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So you want to be a certified Project Management Professional (PMP)? Easy!! Approach the exam as one big project. Just like any other examination, a good preparation is the best way to help you pass the PMP certification. In this article, I will share how I planned for and worked to achieve the credential.
Step 1: Complete the Eligibility Criteria
Read Project Management Professional Handbook published by PMI which outlines and provides the complete information required for the certification. Check the eligibility criteria and if you qualify go ahead and complete the required 35 contact hours of formal education. One can either attend classroom or online training provided by PMI R.E.P.s. I undertook my formal training from Knowledge Woods.
Step 2: Set the date
Post ensuring the professional and educational background satisfies the eligibility criteria, if you qualify go ahead and set the examination target date. Most of the PMP study plans recommend to set the exam date for 5-6 months ahead which is fair enough time to prepare.
Step 3: Develop a Study Plan
Shortlist the study materials and set aside 5-6 hours each week to study for the certification. There are two good books that can be used for the preparation, both explain the theory in detail with exercises:
- PMP Exam Prep: Rapid Learning to Pass PMI’s PMP Exam-On Your First Try! by Rita Mulcahy
- Head First PMP: A Brain-Friendly Guide to Passing the Project Management Professional Exam by Jennifer Greene and Andrew Stellman.
Use the PMBOK® Guide from PMI as reference along side one of the above books.
Step 4: Practice, Practice & Practice
Further to the dedicated study, answer as many sample exam questions as possible. There are numerous sources available online, both free and paid. Keep a track of your score. A good measure of readiness is when you are consistently scoring 85 percentile or higher on practice exams
Step 5: Take the Exam and Pass
Relax and be positive on the big day as you 4 hours to answer 200 exam questions. Do not over-analyze the question and the answers. If you’ve got experience, have read PMBOK guide and completed the study plan, you WILL pass.