Acing the Project Management Professional Exam

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If you think project management professional (PMP) exam is a cakewalk, think again. Statistics indicate that two out of five people fail in their first attempt. This is because this exam is one of the toughest. If the observations of Project Management Institute (PMI) is anything to go by, even more than 35 hours or more spent in preparing for the PMP exam is no guarantee of clearing it on first try.

Why is PMP certification important?

PMP certification, conferred by the PMI, is important because it is not only the most industry-recognized certification, but also meets global management standards. Industries employing PMP certified personnel repose full faith in their knowledge and formalized training.

This is because of the stringent uniform standards imposed by PMI in training project managers. For the PMP certified individuals, this certification comes as a boon, since it enables them to earn 20 percent more than non-certified project management personnel.

How to prepare for the PMP exam?

PMP exam is tougher than other exams and requires extensive preparations of several months to pass. Following are the tips to ace this exam:

#1 Devour the PMBOK Guide

Well, not literally, but you need to be absolutely thorough with this guide, since the PMP exam is largely based on it. If you study one knowledge area of PMBOK Guide every week along with other study material, you will be on the right lines. Instead of mugging up the material, understanding it will stand you in good stead. The guide tests you how well you can imbibe and apply concepts, principle and ideas. Repeatedly going over it will help you understand it better.

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#2 Get acquainted with PMP prep book

PMP Prep Book introduces you to difficult questions that you can expect in PMP exam. It provides a clear guide to tackle them. It tests your ability to apply your learning in real-life scenarios. This book will not only teach you the basics, but make you familiar in dealing with inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. This will help you discover the connectivity between the processes and understand them better.

#3 Attend PMP exam prep workshops

There is really no alternative to attending workshops, since it provides an opportunity for one-on-one interaction. Attending PMP exam prep workshops is an excellent way of networking with other aspiring PMPs, besides PMI membership. You not only get to meet and discuss with other aspirants, but also meet the mandated 35 hours required to apply for PMP exam.

#4 Opt for online preparation courses

Less expensive than in-person workshops, online training courses are designed to suit your specific study needs. So, choose the one that suits your study style the best. The best way to shortlist them is to read reviews and testimonials about them and compare them with each other.

#5 Take practice PMP exams

Known as PMP simulators, these mock exams are hosted online and are exactly on the lines of actual PMP exam. What’s more, they replicate the exam environment to make you get used to the pressure and time constraints faced during actual exam. These simulated exams are the best way to gauge your level of preparation.

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#6 Use flash cards

At times, you only require a keyword to recollect what you have learned. A flash card serves that purpose. All you need to do is to write the keywords on flash cards, flash them and write about the subject in detail. These cards are not only cost effective, but also can be taken along anywhere. These can be of paper or electronic, which can be accessed through a computer or smartphone. Preparing them by hand will help in better retention.

#7 Become part of study groups and discussion forums

The more you interact with other aspirants, the more knowledge you will gain. And study groups and discussion forums do this remarkably well. Interacting with others is the best way to clarify your doubts and queries. It will also significantly reduce your preparation time. So, become an active participant of such groups and forums, which will not only help you pass the PMP exam, but others too.


Play smart using the above tips and save yourself the drudgery of preparing for the PMP exam all by yourself. Using the study material, taking mock tests and getting involved in live interactions with other aspirants will see you through the PMP exam and get you the much coveted PMP certification.