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How Much Time is Required to Prepare for PMP Certification?

This article is all about an example of how much effort and time a person takes for preparing for the PMP certification exam and it is a real case!

Over the past few months, from March to June, I carved out some time to study for my Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification. One of the very first things I did was connect with others that were also striving to earn their certification.

This plan worked out better than I intended. Initially, I met David Curtis, a colleague at work, and I found out he was working on his certification. Then at a local Project Management Institute (PMI) chapter meeting, and I met Joey Mwangi. We were the only two sitting at our table of 10 without the letters PMP® on our nametag. This was the beginning of our study group.

When we met once a week for 2-hours, we then discussed some practice questions from Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep book and Andy Crowe’s The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try. If any person got a question wrong, we would make sure that we did not continue until we all understood why we got it wrong and what the correct answer is, and why.

That is a crucial part of studying. Just trying to remember everything will not be enough. You need to take a step back and look at the question. Was there a distractor that threw you off? Did you miss the word “Not”? If you can understand why the other answers are incorrect, then you are on the right track. Do not just remember the answers! If you are studying alone and do not understand, then please reach out to another PMP for their perspective.

I scheduled my test date for June 10th. The study group began in late March. Trust me when I say that the test date arrives much faster than anticipated. What is worse is no matter how much I studied, I never felt ready. Nonetheless, it drove me to study harder the closer I got.

It is important that you need to understand two things when answering a PMP certificate question. What is the problem you are trying to solve and what process group is you currently in? Another perspective is that the project manager is a proactive problem-solver. So with that thought, look at the answers and ask, does this solution SOLVE the problem.

The last thing I did before I took the test was that I took a week off from work and studied at my library. I know not everyone will have the luxury to do this, but I do believe this is what helped me achieve a score of “Above Target.”

During that week, I took my first 180, 230min exam. The test was from the PMP certificate trial exam website. The key to how to improve is to analyze the questions you got wrong. I had categorized my questions by project group and process. By doing so, I was able to identify my weak areas. For example, I miss many questions in Quality and Perform Integrated Change Control. Therefore, I knew that is where I needed to focus until I felt comfortable.

Study Materials for PMP certificate project management professionalI never took another 230min exam. But I did take plenty of practice questions in-between. I primarily used the PMP certificate study materials from 591Lab from that day forward. I would follow along with the correct answers from the professional PMP certificate trainer of 591Lab.

On the day of the test, I was very nervous. I read in another article where the author recommended not to answer the question if you were unsure and to come back to it at a later time. But I disagree with this method. I would instead answer ALL the questions first and then come back to change it. This would help in case you run out of time. While you do not lose points for getting an answer wrong or not answering, leaving a question blank guarantees you will not get any points. At least allow yourself the opportunity to earn extra points in the chance your guess is correct.

After I submitted my test, I experienced what seemed like the longest 15 seconds of my life. Then there was the pop-up – oh great – a survey. I did the survey (you can opt to skip it) and then after another 15 seconds, another pop-up said congratulations. I was mentally prepared that I would need to retest, so I was delighted when I realized that I would not have to.

And that’s all, the true story above would be my complete efforts and experience of preparing for my PMP exam and taking it in less than four months.

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