The Project Management Professional or PMP certification is a globally recognized credential in the domain of project management. According to research, employers would come across the need to fill up 2.2 million new project-oriented roles annually till 2027.
Therefore, you can notice the prolific demand for project managers.
If you are reading this blog, our assumption is you already know what PMP is and all that fun jazz. If not, we would highly recommend you go through the below blog that talks in detail about PMP and a lot of basic questions that are already answered in that blog.
Here: Beginners guide on PMP.
So, let’s get to business and talk about two important things –
“How to prepare for PMP exam?”
“What to expect in the PMP exam?”
Let’s break it down…
How to prepare for the PMP exam?
The recipe for success in the PMP certification exam is “perseverance.” It was announced that the PMP Exam’s course work would be changed from 1 January 2021 by the Project Management Institute.
PMI announced the release of the PMBoK® Guide 7th edition in August 2021. The actual exam is a mix of traditional project management/hybrid and Agile-focused methodologies.
How much time does it take to prepare for PMP?
In reality, it takes time and effort to become a good project manager. Some folks take as little as 3 weeks of preparation time. However, on average, to clear the certification exam, if you study diligently, every day for 2-3 hours, you should be ready in about 2-3 months.
Remember, the objective is not just to clear the certification but also to understand and retain the knowledge about project management. Your project management experience can really help you with exam prep.
PRO TIP: Create a study schedule. Human beings are creatures of habit. So, having consistency in preparing for the PMP Exam is essential.
What resources to study for PMP?
- Rita Mulcahy’s 10th edition book – The book has all the details you’d need to pass your exam. Additionally, there are quizzes at the end of each chapter which are very helpful. It is recommended that you go through the book at least once.
- Agile Guidebook from PMI – Not mandatory to buy this book. But if you do, read it once, skim through all the topics one more time, and finally read annexes before the exam day.
PRO TIP: Do yourself a favor and buy used books. You would not need these books once you clear the exam.
- YouTube videos – Good old YouTube has a plethora of information. Search for PMP and agile PMP videos, and you get a ton of materials. You can have these videos play on the go while traveling or doing your chores. Listening to the YouTube videos can cement the PMP knowledge in your head about topics like roles and events/ceremonies of Agile, ITTO. Some YouTube options are Andrew Ramdayal’s, Ricardo Vargas, and PMPwithRay.
- Practice Exams – Many people can relate to the concepts better when they take the practice tests. There are many mock exams available out there, and you can easily spend upwards of $50. However, if you are looking for affordable mock exams, check out the below link-
Try free sample questions.
PRO TIP: Give yourself 4 hours, twice a week, and buckle down. When writing the practice exam, mark all questions that you’re unsure of or have answers with terms you’ve never seen before so you can review afterward. Once complete, spend the next few days going through all “marked” and “incorrect answers” one by one and ensure you understand where you went wrong and all the other answers.
- Scrum Guide – If you are working in technology, you should definitely give this a read – Getting started with Scrum
- PMBOK book – We kept this resource at the end. If you have read Rita Mulcahy’s book in detail, you can skim through this book.
- Study notes – This is a must as part of your PMP study plan. Create some good notes as you go through the exam prep courses. This will eventually become your personalized study guide. Read through these notes a day before you take the mock tests and also before the actual PMP exam.
PMP Exam Fee
Member: ₹23,459.00 | $405.0
Non-member: ₹42,863.00 | $555.0
PMP vs. Scrum: Which one to choose?
So, what’s the passing score for PMP?
Page 30 of the PMP Handbook says the following:
Establishing the Passing Score
The passing score for all PMI exams is determined by sound psychometric analysis. PMI uses subject matter experts – project professionals from around the world and many different disciplines – to determine how many questions you must answer correctly to pass the exam. Each scored question on the exam is worth one point, and your final score is calculated by totaling the points you have earned on the exam. The number of questions you answer correctly places you within one of the performance rating categories you see on this report.
PMI does not publish what a passing score is because each exam is “unique.” You get a randomized set of 200 questions from the test bank. Some exams, due to this randomization, are harder than others who pull “easier” questions.
