How to prepare for PMP Certification?

PMP is a serious exam and you need to put up a serious effort preparing for the exam. While the amount of time people put in varies from one individual to another, it took me around 3 months for PMP exam prep. I am listing below a few things that I have done that helped me clear PMP.
  • I read through PMBOK to understand the PMI framework of project management. This is important because PMP throws questions at you that have multiple answer options that seem to be correct. While going through PMBOK, I made a note of some important formulae and tables like the one on Process Groups. This was very helpful for my daily preparation and also helped my last minute preparation.
  • I also attended a Bootcamp training session of 4 days. Since my goal is to get the PMP certification (I’m sure you would agree too!), and not to learn project management from PMI, attending a Boot camp helped me prioritize my preparation time.
  • I used to read one chapter and attempt the practice questions at the end of the chapter. This helped me clear out any confusion I had while answering some tricky questions.
  • I took many full-length Mock tests just to get an idea of what it takes to attempt 200 questions in one go. PMP has a 4-hour exam. That’s a lot of time sitting in one place and focusing on the exam, navigating through tricky questions. Given my job experience, I have this habit of constantly moving around checking on my team’s progress or making or answering calls. Taking multiple Mock tests helped me get comfortable with the duration of the exam and also gave me an idea on the areas that I performed well versus those where I did not perform well. Based on this I could tweak my preparation plan strengthening myself in areas where I was not doing too well.
  • Before the day of the exam, I had a good sleep and stayed relaxed. It’s not a bad idea to get a day off on the day before the exam.
  • On the day of the exam, I carried a high carb snack, a bottle of water, a pair of earplugs (with no wires attached), and a sweater and make sure you keep these outside the locker allotted to you so you can access them when you need to. There is a list of things prohibited from the testing center, key to note - calculators! Refer to PMI for more on this.
  • Make sure you carry your original identification - could be your driving license, passport, or some other ID issued by Government. Please note that Social security cards and Library cards are not accepted. Refer to PMI’s website for more details on this.
  • Arrive at the test center at least 20 min in advance to get settled.
  • Before the exam, you will see a 15 min tutorial. You will also be supplied with empty papers and pencils. Use the 15 min and the papers and pencil to your advantage. I noted down key information that is useful during the exam.
  • The exam is of 4 hrs duration. Do take breaks to stay recharged but limit them to a minimum to save on time. Each time you take a break you need to log out and log back in.
  • During the exam, I tried to hit the ones that I was confident about; marked the rest for later and revisited them once I had completed reviewing all 200 questions. I did a second pass and attempted a few more that I had an idea about but not as confident about as the ones I cleared in the first pass. Keep an eye on the timer and make sure you have not left out anything incomplete.

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Maria Thomas