PMP Exam Prep method you will choose for passing the PMP exam is crucial factor for acing the PMP exam in the first attempt. If you are a working professional, the most efficient way will be online PMP exam prep method. You must prepare a good PMP study plan, attend in a good online PMP course and get ready for the PMP certification exam.
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We will go through all steps for good exam preparation in this post.
What is PMP?
First, it is better to describe PMP certification. Let’s answer the question of What is PMP: PMP stands for Project Management Professional, which comes from the world famous PMI Institute, USA. PMP Certification is now not just a desirable qualification for project managers, but an essential one. PMP certification salary is also 20% higher than a non-PMP credential holder. Therefore, make sure you will go through a good PMP exam prep path to crack the PMP exam in your first attempt.
What are the PMP eligibility requirements?
Coming to the PMP requirements, for one, you should be leading and directing projects for more than 3 years. In other words, 4500 hours of experience. Then, you should have a 4-year undergraduate degree to meet the PMP education requirements. Moreover, you should have 35 hours of project management education before you apply. This PM education is actually part of your exam prep plan, which we will detail in this post.
How Should You Plan Your PMP Exam Prep?
Let us understand the PMP Exam structure
What is the PMP Exam?
PMP Exam is a ~4-hour exam with 180 questions. The PMP Exam Questions will be a combination of multiple-choice, multiple responses, matching, hotspot, and limited fill-in-the-blank types of questions, and rigorous exam preparation is needed. There is only one correct answer among the four options and you will not get any negative marks if your answer is wrong. The questions are designed by practicing project managers from across the world. There are variety of questions. Some of the questions test your concepts and understanding of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) framework. While, others are practical experience-oriented, or data interpretation or Math oriented questions. The percentage of questions are based on the five process groups and it makes sense to base your PMP exam prep according to this.
Check our “What is the PMP® exam structure?” video
What is the best practice for PMP Exam Prep Course?
Traditional way for preparing the PMP exam is attending a classroom PMP course and after completing 35 hours of project management education, sitting for the PMP certification exam. However, PMP exam prep courses in classroom are not appropriate if you are a full-time working professional. There are three main reasons of this.
First one is, a classroom PMP course is organized months before the classroom date. You pay for the class, you plan to attend to PMP education however, PMP classroom might be cancelled due to low number of participants or your schedule might change and you might not attend to classroom PMP course. You might not even get a refund for the price you already paid for the PMP course if you opted for a classroom training.
Second one is classroom PMP exam courses have four or five-day intensive programs, which will be hard to digest in a short time. A typical PMP study plan requires around four or five months of preparation. Considering this bulk amount of information, it will be tough to grasp all PMP content in a week. Instead, learning each PMP knowledge area one-by-one and studying on your own will be more feasible.
Third one is classroom PMP exam courses are much more expensive compared to online PMP courses. For instance, in US, a four-five days classroom PMP course varies from $1,500-2,500. On the other hand, you can attend in an online PMP course as low as $37 per month or $185 for annual access (Check here). This makes online PMP exam course options at least 90% cheaper than regular PMP course options.
You can check PMP Certification Training of Master of Project Academy for further details. This online PMP training option satisfies the 35 contact hours project management training prerequisite of PMP certification requirements. It covers more than 300 lectures, over 750 practice questions, downloadable handouts, supporting documents, cheat sheets and several other PMP prep materials.
PMP success stories of Master of Project Academy proves the quality of this PMP exam prep course. Don Wheeler is one of the several PMP success stories of Master of Project Academy. Don passed the PMP exam successfully with the PMP training from Master of Project Academy and he scored “Above Target” on all five domains of the PMP exam. This is the highest score where a PMP candidate can get from the PMP exam. You can read Don’s PMP success story.
PMP Certification Exam Prep Study Plan: The roadmap to your PMP Success!
- Start your PMP certification exam prep with a study of either PMBOK or a PMP study guide
- Choose an online PMP exam prep course, which will satisfy your PMP certification exam eligibility prerequisite. (We have detailed how you should select your online PMP exam prep course in next heading)
- Practice with as many sample PMP exam questions as possible. Go through your mistakes and revisit the lectures to strengthen your knowledge. You can see our PMP Question Bank post to see some free sample PMP questions.
- Take notes during your PMP exam prep. Go through your notes frequently to memorize and keep your knowledge up-to-date until PMP exam day.
- Like the PDCA cycle, study, test, review, revise and retest should be your cycle during the PMP exam prep period.
How Should You Choose Online PMP Exam Prep Course?
If you are a working professional, the best PMP exam prep method will be preparing online for the PMP certification exam. This is the most convenient and affordable PMP exam prep method. Be careful about following points when you are choosing your online PMP exam prep course.
- Make sure the online PMP exam prep training satisfies the 35 contact requirements of PMP certification exam. Otherwise, PMI might reject your application and you might have to re-attend in a recognized project management training by PMI.
