Categories: PMP Exam Prep

How To Create Your Own PMP Study Plan To Pass The Exam?

Do you want to develop your own personalized PMP study plan?

In this post, you will find a process to create your own study plan to pass the PMP exam.

A plan has three main ingredients – Scope, Time (Schedule), and Cost (Budget). You will find details of all the three things in this post.

You will also find a sample schedule that you can customize as per your needs.

A formal PMP study plan will help you to do the exam prep and successfully pass the certification test in your first try.

PMP Study Plan

PMP certification is a project and you are its project manager. And, what does a project manager need the most to make a project successful?

A project plan.

Similarly you need a study plan to succeed in the PMP exam.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Alan Lakein

Scope Plan

What You Should Study

There are five main sources for your study and preparation:

  1. The PMBOK Guide
  2. A reference book based on the PMBOK Guide
  3. Training material and videos
  4. Other study material like ITTO learning tools and Formulas Guide
  5. 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 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 You Should Study?

There are a total of 13 chapters in the PMBOK Guide. Your study will revolve around these chapters. You just need to study one chapter at a time from the different sources.

You should start your chapter studies from the training notes and videos from your chosen training course.

After completing the training material, you should study from your chosen book and the PMBOK Guide. You should also start looking at the other study material while reading the books.

You will need to practice some questions after completing each chapter. These will validate your study and boost your confidence.

To help you with the mock questions, I have prepared two quizes. You can buy them at a small price here – ITTO Quiz and Mathematics Quiz.

You would 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.

You would need to practice full length tests to wrap up you studies. Depending on how many questions do you practice, it will take you another 20-30 hours.

Schedule or Time Plan

How Much Do You Need To Study?

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, you may need 200 hours of study if you are not a native English speaker.

How Many Days Would You Need For The Study?

The number of days would depend on the number of hours you can study every day. Let us look at 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 mathematics – 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, everyone situation 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

  1. less than 8 weeks with 2 hours of study on a weekday and 5 hours of study on a weekend day.
  2. about 2 months with 2 hours of study on a weekday and 3 hours of study on a weekend day.
  3. 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.

PMP Study Schedule

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.

Budget or Cost Plan

How Much Do You Need To Invest?

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

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.

View Comments

  • Hahaha. The first thing I did was create a Project Plan with a Gnatt Chart for my timeline and a separate spreadsheet to capture my hours of labor and cost, so I could valuate this project to my potential earning potential.
    Finding this blog post was kismet, I recall I was seeking tips for how to take the PMP Exam and here I am. We are of the same mindset! Thank you for existing and creating content that I and others like me can utilize to improve ourselves professionally. Im going to swim through all your content and books! Thank you!

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