This is a review of PM PrepCast, an online 35-hour formal training program developed by Mr. Cornelius Fichtner.
The goal of this review is to provide all the necessary details of the program, including background and a technical review to help potential buyers make an informed decision.
What is a 35 Contact Hours Training Program?
If you want to apply for the PMP certification exam, you will have to fulfill three mandatory conditions:
- Hold a diploma or a degree certificate.
- Project management experience.
- Completed a 35-hour formal training program.
If you lack any of these requirements, you cannot apply for the PMP exam.
Hopefully you have fulfilled the first two conditions and now are looking for a suitable 35-hour formal training program.
You can get this training in many ways, but I strongly recommended you obtain it through any PMI approved REP. REPs are registered education providers and their course content is pre-approved by the PMI.
In the past there were only a few training providers, and most only conducted live classes. Recently, however, many more methods have become available, including online, hybrid, and virtual classroom training programs.
Online training programs are the most popular option. They offer many benefits over traditional training programs such as:
- Less expensive
- More flexible
- Can be attended from any location
- No capacity limitations
For these reasons, I recommend you obtain your training from any PMI approved, online training provider.
About The PM PrepCast
PMPrepCast is a product of OSP International LLC, founded by Mr. Cornelius Fichtner.
Cornelius Fichtner is a famous PMP trainer and claims to have trained more than 38,400 project professionals for the PMP exam. His team specializes in providing training for many PMI certification courses, and this course is one of the oldest PMI approved online PMP training programs.
While many offline training providers are moving to online platforms, PM PrepCast has been online since day one.
The current version of the PM PrepCast is based on the fifth edition of the PMBOK Guide and is aligned with the latest PMP exam format after Jan 11, 2016.
Before I share my experience and views on the course, let me give you the main features of the PM PrepCast:
- More than 50 hours of video and audio training sessions
- Can be accessed online and offline
- Download the files and access the content forever
- Quizzes are provided at the end of each module
- An email course including many lessons learned
- 90-day money back guarantee
- A 141 page student workbook outlining many PMP concepts
Before accessing this program I thought that the PM PrepCast required students to download each module before viewing; however, after gaining access I discovered that the PM PrepCast allows you to watch online as well. In fact, this course has been providing online access since December 5, 2011.
Keep in mind that the online access portal provides only basic functionality, and you cannot track your progress or save the sessions. Moreover, they promote their course as a downloadable utility and recommend that users download it to their device of choice and watch it offline.
In my review of the course I did not download the materials onto my device. I used their online gateway to watch the lessons and downloaded PDF files to review the quality of questions and the student workbook.
This was easier as the online mode allowed me to watch lessons on any device I wished.
Please note that everything is the same whether you are watching it online or through any device such as a computer, laptop, or mobile device, etc.
If you have downloaded the sessions to your device, you can watch the modules on your device just as you would watch any other video files. All navigation is based on your replay application.
If you want to watch lessons online, you will need to log in through a special link provided to you in your order confirmation email. Follow the link, enter your user ID and password, and you will be logged in to the portal.
After logging in you can see your dashboard. This is one of the simplest dashboards you will ever see.
This dashboard consists of all your study content compressed to a single page. With a single click, you can access the videos and other content; e.g. video sessions, PDF files, subscription information, etc.
The course is divided into 20 modules. These modules include workbooks, course content, expert interviews, etc.
I found the navigation simple and you should not face any difficulties.
Each knowledge area has its own module, and in every module you will find many video sessions. The duration of each varies between 10 to 30 minutes.
In these sessions, Mr. Cornelius Fichtner explains every concept of the PMBOK Guide. I have gone through many sessions and find his teaching style impressive.
His language is clear and I believe that even a non-native English speaker will not have little difficulties understanding the sessions.
At the end of the module, you will find a quiz in PDF format. You can download this quiz to your device or can complete it in the browser.
The quiz questions are good quality and will help you understand the session just completed. I strongly recommend you attempt the quiz immediately after completing each session. Generally, I find professionals skipping the quizzes and focusing only on watching the sessions, but this is a mistake.
