I believe that everyone can learn from the experiences of others. In this article, I will share how I planned for and studied in order to pass the PMP exam. I followed these five steps:
1. Choose Your Preparatory Course
You need to search for at least three training centers and compare the material, benefits and costs. After that, choose the best cost/benefit for you. I recommend Master of Project Academy.
2. Choose Your Study Material
Pay attention when choosing the material. You will have a lot of options of books, courses, blogs and specialized websites that will offer everything about the PMP certification. You should choose, at maximum, three books because you will not have time to read more than that. When I studied for the exam, I used preparatory course materials, with books and simulation exams. I have no doubt that the material above is enough to study and pass the exam.
- A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide)
- The PMP Exam Prep textbook by Rita Mulcahy
- FASTrack PMP Exam simulation software (with over 1,600 questions)
3. Plan Your Studies
You’ll find that people who studied one month, three months, six months and even a year for the exam. You have to find the time-frame that will work best for you. In my case, I did the preparatory course, and after three months I took the exam with success.
My plan for studying was done in 7 steps:
- After I finished my preparatory course, I did my first FASTrack PMP Exam simulation to check my level of knowledge at that moment and recorded the results.
- I read the PMBOK Guide, underlined the main topics and wrote important notes.
- When I finished with the PMBOK Guide, I began studying the Mulcahy textbook, again underling the main topics and taking note of important facts.
- At this point, with much more knowledge, I did a second FASTrack simulation so that I could compare the results between the first and second simulations.
- The next step was a quick revision of the underlined topics and the important notes.
- Once I completed the revision, I did a third FASTrack exam so that I could compare the results of the three simulations and again track the improvement. At this point, I reached a 90% score in the simulation.
- The last step was a revision of some questions and topics to finish my studying and schedule the exam.
4. Start Eligibility for The Exam
In general, the first thing that people do is they start their eligibility to write the exam. However, consider that you have one year from the date that you became eligible. I consider that a mistake because sometimes you can’t follow through with your study plan. What can happen is, other priorities take over and before you know it you have lost that year of eligibility.So when is the best moment to start the eligibility period for the exam? I started mine when I finished my preparatory course and while I was working through my 7 step study plan. What did I need to meet eligibility? On the PMI.org, you can find the credential handbook that explains all of the details about eligibility: how to pay for the exam, the audit process, the process of Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR), etc.
5. Schedule The Exam
Schedule your exam after your eligibility has been approved. You can find all the information that you need in the handbook. The cost of the exam is $405USD for PMI members or $555USD for non-PMI members. You should consider becoming a PMI member before paying for your exam.
Make sure that you choose a Registered Education Provider (REP) that is registered and authorized by the Project Management Institute. Do not spend a lot of time searching for exam materials on the internet. It will take-away from your study time. There isn’t a “magic recipe” to being prepared for the exam. The key is to find your own way and time for studying. The three things I considered very important to achieving success was the following: planning, focus and discipline. While studying schedule your exam, it provides more motivation to study. Do not be afraid of the PMP exam! There’re a lot of things to study, and you may think that you aren’t prepared enough, but just simply follow your study plan and you will be successful. Believe in yourself!