PRINCE2® Exam and Certification Guide

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24th Apr, 2019
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PRINCE2® Exam and Certification Guide

PRINCE2® (PRojects IN a Controlled Environment) 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 across enterprises and industries.

PRINCE2 Certification Levels
PRINCE2 Certification Levels

The PRINCE2 certifications are offered by Axelos and comprise of the PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner credentials.

PRINCE2 Foundation

The PRINCE2® Foundation certification is the first level of the PRINCE2 suite of certifications. This credential intends to confirm your knowledge and understanding of the PRINCE2® method and validate your ability to work effectively with or as a member of a project management team working within an environment supporting PRINCE2®. 

The PRINCE2 Foundation covers the following learning objectives:  

  • 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

Prerequisites for appearing for the PRINCE2 Foundation exam

No prerequisites are mandated for this exam. The credential is a good starting point for professionals new to PRINCE2®. 

Process to follow to get PRINCE2 Foundation certified: 

1. Get trained 

  • Get the 16-hour training through a Certified Partner of AXELOS and PeopleCert or self-study 

2. Take the PRINCE2 Foundation exam 

  • Schedule your certification exam using the eligibility code you receive from PeopleCert. 
  • Take the 60-minutes online test and score a minimum of 55% to pass the PRINCE2 Foundation exam. 

3. Get PRINCE2 Foundation certified  

  • Download the e-certificate. You are now a PRINCE2 Foundation certified professional. 

Exam Details: 

  • 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 

The Foundation exam 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.  

Tips & Tricks to pass the PRINCE2 Foundation exam 

  • Read the study materials to get a complete understanding of the PRINCE2 methodology and concepts. ‘Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2® 2017 Edition’ is one of the most important reference materials for your preparation. Practice extensively. 
  • Practice two sample question papers given by the governing body. Validate the answers with the answer rationales. Please visit:to download the sample papers.  
  • Practice the sample papers along with other learners (in groups) if possible.  
  • Read each question thoroughly (at least twice) before answering the questions.  
  • Seek help and advice from your trainer/facilitator/coach to get the concepts correct during the training or before the examination.  

PRINCE2 Practitioner

The next level after the Foundation is PRINCE2 Practitioner. The designation is offered by AXELOS to practitioners who demonstrate their understanding by passing the rigorous PRINCE2 Practitioner exam. The credential helps professionals apply and tailor the PRINCE2® method, its principles, and themes to diverse projects and guide projects through their lifecycles.

The PRINCE2 Practitioner covers the following learning objectives:  

1.  Applying and tailoring the PRINCE2® method to diverse projects to bring in project flexibility  

2. Applying the PRINCE2® principles across projects 

  • Providing business justification for the project  
  • Building on experience from previous projects  
  • Understanding project roles and responsibilities  
  • Managing a project by breaking it into chunks  

3. Applying principles, themes and processes to a project  

  • Providing business justification for the project  
  • Building on experience from previous projects  
  • Understanding project roles and responsibilities  
  • Managing a project by breaking it into chunk 
  • Building a business case to justify project continuity  
  • Keeping track of all roles involved  
  • Defining project quality  
  • Planning targets  
  • Handling change requests  
  • Tracking project progress  

4. Creating and assessing management products  

  • Managing, executing and delivering work packages  
  • Managing stage boundaries   
  • Creating reports and record lessons for next stage  
  • Delivering products to the customer  

Prerequisites for appearing for the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam 

To qualify for the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam, you must have at least one of the following certifications: 

  • PRINCE2® Foundation or higher (applicable only to certificates obtained after 1 January 2009) 
  • 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) 
  • Project Management Qualification (PMQ) 
  • Project Professional Qualification (PPQ) 

Process to follow to get PRINCE2 Practitioner certified

1. Get trained 

  • Take the 16-hour PRINCE2 Practitioner training from a Certified Partner of AXELOS and an accredited training organization (ATO) with PeopleCert®. 

