Before I move further with the story, let me give you some background. There's only one (yes, only one) Prometric Test center in entire Singapore. Usually the slots are booked 4-5 months in advance. The problem extends beyond just PMP and CAPM exams to all the exams administered by Prometric. The situation is quite desperate.
So, how do you find that elusive exam slot if you really want to take the exam in near future? Well, I have some good news for you. I'm going to share my proprietary (*winks*) technique to help you uncover those "hidden" slots.
This post was written much before PMI changed it's rescheduling policy. Now there's a $70 fee if you reschedule your exam within 30 days of your appointment. Refer to PMP Handbook for details.
The idea is very simple and requires only common sense to figure out. Many people book the exam slot well in advance, but reschedule them when the exam date approaches, leaving behind empty slots. You can cancel the PMP exam any number of times within the validity period, but it should be done at least 48 hours before the exam. So, the trick is to find these slots, which are left vacant as a result of last minute cancellations. It's like keeping yourself on a "waiting list" for a flight. You reach the airport with your bags packed hoping for last minute cancellations. The only difference is that in case of your exam, the chances and frequency of cancellations are really high.
Here's what I did and recommend, to get that dream date with Prometric:
- As soon as you receive the exam scheduling instructions from PMI, set a target exam date in your mind.
- Visit the Prometric site immediately and book the first available exam slot, on or after your target date. Don't worry even if the date is 3-4 months later than your target date. Just reserve a date for now and concentrate on your preparation. Prepare as if you are going to take the exam on the target date.
- Every week, find a few minutes to visit the Prometric site and see if an earlier date (closer to your target date) is available. If it is, go ahead and reschedule the exam.
- Three weeks before your target date, if you still don't have a booking close to your target date, you need to increase the frequency of checking the Prometric site. This is the time you would have the maximum probability of finding vacant slots from last minute cancellations. You should also be prepared to take the exam a few days earlier than your target date.
In my case, my original exam date was 3 months later than my target date. In the last 2 weeks before the target date, I was visiting the Prometric site 2-3 times a day. And after 4 rounds of rescheduling, I was able to find a date, which was 3 days earlier than my target date. So, instead of getting certified on 30-Nov-2007, I did that three days earlier !
I hope PMP, CAPM and other computer-based certification test candidates can benefit from this information.
If you have something to add, or you have a different experience, do share it here.
Dates in the calendar are closer than they appear.
Image credit: Flickr / Mirko Macari