Essential Guide to the MSP Certification

Essential Guide to the MSP Certification
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R Bhargav

Last updated February 24, 2017


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The MSP Certification or the ‘Managing Successful Programmes’ certification is for professionals who actively participate in programmes and are eyeing programme organizations for the future. This certification provides aspirants with the knowledge base for successful deployment of programme principles, transformational flows and related governance matters.

Individuals look at getting this certification to get better career opportunities, demonstrate one’s expertise in programme management, and to showcase management skills to potential employers. This certification also goes a long way toward demonstrating an individual’s commitment to programme management and its rapidly expanding prospects.

MSP offers strong modules to deal with volatile and dynamic management situations. The certification also enables professionals to leverage their position in a corporate construct. Armed with this knowledge, they can better implement programmes and significantly boost their chances of success.

The MSP Certification is uniquely designed to enable firms to recognize the need for programme management and effectively implement programmes in a way that smoothens complex deliveries inerlinking projects. Timely delivery within budget drives most management decisions, and this is a unique certification that aims at optimizing this goal.

The Accreditation Body

The Managing Successful Programmes Certification is accredited by Axelos Global Practices. The company specializes in devising management strategies to keep pace with the ever-changing dynamics of the corporate world. They are committed to nurturing best practices and empowering firms to leave their stamp in this era of cut-throat competition.
Some of Axelos’ key goals comprise:
•    Encouraging development and growth
•    Innovative solutions directed towards furthering best practices
•    Promoting high-quality training
Through this certification, they aim to create strong fundamentals and impressive credentials for interested professionals committed to excelling in their chosen field.

Eligibility Requirements

In terms of eligibility, there are no set pre-requisites for taking the MSP Foundation Certification exam. Individuals or professionals who are into programme-related jobs can enhance their career prospects with the help of this certification. This includes the entire gamut of managers who work with programme teams, including-
•    Programme Managers
•    Senior Project Managers
•    Operational Managers
The certification is deemed useful even for programme management officials and quality assurance professionals. However, to be able to sit for the Practitioner examination, aspiring candidates need to clear the Foundation level exam.

Another important step towards ensuring one’s eligibility for this certification is agreeing to the terms and condition as outlined by the accredited organization before taking the certification examination. The Advanced Practitioner exam can be taken up once the candidate achieves success on the practitioner level exam.

The MSP certification is a three-tier certification. Level 1 is the Foundation exam which thoroughly analyses an individual’s understanding of the framework that constitutes ‘Managing Successful Programmes’. The exam is a multiple-choice questionnaire focused on your well-rounded comprehension of the various aspects.
After clearing the Foundation level, professionals can apply for the Practitioner Level. The multiple choice questions in this level tend toward scenario based topics. This is an open book exam as the purpose of this level in the certification procedure is an assessment of the individual’s ability to grasp the various MSP concepts. The Advanced Practitioner level is the final milestone in the overall certification. Quite unlike the first two levels it is essay-based and is geared towards assessing the candidate’s ability to apply the concepts in a given scenario.

Accredited Training Partner

A complex certification such as the MSP therefore needs to be taken up with the aid of an able partner who not only act as facilitator of the Certification exam, but also guides the individual through the entire course with suitable study materials, simulated exams, quizzes, and real life case-studies.

Against this backdrop, Simplilearn emerges as a key player in giving aspirants the ultimate training experience that helps them to not just cruise through the examination procedure but also enables stronger applications. Not only does it add value to your time and money that is invested with the firm but also at a relatively competitive price compared to other training organizations that offer this certification.

Candidates get access to learning videos on the course and the 3-day money back guarantee is one of the highlights of the course. This course is acrredited and recognized by marquee institutes like IIBA, CFA Institute, APMG, GARP, and the Project Management Institute of USA. Their extensive network of over 2000 certified and experienced trainers along with close ties with many Fortune 500 companies gives an added impetus to the overall training schedule. This, therefore, gives them the unique distinction of having a pass rate of 98.6%.

