how to study for the pmp exam and pass

There are millions articles on the Internet advising on how to study for the PMP exam and pass it? But it is always refreshing to see a new one; especially if someone has passed the certification test recently. Whatever I or any other PMP expert might say, the best tips and guidelines invariably come from someone who has just cracked the exam.

A Reddit user and a fellow group member got his PMP credential few days ago. He magnanimously shared his preparation strategy, study material used, and tips with me.

I would like to congratulate him and urge you to read his notes below to succeed in the exam.

Strategy And Tips On How To Study For The PMP Exam And Pass It?

Start Of Studies For The PMP Certification Exam

I started studying for the test a few months ago by taking 2 community college courses. They were not worth it and did not prepare me for the test. I took some practice exams after the courses and had very bad results.

PMP Study Material – Free And Paid

I spent a lot of time looking for free resources around the internet and found 2 places that helped me a lot. I think both of them have been mentioned here before. The First is this video:

If you go to his site you can download the chart he uses for free. Watching him go through the whole video really clicked for me about how the process flow was designed. From here I felt like a had a strong baseline understanding of how everything worked together. I reference his chart countless times.

The second is Edward Chung’s site. He basically made all of his own study notes available for free. I read it like a cliff notes version of the PMBOK guide. I rewrote all of his notes into my own words and then studied from that. If I didn’t understand something I would go look it up in the PMBOK, but for the most part this was the best study tool for me.

In addition to the above 2 places, I also downloaded 2 apps that were pretty good for flashcards and test questions. They allowed me to reinforce things when I had a few moments only here and there. PMP Exam Mentor (free) and PMP Exam Prep. I actually preferred the free app, but I used them both. Studying off the notes was much more beneficial than the apps for me.

Last Week Of PMP Exam Prep

I was nervous about passing so in the last week I also picked up 2 Udemy courses designed to be cram sessions. I didn’t need them. They only gave me information I already knew, but I felt like I was missing something from a formal classroom. I did not finish either class or really use them much.

In the last week I practiced a brain dump on pencil and paper daily which really helped me with fast recall of the information. I felt like the important things for me to brain dump were the 49 processes, EVM formulas, estimation techniques like PERT and ROM percentages, and management theories. Those were the things I never felt comfortable with during my practice tests, and practicing the brain dump really hammered them home. During the test I wrote out the 49 processes, but nothing else for the brain dump. I had information memorized enough to recall it on demand.

I took some practice exams and did mediocre, but I never was really able to commit 4 hours to a practice test. I just had a 2nd kid and sleep is at a premium, so I just did 20 – 30 question sets when I could squeeze them in.

The Exam Day

My test was in the afternoon and I spent the morning just being nervous and anxious about it. I wish I would have scheduled a morning session. Not practicing a 4 hour test probably hurt me. I took a break 3 hours in because I was mentally exhausted. The shorter sessions simply did not prepare me for the marathon.

All in all I’m just happy I passed. It was my first attempt. Thanks to everyone here for sharing their stories. They really helped me guide my study plan, so hopefully my post here helps someone else on their path.

Over To You

Which study material are you following for the PMP exam prep? Do you think free material is sufficient? Or you need something more to pass the test.

Please leave a comment.

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