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  Secret Key to that Elusive Date with Prometric

Recently, a distressed PMP aspirant from Singapore wrote to me saying that she wants to take the PMP exam in near future but cannot find an available slot at the Prometric Test center. I could fully empathize with her. I had been in the same boat 2 years ago.

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.

Important Notice

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:
  1. As soon as you receive the exam scheduling instructions from PMI, set a target exam date in your mind.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
If you follow this approach, you have good chances of finding an exam slot around your target date, give or take a week.

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.

Final thought

Dates in the calendar are closer than they appear.



Image credit: Flickr / Mirko Macari

7 comments:

  1. Amazing tip... my friend is in Singapore and currently facing the situation you mentioned.

    Have shared this link with him.

    Regards,
    Suniil

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good Article..!! I feel you must include this in your list of FAQ about PMI. Meanwhile I would like to ask, Are PMP Aspirants in India facing same problems?

    ReplyDelete
  3. @ Sunil: Thanks for the feedback.

    @ Anonymous: Thanks for the feedback and suggestion. I'll add it to the list of FAQs.

    Regarding your question, I don't think the situation in the Indian Metros is as bad as in Singapore. I'm not sure about the scene in smaller cities and towns in India.

    I know that there are plenty of Prometric test centers in Mumbai, for example. I didn't take my PMP exam in India, but I did take SCWCD in Mumbai, in 2005. If I remember correctly, I just walked in for the test.

    ReplyDelete
  4. How does it work if someone is Indian, working in UK with an Indian passport. That is my case, without any other photo ID and UK address on it.
    Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
  5. @ Anonymous (id issue):

    If you read the PMP Handbook, you can find the answer easily.

    Passport is a globally accepted id and it has your name, photograph and signature on it. As long as the name on your passport matches the name on your application, you are fine. You don't even need a secondary id unless your passport doesn't have your photograph and/or signature on it.

    Just to be safe, contact PMI at customercare@pmi.org and seek clarification.

    Regards.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Is it easier to change the date or site location? I want a center in NYC on May 10th, but they're all booked. I found one on LI for the 10th, but it's farther than I'd like to travel.
    So do I book a site in NYC for a later date and hope the 10th opens up OR book the one on LI for the 10th and then try to change the site if one in NYC opens up?

    Thanks, Joan.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello Joan,

    I'll go with your first option. I'm not really sure how easy it is to switch centers, but I'm sure rescheduling the exam with the same center is pretty straight forward.

    Hope that helps.

    ReplyDelete

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