How To Study For PMP Certification And Pass The Exam?

how to study for pmp certification

You might be wondering how to study for PMP certification.

There could be umpteen answers to this question but today I am sharing the experience of a Reddit user.

She cracked the exam with all five above target score. You will find her story inspiring. It will motivate you to pass the exam in first try.

PMP exam is not an easy exam to crack. Preparation alone is sometimes not enough for passing the exam. You need proper planning and a lot of practice to be successful in the exam.

Read her story to know how and what she did to get the PMP certification.

How To Study For PMP Certification

Hello everyone! I passed my PMP today with 5xAT! I figured since I used this subreddit so much in my preparation, it was only right that I try to add to the community.

For starters, I went to WGU for my bachelor’s and master’s degree where I was required to get my Project+ and CAPM as part of my studies. My master’s degree was also in IT Management, so I was familiar with a lot of the topics covered and the PMBOK in general.

About a month ago I went through a five-day boot camp through Vets2PM (awesome company!) where they taught us the material instead of just the test. Since I had prior knowledge, this course was mainly refreshing my knowledge base and filling in the gaps. After the boot camp, I tried to follow a strict study plan but life got in the way.

For my studying, I mainly skimmed through Rita’s book for the first two weeks and used the class material that was given to me as part of the Vets2PM course. After two weeks, my application got approved and I gave a full effort towards studying. I tried as hard as I could to read Rita’s book cover to cover, but I just couldn’t do it. I would legitimately fall asleep reading her book…it was tough.

Since the course got me a solid foundation, I took to doing practice tests online to determine my readiness. Since I think memorizing questions and answers to increase practice test scores is a waste of time, I took as many different practice tests as I could and figured out where I was weak at.

Don’t focus too much on your actual results. I NEVER scored over a 75% on ANY practice test! If I knew why I got a question wrong (not seeing words like NOT, EXCEPT, etc…) I would attribute it to a lack of attention to detail and move on. If I didn’t know why I got a question wrong or didn’t fully understand the concept, I would write down the topic in a notebook and research the topic further. After I scored a 75% on the Lehmann test I figured I was pretty good to go, but I continued taking practice tests to keep the knowledge fresh.

The two best practice tests that are most like the actual exam are Oliver Lehmann’s 200 questions
(https://www.oliverlehmann.com/contents/free-downloads/200_PMP_Sample_Questions.pdf) and https://www.fabmarks.com/pmp.

Other than the original cost of the course (which my company paid for), I didn’t spend any money on additional resources. All of the practice tests came from finding them on this subreddit and Rita’s book was given to me by a friend. I went to this subreddit every day to see if there were new resources and get feedback from people who have taken the test and that was a huge help! You guys are awesome!

For the actual test, I was a basket case. When I went to hit the “end exam” I figured I either bombed the test or I crushed it. Thankfully, I crushed it. Some of the questions are very vague and a lot of them have multiple answers that are technically correct but not the “best” choices or the “first” thing to do. Pay attention to those words!

Another huge help was highlighting and strike-through features. It helps you focus on the meat and potatoes of the question. On par with everyone that has tested recently, I got 1 network diagram question, about 4 earned value analysis questions (very easy ones!), and two agile questions which were easy to answer using common sense.

One of the best tips I can give is to understand what process group and the process you are in before even looking at the answers. For example, if you’re in the executing process group, there’s no way you’re going to develop a plan. Another tip is to understand what needs to happen first according to the PMBOK/PMI and not what makes sense.

Sure, if someone comes into your office and tells you that a meteor is about to hit the earth, you would definitely run for the hills but according to PMI, you would update the risk register and analyze impacts to the project. See what I’m getting at? My last big tip is to understand the change control process. ALWAYS analyze the impact of a change request before doing anything! Be sure to focus on risk, quality, change, and communications and you should be good to go.

I didn’t use a brain dump, memorize any earned value formulas or any ITTOs. I really focused my studying on understanding the material, how a project flows, and how the processes interact with each other. The Ricardo Vargas video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GC7pN8Mjot8) helped I visualize the flow of a project and the summarized PMBOK was awesome (https://www.reddit.com/r/pmp/comments/9aym1h/the_summary_for_pmbok_i_prepared_during_studying/ – shoutout u/LostInTheWorlds!).

If you have Apple Music, you HAVE to download and listen to Conversations on the PMP Exam by Andy Crowe. This really helped everything sink and it was easy to listen to. I listened to this on repeat anytime I had time alone whether it was driving, working out, or walking my dogs.

Final thoughts…although the exam was difficult, knowing how the processes flow and interact with each other and using some common sense will most likely get you a passing score. Don’t overthink it and don’t overstudy! Also, this subreddit rocks and the community is awesome! I’m so glad I found this subreddit and I know I can attribute my success to my time spent crawling around in here. I’m ecstatic to be a PMP and I’m looking forward to helping aspiring PMPs on their journey!

Over To You

What is your call? How do you think you would manage to pass the PMP exam? Which study resources are you using?

I welcome your comments below.

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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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