Essential Guide to Clearing PRINCE2 Examination

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17th Mar, 2021
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25th Feb, 2021
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Essential Guide to Clearing PRINCE2 Examination

PRINCE2® (PRojects IN a Controlled Environment) (2017 or 6th edition is the latest version) is widely considered to be one of the leading project management methodologies to run successful projects. It is a simple, light weight, scalable, flexible, highly tailorable, principle driven and agile enabled framework to run your projects effectively and efficiently. PRINCE2 revolves around the core concepts of principles, themes and processes which can easily fit into any project environment (meaning any enterprises or government, industry, domain etc.).  

Project Environment

PRINCE2 Certification Levels:
PRINCE2 Certification Levels

  • Anyone with or without any project management experience can opt to learn PRINCE2 and get certified.  
  • That is the reason why it has two levels of certification. The first one is PRINCE2 Foundation and the next level is PRINCE2 Practitioner. 
  • On successful completion of the PRINCE2 Foundation examination, candidates will be awarded with “PRINCE2 Foundation Certificate in Project Management”.  
  • Foundation certificate is a pre-requisite to sit for PRINCE2 Practitioner examination. On successful completion of the PRINCE2 Practitioner examination, candidates will be awarded with “PRINCE2 Practitioner Certificate in Project Management. 
  • Certifications achieved from other governing bodies like Association of Project Management (APM), Project Management Institute (PMI), International Project Management Association (IPMA) on or after 1st of July 2014will also be considered as a valid pre-requisite to sit for PRINCE2 Practitioner exam directly. Which means that such candidates need NOT sit for Foundation examination. The list of accepted certifications is as follows:
    • PRINCE2 Foundation (or higher) - this only applies to certificates obtained after 1 January 2009 
    • Project Management Qualification (PMQ) * 
    • Project Professional Qualification (PPQ)* 
    • Project Management Professional (PMP)® ** 
    • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®** 
    • IPMA Level A® (Certified Projects Director)*** 
    • IPMA Level B® (Certified Senior Project Manager)*** 
    • IPMA Level C® (Certified Project Manager)*** 
    • IPMA Level D® (Certified Project Management Associate).*** 

or more information on which certifications are now recognized as approved prior learning for the PRINCE2 Practitioner certification, please refer to the guide (PDF, 265KB).

  • Candidates who wish to give their PRINCE2 Practitioner exam directly should furnish their proof of achievement of the above-mentioned equivalents to Peoplecert   which is the Examination Institute (EI) authorized by Axelos --the governing body for PRINCE2. This proof is subject to verification by EI.

PRINCE2 Foundation Course & Examination: 

In the PRINCE2 Foundation course, learners will understand the following: 

  • Structure and key terminologies of PRINCE2 method 
  • Characteristics and context of a project 
  • Benefits of adopting PRINCE2  
  • PRINCE2 principles and themes 
  • Purpose, objectives and context of PRINCE2 processes 
  • Purpose of PRINCE2 roles and management products 
  • Tailoring PRINCE2 to organizational and project needs 
  • Preparing for the PRINCE2 Foundation exam 

Learning Outcomes of PRINCE2 Foundation course: 

  • Purpose and responsibilities of project roles 
  • The seven principles, seven themes and seven processes 
  • The importance of tailoring in PRINCE2 
  • Deliverable-based planning and quality review techniques embedded in PRINCE2 
  • Inputs and outputs required for successful projects 
  • Purpose of all project management artifacts 
  • Relationship between principles, themes, processes, products and roles within a project

Examination Format: 

  • Multiple choice 
  • 60 questions 
  • 1 hour to complete the paper 
  • Achieve 33 or more out of possible 60 marks (55%) to pass the exam 
  • Closed book exam

Foundation examination tests the candidates’ ability at Knowledge and Comprehension level, which means that candidates will have to recall the terminologies/definitions and also interpret the given questions correctly. This exam is pretty simple if you are well prepared.

Examination Format

PRINCE2 Practitioner Course & Examination

PRINCE2 Practitioner Course & Examination
In the PRINCE2 practitioner course, learners will understand the following: 

  • Understand the relationship between: 
    • Roles 
    • Management products 
    • Principles 
    • Themes 
    • Techniques 
    • Processes 
  • Apply principles, themes and processes to a project 
  • Create and assess management products 
  • Prepare for the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam 

Examination Format: 

  • Multiple choice 
  • 68 questions based on project scenario 
  • 2 hours 30 minutes to complete the paper 
  • Achieve 38 or more out of possible 68 marks (55%) to pass the exam 
  • Open book exam. You can use Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 manual. 

You can order your copy of this manual from the Axelos website.

The Practitioner exam tests the candidates’ ability at Comprehension, application and analysis levels.  

  • Comprehension: Understand the principles, processes, themes and project’s environment and roles and explain how these are applied to/are involved with a project.
  • Application: For a given project scenario, be able to: use the themes appropriately, create the management products, tailor the processes and themes appropriately.
  • Analysis: For a given project scenario, be able to identify, analyse and distinguish between the appropriate and inappropriate use of methods through an appraisal of completed products and planned or completed project events.
  • Exam Language: The PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner examination is currently available in English, German, Danish, Dutch, Polish, French and Norwegian. 

