How Hard Is The PMP Exam? – Not Too Much If You Can Pass It Twice

how hard is the pmp exam

5 Study Strategies To Make The Hard PMP Exam Easy

How hard is the PMP exam?

As per Sanal who became PMP certified recently, it is really hard and difficult. In his words he says that “Real exam will throw some real hard stuff at you including kitchen sink! Don’t panic.”

A few weeks ago, I received an email in my Inbox. Sanal contacted me through this blog to seek guidance on PMP Exam prep. I replied to his email and answered his questions. Thereafter he studied hard to pass the PMP exam in a very short period of time. He was kind enough to document his PMP exam prep strategy for the readers of this bog. In this post, I have shared his study strategy in his own words. I believe his exam prep experience will help you in passing the exam.

Sanal recently joined a new job. I feel very happy for Sanal and wish him good luck for life ahead.

How Sanal Made The Hard PMP Exam Easy?

My experience with PMP exam may be little different from that of others. I had passed the exam in 2010, but, did not put efforts to keep it current before it expired in 2013. So, I had to take it again in 2017. I reached out to Praveen for advice on what books to use for a self-study and his recommendations were on the mark. As advised by him, I bought Joseph Phillip’s PMP exam prep course from Udemy (they run deep discounts from time to time). Joseph course covers all the material you will ever need for the exam. But, watch the video carefully because he may not elaborate certain concepts. Watching the videos second time also may be a good idea. Use the flash cards to reinforce the concepts. Do all the earned value management and CPM chart problems; there will be some good number of those in the exams. Praveen also advised to join PMI paying a membership fee. Benefit is you can down load a softcopy of the PMBOK guide. You will also get $150 discount in exam fee when you register for the exam. For questions, I used Rita Mulcahy’s  end of the chapter questions and Chris Scordo’s PMP Exam Prep: Questions, Answers &Explanation (2016 edition). There are 18 mini mock exams (50 questions) in Chris’ book; exams towards the end are closer to the actual exam hardness. By the way, before you start studying, fill up the application form and send it in for approval to take the exam. If you have any training hour shortage or experience shortage, you will come to know of it and you can start addressing those matters. I started studying from 6th January and took the exam on 24th. I was doing a job hunt also during this period and that took good amount of time. I would say I spent around 4-6 hours of study per day for about 15 days. Once I was consistently scoring around 80% on the mock exams, I scheduled the exam (from Rita’s book, I did not score 80% in all chapters and that worked out fine) . I read PMBOK guide  (say 80% of the content at least) also as I was finishing each chapter in Joseph’s course.

Real exam will throw some real hard stuff at you including kitchen sink! Don’t panic. Half way through the exam I had only finished 90 questions or so. It is possible you may get long and winding questions in the beginning and that may take up lot of your time. CPM chart problems take more time than other simple questions and there were good number of  CPM and EVM problems in the exam. Develop the habit of reading the question verbiage fully. Learn all the basic concepts and don’t miss any of the short questions based on those concepts. When I was done with all my questions I had just two minutes left. Few minutes later summary of the results showed 4 proficient and 1 moderately proficient. So, if a harder exam comes your way, don’t be too concerned; exam may be normalizing it already for you. Just do it based on what you have learned and you will be fine.

Summary Of Sanal’s Tips To Pass PMP Exam

  1. Use eLearning Videos to learn the concepts.
  2. Use Flashcards to reinforce the concepts.
  3. Practice EVM and Network Diagram problems.
  4. Become a PMI member to download free PMBOK Guide.
  5. Study Hard and study consistently.

Study Material Used

Joseph Phillips PMP Training Course on Udemy

PMP Practice Exams by Christopher Scordo

Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep Book

PMBOK Guide

Over To You

Do you think PMP exam is hard and difficult? Are you feeling little bit wary of passing it? What topics do you find most difficult?

Please leave a comment. Maybe I can help you.

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PMP Master Prep System

Do you want to become PMP in 50 days? Why don't you start by downloading my free guide? I will give step-by-step guidance and help you in achieving your goal.

Praveen Malik, PMP

​Praveen Malik ​is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®) with a rich 23+ years of experience. He is a leading Project Management Instructor, Coach and ​Advisor. He ​has successfully trained thousands of aspirants for the PM certification exams.

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