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5 Steps for Preparing to Pass the PMP Exam on Your First Attempt

By July 29, 2022No Comments

5 Steps for Preparing to Pass the PMP Exam on Your First Attempt

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.

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.

Defining PMP

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.

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!!!

Read Our Reviews

Brain Sensei is rated 4.7 out of 5.0 stars based on 99 review(s).

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Great simulator.

- Rafael

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Great Course, the year long access and customer service is top notch. I would recommend Brain Sensei to anyone looking to prepare for their PMP exam.

- Cary Schiff

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It was actually really great. Made some very dry materials much easier to absorb. Passed the PMP exam with flying colors on my first attempt.

- Tim

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This course had good reviews online from previous clients so I decided to try this one. Relevant course materials and great timed practice tests allowed me to ace the actual certification exam on my first attempt. I highly recommend this course.

- PL

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This is a great tool to support the PMBOK Guide. Quizzes, presentations, and videos help break down the massive amount of information that comes with the PMBOK, truly helping you prepare for the actual exam. Great way to get your 35 hours classroom credit!

- Penney

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I think the course is good. I wouldn't mind a few more videos and audible in the trainings. I do a lot do reading. I bought the PMBOK book on the side and sometimes have trouble connect the class to the PMBOK book. I do enjoy your format. I am learning. Personally I need buckle down and spend more time on it.

- Anthony

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Brain Sensei helped me to prepare for and pass the PMP exam on the first try. I used many exam simulators and this one was by far the most similar to the exam. Im so happy I found Brain Sensei and chose to prepare with them!

- Alex Jane

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I am a refugee from Ukraine. I applied to Brain Sensei with a request to provide me with a scholarship so that I could prove my skills and abilities for Europe where I am now due to the invasion of my country. The Brain Sensei team promptly responded to my request and provided the opportunity to study in their PMP course. I am very grateful to the Brain Sensei team and am happy to start learning! Thank you very much!

- Tetiana

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Easy to navigate the platform

- Michael

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I really enjoyed the Brain Sensei self learning course as well as the virtual course with the instructor. I was able to pass the PMP with above target ratings for every section. I am so pleased with how easy and efficient the courses were to navigate, and how simply the PMI approach was placed into every day situations. I would highly recommend this course to everyone wanting to either freshen up on their Project skills or to master the PMP.

- Thais Greca

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Very prepared for the PMP!

- Brenda

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Hi Folks, good course there. More info/exercises on EV and formulas would be really helpful. Thank you very much.

- Vasil

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I passed my test on the first try! Excellent learning tool. There were some questions that I found to be confusing or contradictory with the answers, so I sent those to the Brain Sensei team. They always responded quickly, even on the weekend! Some adjustments are being made because of my feedback. I appreciate their care and that they take the time to support during the studying period.

- Pamla Kendrick

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Perfect program for me. I did it at my own pace, and passed the exam with flying colors.

- Mary Garnett

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I'm very satisfied with the Brain Sensei PMP Exam Preparation Course. All 8 Modules are very well structured and detailed. This course is best for those who would like to learn at their own pace. Of course, lots of studying is needed (PMBOOK and other agile-related books and material). The customer service team is exceptional, very supportive. I had an immediate response to whatever I needed.

- PS

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This is a great course!!!!

- Darrius Cooley

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Great training tool! I learned a lot and realized how much training I needed to learn. Now to take my exam!

- Michelle

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Engaging, self-pacing course that contains accurate content. Prepared me well for the PMP exam which I passed on my first attempt. This course is best for those who would like to learn at their own pace. For example, I completed it over the span of 2 and a half months.

- Matthew

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The course was thorough and the practice exams enhanced my learning. However, I am having a hard time receiving my PDU credit for taking the course.

- Deidra

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The story approach was good but I feel like I wasn't ready for some of the questions on the site.

- Barbara

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very good but needs to be more updated

- Mohmed kheir

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I loved the PMP prep course and the level of learning from this. I am hoping this learning to be translated in PMP certification as well :) Another thing to mention is the very responsive support and quickest issue resolution. I had an issue with subscription expiry and they resolved it very swiftly. Thanks!

- Kamal

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phenomenal training opportunity that provides a variety of learning styles for all.

- Anastasia

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Great way to prepare for the PMP Exam!

- Matthew

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Excellent test prep for the exam, though some more practice tests on agile would be beneficial

- eric

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It is often hard to figure out what the right answer was on a quiz or practice exam. Frequently, the correct answer is buried in a lot of text about what options are wrong.

