In this post, you will learn how to create your own personalized study plan to pass the PMP exam. You will also find a free downloadable schedule template that you can tweak to create your own schedule.
A formal PMP study plan is essential for passing the certification exam in the first try.
Attaining PMP certification is a project and you are its project manager. A proper learning plan will reduce your chances of failing in the PMP exam. Inadequate project planning is the number one reason for project failure.
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Let’s look at the steps to create a personalized PMP exam prep learning schedule.
PMP Study/Exam Preparation Plan
You can follow the below-mentions steps to prepare a formal PMP study plan.
- Define Scope – Understand what study material is available to prepare for the PMP exam and finalize what all you will study.
- Estimate Duration – Determine how much time it will take you to complete the study material finalized by you on the previous step.
- Develop Schedule – Prepare a formal day-wise schedule to go through the study material content.
- Determine Budget – Determine how much money you will need to spend for the study material.
Let us look at these steps in detail.
If you are in a hurry, you can click on the above button to download a PMP study schedule template and customize it as per your needs. Otherwise, read on to understand a process for creating a formal exam preparation learning plan.
1. Define Scope
What should you Study?
There are five main sources for the exam preparation:
- The PMBOK Guide
- A reference book based on the PMBOK Guide
- Training material and videos
- Other study material like ITTO learning tools and Formulas Guide
- A mock test simulator
There is a misconception that the PMP exam is based on the PMBOK Guide. It is not.
The PMP exam is based on the exam content outline. It describes the domains, tasks, knowledge, and skills that are tested in the PMP exam. It is like the syllabus for the certificate examination.
Although many of the domains, tasks, knowledge, and skills outlined in the PMP Examination Content Outline are also covered in the PMBOK Guide, there are some that are unique to the PMP Examination Content Outline. Candidates studying for the examination will certainly want to include the current edition of the PMBOK Guide as one of their references, and would be well advised to read other current titles on project management.
The PMBOK Guide covers most of the study objectives that are described in the exam content outline. The major portion of the exam comes from the Guide. So, the Guide should be your main source of study.
However, the PMBOK Guide does not cover everything that is described in the exam content outline. You will have to refer to the reference book, other study material and training notes for many other things that are part of the syllabus but are not covered in the PMBOK Guide.
There is too much of content to study. But don’t worry. Once you breakdown the whole work into smaller chunks, things become easy.
How should you Study?
Your study will revolve around chapters from PMBOK Guide and Agile Practice Guide.
There are a total of 13 chapters in the PMBOK Guide and 7 chapters in the Agile Practice Guide. The chapters in the Agile Practice Guide are much shorter than the PMBOK Guide chapters. You can consider the whole Agile Practice Guide equivalent to 2 chapters of the PMBOK Guide.
Considering this, you will need to devote your time to study 1 total of 15 chapters. You can study one chapter at a time. Here is what you should do:
- Start your chapter studies from the training videos from your chosen training course.
- After completing a chapter from the training course, head over to your chosen book.
- Read the chapter from the PMBOK Guide. Depending on your comfort level with the PMBOK Guide, you can read the PMBOK Guide before reading the reference book.
- Do about 40-50 chapter-end mock question from the reference book.
At the end, you will need to practice full length tests to wrap up you studies. . You should do 4-5 full-length tests in order to validate your study and boost your confidence.
2. Estimate Duration
You will need about 1-2 hours for watching the training videos, and about 3-4 hours for reading the chapters. This duration might change depending on the length of the chapter.
In addition, you would need about 1-2 hours each for going through the other study material and doing chapter-end mock tests. In total, you would need about 7-9 hours for each chapter.
Finally, the full-length mock tests could take take anywhere between 25-30 hours.
In total, you will need about 150 hours of study to pass the exam. It could be less if you are already familiar with the PMP exam and have good project management experience.
On the other hand, your total study time may extend up to 200 hours if you are not a native English speaker.
3. Develop Study Schedule or Day-wise Time Plan
You need to convert hours into days in order to prepare a PMP study plan.
The number of days would depend on the number of hours you can study every day. Let us understand the process with the help of an example.
Let us assume that, on weekdays, you can steal 3 hours every day from your busy schedule. And on the weekends, you can devote 5 hours on both the days for studying. This would translate into 25 hours of study every week.
Let us do the math – 150 hours divided by 25 hours each week translates into 6 weeks of study & preparation.
You can pass the exam in 6 weeks assuming you can devote 3 hours on a weekday and 5 hours on a weekend day for studies.
Now, situation of everyone is different. You may or may not have a luxury of so much time. Let’s look at a few other scenarios. You can pass the exam in
- less than 8 weeks with 2 hours of study on a weekday and 5 hours of study on a weekend day.
- about 2 months with 2 hours of study on a weekday and 3 hours of study on a weekend day.
- about 3 months with 1 hours of study on a weekday and 3 hours of study on a weekend day.
The number of days totally depends on how much time can you spare for the studies on a daily basis. If you have limited time on weekdays then you should cover it up on the weekends.
Study Schedule Template
I have created a sample study schedule for the PMP aspirants. It is available as a part of my free exam prep guide. You can download the guide by clicking on the button below.
After downloading the guide, you should customize the schedule to suit your study needs.
I would strongly suggest you to complete your studies in 3 months or less. I have seen people passing in less than 2 week also.In order to do this, you must prepare a formal exam prep schedule.
4. Budget or Cost Plan
The budget is another important component of your overall study plan. You should decide on how much are you prepared to invest for the exam preparation.
I have written a post describe the overall cost of PMP certification. You can read this article to determine your budget.
PMP is one of the most difficult professional exams. It is not just another exam. A study plan is an important ingredient for passing the exam.
A detailed PMP study plan is critical for your success in the exam. Just follow the schedule that you have prepared and you will on your way to passing PMP in your first try.
Over To You
How much time are you giving yourself for the exam prep? How important is a PMP schedule for successfully passing the exam?
I would love to hear from you.