Uses a more in-depth textbook style, not just bullet points. Chapters on test taking strategies. Good companion to flash card study guides.
End-of-chapter reviews, but no actual exam questions. Not a stand-alone study guide, other materials needed. Content may soon be outdated.
Straightforward, easy-to-read text with a humorous tone. CD simulates actual exam questions and answers. Useful as a long-term reference manual as well as study guide.
Many practice questions are easier than actual exam questions. Explanations can be very basic. Not recommended for visually impaired or auditory learners.
Innovative study method for easier memorization of formulas. Works well as a supplement to larger CAPM study guides. Solid rate of success with actual exam.
Flash cards contain information for several different exams. Material could be condensed on regular note cards.
Includes both a pre-test and a post-test along with numerous questions and answers. Author has over 30 years experience in the field.
Does not explain incorrect answers in depth. Chapters do not always contain useful review questions. Some redundant material.
Many users pass CAPM exam on first attempt. Kindle version includes readable charts and other graphics. Very affordable price point for a true study guide.
Structure of the sample questions does not always match actual exam. Very few mathematical questions. Many typographical errors reported.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification is a great way for those with little professional project management experience to stand out in a sea of job applicants. It can also be a useful stepping stone on your way to the more prestigious Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. But before you can obtain CAPM certification, you have to pass a rigorous exam covering the fundamentals of project management. It takes a lot of study, but a good CAPM exam prep book can get you up to speed quickly.
Some CAPM exam prep books are clearly a cut above the rest. They provide a good overview of the exam and give you a chance to test your knowledge with realistic practice questions and tests. But with so many prep books on the market, how do you find the best one for your studying needs?
At BestReviews, we dig deep into product research to answer all your shopping questions. If you’re ready to purchase a CAPM exam prep book, check out our favorites. Or keep reading for everything you need to know about preparing for the CAPM exam.
The CAPM exam is one of the requirements, along with education and professional work experience, required to obtain CAPM certification. CAPM is one of many certifications offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) to help project managers distinguish themselves from their peers and advance further in their careers.
Once you pass the CAPM exam and fulfill the other requirements, your certification is valid for five years. Unlike most other PMI certifications, there is no option to take continuing education courses in order to hold onto your CAPM certification. Instead, you must retake the exam.
A thorough education from an industry expert
Rita Mulcahy’s CAPM Exam Prep, 3rd Edition covers each of the important CAPM exam concepts in great detail and includes advice on the best strategies for approaching different types of questions. This prep book includes hundreds of practice questions, as well as games and exercises to show you how the concepts apply to real-world scenarios.
The CAPM exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions that you must answer within three hours. The exam tests your knowledge of 13 key areas of project management. The questions are mixed on each exam, but you can expect the same approximate number of questions about each topic on every version of the exam.
Here’s a quick overview of what the CAPM exam looks like:
Introduction to Project Management (9 questions)
Project Environment (9 questions)
Role of the Project Manager (10 to 11 questions)
Project Integration Management (13 to 14 questions)
Project Scope Management (13 to 14 questions)
Project Schedule Management (13 to 14 questions)
Project Cost Management (12 questions)
Project Quality Management (10 to 11 questions)
Project Resource Management (12 questions)
Project Communication Management (15 questions)
Project Risk Management (12 questions)
Project Procurement Management (6 questions)
Project Stakeholder Management (13 to 14 questions)
You can take the CAPM exam in the comfort of your own home with a virtual proctor.
There are 150 questions on the CAPM exam, but only 135 of those are scored. The remaining 15 are pretest questions, which may be included on future versions of the exam as graded items. There’s no way to know which questions are the pretest questions, though, so you should treat all of them as though they count.
The CAPM exam is a pass/fail test, but PMI doesn’t reveal how many questions you must answer correctly in order to pass. This is because that number varies slightly from one version of the exam to the next. Subject matter experts evaluate each question and assign it a degree of difficulty. You get more points for answering a difficult question correctly than an easy one. So, while on one version of the exam you may pass with only 100 questions correct, you might need to answer 105 questions correctly on the next version if the exam is a little easier.
This can make it difficult to know what score you should aim for when studying for the CAPM exam. The goal is always to do as well as you can, but most experts agree that 70% is a good benchmark.
