In today’s blog post I will explain in detail about the PMP exam preparation. I believe if you follow the strategy given in this post, you will be in a better position to pass the PMP exam on your first attempt.
Over the last ten years, I have seen many aspirants pass and fail the PMP exam.
Professionals who prepare for the PMP exam the right way passed the exam on their first attempt, while others with a casual approach failed it.
The correct PMP exam preparation strategy is the first step toward attaining this prestigious certification.
I believe you fulfill the PMP requirements and are in the initial stage of your PMP exam preparation.
PMP Exam Preparation
The right PMP exam preparation requires the following steps:
- Gather Information
- Collect Study Resources
- Start Preparation
- Join the PMP Training
- Apply for the PMP Exam
- Attempt the Test
Gather all information related to the PMP certification. In the recent past, PMI has made many changes to the PMP certification exam. A few examples of these changes are the addition of Agile and Hybrid project management, updates to the exam content outline, scheduled breaks during the exam, etc.
They also changed the question type. Before January 2, 2021, the exam had multiple-choice questions with a single response, but now the exam has four different types of questions:
- Multiple choice with single responses
- Multiple choice with multiple responses
- Fill in the blanks
- Answer selection
However, if you search on Google for the PMP exam preparation, you will find that most resources are not updated and if you trust them, your PMP exam preparation may go sideways.
You must have the right information.
Download the PMP Handbook from PMI.org and read it thoroughly. You should only rely on this official document. After reading this guide, you will have the answers to most questions related to the PMP exam process.
After reading the PMP Handbook, you should review the latest PMP exam content outline.
Collect Study Resources
You should have the right and high-quality PMP exam study resources for your exam preparation. Using low-quality resources will harm your PMP exam preparation, and you will be under the false illusion that you are preparing well.
I recommend you use the following resources for your PMP exam preparation:
- The PMBOK Guide
- The Agile Practice Guide
- Rita’s PMP Exam Preparation Book
- Head First PMP
- PM Sprout’s PMP Training Program
- The PMP Exam Preparation Tool
- PMP Question Bank
- The PMP Mock Test
- PM Exam Simulator
These resources are enough for your PMP exam preparation.
You must read the PMBOK and Agile guide. Understanding these guides will help you answer many questions. Head First and Rita’s books are the best books for the PMP exam, and these will help you understand all concepts.
If you opt for the PM Sprout PMP training program, you won’t have to buy the PMP exam preparation tool, PMP Question Bank, or the PMP Mock Test, as these all are included in the PM Sprout PMP Training Program.
The PMP Exam Simulator by Cornelius Fichtner is the best PMP exam simulator and provides you with over 2,100 PMP exam practice questions.
Start the PMP Exam Preparation
Start with reading the Head First PMP book. Once you are finished, reread this book, cover to cover.
Then you can move on to Rita.
Now you can read the PMBOK Guide and Agile Practice Guide. Read these guides until you understand all project management processes and agile fundamentals.
If possible, form a study group. Attend meetings for your local chapter and find other PMP aspirants and ask them to form a PMP study group. Through joint study, you can learn from each other’s knowledge and experiences and share your knowledge.
Sharing knowledge will make you more confident. It will motivate and push you to study regularly.
Join a PMP Training Program
I have seen many aspirants join the PMP training at the very beginning of their PMP exam preparation. This is not the best strategy. If you start the training without doing your homework, you will not get the most out of it.
You should know what the training provider will teach you. Reading reference books and the PMBOK/Agile Guide will help you prepare for the PMP training.
You should join an online PMP training program as they are affordable, and you can complete it at your own pace.
I recommend you join the following online PMP training program.
This PMP training program is a complete exam preparation package and provides a variety of content. No other competitor or online training program offers such a package.
This training program includes:
- Video Sessions
- Study Notes
- True/False Statements
- PMP Question Bank
- PMP Formula Guide
- PMP Mock Test
If you subscribe to this training course, you don’t have to subscribe to any other study resources (except the PMP Exam Simulator); it includes everything.
However, if for any reason you cannot subscribe to the PM Sprout Training Program, I advise you to subscribe to the PMP Exam Preparation Tool.
This tool includes everything given in the above list, except the video sessions.
Apply for the PMP Exam
This is important.
You should immediately apply for the PMP exam after completing the PMP training. I have seen many professionals delay the PMP exam application process after completing the training and then they lose interest. They waited for the right movement; they thought they will apply for the exam when they are ready, and that moment never comes, and they slowly lose interest in becoming a PMP.
