I could tell you that of all the certification I’ve acquired as a Tech Professional, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification was the toughest to achieve.
This is not tough in terms of just to study effort, but financially as well. I literally spent thousands of dollars as I had to made two international travels (there was not exam center in my country at the time), take the PMP courses as well as join a local PMI chapter.
I sat for the exam twice and passed it at the second sitting and now I would share these five hints with you so you could make it the first time and avoid making the mistake I made. At a different day, I could share my story.
- Participate in Project Management Activities
- Set Aside Sufficient Time to Prepare
- Make Sure You Pass Mock Exams First
- Write a Full Project Management Plan
- Complete Reading the PMBOK Guide at Least 3 Times
Let’s get started with the first point
1. Participate in Project Management Activities
The truth is that the PMP certification is unique. You really can not memorize the study materials and make it through. You need develop the Project Management mindset. This means that you develop overall view of work role: seeing work activities in terms of cost, resources, budget, schedule, stakeholders, risks etc.
You can only develop this mindset if you get involved to some extent with Project Management activities. So try to reach out to Project Managers in your organization to understand how they do things. You could also leave me a comment below this article if you would need my assistance.
2. Spent Sufficient Time to Prepare
I would recommend you make out at least 6 months for preparation. This means that you could use about 1 hour everyday to read and study for the exam. Remember you have much to learn includes some aspects of cost analysis, so you need some time to get your head around these things.
3. Make Sure you Pass Mock Exams First
The rule of thumb here is simple: ‘if you have not passed the mock exams satisfactorily, then don’t attempt the real exam’.
The current passing score for the PMP exam is 80.6%! That is quite high considering the fact that the questions are scenario-based and not easy. Therefore you need to score about 90% on your mock exams a number of times, before you can say you’re ready to go for the PMP exam.
4. Write a Project Management Plan
This may actually be the most tasking part of your prep effort. But Trust me, this is a key to success in the PMP. A Project Management Plan is a document that defines how a project would progress. It contains every bit of details about the project activities.
So go read up Project Management Plan and develop one for a hypothetical project. You could let me know if you have challenges using the form to the left of this page.
5. Complete Reading the PMBOK Guide at Least 3 Times
The PMP exam is based on the PMB Guide, but note that it’s just a guide to help you understand the concepts of Project Management. However, the questions are based on how you can apply the concepts in real work scenario. So step 1 is to know the concepts which are actually covered close to 100% in the exam.
I’m sure that with the right effort and motivation, you will make it through the PMP certification path.
I wish you success in your efforts!
You may also want to read the following:
- 5 Reasons You Need Project Management Skills
- 5 Keys to Getting Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification
- Summary of the 10 Project Management Process Group (So you don’t forget)
- 5 Stages of Team Development – Tuckman’s Model (PMP Exams Nuggets)
- Five Conflict Resolution Techniques Every Employee/Manager Should Know (from PMBOK)