You should attempt the quiz after you complete each session as it gives you focused attention on the subject and clears up any remaining doubts.
The last few modules consist of:
- Experts interviews
- Lessons learned
- Agile project management
- PMP exam content outline
- Applied concepts such as risk attitude, earned value, etc.
Expert interviews are in audio format. Though these interviews are not specifically helpful for the PMP exam, they provide insight into project management. You should listen to these interviews if you need a better understanding of project management in general.
The lessons learned by successful exam takers are informative. The files are in audio format and you should listen to them to understand the strategies used by each successful professional as well as to avoid their mistakes. This will help you in your PMP exam preparation.
The applied concepts module, also in audio format, has many in-depth discussion sessions for some important topics. Here you can get in-depth knowledge of each concept and learn their application. These topics are also important from a PMP exam point of view.
I suggest you listen to these sessions at least twice to fully understand the concepts covered.
As these interviews, lessons learned, and applied concepts are in audio format I suggest downloading the files to your device and listening to them while driving, walking or during your free time.
Other resources include an email course and access to the forum.
In the email course, you will find lessons learned by successful exam takers, though I did discover the lessons learned referred to only the PM PrepCast, a few common books, and the PMP Exam Simulator to pass the exam.
None referred to any other external resource during their exam preparation.
In the five years I have been blogging, I have received, almost every week, lessons learned from successful exam takers. Most of them have mentioned some blogs other than mine, and some question banks other than mine. Some of them also mentioned a few YouTube videos as well as other lesser known resources or sites, so the lack of other material mentioned was unusual.
I also noted that none of them had even tried Oliver Lehman’s test!
If you not aware of Oliver Lehman’s test, please note that almost every professional preparing for the PMP exam attempts this test. It is considered to be the toughest test for PMP aspirants.
I hope it is merely a coincidence.
Now we come to the forum.
Generally speaking, I’m not a great fan of forums because anyone can reply to any query and most of the time it is difficult to distinguish the correct answers among the “junk” replies. I would suggest that you stay away from a forum unless it is actively managed by an expert moderator.
In the case of this PMP forum, I see that there are many moderators who are PMP and are also actively involved. I have also seen Cornelius Fichtner replying to some of the questions personally.
For this reason, I believe you can post your queries here and get a trusted reply.
The last bonus item is a subscription to the PMP Exam Tips Newsletter. This subscription is available to everyone regardless of whether you buy the PM PrepCast or not. It is a biweekly newsletter that provides you with lessons learned, tips, tricks, discount coupon codes, and other PMP exam-related news.
I suggest you subscribe to this newsletter to stay updated about the PMP exam.
Pros and Cons
There are several pros and cons to the PM PrepCast. The following are some of the major highlights.
Con #1: Mock Test
In the course description, I noted that this course provides 300 practice questions. Naturally, I thought that these questions made up a mock test that must be completed when the course is finished.
However, this is not the case. The 300 questions are not a part of any mock test but are rather distributed among all modules and are available at the end of each module.
Simply put, these are chapter-based quizzes.
These days it is standard to provide at least one mock test at the end of the course, but the PrepCast does not provide one.
I find this very strange and hope that the PrepCast team adds a mock test at the end of course in the future.
Con #2: No Focus on Online Mode
As I said earlier, PM PrepCast allows you to watch lessons online.
The problem here is: you can only watch the lessons online.
There are no analytics or progress bar, and you cannot save your sessions. It is just a list of videos you can watch by clicking the link.
Their main focus is on the downloadable version of the PM PrepCast. They want you to download it to your device and watch it at your ease.
This strategy was fine when the PM PrepCast was in audio format, and internet speed and availability was not good. However, the internet is now widely accessible and new issues have arisen regarding storage on mobile devices, especially for iPhone and iPad users.
I would like to see the PM PrepCast team focus more on the online version instead of the downloaded version while still offering the download as an alternative.
Con #3: Session Duration
In most cases, the session duration is around thirty minutes, which I feel is too long. You might feel compelled to finish this video in one sitting because you may not want to leave it unfinished.
