Passing the PMP Certification Exam Project Management Training Prep Course

How Do I Pass the PMP Certification Exam?

That’s probably the most frequently asked question we get when teaching the PMP Prep Course. Our response usually is, you need to know the PMBOK inside and out — but the reality is you need to know how to apply the concepts to real-world scenarios.

Passing the PMP Certification Exam

Passing the PMP Exam – Project Management Training

Time-wise, it is difficult to tell how much you have to study and for how long. I often get asked this question: “How many weeks do I need to study to pass the exam?” Obviously, that will vary per person because it is based on their ability to absorb the material and how well they can apply the processes, and their math skill level. So, what I tell my students when preparing for the exam is to not focus on the time it takes, but rather follow the following steps for as long as it takes:

  • Read the PMBOK first before you take the course. This way, you can ask any questions you might have and clear up any doubts while you have an expert teaching the course.
  • Attend the exam prep course and get the most out of it. So often, I see people distracted with work or other activities. However, staying focused during the four or five days to obtain the 35 contact hours is key. Therefore, turn your phone, tablet, or laptop off unless you use the latter to take notes. If you are waiting on an important call, then place the phone on vibrate and ignore all other non-critical calls.
  • Review and study your notes from the course and the PMBOK. Take as long as you need to thoroughly re-read and study the exam material at your disposal, which might also include other study materials, such as flashcards of study apps.
  • Take as many practice exam questions as possible. Although the new exam has 175 questions, you don’t need to go through a full set every time. Try and answer 25 to 50 questions at a time. You can accomplish this on the train to and from work if you commute, during your lunch hour, or in the evening after work. I tell people to try and take at least 1,000 questions in total and shoot for a consistent minimum score of 80% before sitting for the exam.

Project Management Training

Again, of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting to pass the PMP exam, but try to focus on understanding the material’s logic and purpose first. It will make taking the exam a lot easier since most of the questions are not definitions but rather situational. Therefore, the only way you can answer the question is by having a clear grasp of the processes, tools and techniques, and the PMI approach to project management.

How Do I Pass the PMP Certification Exam?

Passing the PMP Certification Exam – Project Management Training

We have prepared a sample quiz to help you get a feel of the questions on the test – PMP SAMPLE QUIZ.

We asked past participants who had taken and passed the exam what their experience was like. We hope these insights will help you prepare for your exam. Here is what they told us –

  • Few straightforward definition/calculation questions – most were interpretive.
  • I recommend doing a “brain dump” of the 47 processes to provide the comfort of knowing which methods go in which sequence because such questions come up a bit.
  • CV, SV, CPI, and SPI questions. These require either calculating these values or interpreting the project status (behind schedule, under budget, etc.)
  • Contract type questions are common, such as the type of contract described or used: T&M, CPFF, FP-EPA.
  • Questions involving Lessons Learned.
  • Inputs to Project Charter and Project Management Plan. Recommend knowing all the ITTOs for these processes.
  • More questions involving Stakeholders have been added since the exam was revised this January.
  • Emotional intelligence (EQ) questions have been coming up in the exam lately. Recommend understanding the term and in which situations EQ would be helpful.
  • Quality questions included the Ishikawa/Fishbone/Cause and Effect Diagrams as part of the correct answer, the Pareto Diagram and principle, and the Control Charts.
  • There have been one or two questions regarding the Tornado Diagram and the Affinity Diagram to collect and categorize stakeholders’ input to the PM Plan.
  • Risk Identification questions are common, including how to treat a newly identified risk, such as what to do first: implement a workaround or update the risk register or perform qualitative risk analysis.
  • Procurement questions sometimes relate to what to do if a seller is not performing or if the sub-contracting company gets sold to another firm while under an ongoing contract.
  • Memorize the definitions for crashing and fast-tracking, as well as when it is appropriate or more effective to use one over the other.
  • Know inside out the definition of Resource Calendars and Staff Management Plan
  • There are often questions regarding Risk Responses, such as implementing a contingency plan, defining a workaround, updating the Risk Register or the entire PM Plan.
  • There are questions regarding team-building activities and what the expected outcome might be.
  • Recommend knowing what the potential impacts of change requests are.
  • There are questions regarding administrative closure and what is required to close a project and the ITTOs.
  • Questions involving PERT / Three-Point calculations for both cost and time. Often the question does not specify using either the Triangular or Beta Distribution formulas. Therefore, the need to calculate both and then match the correct answer with one of the two calculations.
  • Questions regarding Conflict Management and what is the best way to resolve them depending on the situation.
  • Remember that though not the overall favorites, sometimes forcing/directing or avoiding might apply in the right situation. In general, however, Collaborating/Problem-solving offers a more long-term solution.
  • Know the SOW goal, definition, and where it applies (i.e., Project Charter and Procurement Documents.)
  • Critical Path Method (CPM) questions often appear on the exam. Therefore, it is essential to understand the principle and the purpose and importance of calculating float.
  • Recommend you understand the lifecycle of the “Deliverable”:
Deliverables Control Quality Verified Deliverables
Verified Deliverables Validate Scope Accepted Deliverables
Accepted Deliverables Close Phase of Project Transitioned Deliverables
  • A few questions are sometimes about the kick-off meeting. Know when this takes place, who is involved, and what the goal is.
  • There are often questions regarding communication channels ((n*n-1)/2). Remember to add the project manager as part of the number of stakeholders.
  • Remember, when the “Probability x Impact Analysis” first occurs. During the Perform Qualitative, Risk Analysis” (correct answer) or the “Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis.”
  • It is essential to understand when to use which of the two To-Complete-Performance-Index (TCPI) formulas. One is when the Budget at Completion (BAC) needs to stay the same. In other words, when changing the budget is not an option. And the other use the Estimate at Completion (EAC), which is an updated budget.
  • There are often questions regarding the Tuckman Ladder (FORMING, STORMING, NORMING, PERFORMING ADJOURNING), such as in which phase team members begin to work more effectively.

Project Management Training

Project Management Training

We hope these insights help you prepare adequately. If you have any questions or we can be of assistance — please contact us at [email protected].

Passing the PMP Certification Exam

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