Schedule the PMP exam as soon as you get your 35 contact hours certificate.
Usually, three months’ time is enough for the PMP exam preparation. If you have spent two months of rigorous PMP exam preparation, I suggest scheduling the date for one month later.
Once you schedule the date, you will notice that you are more motivated and your studies are more punctual. You will see your hidden potential.
This all happens once you set the schedule.
Note that now you can attempt the exam from your home as well. However, if the test center is available in your city, I suggest you attempt the exam from the test center and not go for the home option.
Choose home proctoring only if the test center is not available in your city or you cannot go to the test center. Proctors are tough on exams that are conducted at home. Also, if your computer turns off, the camera stops working, or the computer lags, they may terminate your test even though it is not your fault.
Choose the home proctoring option carefully.
Now you can subscribe to a PMP exam simulator. I recommend you join Cornelius Fichtner (read my PMP Exam Simulator Review). This simulator provides you with enough practice questions and mock exams.
Practice these sample PMP questions, find your weak spots, and fill your knowledge gaps. Practicing PMP exam questions is an important stage in your PMP exam preparation. Don’t skip difficult questions. Work on them and understand the concepts.
In the PMP exam, you will see a few mathematical questions. If you are having issues with solving mathematics, I recommend you use my PMP Formula Guide, which is a comprehensive book for PMP math. I assure you after completing this book, you will be in a much better position to solve mathematical questions in the PMP exam.
When the exam date is near, you should start trying mock tests. These mock tests can be from:
Attempting these mock tests will build your stamina and confidence.
Attempt the Test
Now we come to the final stage of your PMP exam preparation.
If you are attempting the test from the test center and don’t know the location, visit the center a day before the exam. This will help you save time and stress finding the correct location on the day of the exam.
Reach the center at least half an hour before the exam so you can complete the formalities. Once you complete the formalities, you will be taken inside the examination hall and your test will begin.
Note that before the exam, you have to go through an awareness session, which has a 15 minute duration. This time is not added to the exam time. Take your time to follow this tutorial.
The duration of the PMP exam is 230 minutes, and it has 180 questions, including five pretest questions. The marks of these pretest questions are not added to your score because they are used in exams as an effective and legitimate way to test the validity of future PMP exam questions. These pretest questions are randomly placed, and you cannot discern if a question is real or a pretest questions.
Therefore, consider all 180 questions real questions.
The exam has three sections and two 10 minute breaks. The first break will appear after you complete the 60th question and review all the answers. You will get the second break after you have completed question 120 and reviewed the answers.
Understand that you cannot review the questions from the previous section once you review your responses and start your break.
After the break, you can use the remaining time to complete the final section. The total time is 230 minutes to answer 180 questions.
The exam is preceded by a tutorial and followed by a survey. These are optional and can take 5 to 15 minutes to complete. The tutorial and survey time are not included in the exam duration.
Complete the tutorial and note down important concepts on paper that you find difficult to recall. These concepts can be mathematical formulas or any information points.
Afterward, you can start answering questions.
Start by solving easy questions; if you get stuck on a question, skip and mark it for later review. Once you complete the section, revisit these questions and give yourself another chance to answer.
Do not leave any answers blank. The PMP exam has no negative marking, so answering those questions will give you at least a 25% chance of being correct.
If you still have some time after you have answered all questions, I recommend you review the answers. You may find some click errors. I remember I found a few wrong selections even though I knew the correct answers. It happened because I unknowingly clicked on the wrong answer.
Don’t make haste in the final submission. You won’t get this moment again. Use all the time allotted to you and then submit the answers.
After submitting the answers you have to complete a survey and then you will see your result.
I wish you get a congratulatory message.
Once you pass the PMP exam, you will get a printout of your result. Within ten days, you will receive a congratulatory message from PMI, and then you can see your result in your PMI account.
Until your results show in your PMI.org account, you can see your results on the PearsonVUE site. Then, within four to eight weeks, you will receive your PMP certificate.
With the right PMP exam preparation, you can pass your PMP certification on your first attempt. Ensure you have the right information, the right study resources, and, most importantly, the right PMP exam preparation plan. Stick to your plan, attempt the exam, and pass it.
Are you preparing for the PMP exam? Please share how your PMP exam preparation is going through the comments section.