- James

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The content was spot on and I am much more confident in understanding the processes and how everything works together now. (The) course is great; however, the customer service team is Exceptional! Very responsive and thorough, and at all times; and when I had some technical difficulties (or questions) they stuck with me through resolution. Highly recommended program and company.

- Daniel R

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Great customer support. Wish more Agile modules were available.

- John

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helpful focus, detailed testing.

- Derek

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Very thorough training. By taking this course and reviewing some free online study materials, I was able to hit above target in every category.

- Jeremy

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Thanks for all the support.

- Mohansingh

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Good Value.

- brian

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Need to do project planning

- Absolom

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I wish to take this course

- Ndonue Divine Genjang

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I wish to take this course

- Ndonue Divine Genjang

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Sir please my marit scholarship payment

- Aman

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Super

- Madhan

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Yes

- Shahid Prince

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Joine us

- Shahid Prince

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Passed on the first try!

- Tanya

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Good courses, lots of text and reading. Not as many videos or interactive pieces that I was expecting. And some misspelled words.

- Bevin

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It was great!

- Heide

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The Course documents should remain open for longer than 6 months, given that PMI gives you 365 days to prepare for exam. Also, the option to extend visibility for the course documents, costs almost a 5th of the course, but opens up the docs for just 30 more days. Propose to extend this to 90 days at the very least.

- Vasily

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I'm very satisfied with the Brain Sensei PMP Exam Preparation Course. All 8 Modules are very well structured and detailed. I believe that practice exams included in the course helped me a lot with the preparation for my PMP Exam. I appreciate Brain Sensei for their amazing course and for the awesome service. They responded to all my requests immediately. Thanks. Highly recommended.

- Helen Borimsky

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The format of the prep-course is great overall and a great alternative to reading the PMBOK. Barring a few minor glitches here and there, the flow of information ensures that concepts are well understood not only from the point of examination but to the point of application in day to day professional activities. Explanations provided in the answers of prep exams (apart from the 1st one) are also a key to understanding the thought process to be applied. With the focus being on Agile approaches from 2021, the information in the course seemed adequate to cover the concepts. All the Best to all aspirants.

- Debraj

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رقص ترانه وشادب5

- محسن گلستانی

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Studied BrainSensei for 11 days and passed. Succinct and highly informational chapters. The 4 practice exams are marginally more difficult then the PMP. Borderline impossible to fail the PMP if you pass this course.

- Sarmad(Sam)

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Great course! They break down all concepts in a very clear and interactive way, that doesn't put you to sleep. Would recommend to anyone who is looking to pass the PMP exam with flying colors.

- Lusine Nazaryan

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شكرا على البرنامج الجميل

- اشحنولي

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اشحنولي

- اريد شدات بدون رصيد

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Your course, quizzes at the end of most modules and practice exams truly challenged me. I definitely derived the value and knowledge I was looking for in preparation for taking the PMP Certification Test. In particular, I appreciated the explanations that popped-up in the tests after an answer was submitted - very educational and helpful to my learning/understanding the material and concepts better. Some areas that could be improved (and some of this is nit-picking) include: * Some of the grammar and overall sentence structures, particularly in the latest set of practice exams, needs to be cleaned-up. Some were missing 'of', 'for, or had an extra 'an' in the narrative - got confusing at times. * In the practice exams, I'd like to see shorter sentences rather than the flurry of 'and' and 'or' conjunctions that made reading the sentences go on forever (had to read them multiple times to truly understand their meaning). That said, I enjoyed the overall online course taking experience and thank you for accommodating my requested time extensions. Best regards, Scott Conn

- Scott Conn

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Liked it. Need access for longer though.

- Jerome

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What I like best about Brain Sensei is the interactive nature of the course. I think this material would be numbing if delivered as simple lectures with slides. This method is an improvement on that. On the other hand, an in-person course, while more expensive, would likely be even more useful if you have the funds and the time. I haven't taken the PMP exam yet, so I can't comment on how useful the practice tests are.

- James

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Great

- Yennyfer

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The Brain Sensei PMP program is a wonderful program that condenses the PMBOK into digestible and retainable bites leveraging the power of story telling. If you're looking for a program that will get you your credit hours but also help establish a foundation of PMI knowledge this is the program for you!

- Kenny Dalen

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Passed first attempt

- Lee

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Truly the best course in town if you wish to pass the PMP exam on the first try. I love the idea of playing the role of the samurai and practice your project management skill in her shoes. And not to forget, the generous amount of practice exam gave me just the right dose of confidence before taking the real one. Highly recommended

- Minh Vo

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The course was great, though I found a lot of parts hard to comprehend. I feel a lot more prepared and better skilled to manage projects in my career. Thanks, Brain Sensei.

