To become a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®), one has to first meet the experience and education requirements, and then pass the PMP® examination, which is a set of 200 multiple-choice questions. Studying from the PMBOK® Guide and completing a 35 contact hour training is not sufficient for preparation for the PMP® examination. It does cover a lot of grounds of the syllabus, but the questions that are asked are not as straightforward as one thinks. If asked by the people who have passed the exam, it can be known that only one study method doesn’t suffice. The candidates should be prepared well and know the different mechanics of taking the exam.
Though the exam has a multiple-choice question-answer pattern, the questions are asked in different styles. Hence it is very important to know how to get the most of each question and be prepared in advance, which requires proper commitment and preparation regardless of your experience or education. On average, candidates spend a minimum of 35 hours for preparation before taking the examination.
This blog discusses the best practices that candidates adopt to successfully pass the PMP® examination. Read along to know more about PMP® exam content, question format, and types, along with a few tips to aid you for your exam.
A total of 200 questions are asked in the PMP® examination. These questions are framed in such a manner that it tests your knowledge on the various aspects of project management. It checks your analytical, mathematical skills, logical skills and management, and leadership style. The questions are framed in the following kinds:
IITO is the abbreviation of ‘Input, Tool & Technique, and Output’. In this type of question, you will be asked to select the correct Input, Tool & Technique, or Output for a given process.
Nearly every project management process in the PMBOK® Guide has a PMP® exam technique correspondingly. Hence you can come across questions which might test your understanding of a specific technique or the application of any technique.
It is advisory to have a good grasp on the tools and technique mentioned in the PMBOK® guide and have a clear understanding of its purpose and usage.
The formula-based questions that are asked in the PMP® examination do not just ask questions on average or median but also different formulas which are related to earned value management, critical path method, PERT, etc. It is important to be aware of approximately 49 PMP® exam formulas in order to pass the PMP® examination.
The best way to prepare well for the formula-based questions is to study and practice the formulas properly. Along with the fifty formulas, it is equally important to know twenty important values and thirty formula-related acronyms.
The knowledge-based questions are majorly based on the PMBOK® Guide or the concepts of project management. These questions are asked to test your knowledge of ITTOs, inputs, outputs, tools, and techniques, etc. If the PMBOK® Guide has been followed properly, then the candidates can handle the majority of these questions without facing much trouble.
Based on your understanding of the facts that are provided, knowledge-based questions judge if you have understood the situation properly or not.
Definition-based questions are the most direct, straightforward questions that one can face in the PMP® exam. The questions that are asked are definitions of risk, residual risk, secondary risk, etc.
The Situation-Based PMP® Questions test your aptness in the application of the theoretical knowledge to real-life project management situations. Under this category, a situation will be given to you and it’ll be asked of you to find the best answer for the same. It is very important to understand what is being asked and answer with the best capability according to your knowledge of project management concepts.
The aim is to test your application of theoretical knowledge. Hence you should focus more on answering the question with the information that has been provided along with the help your project management knowledge.
The interpretational questions test your potential of deducing a situation or condition from status or problem that has been described to you. That is, you will be provided with some data, where you’ll be required to analyze these data and find the correct answer.
PMI expects that you follow a set of specific code of ethics and professional conduct in your behavior since you are to be a PMI Certified PMP®. Hence, relatable questions can be asked.
In the above-mentioned types of questions that are asked, it is found that candidates find ITTO, Mathematical and Situational based questions slightly difficult to answer. It is important to understand that experience is needed to solve situation-based questions as well as to understand the concepts to solve the mathematical questions.
Now that we’ve discussed the types of questions that one comes across in the PMP® examination, let’s have a look at a few tips that will help you prepare for the examination.
Most of the candidates spend a lot of time preparing for the PMP® examination. Hence, it is very essential that you buy yourself time only for preparation.
Read on to learn more about the best practices adopted by successful PMP® professionals.
The PMP® Examination Content Outline is a document which has been published by the PMI. It consists of the break-up of the questions as per the process areas that are asked in the exam.
Registered Education Providers (R.E.P.s) are organisations that have been approved by the Project Management Institute that offers project management training. You should enroll in a training course on PMP® as they provide you with study material, and educate you on the best practices for PMP® exam preparation. Moreover, they give the 35 contact hours’ training certificate, which is a necessity for you to be eligible for the PMP® exam.
Prepare a study plan that will help you prepare and cover all the activities needed for your PMP® Certification. It is recommended that you break your study sessions into smaller time frames and plan it in a way that includes all the major things like reading the PMBOK® Guide, studying various materials, practicing various mock tests, etc.
No matter what preparation tool or resource you use, it is always recommended to study from the PMBOK® Guide. Along with it, you can also review study materials that are provided by different R.E.P.s and reputable organizations. It will help you prepare well for your examination.
Before taking any exam, it is always advised to take up mock tests as they act as an indicator for your readiness to take the examination. You should take mock tests so that you know where you lack in your project management knowledge. Once you have done that, you can focus on the topics or areas where you lag and work on them.
Another added advantage of taking mock tests would be that you’ll get a practice to sit for four hours at a stretch without losing focus.
Forming study groups while preparing for an examination is always helpful. In case you don’t find any study group, initiate forming one. There are various benefits that one experiences due to study groups, like:
Another suggested method of preparing for your PMP® certification exam is by practicing the questions with the PM Exam Simulator. You can use this site to take up your practice exam in three modes, namely:
You can avail free Exam Simulator for three days. If you are ready to answer 85% or more of the sample or practice questions on your first try then you are ready to take your PMP® certification exam.
Preparing for PMP® examination can get tedious. Hence it is necessary that you gain knowledge from all possible directions and practice rigorously for the examination.
Out of all the types of questions that are asked, ITTO, Mathematical and Situational based questions are the time taking ones. As the saying goes, practice makes a man perfect.
Start your preparation in time to achieve your dream job. All the best!
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