You must fulfill all the education and work experience requirements and pay the testing fee before you can register to take the CAPM exam.
Here are a few things you should look for when choosing a CAPM exam prep book.
The best CAPM exam prep books will start you off with a diagnostic assessment. You should take this under timed conditions, just like you would the real exam. It’s a good way to see which areas you’re strong in and which ones you may want to spend some extra time on while you’re studying. Plus, it can serve as a benchmark to help you track your progress as you move forward.
CAPM exam prep books should cover all the key topics that will appear on the exam. Because the exam isn’t broken down into sections, usually the information will be broken down by subject, much like a textbook. A good prep book should provide a detailed explanation of all key terms and concepts, and it may offer guidance on where you can learn more about a topic if you’re having trouble understanding it.
Some CAPM exam prep books include practice questions at the end of each chapter to test your comprehension and reinforce the concepts you just reviewed. It’s important that the questions in the prep book are of a similar degree of difficulty as the ones on the real test. Otherwise, they could lull you into a false sense of security.
It’s also crucial that the prep book provides detailed explanations as to why a certain answer is right or wrong. This can help clarify any misunderstandings and will save you time so you don’t have to hunt back through the text to find the information.
It’s a good idea to take several full-length practice tests throughout your study. This will help familiarize you with the exam format, and practice tests are a great way to track your progress. A good CAPM exam prep book will provide several full-length exams that you can take as you proceed through the material in the book.
Some CAPM exam prep books teach you how to approach various types of questions so that you don’t waste too much time trying to figure them out. All the strategies may not work for you, but they can be helpful if you’re struggling on a specific type of question.
Everyone learns in his or her own way, and the best CAPM exam prep books provide additional resources to help students choose how they want to learn. These may include flashcards for on-the-go review or a CD with extra practice questions and tests. Some companies even offer an online portal with video lessons covering key topics.
The CAPM doesn’t penalize you for wrong answers, so it’s always better to guess than leave a question blank.
CAPM exam prep books range in price from around $30 to around $75. The amount you pay depends on the quality of the instruction, the number of practice questions and tests, the book’s format, and whether or not it includes any supplemental study tools.
Price isn’t necessarily an indication of quality when it comes to CAPM exam prep books, but most of the top-rated books cost $50 or more. Many are now available in ebook versions as well, and opting for one of these will shave a little off the price.
You can also get supplemental materials for under $50, like flashcards or sample questions, but these probably won’t be enough on their own to get you up to speed for the exam. They can be useful ways to reinforce what you’ve learned, though.
The perfect on-the-go study tool
Aileen Ellis’s CAPM Exam Simplified: PMBOK, Kindle Edition was designed with simplicity in mind. It breaks down all the important concepts into manageable chunks that you can fit into a busy schedule. There are also dozens of graphics and charts to visually illustrate difficult concepts. This prep ebook is easy to take on the go, too.
Even if the CAPM exam prep book doesn’t include a designated diagnostic exam, it’s best to take a practice test before you begin studying so you can gauge what you know.
Use your results from your diagnostic exam as a guide, and make sure you spend extra time working on the areas where you struggled.
Set up a study schedule to keep yourself on track when studying for the CAPM exam.
If you know someone who is also studying for the CAPM exam, consider studying together. This can help keep you accountable, and your partner may be able to explain concepts that you find confusing and vice versa.
Q. When should I begin studying for the CAPM exam?
A. It depends on how much you already know. You can take the CAPM exam at any time, and most people spend at least a few months studying for it beforehand. We recommend setting aside two to three months for studying. If you feel like you’re still not ready to take the test at that point, study a little longer.
Q. Is a CAPM exam prep book the same as taking a CAPM exam prep course?
A. While a CAPM exam prep book will likely cover the same topics as a prep course, the two are not the same. In a class, you have the benefit of a live instructor who can answer any questions you have about the material. However, these courses are often more expensive than prep books, and they are only held at set times. A CAPM exam prep book is a much better fit for independent learners who already have a pretty good grasp of the material.
Q. Can I use an old CAPM exam prep book to study for the test?
A. This is not recommended. The CAPM exam’s outline and best practices in project management often change. If you study from an older book, you may learn outdated information that will cause you to get more questions wrong on the exam.
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