- Jill Finkelstein

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The BrainSensei PMP preparation course provided me with all the material required to be ready for the exam. It is well structured, explains the concepts clearly, and most importantly, provides ample training questions through the four mock exams and assessment questions at the end of each module. I passed the exam with Above Target in all sections on the first attempt.

- Gael Riethmuller

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Overall I really liked this learning course. It was very helpful and allowed me to be well prepared for the exam. The 2nd and 3rd practice exam are great to give you real example questions and help prepare you for what to expect. BrainSensei's customer service was the best. I had to delay taking my test due to COVID and they extended my membership for free. They went above and beyond my expectation which was great. Only changes I would recommend is to add 1 or 2 more practice exams like the 2nd and 3rd exam and get rid of the agile practice exam. This is not a real focus of the test and therefore is not really applicable in my opinion.

- Ronnie

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BrainSensei developed a great learning method to prepare for the PMP certification exam. Their customer service is always very professional, fast, spot on and dedicated to your success. I recommend them.

- G. Buchs

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I've sent several emails to BrainSensei (one of them not so nice, but the rest were okay) and the team has always been so polite in answering the questions. I'm a very straight-forward person and don't like the PMI-ism type questions because they seem like 'gotchas' or traps, and this is not how I manage my team. I took the Master of Project course (which was garbage) then failed the PMP exam. Throughout the PMP exam I felt so out of touch. Even with the first practice exam on BrainSensei I felt out of place, but I am not getting the hang of things. I hope to pass the exam on the second attempt! The brain sensei experience has been *miles* ahead of the Master of Project garbage. Brain Sensei should be proud of both their product and of their team! I love getting replies to my concerns so quickly. Nice work :) !!!

- Joseph Mather

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This course was great. it laid a great foundation for the PMP exam.

- Marc Vazquez

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very useful

- Dan

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I was very pleased with the preparation provided for the PMP certification. I went through the materials twice and passed the exam on the first try. A couple of the questions need to be polished up, but very good training overall.

- Glen

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Very easy to work with and quality product.

- Joan

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The storyline provides excellent examples that provide context for understanding the core concepts and processes

- Ann

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Good self paced learning tool

- Muneer

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Outstanding job

- Jerome

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This is by far the best way to prepare yourself for the PMP exam. The material is presented in a unique and engaging way that makes learning it easy and also fun! The company behind this course is also very professional and responsive. Keep up the great work!

- Amir Afifi

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I have studied with other programs and I didn’t feel prepared. After a short time with Brain Sensei, I had the confidence to succeed on exam day, which I did on the first try after studying with Brain Sensei. It was worth every penny.

- Andrew Grady

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Great program

- Ashley

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Course is made for people who are already grounded in the material, not for someone that needs all the basics. Was budget friendly and OK content.

- Andrew

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Brain Sensei is great tool to have in the study arsenal while preparing for the PMP exam.

- Derek

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I really enjoyed the modules and content offered by Brain Sensei! I passed the PMP Exam on the first try and would recommend this course to anyone who is looking for a great PMP Exam Prep.

- Delfin Gallegos

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Overall layout is good, but there are some quality issues. Progress isn't always saved across all devices and progress gets lost. Some small spelling mistakes. I loved the practical storyline...

- Riaan

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Passed my PMP on first attempt using Brain Sensei Prep course.

- Mohammad Ali

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Quick and helpful response. Thanks!!

- Laura

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Absolutely Fantastic learning software. Highly recommend it! Very well thought out and creative. Really enjoyed my study time. Excellent mock tests and mock exams. So so helpful. Thank you Brain Sensei Team for being part of my PMP journey!

- Tracy

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Need improvement in presenting more relevant real exam type questions. The practice exams are too simple and easy and do not prepare you for the real exam. Otherwise, good concept presenting material

- Amir

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The prep materials provided plenty of content which prepared me well for the PMP exam. The questions were packed with information.

