PMP Exam Study Plan: 7 Steps For Success
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If you have chosen the path of becoming a Project Management Professional, you need to understand the concepts tested on the PMP Exam and have a solid study strategy in order to get your certification. The exam is quite in-depth and there is a lot to learn, and we’re here to help!
The good news is that we have come up with a great PMP Exam Study Plan to help you succeed, keep reading to find out more:
The Project Management Professional certification exam consists of 200 multiple choice options. 25 of the multiple-choice questions are based on quality control and monitoring. These specific questions, however, are placed randomly throughout the exam. They are not marked as part of the results, but you need to answer each question of your PMP exam carefully.
Project Management Professional exam questions are derived from three domains:
- Business Environment
Are You Ready For The PMP Exam?
Project Management Professional certification exam prep takes a serious amount of time. If you are already working in an industry and pursuing certification in your spare time, you need a quality PMP study plan to ensure you are using your valuable time effectively.
Read more below to see our seven-step process for your PMP certification exam study plan:
Step 1: Choose Your PMP Exam Test Date
Evaluate your workload and schedule for the months leading up to the exam date and set specific amounts of time that you can dedicate to your PMP studies.
To get an idea of how long it should take you to study, 70-85 hours will be needed on average. Depending on your background and skill set, you might need more time.
If you can dedicate around 6-8 hours of study a week for PMP study then you should be able to achieve your study goals across the period of 3 months. Setting an exam date around four months ahead is a reasonable for most people, but if you have a busier than regular schedule or have holidays in that time, you may want to either dedicate more time to study each week or choose a date further in the future.
Step 2: Create A Study Schedule
Once you have set your PMP target date, you need to establish a detailed program for your study schedule. To get into a good routine, you should attempt to put aside a specific day or two every week as consecutive study periods. It only takes a few weeks to set this method and if you are dedicated to achieving your goal on your set date, you’ll quickly make it into a habit.
Here are some additional tips for making a great study schedule plan:
Each knowledge section features different content and you should aim to finish at least one chapter per week. Keep in mind that all these parts are not the same size; some will take longer or shorter amounts of time to finish.
Some weeks you won’t be able to commit to a full module due to work or other commitments, but on other days you might be able to dedicate double the time to your PMP exam preparation. The best strategy is to work these events into your schedule and cater for ups and downs. Averaging out your workload to one section per week is just a baseline.
Step 3: Take Notes
During your studies, you will likely see plenty of terms you don’t quite understand, including concepts you will need to remember and essential formulas that will be a part of the exam. Because the preparation for the exam takes months, you should start a book from the beginning with all the essential notes you mark down for the duration of your preparation schedule.
When studying any subject for a substantial length of time you will almost inevitably forget some things from the beginning. However, if you take notes you are more likely to be able to go back and find them if it’s all in the one place, which will allow you to easily refresh your memory.
Step 4: Take PMP Practice Exams
Regularly take PMP practice exams to see what level of preparedness you are at and find what elements you need to improve on. You will be in the best possible position to go forward if you do this. Finding and taking PMP practice exams online is a simple process and it won’t hurt you if you get the answers wrong. All you have to do is take notes to ensure you know your weak points and then study hard in order to make them stronger.
Step 5: Fix Your Wrong Answers
After you take notes about any answers that you get wrong, devote some of your study time toward working out the correct answers. If you know your mistakes, you should know how to fix them so they won’t come back to haunt you on the actual exam. If you have more wrong answers in one section than others, you may need to revisit that chapter.
Step 6: Revise Your Notes
The PMP exam will take months to prepare for, and if you want to be ready then you’ll need to revise your notes at least once a week. This will reinforce your memory of key concepts and will adequately prepare you for what’s in store when you finally sit for the PMP certification exam. If you can dedicate around half an hour a week to revising your notes, maybe while you are eating dinner or before bed, your chances of remembering all the important things will be significantly higher.
Step 7: Sit For The Exam
Once you are confident that you have studied thoroughly, you remember all your notes, and you have taken a few practice exams and achieved consistent scores over 70 percent, it’s time to sit the PMP certification exam. Finalize your PMP certification exam date, make all proper logistical arrangements, and go into preparation mode. It’s a good idea to not cram too much for the exam in the last week but you should ensure that you remember all your notes and revise any weaker areas of your knowledge.
This next step is very important. Read carefully:
Like any test, it’s vital to go into the PMP exam focused. To maintain a razor-sharp focus for this exam, you need to relax and get enough sleep before the exam day. When it comes down to the day of the exam, you want to aim to arrive at least an hour before you sit the exam in case there is traffic or other unanticipated circumstances that occur.
The Best Way to Study for The PMP Exam
Studying for your PMP certification exam can be done in three different ways. Depending on the time you have on your hands and your specific situation, one method might be better than the others. The most important thing to note is that you need to be able to commit to your study plan in order to succeed, so if your circumstances make it difficult to study in one way, consider an alternative method.
The three ways to attend PMP training are:
- Classroom Training
- Live Online Classroom Training
- Self-Paced Online Training
PMP Classroom Training
PMP classroom training is the traditional method of learning and can be very effective. However, as many people who attend PMP training courses are already working full-time positions, it can be challenging to find the time to complete this type of training. PMP training providers in your city offer classroom training, making this your best option if you prefer face-to-face education.
PMP classroom training is typically organized for evenings or on the weekends and if you are working full-time this can be stressful and draining both mentally and physically. As some training sessions can be very intense, this option does not suit a lot of people. However, its time-tested effectiveness can’t be denied and it is an excellent choice for those who can manage it.
Online Self-Paced PMP Training
Online self-paced PMP training is a convenient option for the modern student, with online courses proving to be very popular in almost every industry. The flexibility of an online course means you can choose when you study and when you view a class; you can fit it in around your already busy schedule. You will be able to watch and re-watch lectures whenever you want, ensuring that you understand the information properly.
The only real disadvantage to online sessions like this is that you don’t have immediate access to a lecturer to answer questions during the sessions. Although most lecturers will be just an email or phone call away, your study momentum can easily be lost if you don’t completely understand. Additionally, online courses are typically more affordable than in-classroom style courses and they are far more convenient.
PMP Live Online Classroom Training
PMP live online training is very similar to standard or traditional methods of PMP training. However, the point of difference is that the classrooms are broadcast online instead of taking place in a physical location. Usually, in a webinar or teleconference scenario, these types of training sessions suit a larger group of people who cannot attend classes because of their remote location or due to time constraints. Although most types of webinars or teleconference type training classes are live, and you must be watching on your home computer or mobile device, some are also available offline if there is no other way to access the live class. However, the live courses are recommended since they allow for real-time communication with the instructor.
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Bryce Welker is an active speaker, blogger, and regular contributor to Forbes, Inc.com, and Business.com where he shares his knowledge to help others boost their careers. Bryce is the founder of more than 20 test prep websites that help students and professionals pass their certification exams.