How to Prepare for your Upcoming PMP Certification Exam

To be able to earn a Project Management Professional (PMP) credential, one needs to meet its experiential and educational requirements, and pass the PMP certification examination, a 200-question, multiple-choice exam.

Regardless of how advanced your project management experience or education may be, you still need to prepare rigorously in order to pass the exam.

Besides, on an average PMP students need to spend 35 hours or more to prepare. Hence, be sure to take out plenty of preparation time before you plan to nail the paper.

The following steps are recommended for prospective students, to help them get organized for this exam:

Download the PMP credential handbook

Review and download the PMP pdf format handbook. It can be downloaded for free from the PMI homepage . This book is highly RECOMMENED. Also, newer versions of this document keep coming, so be sure to keep checking in for the latest version.

Review the PMP Examination Content Outline

Just like any other project management plan you need to carefully map out your study plan in order to successful. Besides understanding the terminology you must comprehend several key concepts and be innately familiar with the five process groups and ten knowledge areas and learn to think like a PMI. It is also important to set study goals, create a schedule for success, and commit fully to passing the exam.

Recommended PMP Preparation Study Guides

PMBOK : It is highly recommended to read the whole book although it is highly debatable if only this is enough to grasp all the concepts.

Rita’s PMP Exam Prep: Currently in its eighth edition, this book is available on all major online retail stores including Amazon and Ebay, and is used by hundreds of thousands of project managers to try out new exercises and sample questions, and look for critical time-saving tips.

Jeff Furman’s PMP Answers book : Find the latest samples papers and unlimited tips and tricks on cracking them.

Andrew Stellman and Jennifer Greene’s Head First PMP. This book helps you prepare for the PMP certification exam using a visually rich format designed for the way your brain works

Know about the Exam

The PMP certification consists of knowledge, application and analysis and is based on and includes many situational questions. These set of questions are randomly generated, may jump from topic to topic or cover multiple topics in a single question – all from a database of thousands of corpus questions. You obtain one correct point for each answer however, there is no penalty for a wrong answer.

Tips to Answering PMI’s Questions

  • Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
  • Do not assume that this exam only tests memorization. It also tests knowledge, application and analysis.
  • Strive to have real-world experience using all the major project management techniques.
  • Read all recommended study materials esp. the PMBOK Guide.
  • Understand the PMI-isms or the areas PMI emphasizes.
  • Familiarize yourself with the different types of questions e.g. situational questions, questions with two or more right answers, questions with extraneous information, or new approach questions (you never know what comes out of the blue).
  • Practice interpreting ambiguous and too wordy questions.
  • Get used to the idea that no matter what your preparation, you may get a question you may have never heard of before 🙂

Tips for Study Preparation

  • Form a study group with colleagues or friends; you can meet in person or virtually.
  • Enrol in a formal study course to stay on track.
  • Have a plan for taking the exam, and better still, stick to the plan.
  • Schedule your exam as soon as you are approved, to give yourself a target date to work toward.
  • For many students, the toughest and most intimidating areas of the exam are Framework, Integration, Procurement, Risk and Time. In the same line, process groups of Execution, Monitoring, Controlling and Professional and Social Responsibility is also looked upon in dread. Make sure you allow yourself ample time to delve into these concepts properly.
  • Eat lightly before the test, and get your sleep.
  • Prior to beginning the test, transfer all formulas and relevant information to the provided blank paper. This will allow you to use the formulas as needed, as well as make sure you do not get confused during the test.

Remember, that the PMP certification exam is based on an ideal project organization. You can use this as your starting point for preparation and everything else that follows will make sense.

All the best!