Although passing the PMP is the main goal of taking the exam, I often feel that it is the only goal for many people, but it could be more. By the time you are ready to sit for the exam, you have had a few years of project management experience, you have also taken a course to help you pass, and you have studied and understood the content. Therefore, for me, the latter, understanding the content, should be enough to pass the exam and, more importantly, improve your management skills. In other words, if you have done the work consciously and thoroughly, then you understand what the PMP is about, and the exam should then be almost like a drill. That said, there are tricks and steps to remember.
Passing the PMP Exam
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.
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.
Passing the PMP Exam – Project Management Workshops and Online Learning