If you’ve come this far, you know that the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Certification (PMP) is the most prestigious and well-known project manager certification in the world. Over 1,000,000 project managers have obtained and maintained their certification and those numbers grow each year. More companies require PMP certification, and more positions are opening. In order to achieve your career goals as a project manager PMP certification is necessary. Learn about the 5 Steps for Preparing to Pass the PMP Exam on Your First Attempt.
Preparing for the PMP exam is the first step in your journey. It takes effort and time, but by creating the right study plan and following the steps below, we can help you to pass the exam, giving you more opportunity for better positions and better pay.
This may just be a refresher for many, but for those of you that are just starting out in the field of project management and don’t know what it’s all about, let’s get you started.
Project Management Professional, or PMP is the certificate awarded to project management professionals that have completed the qualifications and passed the exam administered by PMI, the Project Management Institute. Throughout a variety of industries and companies, project management plays a key role in obtaining contracts, completing assignments, and serving their industry. Project management roles can take on projects of many scales, from a small app to be created for an online retailer, or a major construction project that can lead into the billions. Project managers must be knowledgeable, ethical, experienced, and flexible. Each industry is constantly evolving and knowing where that particular field is heading is an important part of planning.
Project managers with PMP certification demonstrate the ability and the vision to provide companies with the work required to get the job done.
PMI sets standards and expects candidates to meet the PMP eligibility requirements set out prior to scheduling and sitting for the exam. The following steps will provide you with the information you need to see if going after PMP certification is right for you and how you can achieve that goal if it is.
Deciding if PMP Certification is Right for You – Step 1
We often talk about why you would want to go forward with PMP certification, but are there reasons you may not want to? Are you okay with making less money than project managers that have certification? Do you feel that you don’t have the time to complete the requirements to sit for the exam? If the answers to those questions are a no or even a maybe, then read on.
PMI has created one of the most prestigious, reputable, globally accepted and expected certifications for project managers. Some countries or industries may prefer a different certificate, such as Prince2, but in the United States, PMP is generally the standard.
Once you have determined the PMP certificate is best for you, you have to see what requirements you need to meet to be eligible. The best way to prepare for PMP certification requires time as well as money but preparing for the exam is actually a first step in project management, planning.
Eligibility for PMP Certification – Step 2
PMI has certain requirements that must be met in order to sit for the PMP exam. Experience and Education are key to becoming a professional project manager.
PMP Experience Requirement
The first education requirement considers the people that have had experience as a Project Manager but may not have received a college degree. Many individuals have worked their way up in companies to take on the role of Project Manager and that experience can translate to the knowledge required for the exam. If you’ve received your high school diploma or the equivalent, or an associate degree, you can apply for certification if you have a minimum of 60 months leading projects, or 7,500 hours of project management experience.
A bachelor’s degree, or above changes the experience requirements necessary for becoming a certified Project Manager. A minimum of 36 months, or 4,500 hours, of leading projects meets the experience requirement for those individuals.
Holding the title of Project Manager isn’t proof that you’re a great Project Manager nor does it guarantee that you’ll pass the PMP certification exam.
However, being part of a team, leading projects for 60 months will definitely be a
contributing factor for passing the exam. In fact, you need that before the PMI
will allow you to take the PMP certification exam. This works out to about 5
years of full-time experience. Typically, you can count time that you’ve led
within a project, or supervision of other team members as work experience
toward your 60 months requirement.
PMP Education Requirement
Whatever your level of education, whether number 1 or 2, you must document 35 contact hours of Project Management education (also called 35 education hours) before you can take the exam.
There are some great (and inexpensive) online courses that will satisfy the 35 hours of project management education requirement and prepare you for the PMP certification exam. Some of them even include a pass guarantee, meaning if you don’t pass the exam after taking their course, they’ll provide additional support and ultimately give the money back on your course purchase. Of the online courses available, we strongly recommend Brain Sensei’s Self-Paced PMP Exam Prep course. They include a pass guarantee, money-back guarantee, and access to the entire course with unlimited practice questions for an entire year. For those who prefer the guidance of an instructor, they also have live virtual classes.
Sign-up for a 7-day free trial!
Try the first two modules of our story-based PMP and CAPM Exam Prep courses and a mini practice exam and see how it all works
Choosing the best PMP training – Step 3
The following factors trigger a number of important points that you should consider when selecting the right provider for PMP Education. These important points include:
- The course should satisfy the minimum 35 contact hours
- Structured content and material
- It should provide a Certificate of Completion
- Project Management Institute (PMI) must accept the course
- Training should provide real-life examples to add the flavor of
experience to the content
- The provider should have a good track record of successfully
helping its students reach the proper level of Project Management knowledge
- Be convenient in terms of time and place for students. Travel time as well as time of day are both important factors in the decision process
Whether you choose to attend live in person bootcamp, or classroom courses, or a live online course or self-paced course, there are options that will meet your needs and your learning style.
Utilizing PMP Training Materials – Step 4
Once you’ve found the program to fulfill your 35 contact hours, it’s time to buckle down and learn.
- Take copious notes
- Keep track of handouts
- Take Knowledge Area Quizzes
- Take practice exams
- Join a study group
- Listen to podcasts
- Watch videos and
- Ask questions.
Keep track of the items that you are struggling with and put extra time into those processes and knowledge areas. Know that math is a part of the PMP exam and prepare for those questions. If you need a refresher, you may want to get some additional materials, books, or even a tutor to help you get over the learning hump.
After enrolling in a PMP training program, follow the lectures carefully. If the PMP training materials include handouts, make your own notes on the handouts in order to remember important concepts. These notes will be crucial when you learned a lot during your training and when you wanted to remember past topics.
Everything you learn in the PMP training course is preparing you to take the PMP exam. When taking the quizzes, keep the correct answers at no less than 70%. If you can’t make it, study that section more.
Having and more importantly following, a study plan is essential. This is your future.
The Best Way to Prepare for the PMP Exam – Step 5
Practice makes passing. Every quiz you take, every exam simulation you complete, your knowledge increases. Each percentage point above 70% gives you another boost of confidence.
Beware that all PMP questions and answers you find on the internet aren’t all based on the PMBOK. Make sure that you are studying questions and answers that are up to date.
Take notes as you take the exams to provide yourself with points that need to be studied further, and remember to keep track of the knowledge you think you have down pat.
Having a good study partner is always a benefit. Someone that can ask you questions randomly and ask you to explain the answers can be a big help in your preparation to sit for the exam.
How to prepare for PMP Exam Day
You have met the eligibility requirements. You have completed the 35 contact hours of coursework, and you have submitted your application to PMI. Make sure all of your documentation, including proof of identity, is at the ready. If necessary, make a list so that you can double check before the exam.
On the day of the exam, now you have studied, you have learned, you are ready. Answer the questions; you’ve already answered them dozens of times. Complete the exam in a timely manner; you’ve studied to the point that it’s second hand for you. Leave no question blank. There are no negative markings in PMP. Complete the exam and look up to see: Congratulations!!!