How To Make A PMP Certification Study Plan?

pmp certification study plan

Do you really need a PMP certification study plan?

Yes. You are going to take a project management exam. Projects cannot happen without a plan and schedule. A credential test is like a project.

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!

Benjamin Franklin

So, a more pertinent question is “How to make a PMP certification study plan?”.

Let’s answer this. I am sharing PMP exam experience of Ruiyang L.. This will not only motivate you but also give you the prep schedule that he followed to pass the exam. It should be useful for you to make your own exam study plan.

So, here it goes.

The PMP Certification Study Plan

Summary of work

25 hours of videos for core content, 8 hours of studying 200 test questions, some sample test questions here and there (~50 questions), and a 1h Youtube Video about the 49 processes.

I think this is the bare minimum of work needed (personally) with a bit of luck.

Log

Approved for PMP exam on Dec 3, done nothing until after Christmas (Dec 26).

Watched 15 hours out of a 25 hour PMP course to prepare from Dec 26 – Dec 31.

Felt confident and scheduled my exam for Feb 9.

Watched 5 hours of the PMP course 2 week before the exam, and the final 5 hours 1 week before the exam. At this point, I haven’t done any practice quizzes or exercises and was having a nervous / mental breakdown.

After finishing all of the course, decided to do a few test questions.

I’m a IEEE member, and have access to the following training material: Skillsoft.

I did a sample test run of the quiz for about 50 questions, scored 25%, which is no better than randomly guessing, 3 days before the exam. Realized I was not passing this, which actually was a huge relief. Realized that the videos presented pure knowledge, but didn’t make you think like a project manager or help you answer exam questions.

I did the remaining 150 questions for the entire day, and for every wrong answer, I went through each option to read the explanation and terminologies and analyzed the patterns of what makes an answer correct ( i.e. When I get a question wrong, I review my thought process which lead me to choosing the incorrect answer, and I realign and modify my thought process to lead me to the right answer ). This worked because the test I linked above explains why each of the other 3 options are incorrect, I’m not sure if other sample exams do that. I re-did the same test with the same questions again and again until I answered 100% every time the night before the exam. I guess kind of like Machine Learning.

At this point around 3 days before my exam, I found this subreddit. It was a bit late to take some strategies here, but there was a great video which mapped out all of the 49 processes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GC7pN8Mjot8) which I watched before going to bed the night before my exam.

The next day, took a cab to the testing centre. Got there at 7:30 AM, wrote the exam, didn’t eat, stomach was growling during the exam and it was really loud, had 25 minutes at the end to review marked questions.

Submitted and passed. Took the bus home, didn’t eat again, slept for the whole afternoon.

Thoughts

It’s hard to maintain a routine for the PMP exam with full time work and other obligations. I’m sure everyone here knows that.

My efforts feel mediocre. I didn’t think I gave myself the best chances to pass, and from the performance it looks like I barely did anyways. I think what I would have done differently was do more practice questions. 200 questions were not enough, and I didn’t have the time before the exam to find more.

For the actual exam, it felt easier than the types of questions in my practice test I linked above. Often times I’m able to rule out all 3 incorrect answers, or 2 incorrect answers because they were clearly wrong. I’m rarely choosing between all 4, or 3.

So let’s say I answer randomly for the questions I’m not sure of, I already have ~40-50% correct based on eliminating wrong answers. Now from my experience with the sample exam questions, I have an edge with the questions where I am certain of the answer. Ballpark, I’d say from the answers I’m certain of, it pushed my final score into the mid 60’s.

Over To You

So, how are you planning for the PMP certification exam? What is your study schedule?

Please put in a comment 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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