The Secret to Clearing the PMP Exam

The mantra for clearing the PMP certification exam is practice and even more practice. The more you reinforce your learning by attempting mock tests, the better prepared you will be for the exam. Various researchers have emphasized on the importance of reflective learning. Learning is an ongoing process and reflecting on whatever has been learnt by means of practice is one of the best ways of perfecting the learning. After you have completed an in-depth study of a particular process group or a knowledge area of the PMBOK, attempt as many practice questions as you can. The practice will not only highlight your strengths and weaknesses, but it will also go a long way in boosting your morale for the exam. Set every score you attain as a benchmark and try to improvise on it the next time. Practicing reinforces your learning.

Resources for Preparing for the PMP Exam

While preparing for the PMP exam, make sure that you have a complete understanding of the PMBOK – all the knowledge areas, process groups, tools and techniques, inputs and outputs. Even if you consult other books for your preparation, the PMBOK Guide should still be your first reference material. Some highly recommended resources that you could refer to for your preparation (and which I myself used as part of my preparation for the PMP exam) are:

image PMP Exam Prep, Sixth Edition: Rita’s Course in a Book for Passing the PMP Exam

image The PMP Prepcast by Cornelius Fichtner, PMP

Tips for Clearing the PMP exam

No doubt all your preparation and hard work will come in handy while preparing for the exam, but here is a list of do’s and don’ts that you should adhere to:

  • Become a PMI member. By enrolling for the PMI membership, you can save on the examination cost (USD 405 for PMI members as against USD555 for non-members). Moreover, you are also provided access to a huge knowledge bank of books, CDs, whitepapers, journals etc on project management.
  • Make a systematic plan for your preparation and set targets for completing specific areas. Once the plan is in place, stick to it and try to beat your deadlines. With each passing day, you will feel even more confident about taking the exam.
  • Treat the PMBOK as your bible. For clarifying any doubts, it should serve as your first point of reference. Make sure that you go through it at least two to three times before your exam.
  • If you know of people who are planning to take the PMP certification exam, try and form a group and make it a point to get together and share key learning points and valuable insights. Being a part of a group encourages a healthy competition and it can serve as a big motivator. Another key advantage of forming a group is that you can share books and practice tests, without each person having to buy the reference/test material.
  • Make mind maps and cheat sheets for all the formulae, knowledge areas, and process groups detailed in the PMBOK. Keep these handy – you might want to stick them on a display board or save them on your desktop to serve as a ready reckoner. Go through these on a daily basis – this will help reinforce your learning and go a long way in boosting your confidence for the exam.
  • The last and the most important advice for getting PMP-certified is practice, practice, and practice. There is no better way of preparing yourself for the examination. Set your benchmark for each practice test and keep raising the bar for every subsequent attempt. It is not just about attempting the practice tests. What is more important is that you do a thorough analysis of the results and make a note of your weak areas and strengths. Introspection is extremely important. The secret is to work upon your weak areas and ensure that you achieve a better score the next time. At the same time, you should not feel over-confident about the areas in which you did well. Your focus should be on maintaining the results in your strong areas.
  • Before buying PMP practice tests, carefully analyze the manner in which the questions are framed. Ensure that the practice tests have questions from all the process groups and knowledge areas and provide a detailed diagnostic feedback at the end of each test.

Get enough sleep prior to the exam and go for the exam with a relaxed mind, confident of getting PMP-certified by the end of it. All the best!

“I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true — hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.” Ray Bradbury – 1920-, American Science Fiction Writer.

Affiliate program disclosure: Links to external products and/or services published in this post could earn me (should you decide to purchase them) some referral commission. Please note that I take my referrals seriously and under no circumstances would I recommend something I don’t genuinely believe is of high quality and of high professional value.

Note: PMI®, PMP®, and PMBOK® are registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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