- Cameron

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Teaches the PMP in a solid manner, some things you need to know as a potential consumer: -The Samurai backstory is extremely short, and didn’t really assist me with recall in any in-depth way. It only gave broad brush-strokes as to what each phase entailed. -MOST of what was on the test was covered in the lessons, however if I had zero real prior PM knowledge prior to the test, I would have failed. -The first practice test forces you, as the student to actually read into the PMBOK, which was a benefit in the long run as it assisted me with quickly referencing what I needed to find. -The course will likely cover wave tops and subjects, forcing me to self-study for a week before my test... not a bad deal all things considered. -Brain Sensei’s course has incorporated Agile into one of their practice tests, and this test IS mandatory. This may seem strange, and I didn’t get a satisfactory reason why I needed to take a purely Agile test when I only wanted to take the PMP, for anyone else in this scenario, this is the reason: In June, PMI is revamping the PMP test to include Agile as a significant portion of the PMP. Brain Sensei is just ahead of the curve trying to get students prepared... fret not. Their customer service is extremely responsive and does take care of their members. My program had a couple bugs, and the customer service fixed my problems within 24 hours. All in all... it was absolutely worth the money for me.

- Kevin

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I am very impressed with this learning system. The content is laid out in a way that will make any learner understand all the process groups and ITTOs in order to understand Project management and be equipped to excel in the test. The learning system is engaging and fun at the same time. It's very different than other learning material which is composed mostly of videos. Some improvements are needed, but in my opinion Brain Sensei is great value for money

- said durra

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At first, I was attracted to Brain Sensei training for their original learning program using a Samurai's story. And indeed it made the whole learning experience funnier - so easier. I felt like the Samurai. Then, I was amazed by The Brain Sensei Team's reactivity and help when I reached out through contact@brainsensei.com Their support was constantly reliable and efficient. I appreciated their professionalism and didn't feel on my own. At last, the course and the practice exams proved to be efficient since I passed the PMP exam - with 'Above Targe't in all Domains. So thank you so much Brain Sensei Team !! Charlene

- Charlene LU

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Overall very good. Got stuck a few times trying to find resources which I should have downloaded the before starting the program. Customer service has been great.

- Jonathan Williams

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SO far I am thoroughly enjoying the Brain Sensei PMP prep course. I have taken a Project management class as a part of my degree which I recently completed and project management has always interested me. I find the course to be educational and easy to follow. I am grateful that this course has been designed in such a way that is simple to understand all of the complexities in project management and that allows me to study at my own pace.

- Eric Browne

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The content is good and easy to understand

- Glenn

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This review is based on completing all course work through module 102. The story and interactive nature of the course are helpful for learning and relating the material. It would be nice to have the page numbers to the PMBOK guide where references are made to it. Other information that will be helpful, are the explanations to the practice questions at the end of each module. These are provided only after immediately answering the questions. Having these available in the score summary from the 'history' tab will be helpful to refresh why the answer is correct and other options are not.

- Rohan Punit

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Overall I would rate this course an 8/10. I liked how there were exams towards the end of every module and I felt that it was very useful having it laid out in different scenarios. I rate it only an 8/10 as I had some glitch/software issues and lost my progress resulting in me having to re-do modules/exams multiple times. All in all, that was maybe useful in the end as it was a way for me study or 're-learn' the course material. Thank you!

- Nikki Cordy

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Clear and precise explanations of how things work. I was never lost navigating the course.

- Gary Nicol

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A smart approach to present the information which makes it fun and engaging while at the same time preparing for the PMP exam. Brain Sensei differentiates itself from other PMP exam preps in that it delivers the knowledge through the use of storytelling technique. I recommend this course because it will help you pass your PMP exam on the first try.

- Jamal

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Loved the story telling and the practice exams. I felt very prepared when the actual exam came around.

- Josh

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One of a kind training that was truly engaging!

- Claire

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Excellent course for preparing for the PMP exam in a fun and engaging way! The practice questions resemble the actual questions on the exam making it a completely worthwhile experience.

- Rossetta

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I passed the PMP exam after taking Brain Sensei's Online PMP Certification Exam Prep. The practice exam questions were so similar to the questions that appeared on the exam. On exam day, when I sat down to take the test and started running through the questions I felt so relieved! The practice exams are also timed so you get more comfortable with the exam experience and feel better prepared when you sit down to take the test. The other differentiator was the video content throughout the modules. The concepts are taught through a story of a young samurai defending her kingdom. This will probably be the only PMP prep course where you can learn all the knowledge areas and feudal Japan at the same time. I'd recommend this course not just because of the videos but because it helped me pass my exam on the first try.

- Jackie

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Good course, but a few grammatical errors with how some questions were worded.

- Sonia

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It was good!

- Sergei

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Loved the unique approach and it still had all the info I'd expect from a full PMP exam prep course. Very responsive on questions too.

- Chris