Guaranteed PMP Pass?

Prospective candidates for any PMI examination, including the PMP credential need to be vary wary of ‘guarantees’ from some training organisations.

PMI closely manage the security of their exam system and no one can ‘guarantee’ a pass. Candidates take a secure exam with an individually selected mix of questions and pass if they score more than 61% on the day. Less than 61% correct answers = failure!

Despite PMI explicitly prohibiting R.E.P.s from offering guarantees that cannot be substantiated, and obviously ‘guaranteeing’ a pass is impossible, it does not stop some organisations:

Guarantees that you will ‘pass the exam’ are fraudulent – deal with businesses making this type of impossible guarantee at you peril.

Guarantees to refund some or all of your monies in the unfortunate event of a failure are permitted under PMI’s advertising policies but PMI require the conditions of the guarantee to be clearly stated.  Some of the primary problems with ‘guarantees’ are:

  1. Unrealistic time limits, eg requiring you take the exam within seven (7) days of completing the course – this is impossible if you have not already completed 35 Hrs of training and are pre-registered with PMI.  The PMI booking cycle takes on average 8 to 10 days.
  2. The number of time you have to fail the exam before the ‘guarantee’ is effective – most guarantees require at least one re-sit, many two (ie, the maximum allowed by PMI). These are usually time limited to 30 days per re-sit.
  3. The amount of work you have to do before the ‘guarantee’ is effective?
  4. The actual value of  the ‘guarantee’  – you will have spent money on course fees, exam fees, re-sit fees, travel and time out of work for the exams and a significant amount of study time.

If the conditions are clearly defined and you feel they offer value to you, obviously accept the guarantee.  If the guarantee conditions are hidden in a mass of fine print you can judge the ethical base of the organisation making the guarantee for yourself.

Mosaic is a PMI R.E.P. However, we operate from a very different ethical basis:

  1. We guarantee to keep working with trainees until they pass (ie, we spend our time and money working with the one or two people unlucky enough to fail each year until they either pass or decide to move on).
  2. We do not offer a money back guarantee (with or without multiple hoops for the trainee to jump through) for two reasons:
    1. We feel it important for trainees to have some ‘skin in the game’.
    2. We don’t think it is reasonable to charge a premium on all candidates’ fees to cover the risk for a few.

The challenge I propose to all prospective PMP candidates is to check out the actual guarantees from potential training providers and ask yourselves two questions:

Do I want to deal with an organisation that offers sham guarantees – what does this say about other aspects of their business ethics and service?

Do I want to pay the price premium associated with many ethical guarantees? 
PMI Melbourne Chapter offer PMP classroom courses for $1,980.00 for PMI members
Mosaic offers email based training for $1,320.00
(see: both courses have a 98%+ pass rate.

I my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with ‘money back’ guarantees provided the terms are clear and not too onerous, many reputable R.E.P.s offer this type of guarantee. However, for other ‘impossible guarantees’, PMI have been working to clean up the advertising of PMP courses by R.E.P.s for several years you can help by voting with your feet and not doing business with organisations that offer impossible guarantees. 

5 responses to “Guaranteed PMP Pass?

  1. Pingback: Free PMP Questions « Mosaicproject’s Blog

  2. Pingback: Auch PDUs können jetzt gekauft werden… « Projekt Management Beratung

  3. This post is really valuable for someone who might not know what to look for (or look out for) in PMI REPs. I know when my organization fist stepped into REP status we had alot of questions ourselves, I can’t imagine how many confusing or mixed messages a person goes through to find a good, reliable REP.

    I like the ethical basis you stand on, if nothing else it proves that you are behind your services 100%, and that you aren’t going to make any false claims for the sake of a few extra bucks.

    Great post!


  4. In Australia, the consumer protection laws have been updated to make offering false warranties illegal.

    From 1/1/2011 warranties need to be explicit and accurate, guaranteeing a partial refund if you fail is not the same as guaranteeing a pass. For more on the new Australian legislation see:

  5. Pingback: Auch PDUs können jetzt gekauft werden… « Unlocking Potential

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