Lessons Learned From The PMP Certification Exam

There are many methods for you to prepare for the grueling 4 hour PMP Exam. We’ve outlined a few of the most successful here:

1. PMP Exam Prep Classes or Boot Camps: These cram session courses are specifically designed to fill your mind with the knowledge required to pass the test. Typically a more expensive route, but very effective at helping you beat the PMP Exam. We recommend Exam Prep Classes through Pinnacle 3 Jamb expo Learning, as their classes are priced mid-range and provide project managers with more understanding of real life application than that of industry competitors. Most of these courses qualify for contact hours or PDU’s, which can be used on your application with PMI.

2. Self-Paced Study efforts: There are numerous books and materials out there to assist you in preparing for the PMP Exam. Most provide more in depth understanding of the PMBOK. Self-paced study happens on your schedule. Progress at your individual pace. Studies have shown that individualized programs enable the majority of people to complete the material more quickly. In addition, it also allows slower learners to set a pace commensurate with their learning speed. In a traditional training program, all participants are usually required to go through the material at the same time and pace. Self-paced Learning gives students a chance to speed up or slow down as necessary. Be sure which product you buy is PMBOK aligned. is a great place to start. The PMP Success Study Guide is PMBOK aligned, easy to comprehend and very exam focused. Great exam tips included.

3. Practice Exam (Simulation): Practicing against simulated PMP® Exam Questions is one of the absolute best ways to prepare for the actual exam. Completing multiple practice exams gives the learner an opportunity to better understand the exam layout, types of questions and pace of the exam. 200 questions over 4 hours equals roughly 1.2 minutes per question. You have to learn to gauge your exam pace. Many people use a predictor. To do this, make columns on a sheet, one for 90%, one for 50% and one for 25%. If you know the answer to a question with little or no doubt, put a mark under 90% column, if you think you know the answer to a question, but there may be an alternate correct answer, put a mark under the 50% column, if you have to guess at the answer, place a mark in the 25% column. At the end of the exam total up the 90% marks say you have 114 * .90 = 104. Similarly for 50% say 60 marks under the 50% column, 60* .50 = 30. Finally total number of marks under 25%, in this example 26 * .25 = 6.5. 104 + 30 + 6.5 = 140 (pass)

As you practice against the sample questions adjust these. If your predictor is consistently high say 180% and you are scoring lower change the ratios. For me I find 80%, 50% formula works was the best predictor. You can do these calculations in your head.

Develop A Study Strategy

· Pre-Test. Use the exam simulator at to gauge your learning efforts. By knowing what your scores are, you can focus on the areas you need the most work on. I did lots questions before and after a knowledge area, worked on weaker or questionable questions. This teaches you to read the questions carefully…Sometimes you see a common or re-occurring theme.

· If you are a visual learner write things down as you study. I created terms, glossaries and definitions by writing it helped me remember things

· Create flashcards with important project management processes, terms and equations. On one side of the card put the term and on the other side write the equation. When I had time, I would thumb through the cards. It was not important to memorize all the terms, since the test is multiple choice. However, you must be prepared to recognize the definition, or a variant of the definition, as well as how and when you might apply it.

· Learn what is required to pass the PMP test. You may have techniques and processes that work better than the PMI way, but for the purposes of passing the test, it is the PMI way that matters.

· The more experience you have as a veteran project manager the more difficult you will find the exam. The reason is best answer. Experience or personal best practices tell you one thing, where the PMI approach may be slightly different. This doesn’t mean you’re not a qualified PM, but it can skew your exam scores. Always answer the PMP Exam questions from PMI’s perspective.


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