In other words… PMI keeps this a secret!
That said, if you are consistently scoring around 75% in your mock tests, you are ready!
What to expect in the PMP exam?
Once you’ve gone through the study materials, it’s time to sit for the actual exam. Reminder to go through the practice questions a couple of days before the exam day.
Here are some tips for the actual PMP exam:
- It is recommended that you check-in early, regardless of taking the exam at home or at the exam center. If you take the PMP exam at home, you can check into the exam 30 minutes before your appointment time. This would give you enough time to upload all the pictures necessary to prove your exam space is good to go and maybe fix some things about your desk setup if not right.
- The most important thing is time management. You have a time limit of 230 mins to complete 180 questions. This means you get approx— 1min 15 seconds to answer a question. You do get a total of two 10-minute breaks for computer-based tests.
- Note that the timer is shown in the upper right corner of the screen as you take the exam.
- You have a block of 60 questions – 10-minute break – 60 questions – 10-minute break – 60 questions.
- The break time doesn’t count as exam time. Also, after you finish and submit each 60 question block, it will show you a timer of one minute to choose: take the break or skip the break. The timer goes 60 seconds, and it will automatically place you on break if you don’t select anything. This way, you can get yourself two extra break minutes! You can choose to skip the breaks.
PRO TIP: ALWAYS TAKE A BREAK!
- The exam is 95% situational questions based – something happens, what should a project do next or first. Most of the questions focus on the hybrid methodology, but it does include a mix of predictive, agile, and hybrid topics. Additionally, you’ll see questions on moving from Predictive to Agile, a lot of Servant Leadership questions, Conflict management, SPI/CPI questions, a few MBTI questions.
- If you are not sure of the correct answer, flag those questions. Review these at the end of each 60 question block. If it helps, you can highlight keywords and statements in the questions. Select the text and then hit either ALT+J (in windows) to highlight the body of the question.
- You can’t review all 180 questions at the end of the exam. So answer 60 questions, flag ones you want to revisit, review the flagged ones for the first 60 — then take a break and rinse and repeat twice. So you have to make sure to answer the 60 questions in roughly 65 minutes, so you have 10 minutes to review.
- Use the process of elimination for removing answer choices that make no sense at all. You can use the strikethrough tool to help with visual aid. Use the strikethrough tool (ALT+W in windows to strikethrough wrong answers) to strike any term or answer that looked flat-out incorrect and narrow down the choices to the best one.
- Using this technique, you will find that most questions come down to at most two somewhat realistic answer options, and you can now go with your gut feeling. This increases the probability of getting the answer right.
- Don’t get intimidated by lengthy questions. Zone in on the keywords in the question text to get to the correct answer. For example, a question might talk about risks in a given scenario. In this case, having a good understanding of change control, how to deal with known and unknown risks, when to select what kind of contracts would be helpful to answer the question.
- Here is another alternate time management view. You can create your own if it makes you feel better. This will help you stay on track and press the accelerate button if needed.
If you are prepping for the exam soon, don’t feel pressured to buy multiple exam simulators or buy multiple exam prep books.
PRO TIP: UNDERSTAND the mindset!
It is so so important. You will feel good on the exam once you get the mindset right.
Good luck in your journey to becoming a Project Manager!
Give back to the PMP community
If you want to know the best and effective strategy to prepare for the exam, pay attention to the experience of successful PMP cert holders in the industry who have already cleared the exam.
Also- “You get what You give.”
Once you clear the exam, now it’s time to help others. Anyone who has taken the pain of going through the journey is proud of their achievement. Sharing your experience can help many others save their time and energy while preparing for the exam, and we all understand how valuable time is for everyone.
Here is an invitation from Reviewnprep’s community to share your journey and encourage others.
Let’s learn and grow together.
Still, have questions running on your mind? Stop overthinking! and ask an experienced professional.
You can ask questions from PMP professionals in our forums. We love to interact 🙂
Read next: How to Prepare for CAPM Certification