Note: If you are giving the exam in English but English is NOT your native language, you will be awarded an additional 15 minutes and 35 minutes to complete Foundation and Practitioner exams respectively. To avail this benefit, select your correct native language while creating your profile in Peoplecert’s portal while registering for the exam.

PRINCE2 Agile:

PRINCE2 Agile

Similarly, PRINCE2 also comes with a guidance to use Agile along with its ways of working. PRINCE2 Agile® has two levels of certification (Foundation and Practitioner).

PRINCE2 Agile guidance is all about how to tailor PRINCE2 to use Agile methods into it. PRINCE2 is a neutral project management framework which can support both traditional waterfall projects as well as agile or adaptive or iterative projects.

To provide guidance on how to integrate high velocity models or practices into the existing projects for both IT and non-IT industries, PRINCE2 Agile considers Scrum, Kanban, Lean approaches. The intention is not to explain the agile frameworks in detail but to show practitioners on how to amalgamate PRINCE2 with other agile practices. PRINCE2 considers agile as a family of behaviours, concepts, frameworks and techniques.

Peoplecert

Agile Foundation Exam: 

  • Multiple choice, Objective testing 
  • 50 questions 
  • 1 hour to complete the paper 
  • Achieve 28 or more out of possible 50 marks (55%) to pass the exam 
  • Closed book exam

Agile Practitioner Exam: 

  • Multiple choice, Objective testing 
  • 50 questions based on project scenario 
  • 2 hours 30 minutes to complete the paper 
  • Achieve 30 or more out of possible 50 marks (60%) to pass the exam 
  • Open book exam. You can use the “PRINCE2 Agile® Guidance” handbook.

How to take PRINCE2 examination?
PRINCE2 examination

  • A candidate can take the exam after undergoing a formal training from an Accredited Training Organization (ATO) authorized by Peoplecert or can self-learn and appear for the exam. Please visit this website to find out your nearest ATO.
  • PRINCE2 examinations can be taken in 3 different modes. They are Paper Based Test, Computer Based Test and Peoplecert Online Proctored.

Paper Based Test (PBT):

  • PBT exams are scheduled and conducted by the ATOs. This is also called classroom exam. 
  • The ATO will book the exam on behalf of the candidate, print the question papers and OMR answer sheets and invigilate the exam. Prior to the exam, the candidates will receive an email confirmation from Peoplecert. Candidates should register for the exam. 
  • This exam can be conducted at the ATO’s facility or at the training venue. 
  • This provides a stress-free exam experience. 
  • The ATO’s invigilation team will collect the answer sheets and question papers once the exam is over and will upload the answer scripts to the Peoplecert’s exam portal. 
  • Results will be announced in two stages by Peoplecert. First you will get the Preliminary results which will just state “Pass/Fail”. The final results with score card/statement of result (SoR) and certificate will be announced within two business days from the date of preliminary results. Result notifications will be sent to the candidate’s registered email id.

Computer Based Test (CBT):

  • CBT exams are scheduled and conducted by the ATOs. This is also called a classroom exam. 
  • The ATO will book the exam on behalf of the candidate and invigilate the exam. Prior to the exam, the candidates will receive an email confirmation from Peoplecert. Candidates should register for the exam. 
  • This exam can be conducted at ATO’s facility or at the training venue. 
  • Candidates need to bring their own computers/laptops if not provided by the ATO for this exam. 
  • This exam is similar to PBT but it is conducted in CBT mode. 
  • The ATO’s invigilation team will provide the candidate’s exam credentials and guide them to take the exam.   
  • Preliminary results with scores are announced immediately at the end of the exam. Final results with SoR and certificate will be announced within two business days from the date of preliminary results.

Peoplecert Online Proctored (OLP):

  • OLP exams are CBT proctored by Peoplecert’s invigilation team directly.  
  • This can also be called an anywhere, anytime exam. This type of exam is very commonly taken by participants and accepted since the onset of COVID-19.  
  • To appear for an OLP exam, candidates can purchase an exam voucher from an ATO or Peoplecert directly. To buy exam from Peoplecert, please visit: https://www.peoplecert.org/browse-certifications/project-programme-and-portfolio-management/PRINCE2-2 
  • Purchased exam vouchers are normally valid for a year. But it is highly recommended to give your exam as soon as you complete your course or preparation. 
  • Preliminary results with scores are announced immediately at the end of the exam. Final results with SoR and certificate will be announced within two business days from the date of preliminary results. 

