6 Tips to Prepare for the PMP Exam

Last updated on March 20th, 2020

Getting your PMP certification is an important step in any project manager’s career. This certification can not only improve your career opportunities but also provides the resources required to excel at your job. Whilst the course does feed you all of the information required to be able to manage projects according to this international standard, it is the exam that provides the certification and as with any exam, preparation is key. PMP® Exam Prep can really help you nail down the exam. Read on to learn how you can prepare for this important exam.

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Following the PMP course, the PMP exam can prove to be a mettle-testing experience after all not everyone is well-equipped to handle the stress exams can throw at us. We recognize this and have come up with six pointers that can help you improve your chances through preparation and simulation so that you’re well-prepared and know exactly what to expect on the big day.

Before you start preparing for the exam, however, you need to come up with a studying project plan. Treat your PMP certification exam as a project including resource, risk, and quality management to truly get a handle on all the preparations you need to make whilst ensuring that you have enough of everything you need to prepare well and do well.

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Tip 1: Read the PMBOK guide

Reading the PMBOK guide should go without saying, but to make sure all of the bases are covered, we are including it as the first item on this list. The PMBOK guide contains everything you need to know, and you should come as close as possible to memorize it by heart. Treat it well and its fruits will be plentiful and sweet. Remember to give particular attention to the Knowledge Areas and Process Groups as well as their relations; a fundamentally important concept in the PMP curriculum.

Tip 2: Read 3rd party PMP textbooks

Third party textbooks can provide a wider point of view, explaining things ever so slightly different thus ensuring you fully understand a particularly difficult concept that perhaps you do not feel so confident about. There are many different PMP books to choose from and book review sites can help you make a better decision. Rita Mulcahy’s PMP® Exam Prep and The Velociteach All-In-One PMP® Exam Prep Kit by Andy Crowe are both good books that can really help you widen your understanding.

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Tip 3: Attend PMP exam workshops

Exam workshops are a great way to help you deal with some of the anxiety exams can bring, in a workshop setting where you are able to ask questions and get feedback about anything that is particularly bothering you. The advantage of workshops is that they allow you to immerse yourself in a PMP environment with the help of professionals to assist you at hand and whose job is to help you succeed.

Tip 4: Sit for online PMP exam simulators

Online exam simulators can help you knock the edge off anxiety when it comes to sitting in the real exam by providing you with a pre-experience of what to expect when it comes to the moment of truth. A good percentage of the nerves one feels during an exam is due to the uncertainty so knock it off its feet by sitting for an online PMP exam simulator. Remember that cheating in an exam simulator will not help you get your certificate if anything it will instill a false sense of confidence. Fail at training, win at the match.

Tip 5: Find a study group

If you have the facility of joining a local or online study group, do so. Groups not only offer motivation and demand commitment, but they can also act as a sounding board, helping you get feedback and insight from other project managers and PMP students with real-life project management experience. To make study groups work, be sure to set a schedule and an agenda and always be ready to help out fellow students to receive help back. If you cannot find a study group, take the initiative and host your own, inviting fellow students and people who can offer you both insight and knowledge.

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Tip 6: Take PMP practice exams

Practice exams can really help you nail the exam through practice; answering the same sort of questions that you will find in the exam. Aim to score 85% or above to give you enough wiggle-room to really ace the exam. Remember that the exam is closed book and as such aim to not refer to any material whatsoever except what is in your head. Some mock exams can provide you with a detailed report once you’ve completed the task so be sure to check beforehand. Jot down notes about questions you were uncertain of and make sure you have enough time to revise before the actual exam.

As a project manager and PMP hopeful, taking the initiative and the lead needs to come naturally to you. If you find this difficult, put yourself out there and take bold steps towards a brighter future. Even the best of us can get nervous at times, the important thing is whether you let this stop you or empower you. After all, if it was easy everyone would be a PMP.

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Exams can bring a lot of anxiety and nerves as they put all of the hours and mental resources we put into the test. Take time to relax, after all, you don’t want to be drawing blanks when it comes to the exam. Just like finding keys in the morning, they are invariably more difficult to find when you’re late and in a state of panic so rest well, eat well, and remember you will have all of the answers in your head – as long as you study and put in the work.