2. Take the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam 

  • Schedule your certification exam using the eligibility code you receive from PeopleCert. 
  • Take the 60-minutes online test and score a minimum of 55% to pass the PRINCE2 

3. Get PRINCE2 Practitioner certified 

  • Download the e-certificate. You are now a PRINCE2 Practitioner certified professional. 

Exam Details: 

  • Duration - 150 minutes (2.5 hrs)  
  • Questions – 68 Objective type questions  
  • Pass mark – 38 out of 68 available, or 55%  
  • Use of textbook - Yes (only the official PRINCE2® manual permitted ) 

The Practitioner exam will now test candidates on all parts of the PRINCE2 method (Principles, Themes and Processes). The Practitioner exam tests the candidates’ ability at application and analysis level 

Tips & Tricks to pass the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam 

  • Make sure to get the Foundational concepts of PRINCE2 right, before taking up the Practitioner exam.  
  • Read through the PRINCE2 Manual at least once before the exam.  
  • Practice two sample question papers given by the governing body. Validate the answers with the answer rationales. Please visit: to download the sample papers
  • Practice the sample papers along with other learners (in groups) if possible.  
  • Though PRINCE2 Manual can be used for the Practitioner exam, use it scarcely. This will save a lot of time during the exam.  
  • Time each question to two minutes or less. This will provide some free time to revalidate the answers at the end.  
  • During the exam, imagine yourself to be a part of the project scenario.  
  • No assumptions to be made while answering any questions. Just stick to the project scenario.   
  • Leave aside practical experiences during the exam. Stick to PRINCE2 ways of managing projects.  
  • Read each question thoroughly (at least twice) before answering the questions.  
  • Seek help and advice from your trainer/facilitator/coach to get the concepts correct during the training or before the examination.

Sample Papers example found on Axelos

 

 

An examinee will be provided with a Scenario booklet and Question booklet for this examination. A hypothetical project scenario will span about two pages. 68 questions revolve around the scenario and tests the ability of the exam taker on the PRINCE2 concepts of Principles, Themes, Processes and Tailoring. 

Question Composition:  

  • First 8 questions are based on Principles. 
  • Next 35 questions will be based on Themes. Five questions will be asked from each Theme.  
  • Remaining 25 questions will revolve around Processes.  
  • Tailoring questions are infused across the above mentioned three categories. 

Question Format:  

Broadly, two types of question formats appear in a Practitioner paper. First one is an MCQ based question and answer and the second one is Match the following. 

MCQ format:

Match the following format:

Exam Approach 

  • As a first step during the exam, it is recommended to spend 3 to 5 minutes to read the first page of the scenario booklet and get the gist. Make a summary of the scenario. 

 

  • This summary can include scope of the project, project exclusions, time, cost, tolerances, stakeholder information, number of stages etc. This will increase the probability of choosing the right answers.  
  • Additional information provided in the scenario can be read later when required to save time. 
  • In the question booklet, the heading of the topic under which the question is asked will be clearly mentioned. This makes the examinee’s work super easy.  
  • ‘Match the following’ questions will have three questions but six answers. One should carefully examine and choose the right answer. 

In the ‘MCQ based’ questions, every question starts with a small scenario based on the main scenario. Reading and understanding this will improve the accuracy in answering.   

Some questions will denote that the exam taker must read the additional information before answering the question. In such cases, refer to the additional information section of the scenario booklet before proceeding to answer.  

Maintaining the PRINCE2 Certifications 

PRINCE2 Foundation certification has lifetime validity and doesn’t require renewal.  

Practitioner certification has 3 years validity and has to be renewed at the end of 3 years. Here are some tips on maintaining the credential: 

  • Axelos maintains a “Successful Candidates Register” (SCR). Peoplecert updates the SCR from time on time. Within 30 to 60 days after receiving Practitioner certificate, a 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 trainings, delivering trainings, by taking part in volunteering activities, by learning new content from any portals like Coursera, LinkedIn learning, Udemy etc., taking part in project activities, attending 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. The 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.   
  • Successful candidates can 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 
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.