Five Tips to Successfully Pass the PMP Certification Exam
- Category: PMP Exam Prep
If you plan to take the PMP Exam remember these 5 key points when planning for your PMP Certification Exam:
1. Make A Study Plan.
- Outline your daily and weekly obligations and make a schedule. Aim for 60-120 minutes of daily study time. Establishing a routine and sticking to it will help reduce distractions and allow you to get everything you need done.
- Assign time limits and allow for breaks. Establishing time limits will prevent your brain from tiring and maximize your valuable time. Taking mini-breaks, and a full day away per week, will allow your brain to mentally recharge, help your focus and increase your knowledge retention.
2. Understand the PMBOK Guide.
- The PMBOK and PMP exam are based on the “ideal” project organization. Understand this and everything else will make sense over time.
- Don’t just memorize. You need to understand the topics and be able to explain the interaction of the PMBOK processes.
- Know the type of questions that will appear on the exam. Just reading the PMBOK Guide will not prepare you enough. There are several high quality PMP training packages that you can use as your resource base.
- Use your Exam Simulations wisely. Many students find it useful to take 2 exam simulations toward the end of their preparation. This is a great way to determine if you are ready for the exam or if you should postpone the date.
3. Use the Right Study Material.
- If you can make the time, use other resources in addition to the PMBOK. We recommend Rita Mulcahy’s book, “PMP Exam Prep”. It is the best selling (and most popular) book on the market to help you prepare for the PMP exam.
- Use the practice tests provided in your PMP training packages as benchmarks, not as the primary material for your preparation. You should use video-based and static material to study from. Space the tests out at regular intervals. Don’t be tempted to take another test right away if you did poorly on the last test.
- Read the PMBOK in its entirety, at least once. Use it to validate your answers and to fill in any knowledge gaps after taking practice tests.
- Buying second hand books is not necessarily a bad thing, but be careful. Use the most up-to-date materials. The PMP Exam content changes every 4 years.
4. Study in a Place Where You Can Concentrate.
Depending on your home situation, it might not be the best place to study due to continuous interruptions:
- Conference Rooms at work after regular business hours
- Local Library
- Quiet Coffee Shops
5. Use the Right Test Taking Strategies
- The correct answer is what PMI says it is, not necessarily what happened on your projects or in your organization. The PMBOK Guide is the reference for the correct answer. Even if you are an experienced project manager but you never read the PMBOK Guide, all answers in any given question might sound acceptable, but by exam time you need to be able to recognize the correct one.
- Many exam questions include scenarios that involve the project being late or over-budget, or the project manager receiving bad news or being at the crossroad of decisions. Be prepared for answering that kind of question.
- Many questions are asked in a very difficult manner, purposely to trip and confuse you. The key is to understand what they are REALLY asking and ignore the extraneous information provided. In some cases, the “REAL” question is contained in the very last sentence.
- Answer the easy questions first. For example, answer all the theory questions first and MARK and SKIP the questions that require calculations and do them after.
- Before you begin working on your calculations, write down and circle the question number associated with that calculation beside it. This will allow you to easily locate it on your worksheet when you go back to double check your work.
- There will be times where several questions pass by and you feel that you did not quite know the answer to any of them. Don’t panic … this happens to everybody! Just relax, mark them for review and move on. If this happens too often, take a 5 minute break and come back.
- Do a time check after completing a small subset of 20 questions to see if you are on pace. If you are planning on 10 minutes for breaks and 30 minutes for review, you will need to complete approximately 1 question per minute.
- Never leave a question unanswered. The PMP exam does not penalize you with negative scores for giving wrong answers.
Some Other Quick Tips:
- Plan to start studying at least 3-4 months out to avoid having to cram all of your preparation into a few weeks. However, don’t despair if you don’t have 4 months. Most preparations take 2 to 3 months.
- Get to know the 47 PMP formulas, 19 numerical values and 27 acronyms that you are expected to know. Do a brain dump of the important formulas before every full length simulation exam.
- There are a number of websites devoted to statistics, quality tools, net present value, time value of money, critical path and earned value management. Do a search in Google and utilize them early on in your PMP prep.
- Set a higher goal to focus on and attain. This could be career related and it will keep you motivated.