PMI-PBA® Exam: Policies, Procedures & Results

Instructor: Jessica Keys
Are you planning to sit for PMI-PBA certification exam soon? If so, make this article a part of your review! Here, you'll learn how the PMI-PBA exam is scheduled, administered and scored so you can minimize stress and confusion on test day.

PMI-PBA Exam: An Overview

The Project Management Institute's (PMI) Professional in Business Analysis is one of many certifications offered by this organization. Passing the PMI-PBA exam is required for certification. Before you can sit for this test, however, you will need to meet the following prerequisites:

  • High school diploma or associate's degree, plus 5 years (7,500 hours) practicing business analysis - including 2,000 hours of general project experience - and 35 hours of training in business analysis
  • Bachelor's degree or higher, plus 3 years (4,500 hours) practicing business analysis - including 2,000 hours of general project experience - and 35 hours of training in business analysis

This exam is primarily taken on a computer. However, a paper-based option is available to candidates who live more than 186.5 miles away from a Prometric computer testing center or are taking the exam through a corporate sponsor.

Registration Policies and Procedures

You may begin the PMI-PBA test registration process by creating an account on PMI's website (certification.pmi.org) and accessing the online application. Once you begin your application, you'll be given 90 days to finish it, and it typically takes PMI about five days to process it.

Please note that all submissions are subject to a random audit. If your application is selected for an audit, you will have 90 days to submit additional documentation as requested by PMI. If you don't comply with these directions, your application will be rejected and you will not be allowed to reapply for certification for one year.

After processing of your application is completed, you will be prompted to return to your online account to select the type of exam you'll be taking (e.g. computerized or paper), as well as to inform PMI of any accommodations you may require for this exam. Then, you will have to pay for your test; this fee varies, depending on several factors. You may pay online with a credit card or send a check or money order through the mail.

Fee Structure

Note that if you are a member of PMI (in good standing) at the time of registration, you pay a reduced rate. This fee must be paid before you can schedule your exam.

Exam Type PMI Members Non-Members
Computer $405 $555
Paper-Based $250 $400
Computer Re-examination $275 $375
Paper Re-examination $150 $300

If you need a refund, your request must be made within thirty days of your eligibility expiration date.

Accommodations

If you require special accommodations due to a disability or other documented medical condition, you may note this when you make your payment. You will have to submit appropriate documentation to PMI via email; all accommodations are provided free of charge and subject to approval.

Legal Restrictions

Because PMI must comply with current U.S. sanctions laws and export controls, you will be asked on your application to confirm that you are not affiliated with restricted groups or foreign governments, and that you are not a resident of any country subject to U.S. sanctions laws. If you have questions or concerns about your legal status, it may be wise to contact PMI's customer care before submitting your application, especially since these laws change periodically.

Scheduling and Testing

Upon approval of your application (or audit), you will have one year to schedule and pass your exam, with up to three attempts. You will receive an email from PMI that contains your unique eligibility ID number and further scheduling instructions.

Computerized Tests

Most candidates will schedule and take their exam through Prometric (at www.prometric.com/pmi), a testing company with locations all over the United States. Prometric will walk you through each step, including account creation for first-time exam candidates.

After logging in, you will select the exam you need to take (PMI-PBA) and where you intend to take the test; Prometric will list the available testing centers in your area. After selecting a testing center, you can schedule a day and time to sit for your exam. (Note that PMI doesn't guarantee you'll be able to test before your eligibility expires, so it's best to schedule your exam as soon as possible.)

After you have scheduled your exam, it's a good idea to hold on to a copy of your confirmation. You can use this information as both a reference and as proof of registration, in case there is an error at the testing center.

Paper Tests and Accommodations

Candidates taking the paper examination do not need to schedule a test date through Prometric. Rather, PMI will send you the appropriate confirmation and information, including test location and date, and what you need to bring to the testing center.

Candidates who have been approved for special accommodations will have to complete their exam registration through Prometric's Special Conditions Department (1-800-967-1139).

Before the Test

Of course, you'll want to study before you sit. Fortunately, you'll probably have plenty of time to brush up on everything you need to know to successfully obtain your PMI-PBA credentials. Natural confidence is great, but solid preparation always helps!

For extra practice with the foundations of business analysis, check out Study.com's own selection of online courses in the subject, such as Business Analysis Training and Quantitative Analysis, or try a more specialized series of lessons, like our course in Executing a Business Impact Analysis. Study.com's modular lesson format and self-administered quizzes allow you to practice the material in a way that works for you, at a pace that fits your schedule.

On Test Day

When you arrive at the testing center, you will need your eligibility ID number and a valid form of identification. This ID must be current and government-issued. It must also contain English characters (or a translation), a photograph and your signature, such as:

  • A driver's license
  • A passport
  • A military ID card
  • A national ID card

You may also be asked to provide proof of scheduling confirmation.

Once you have checked in, you will have to leave most of your personal belongings (such as personal electronics, coats, food, drink, books) in a locker outside of the testing room, unless you require the item due to a disability or medical condition. Any requests for such items must be approved at registration time.

You will not be allowed to bring your own scrap paper or calculator into the testing room, but they will be available at the testing center.

Score Reporting

If you are taking the computer-based exam, you'll receive a score report containing your overall passing status as well as a detailed breakdown of your performance on the same day you take the exam. You will also be able to access results through your online account within ten business days. Candidates taking the paper-based exam will have to wait a little longer (six to eight weeks) to access these results.

Understanding Your Results

The PMI-PBA exam contains 175 scored questions and 25 unscored questions (for trial purposes) delivered over the course of a four-hour testing session. Questions will assess your abilities in five domains:

1. Needs Assessment (18%)

2. Planning (22%)

3. Analysis (35%)

4. Traceability and Monitoring (15%)

5. Evaluation (10%)

PMI does not publish an official or standardized passing score threshold for this exam. This means your pass/fail status will be based on your overall performance, which is determined by the proficiency level (below proficient, proficient and moderately proficient) attained in each domain.

The Project Management Institute Professional in Business Analysis Exam (PMI-PBA) is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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