PRINCE2® 2017 – It’s now live – mostly!

Back in January we reported that PRINCE2, arguably the world’s most popular project management methodology, is undergoing a major update, its first since 2009. Axelos announces major update to PRINCE2®

We are pleased to announce that ‘most’ of our very extensive PRINCE2 classroom courses are live on the new version from August 2017 (some from mid-July – visit the website for details) with our Online and Video courses remaining on the 2009 version for the near future.

What has changed?

For those already qualified under PRINCE2 2009 version you will be pleased to hear that the base methodology has remained mostly in tact with the same principles, themes and processes.

The Best Practice represented by the PRINCE2 method is supported by a scheme that continues to offer three levels of certification: Foundation, Practitioner, and Professional.

More emphasis has been placed on tailoring the methodology with practical advice on how to apply this in different project environments, particularly around projects using an agile approach with clearer links between the principles and themes.

The update is characterized by an emphasis on:

  • Tailoring PRINCE2 to the needs of organizations and project environments
  • The principles that underpin PRINCE2
  • Greater clarity on the link between the themes and principles
  • The restructuring of the themes guidance to accommodate specific examples of tailoring
  • The practical application of guidance, with numerous examples, hints and tips

Axelos have also taken the opportunity to amend the way in which PRINCE2 is examined (explained here )


There isn’t much change in the way the Foundation qualification is examined with Axelos reporting:

  • AXELOS has taken steps to make the exam more efficient and focus more clearly on the core of PRINCE2. The major changes include:
    • Elements of the exam that are not part of the core have been removed (such as configuration management, which is now not described within the method)
    • Assessment criteria around tailoring have been added (such as what must be applied from each theme in order to be adopting PRINCE2 in a project environment)
    • The emphasis on different parts of the syllabus has been readjusted, for example the principles feature more prominently, and there is a more equal weighting amongst the seven themes
    • Improvements to the exam design have been made, such as removing negative questions and reducing the number of missing words and list questions
    • The number of questions on a paper has been reduced from 75 to 60 and trial questions have also been removed
    • The time allowed for the exam is 60 minutes (this is the same as the 2009 version)
    • The pass mark has been increased to 55% (from 50% in the 2009 version). Therefore, to pass candidates require 33 marks out of 60.


  • There is renewed focus on ensuring that candidates have the ability to apply PRINCE2 practically in a given project environment and increase the value gained from using the method. The major changes include:
    • The Practitioner exam will now test candidates on all parts of the PRINCE2 method
    • The emphasis on different parts of the syllabus has been readjusted, for example there are questions specifically around the principles, and the number of questions about management products has been reduced
    • The candidate is tested on their ability to apply the core of each theme and process and also on their practical ability to assess, in a particular context, whether a particular approach to project management is effective and fit for purpose
    • Improvements to the exam design have been made, such as reducing the amount of ‘additional information’ needed to answer the questions and removing complex question styles, such as ‘assertion-reason’
    • The number of marks on a paper has been reduced to 68
    • The time allowed for the exam is 2 hours and 30 minutes (this is the same as the 2009 version)
    • The pass mark for the exam is 38 marks out of 68 (approximately 55%)

There will be a crossover period between the two versions of the exams. To facilitate an optimal transition, both versions will be available from the launch of the update until the end of 2017 to ensure there is minimal disruption to training and certification programmes. This allows organisations to complete training cycles across the changeover period.

From the 1st January 2018 it will not be possible to take an English version of the 2009 Foundation, Practitioner or Practitioner re-registration exam.

If you have taken the 2009 version of the Foundation exam you can still upgrade to the 2017 Practitioner exam.

In order to sit the PRINCE2 Practitioner examination you must provide proof of having passed one of the following:

  • PRINCE2 Foundation
  • 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)

Re-Registration is also changing

Under the 2009 version you can take the re-registration exams and benefit from being registered for another 5 years.

From the beginning of 2018 however, the re-registration exam is being retired and only 2017 examinations will be available. With no re-registration examination available you will have to retake the entire Practitioner exam with registrations lasting a shortened 3 years.

If your re-registration is due in the next 12 months it might be worth re-registering now through one of the courses and examinations available through Focus on Training – click here for details

For the first time Axelos have offered a CPD route to maintaining your registration. The main elements of the new programme are:

  • The new PRINCE2 Practitioner certificates have an expiry date of three years
  • Candidates can retake the full Practitioner exam at the end of the three years to remain current. There will be no PRINCE2 2017 update re-registration exam
  • PRINCE2 Membership offers an alternative option for candidates. In order to remain current with your certification you must satisfy the following criteria within the three-year period:
    1. Join membership within three months of passing your exam and remain in membership for the three-year period by renewing the subscription each year
    2. Maintain the PRINCE2 digital badge which will be awarded as part of membership for the three-year period. Candidates will need to record 20 CPD points each year, in the prescribed categories, for the badge to be extended on renewal
  • If a candidate has satisfied the above two criteria they will be considered current and issued a new certificate at the end of year three that is valid for a further three years. You will only receive a new certificate if your digital badge has been maintained for the three-year period
  • To support candidates who wish to remain current, AXELOS will be including one year’s PRINCE2 Membership with every PRINCE2 (2017 updated) Practitioner exam. Once you successfully pass your exam AXELOS will contact you with details on how you can activate your membership and claim your digital badge. Thereafter your PRINCE2 Membership will be priced at £50 per annum
  • Current PRINCE2 certifications (issued prior to release of the updated PRINCE2 guidance and exam in mid-2017) remain valid until the expiry date shown on the certificate. These candidates can maintain their current registration via AXELOS Membership and logging the required 20 CPD points each year to maintain their digital badge. However, these individuals will not be issued a new certificate at the end of three years, instead their digital badge is proof that they have maintained their professional expertise

So, in conclusion, PRINCE2 2017 has brought a lot of positive change without removing the fundamentals of the programme.

If you are already PRINCE2 accredited then no need to update quite yet. If you are part way through your accreditation then best to get the full qualification on the 2009 version before the end of 2017 (and saves you buying a new 2017 manual for £85). If you are looking to get in to project management and become qualified then PRINCE2 2017 classroom courses will provide you with the most relevant and up to date training experience.

Focus on Training has an extensive range of PRINCE2 courses available – click here to find out more and secure your PRINCE2 qualification.