How long you need for PMP exam preparation depends on one thing: you. How many hours can you put in each day, and how big is your knowledge gap?
Each aspirant will take their own time.
Once I read the lessons learned of a successful exam taker who took three years to prepare.
He dedicated the first year to read the PMBOK Guide, and the second year was to reference books, and, in the final year, he reviewed all these materials again and practiced some questions. He then took the exam and passed.
A few months later in the same forum, I read another lesson learned of a successful exam taker. She wrote that it took less than one month for her to prepare for the PMP.
She said that because of her tight schedule she rescheduled and canceled her exam many times. Finally, when her eligibility deadline came, she had no choice but to take the exam. This time she scheduled the exam within one month, prepared, and passed.
She explained how she studied with the purpose of passing the PMP exam and then advised that aspirants not follow her example.
I gave you two instances of extreme cases, but I don’t recommend you follow either of these.
Time Required for PMP Exam Preparation
To prepare for the PMP exam, you will have to go through the following steps:
- Collect Information
- Attend the Training
- Prepare for the PMP Exam
- Attempt the Test
Once you decide to become a PMP, the first to do is to collect all the necessary information.
You should not invest more than one week in this.
Attend the Training
You cannot apply for the PMP exam until you complete your formal education in project management and earn your 35 contact hours certificate.
This should only take one week as well.
If you are planning to participate in a boot camp, they typically finish the course in three or four days. However, if you are subscribed to an online program, I would strongly recommend you complete the PMP training as quickly as possible, even though you may have access for one year.
Prepare for the PMP Exam
This is where you will spend most of your time.
For your PMP exam preparation, you will have to study at least one PMP reference book; however, I recommend you use two, to give you a different perspective. This will help you understand and remember concepts in the PMBOK Guide.
Afterward, you will need to practice some questions and attempt mock tests. This will help you find your knowledge gaps and prepare you for the exam.
If you feel you are not ready, revise the concepts and make sure your knowledge gaps are filled.
I suggest you take at least three months to prepare for your PMP exam. Not only do you have to read the material, but you need to digest the information thoroughly.
Three months, of around three hours of studying per day, should be enough for you to prepare for the PMP exam.
I have seen many aspirants apply for the exam right after completing the training and attempt the test within one month and fail. Then they complained that time constraints kept them from preparing well.
Don’t do this. Make a plan for your PMP exam preparation and give yourself a reasonable timeframe. Don’t use fast-tracking or crashing here.
Prepare a realistic schedule and follow your plan. You have to understand all project management concepts and the PMBOK Guide processes to pass the PMP exam.
Attempt the Test
This is the final day.
Attempt the PMP exam and pass it.
Good luck with your preparation.
If you can spend three hours a day studying, three months is enough to pass your PMP exam. I suggest you do not spend any longer than three months, as you may lose interest and give up. However, in any case, I do not recommend you plan for less than two months to prepare as the exam pressure can overwhelm you.
Have you attempted the exam? How much time did you take to prepare? Please share your experiences in the comments section so other PMP aspirants can benefit.