Project management is a highly competitive profession. At some point project managers realize they have to get the PMP Certification in order to stand out. It’s the industry standard and being a certified project management professional means that you are really good at what you are doing. But this is not an easy exam. It takes quite some time to prepare for it. On average, you need at least half a year if you study on a regular basis. The exam has 200 questions and you have 4 hours to answer them. Which means, that you have 1 minute 20 seconds per question.
So, why do most of the candidates fail the first time they take the exam? According to statistics, nearly half of first-time candidates do not pass the exam. It might come as a surprise, as all of the people present in the PMP examination room are already project managers. In fact, you need at least three years of project management experience just to be allowed to sit for the exam.
From my personal experience, the most common reason for failing the exam is the lack of questions practice. Candidates know the theory, they have real practice, but 1 minute 20 seconds per question at most means that you have to scan the question and answer, scan and answer… for four hours. If you don’t practice enough to answer those questions fast, you will be shocked and exhausted on the day of the exam. Some of the questions are very long with extraneous information and you can easily lose track of the scenario of the question while you are reading it. And you absolutely have no time to read a question twice. The trick is when you see a very long paragraph, you start with the last sentence of this paragraph, with the actual question. Then you read the answers. And only then you read the whole paragraph. This method helps to sort out important information from extraneous information. Also, it will make the reading of the paragraph easier and more effective.
The method presented above will not work with every question. There are formula based PMPquestions, situational questions, knowledge-based questions, interpretational questions, specific technique questions and PMBOK guide knowledge questions.Your goal should be to train yourself answer a question after question, using different reading techniques.
The formula of success to pass pmp exam is to know these tricks to answer the questions fast and not get confused. And the only way to get this experience and find your own ways of dealing with various types of questions is to practice, practice and practice. Find all available sample questions out there and answer them. Then do it again. It’s like when a bodybuilder spends hours in gym every day and then he realizes that he is finally in a perfect shape – you will feel it. You will know that you are ready to schedule your exam and nail it. Do not rush into it right after reading a theory book or taking a few days course. You might be a great project manager, but to get your PMP Certification will take effort and time. I hope the experience I wanted to share will be valuable and I wish you all good luck in your endeavors.