The training module by Simplilearn is quite extensive and covers a broad range of issues that together are instrumental in ensuring that a candidate gets comprehensive training and is well prepared for the MSP certification.
The tried and tested methodology applied by them ensures that every issue is handled deftly, and candidates get 25-hours of quality e-learning material comprising of 140 chapters and quizzes. They get to take advantage of 4 MSP simulations and over 16 real life examples. The 2 foundation level test papers, advanced practitioner case study and 35 PDUs along with downloadable e-book helps aspirants gain a broad perspective and handle a myriad issues geared towards helping the candidate achieve academic excellence that can be effectively implemented.
The professional execution of the course design and course structure ensures that candidates don’t just manage to pass the MSP certification but are also competent in effective application of the knowledge acquired.

Exam Format

The examination structure of the MSP Certification is three-tiered.
Level 1 is comprised of the MSP Foundation Examination. The format for this exam has the following features:
•    Multiple choice questions
•    Each paper has 75 questions with 1 mark accorded to each question
•    5 of these questions are for trial purpose and do not make it to the final score
•    Candidates have to score 35 out of the 70 available questions, essentially 50% of the marks
•    The total duration of the exam is 60 minutes
•    The exam is closed book with outside assistance allowed

Level 2 of this certification is comprised of the MSP Practitioner Examination. The key features of this exam include:
•    Objective testing
•    There are 8 questions per paper
•    Candidates need to score 40 of the available 80 marks or 50% to pass
•    Candidates get two and half hours to write the exam
•    Candidates are allowed to refer to the MSP official manual for this exam
The final level is the MSP Advanced Practitioner. The primary highlights of this exam format include:
•    Essay based questionnaire
•    The total number of marks allocated for this paper is 75
•    Candidates need to attempt up to 3 questions per paper
•    The pass mark is 50% again, i.e., one needs to score 38 marks in all to pass
•    The duration of the exam is 3 hours
•    The exam is in an Open-book format and candidates can refer to notes, presentations, etc
•    Electronic aids such as laptops are not, however, allowed
Additionally, the MSP Examination is available in different languages. For more details, you may log onto https://www.axelos.com/certifications/msp-certifications. Along with providing the course module, Simplilearn also handle invigilation of the paper-based certification exam at select centres. The candidates are notified of the results in 1-2 weeks.

Retaking the Exam

The foundation paper is the primary gateway towards achieving the final certification.  The Practitioner Exam is the next level. Candidates can sit for the last level, i.e. the Advanced Practitioner examination even before the results from the Practitioner exam are announced.
In case a candidate passes the Advanced Practitioner exam but fails the medium level Practitioner exam, they need to re-sit the Practitioner exam within 2 years to validate the status of Advanced Practitioner. If a candidate is unable to do so, they have to re-sit for both these exams.

Career Growth And Roles Post Certification

A MSP certified professional enjoys a wide range of benefits. Employers worldwide value this certification for its competent, customer driven, change-oriented and business-oriented course outlook.
The MSP certification is in demand and professionals with this key resume boost are armed with the tactical knowhow to make survival profitable even in volatile conditions. Professionals with this key certification work in global MNCs and reputable government organizations such as:
•    GlaxoSmithKline
•    UK National Health Service
•    UK Ministry of Defense
•    British Petroleum
•    British Telecom
The certification helps professionals develop strong leadership skills and makes them adept to deal with a crisis.

Post Examination Requirement

The Foundation level exam of the MSP Certification does not have any specific expiry schedule. Professionals who clear the next two levels -i.e., the Practitioner and Advanced Practitioner levels- have a 5-year validity to their certification. The registered practitioners have to get through the Re-Registration examination between the third and fifth year to retain their certification.

About the Author

An experienced process analyst at Simplilearn, the author specializes in adapting current quality management best practices to the needs of fast-paced digital businesses. An MS in MechEng with over eight years of professional experience in various domains, Bhargav was previously associated with Paradox Interactive, The Creative Assembly, and Mott MacDonald LLC.


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