Watching an educational video for more than ten minutes is not easy, boredom, real life, distractions, and unexpected events often get in the way.
Therefore, I hope that in the future the PM PrepCast breaks up these lessons into smaller sessions. Dividing the lessons into smaller parts is more flexible and will help users understand the concepts better.
Now we come to the pros.
Pro #1: Content Quality
I have spent a considerable amount of time watching many sessions, and I can say is that the quality of the content is good. The PM PrepCast explains all the content of the PMBOK Guide in simple language.
The duration of the course is more than 50 hours. As far as I know, this duration is longer than any other course.
All the videos are in HD quality.
“Applied Concepts” is an important module. Here important topics are discussed from a PMP exam point of view. In the exam, you will find a lot of questions on this material, but much of this material did not find enough space in the PMBOK Guide.
The PM PrepCast discusses all these topics with a great deal of detail.
Pro #2: Student Workbook
This was my favorite component of the course.
The workbook describes the course content and how to use it properly. It provides you with short notes on important concepts from each knowledge area. I found it extremely useful.
I suggest you keep this workbook handy with you and use it during your review.
Pro #2: Access Mode
You can download the entire course to your computer. You also have the option to watch it completely online. In both cases the content is the same.
After watching all the sessions you can attempt an online quiz and get your 35 contact hours certificate. This quiz has 25 questions and you can attempt it an unlimited number of times.
Keep in mind that you will have to wait for two weeks after joining the course to attempt this test. This condition is imposed so you can watch the complete course before attempting the test.
Pro #3: Access Duration
You will gain access to this course until a new version of the PMBOK Guide arrives and the course is updated to a new syllabus.
If you buy this course within six months of a new version of the PMBOK guide, you will get a free upgrade.
This access duration should be more than enough for you to complete the course and pass your PMP exam.
And although you do not have access to this course forever, you can download all the content and retain access to the material.
Pro #4: Refund Policy
This program comes with a 90-day refund policy. If you do not like the course or if it does not meet your expectations, you can ask for a refund, provided you did not attempt the final test.
I believe 90 days is more than enough time for you try the course to decide if you wish to continue with it.
Pro #5: Technical Support
I have been an affiliate of the PM PrepCast for more than five years and throughout this time their support has been great.
They have always been proactive in solving issues and I have never needed to contact them. They were always the ones who informed me about any issues and rectified them.
I have also contacted Mr. Fichtner and he responded to me quickly.
Pro #6: Training Cost
The price of the PM PrepCast is 199.99 USD. This is one of the least expensive PMI approved training programs.
I have not seen any other training programs similar to the content provided in this course at any price, so it provides the best training for the cost. Other training programs, which cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, do not match the content of this course.
Classroom training programs don’t teach you for more than 35 hours, and with PM PrepCast you get around 50 hours.
The PM PrepCast was launched in 2006, and I passed my PMP exam in 2010. I still regret that I did not find this program when I was preparing for my own exam.
I joined a classroom training program which was far from my home, so to take part in this training session I spent two nights traveling and four days in a hotel.
So I would say that the price of this course is lower than my past experience!
How to Get the Most of the Training
Read any good PMP exam reference book and try to go through the PMBOK Guide at least once.
Also, keep a good PMP exam reference book and the PMBOK Guide with you as you watch the video sessions. This will help you understand the training content better.
Don’t skip the quizzes available at the end of each module. You must attempt these quizzes immediately after completing the sessions. This will help reinforce the concepts and identify any knowledge gaps.
I have gone through the course and attempted the quizzes for this review. I believe the content of the PM PrepCast is very comprehensive and covers all topics you need to pass the PMP exam. It is one of the best 35-hour formal training programs for the PMP exam.
So if you are looking for a 35-hour formal training program, I recommend this program to complete your training.
This course conforms to all requirements for the PMP Exam and is fit for use.
My Rating: 4/5
If you are interested in this course, below is the course page link:
Disclaimer: I’ve been provided with free access to this course for a review. However, this review is my own and it is an honest one. The links used in this blog post are affiliate links, and if you make a purchase through them I will receive a commission without any extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.