project Management Academy also demonstrates it support with a money-back pass guarantee. If you complete the whole course and take three full-length practice tests but don’t pass your CAPM exam within three attempts, you will receive a full refund of the course materials.
Project Management Academy Details
|PMP/CAPM Exam Prep Course||$1,895|
Best for independent learners.
Instructing.com has an affordable and comprehensive CAPM exam prep course designed for self-directed learners. It employs a series of video and text lessons, plus activities and games to keep the material engaging. The course provides 25 contact hours of project management education and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied for any reason. There is no live support available, but you can post questions to message boards where you can get assistance from your instructor or other students.
What to Expect
The program is self-paced, so you can begin as soon as you purchase it or whenever it’s convenient for you. Unlike most self-paced courses, Instructing.com offers a lifetime subscription to its program, so you can review the material as many times as you need to prior to your exam. The course is broken down into 14 modules following the organization of the most recent edition of the PMBOK Guide, the official study guide for the CAPM exam. You proceed through each chapter in order and test yourself at the end of each module with a short quiz to ensure you understood the material.
The instruction is done through a series of pre-recorded video lectures, interspersed with activities and games to give you a chance to apply the concepts you’re learning. A 630-page workbook is included with the course materials, and you can use this to take notes while you’re watching the videos. There are additional worksheets on the 47 processes and their ITTOs and the common types of math problems you will be asked on the exam. You can also test yourself with flashcards and hundreds of practice questions. Wrap up the course with the final exam and use this as your guide to determine whether you’re ready to tackle the real exam.
Unfortunately, there is no email or phone support if you run into questions, but you can post comments on each of the video lectures. The instructor and other students in the course can see them and respond. You probably won’t get a response immediately, but if you’re okay with waiting a little bit for your answers, this should work just fine.
|CAPM Exam Prep Course||$200|
Project Management Institute Review
Best for realistic practice exams.
Project Management Institute (PMI) creates the CAPM exam, so it’s the best place to turn for realistic practice questions and simulated exams. It also provides a thorough overview of the concepts covered in the PMBOK Guide, including time, cost, human resources and stakeholder management. Once completed, you’ll receive your certificate that proves you’ve met the mandatory 23 contact hours of education. Unfortunately, there is no means of support if you run into questions, so if this is a concern for you, you may want to go with one of our other finalists.
What to Expect
PMI’s CAPM exam prep course is definitely the way to go if you’re already a PMI member. You’ll save $50 on the cost of the course and you’ll receive a free digital download of the latest edition of the PMBOK Guide. Non-members can still take the course, but they will have to pay full price for the program and purchase the PMBOK Guide separately. The course meets the 23-hour educational requirement necessary in order to sit for the CAPM exam.
The course breaks down the important material into a series of modules designed to go along with the PMBOK Guide. Each module reviews key processes you must know in order to be successful on your exam and as a project manager. Once you’ve finished with each one, you can test your knowledge with exercises and exam practice questions. Because PMI writes the test, you know its practice questions are going to be very similar to what you’ll encounter on the real exam. This isn’t always a guarantee with other exam prep companies, and practice questions that are too easy may give you a false sense of confidence going into the exam. You won’t have to worry about this if you study with PMI’s questions.
This isn’t the course for you if you’d like to be able to reach out to an instructor when questions arise. PMI’s course doesn’t even include email support, so you should feel pretty comfortable teaching yourself before you sign up. If you’re a PMI member, you may be able to reach out to your local chapter or another member of the organization with your questions, so this is another reason to consider obtaining a membership.
Project Management Institute Details
|CAPM Exam Prep Course (PMI Member)||$350|
|CAPM Exam Prep Course (Non-Member)||$400|
Frequently Asked Questions About the CAPM Exam
We spoke to individuals who had recently taken or are planning to take the CAPM exam to learn what questions they had about the test. We’ve answered some of the most common ones below. If there’s anything else you’d like us to answer, reach out and let us know.
How do I register for the CAPM exam?
The CAPM exam can be taken at any time throughout the year. To register for the test, follow the steps below.
Fulfill the prerequisites.
The requirements for the CAPM certification are less stringent than PMI’s other certifications. In order to qualify, you must have a high school degree or global equivalent and you must have either 1,500 hours of professional experience on a project team or 23 contact hours of project management education.
Complete your application.
Once you’ve fulfilled the certification prerequisites, you can fill out your application and submit it to PMI. You will be asked to provide proof that you’ve fulfilled either the experience or educational requirements. You must submit your application within 90 days of beginning it, and it will be reviewed for completeness within 24 hours. If yours is selected for an audit, you have 90 days to submit all the requested documents. When your application is verified and complete, you can pay the exam fee — $225 for PMI members and $300 for non-members.
Sign up for the test.
Once your fees are paid, PMI will send you an approval to test. The exam can be taken online or at a Pearson VUE testing center near you. Choose a date and time that’s most convenient for you and sign up for the test. You can change or cancel your test at any time up until 48 hours prior to the start of the exam, but you must take it within one year of receiving your testing approval.
You will be required to present a government-issued photo ID on test day, and you may be subjected to additional security checks as well. Show up at the testing center at least 15 minutes early in order to allow time for all of this. You aren’t permitted to bring anything with you into the testing room, and if you’re at a Pearson VUE testing center, a locker will be provided to store your belongings until the test is over. For a full list of test-day procedures, visit Pearson VUE’s website.
How is the CAPM exam scored?
The CAPM exam is a 150-question multiple-choice test that measures your understanding of key project management principles, including project integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resource, communication, risk, procurement and stakeholder management. These questions are not broken down into distinct sections, but you can expect to see the same mix of questions on each version of the test. For a complete breakdown, see PMI’s Exam Content Outline.
Of the 150 questions on the test, only 135 are scored. The remaining 15 are pretest questions added by PMI to determine the difficulty and fairness of the items. Those that pass will be added to future version of the test as graded questions. You won’t know which are the pretest questions when you take the exam, so it’s best to treat them all as if they were going to count. Do your best to answer them and make an educated guess if you don’t know. There is no penalty for wrong answers.
Each correct answer is worth one point. The passing score varies slightly from one version of the exam to the next based on psychometric analysis. PMI employs subject-matter experts to assess the difficulty of each exam in order to determine what the passing score should be. This information isn’t released to the public, but most experts recommend aiming for at least a 70 percent in your practice exams.
You’ll receive the results of your CAPM exam as soon as you finish taking it. It breaks down your scores in each of the key areas into one of three major categories — Proficient, Moderately Proficient and Below Proficient. A single Below Proficient won’t destroy your hopes of passing, but ideally, you want to score Proficient or Moderately Proficient in all categories.
What if I fail the CAPM exam?
You’re allowed to take the CAPM up to three times per year. If it takes you more attempts than that, you will have to repeat your education hours and resubmit your application to PMI with a new application fee. You must also wait one year from your last failed attempt before you can try again. You are still eligible to take other PMI exams without waiting, though.
Before you try again, look closely at your score report and figure out which areas gave you the most trouble. Spend extra time reviewing these sections until you feel confident that you understand the material. You should also look back over the sections where you only scored Moderately Proficient, as these could go either way when you retake the exam.
When you’re ready for another attempt, you must pay PMI for a new approval to test. Reexamination fees are $150 for PMI members and $200 for non-members. Once you’ve received your approval, you can schedule a new test date with Pearson VUE at a date and time that’s most convenient for you.