Advanced Certificate in Critical and Structured Thinking


"Evolution endowed us with a powerful, but manifestly automatic thinking process, in which our mindsets are created based on reactions to and interpretations of past experiences. Mindsets drive behaviour; behaviour drives performance; performance drives results. Therefore, poor mindsets lead to poor results."
-- Bill Richardson, in Thinking on Purpose for Project Managers: Outsmarting Evolution

Project managers spend (or at least should be spending) much of their day thinking about their project. According to one rule of thumb, 30% of a project manager's results should come from insight into the true nature of a project situation, 60% of the manager's results should come from foresight -- the ability to predict possible future outcomes and to prepare for them in advance -- and 10% of a manager's results should come from hindsight -- an understanding of lessons learned from past situations. As the quote above suggests, we have a tendency to be reactive in our analysis and problem solving thinking, largely as a result of having the wrong mindset.

Once a project manager has achieved the right frame of mind to put them on the path to success, he or she still needs to know how to critically analyze situations in a structured way -- this requires knowledge of specific tools and techniques for:

  • Situational Assessment,
  • Problem Solving,
  • Decision Making,
  • Action Planning, and
  • Risk Assessment.

This project management certificate is designed to identify project managers who have attained advanced knowledge of the theory, tools, and techniques of critical and structured thinking. Holders of this certificate will have their understanding of forty (40) different structured analysis and critical thinking tools verified through an examination administered by the Project Management Association of Canada.

Holding this certificate demonstrates to employers that a project manager is serious about optimizing his or her project delivery by using advanced analysis and problem solving techniques. These days, when every job candidate seems to be holding a PMP or equivalent designation, adding an advanced certificate such as this one can make a project manager stand out from the crowd.

The Exam

This online examination consists of 40 multiple-choice questions that must be answered within a 90-minute time limit. Candidates will be able to use reference materials in preparing their answers. Candidates will require a web browser with an Internet connection to complete the exam.

The examination is composed of two parts:

  1. Part 1: The Theory of Thinking - 10 questions
  2. Part 2: Thinking Tools - 30 questions

Exams will be marked automatically upon their completion, and candidates will be able to immediately view their results. A score of 60% (24 questions correct out of 40) is required to pass the exam.

Candidates who fail the exam will be able to retake the examination after re-registering and re-paying the examination fee. There is no limit to the number of attempts a candidate may make.

Although there is no formal pre-requisite for writing this exam, it is assumed that candidates already have basic project management knowledge; so, it is recommended that only those holding their PMP, IPMA Level-D (or better) certification, or a basic project management certificate from a college or university (or equivalent) programme attempt the exam.

To prepare for the examination, it is highly recommended that candidates study the following book, upon which most of the exam questions are based:

Thinking on Purpose for Project Managers: Outsmarting Evolution by Bill Richardson. Published by Multi-Media Publications Inc. Available in paperback ($39.95) and Adobe PDF ebook ($12.95) formats.


The Certificate

Upon successful completion of the exam, candidates will receive a signed, sealed Advanced Certificate in Critical and Structured Thinking from the Project Management Association of Canada. The certificate should arrive within 1-2 weeks of exam completion.

These certificates, once issued, do not expire.

Exam Fee & Application Process

The fee for taking the Advanced Certificate in Critical and Structured Thinking exam is $150 for PMAC-AGPC members, and $200 for non-members.

You may register for the exam and pay your registration fee using the online registration form.

Certification Directory

PMAC publishes a list of all individuals who have completed the exam. Please see our Directory of Certified Individuals for details.


General Address

Project Management Association of Canada

455 boulevard de la Gappe, Suite 201
Gatineau, Québec
Canada, J8T 0E1

Phone: (819) 410-0427

PMAC Certification Body

Project Management Association of Canada

Box 58043, Rosslynn RPO
Oshawa, Ontario
Canada L1J 8L6

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