24 Jun 2017

Preparing For The PMP Certification Exam: Are You Ready?

So you have decided to take the PMP Certification path, now what?  First things first, like every endeavor we check our readiness.  Are you ready to take the exam?  Why do we need to be ready?

In the many years of my project management practice including my training years, I came across people who are very confident about their skills and experience.  I even had a student whom prior to taking the exam was talking to me about the Certification Review Course that I am conducting.  He said, “after my 25 years doing this (project management), I don’t think I need that course, I’ve read the PMBOK from cover to cover, I’ll pass it with flying colors.  I already passed the eligibility requirements”.  Before I can say my next word hoping to explain the difference between passing the eligibility and exam itself, he was gone.  He took the exam and few weeks later, he called me asking the for the next scheduled run of the Exam Prep Course.

Reviewing for the exam takes more than just reading, it is understanding concepts after concepts that comprises the Project Management discipline.  Below is a short checklist to help you prepare for the exam.

  • You have a clear goal on why you would want to take the exam – some people take the exam because their company wants them to be certified, or because it is part of their performance metrics. While it is not bad having those for a reason, a personal commitment to passing the exam is significant.  It will give you the drive to continue even on tough schedules at work, at home and sacrificing your personal errands at times as opposed to just doing it because it is required.
  • The eligibility requirements completed – I discussed this in one of my blogs (Please see [reference]), this should be truthful as PMI conducts a random audit and disqualifies those who does not truly meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Review plan – may it be enrolling to a review course, self-studying, group-study, it is up to you. Though we highly-recommend taking the review course as it optimizes learning and shortens your study time to a maximum 40 hours, other approach do work.  Just a word of caution chances of passing varies a lot.
  • Quality Review Materials – people without clear study guide takes a lot of resources from the internet, be mindful that not all resources available from the internet is updated, many are not even verified by PMI. Thus, instead of pointing you closer to passing the exam, it just wastes your time and efforts that heads to failing the exam instead.
  • Committed study time – be it for a review class, self-study sessions, or group studies. Your commitment to keeping up with your schedule is a must. Cramming for this type of exams never work.  Time needs to be spared in preparing for the exam.
  • Support System – whether your family, friends, or colleagues. People supporting you on this life changing twist will help you stay focused and pass the exam instead of hampering you along the way.
  • Budget – it may be less or more depending on the options you take based on your level, availability and commitment. An investment will have to be made, the exam itself for example costs $550 ($405 for PMI Members).  But as I always tell my students, if you can buy thousands of dollars’ worth of gadgets or out of town errands why not spare some for a career investment that will return you more to spend?


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