- Check whether the online PMP exam prep course material is up-to-date. PMBOK is revised and updated in each three to four years by PMI. PMP exam content changes accordingly as well. Before you attend in an online PMP exam prep course, make sure that the course content is updated as per latest PMBOK changes.
- Be aware of the maximum support response times. Only disadvantage of an online PMP exam prep course compared to traditional classroom courses is it is not interactive. Once you will have a question or problem during your PMP certification exam preparation, you will wait for instructor to answer your questions or technical support team to help you. Make sure that the online PMP exam prep course provider guarantees reasonable response times in case you will have issues.
- Number of practice questions is critical. Not only special for PMP certification exam but also valid for all exams you would take, practicing with as many sample questions as possible will increase the chance of your success. Therefore, make sure the online PMP course you will attend have sufficient number of questions to practice your knowledge.
- Read success stories of recent PMP exam students. The best way to prove quality is genuine student testimonials. Check for the recent online PMP course students and their story. These stories will guide you on how you should prepare and give insights about the quality of the online PMP exam prep course material of the training provider.
You can read Don’s PMP success story for further information.
Check out a section from our Online PMP Exam Prep Course
PMP Exam is based on the Exam content guidelines given by PMI Institute and you will be assessed based on the tasks and objectives mentioned there. Therefore, check if you have missed some of the topics in your preparation. A good PMP course study guide generally covers these topics but it always is good to cover all your bases. As a project manager, you should take care of risk management and contingency planning in your PMP Exam Prep. Moreover, when we are saying risk management, make sure you are on the lookout for opportunities too, in addition to threats.
Some of the things that you could add to your PMP Exam Prep are:
- Check out specific examples on Quality Management during your PMP Exam Prep if you do not have much exposure to that. You may want to look at lean, Kanban, six sigma concepts and Quality Gurus in addition to statistical process control
- Some of the topics are a little confusing for a good number of people, so check out the differences between them and understand the nuances while on study phase of PMP Exam Prep. For example, product and project scope, quality assurance and control, preventive and corrective action, etc.
- You should also check out the PMI published Lexicon to have a clarity on the definitions and the specific terms used by PMI.
- Take some of the Math practice tests to hone your skills on these. Generally, you have this type of questions from Time, Cost, Communication and Procurement Knowledge Areas.
The 11 Do’s and Don’ts of PMP Exam Prep
There a few things that should be part of your PMP Exam Prep while a few that should be excluded. Here we give a few of them:
- Unlearn your company’s terms, jargon and be conversant with what PMI uses for each activity, process or an artifact. This is where PMI’s Lexicon and the Glossary in PMBOK will come handy. Otherwise, you will unnecessarily make mistakes in the exam.
- Understand that if PMI says operational definitions, they are referring to metrics and whether Gold plating is good or not!
- The exam content outline indicates that around 31% of questions in the exam are from the Executing process group which has a total of eight processes of the total 47 but you get 62 questions.
- Now, compare this with planning which has 24 processes while you get only 24% or 48 questions. To motivate yourself, you may want to focus on the few processes of execution or initiating to start in your PMP Exam Prep. However, a word of caution- you need to clear all five process groups to be a PMP!
- Do not spend more than a minute on any question, however, interesting or tough it may seem.
- Do select an answer and if needed, mark it for review before moving on. Since there is no negative marking, you have a 25% probability of getting it right. If you get this habit ingrained into your system, it will become automatic in the exam
- When you are answering a mock test in your exam preparation, mark those questions that you were not confident when picking the answer. Because, even if it turns out right, you should know why it is correct. You cannot afford to take chances in the actual exam.
- Are you a visual learner or an auditory type? If you are the first type, check out the podcasts and audio books available to maximize your learning. But, if you are the latter, look for videos, charts, mind maps that will be useful for you
- Your PMP Exam Prep should be consistent and dedicated without too many breaks. Continuity is important!
- Taking some of the popular mock tests to improve your overall performance
- Don’t browse too many PMP Exam Prep websites. While being part of a few authentic blogs will help you to stay focused and motivated, many have inaccurate information which may be upsetting. Especially just before the exam, do not try any new stuff.
Therefore, PMP Exam Prep with the help of a quality PMP project management training is the key to unlock your career dreams. If you have a foolproof plan for PMP Exam Prep, you can sail through the exam. After understanding the PMBOK concepts, it is the practice that will bring you the PMP success! Hence, Plan, Prepare, Pass!
Sunanda Gundavajhala, B.Tech, M.B.A, PMP has over 25 years of project management. She is a consultant, trainer on project management for different sectors and is the recipient of “Recognition of Excellence” award from PMI, USA and Woman Volunteer award from Hyderabad, India Chapter of PMI. Sunanda has contributed to the “Practice Standard on Scheduling, PMI”. She has worked as the Liaison officer for PMIEF (Education Foundation) for the Hyderabad, India Chapter of PMI.