Further information and guidance on OLP exam:

Further information and guidance on OLP exam

  • Copy and paste the voucher code or exam code in your Peoplecert login page and click on confirm -> Details of your exam will be displayed -> Check the details and once again confirm -> Now you will be allowed to choose the date/time of your exam from the calendar -> After selection, click on confirm -> Now you will receive a notification and email about the exam confirmation. 
  • To take the OLP exam, you need to install “Exam Shield”. After booking your exam, you will get notified to install this software. You can check if you are able to install it in your computer. If you are using an official/company laptop or desktop, there are chances that your firewall will block the installation. Please contact your Information Security team in such cases. Else you can opt to use your personal laptop or desktop. 
  • Exam Shield will verify if your microphone, webcam, system configuration, power backup and network connectivity support the exam. Please fix the issues (if any) before the exam.  
  • On the day of the exam, you will be able to login 15 minutes before the scheduled start time of the exam -> Keep 1 or 2 government/national photo ID proofs handy -> Run the exam shield -> Wait for system check to complete -> Show your ID proof in front of the camera and snap shot it -> System will connect you to the proctor -> Proctor validates the credentials -> Proctor will request the candidate to swivel and show 360-degree view of the room -> Proctor will allow the candidate to Start the exam. 
  • Ensure you are very well prepared for the exam. No one else other than you should be in the exam room. No paper/pen can be used for Foundation exam. You can use PRINCE2 Manual for Practitioner exam. You cannot minimize the exam window till the exam is over. The Exam gets completed only when you hit on the Submit button.  
  • For Practitioner exam, scenario booklet will be available within the exam tool.  
  • In case of internet issues, don’t panic, you will be able to restore and continue from where you left the exam. Please contact Peoplecert in such scenarios.  
  • Peoplecert Proctor has all the rights to revoke your exam in case of malpractices identified.

How to take maintain my PRINCE2 certification?
PRINCE2 certification

  • PRINCE2 Foundation certification doesn’t require renewal, which means that holders are certified for life. 
  • Whereas Practitioner certification has 3 years validity and has to be renewed at the end of 3 years. 
  • Axelos maintains “Successful Candidates Register” (SCR). Peoplecert updates the SCR from time on time. Within 30 to 60 days after receiving Practitioner certificate, candidate will be notified through an email to avail one year of free subscription from Axelos.  
  • Once free subscription is activated, you will be eligible to clock 20 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) units. This is very similar to PMI’s Professional Development Units (PDUs).  
  • CPDs can be logged broadly under four categories such as Professional Experience, Training and Qualification, Community Participation and Self-Study. This can be attained by attending any trainingsdelivering trainingsby taking part in volunteering activitiesby learning new contents from any portals like Coursera, LinkedIn learning, Udemy etc.taking part in project activitiesattending any seminars/webinars or by accessing white papers, case studies or videos on the Axelos website. 
  • Once 20 CPDs are logged, one can claim the digital badge. The digital badge is a way to display one’s professional credentials. Digital badge is valid only for one year.  
  • To renew the digital badge, £50 + VAT needs to be paid to Axelos. This will reset the CPD counter to Zero. This enables the practitioner to log 20 CPDs and claim the digital badge. This cycle can continue.  
  • I suggest that successful candidates should avail the free subscription and clock 20 CPDs. For example, if your practitioner certification expires by 10th March 2023, claim your digital badge on 9th March 2023. This will enable you to retain your certification through Mar 2024. After that you can pay the subscription charges and continue to maintain your credentials. 
  • If you don’t want to get into the subscription model, you can resit for another exam after 3 years. 
  • For more details about subscription, CPD & digital badge, please visit: https://www.axelos.com/my-axelos/my-prince2 

Progress so far

Benefits of Subscription:
Benefits of Subscription

  • Subscribers can get access to wide range of project templates, white papers, tutorials, software, webinar series, pocket booksjob profiles and much more. 
  • You can share/gain knowledge with other project practitioners. 
  • Network and engage with professionals and global experts.

Some additional information: 

  • Certified PRINCE2 Practitioners (in 2009 version) can re-sit for an exam based on 2017 or 6th edition and get into the subscription model.  
  • Certified PRINCE2 Foundation professionals (in 2009 version) can directly appear for PRINCE2 Practitioner exam (6th edition). 
  • You can also buy subscriptions through Peoplecert. 
  • Cost of PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner training + exam cost in India will range between INR 40,000 to 50,000. Cost of training and exam will vary according to your geography and mode of exam. OLP exams are costlier than PBT and CBT. 

Conclusion: 

  • Skills always matter in any job role. 
  • PRINCE2 certifications improve your position in the job market and career progression within project and program management. 
  • PRINCE2 helps organizations to support business outcomes, show value for money, continually improve, manage risks in line with business needs, optimize customer experience and enable business change.  
  • Some key benefits PRINCE2 brings to enterprises and individual practitioners are: improved delivery confidence, uniform best practices, supporting cross functional working, delivering what business needs, customer focus, scalability, adaptability and flexible control.  
Profile

Manikandan Mohanakrishnan

Author

Manikandan M is a Senior Consultant with over 18+ years of industry experience. He is specialized in Service Management, Project Management, Process Consultancy, Learning & Development, IT Infrastructure Management, Business Relationship Management, Partner Management. 

Manikandan worked as a Project Manager with IBM India Private Limited where he was responsible for the delivery of complex infrastructure projects for an Australian Bank. 

Additionally, he worked as a Service Delivery Manager with TPV Technology India Private Limited to manage Service Operations and Projects across SAARC nations. 

Over the past 5 years he focused on training and consulting with various service providers. 

He delivered more than 500+ sessions on Service Management and Project Management modules.