Taking the PMP Exam - Know this firstAre you planning to take the PMP exam?

For many people, there are questions about the PMP exam that get in the way of taking the plunge and deciding to actually take the exam.

Some are simple, like how much does it cost, and others are trickier, like how much time should I budget to prepare.

The good news is we have some answers right here to help you make an informed decision and to ensure you’re ready!

So first, some basic facts …

How much does it cost?

The cost is $555US for non-members of PMI and $405US for Members.

Pro tip! Membership costs $129US per year, so if you become a member before taking the exam, you spend less overall AND you get access to resources that will help you prepare for the exam!

When can I take the exam?

If you choose to take it online, you can choose pretty much any date or time – it’s very flexible. See our post about taking the PMP exam online if you are considering this option.

If you want to take the exam in person, check Pearson VUE’s website for the schedule at a location near you, and if you’re going this route, be sure to monitor for changes to exam availability or scheduling.

Where can I take the exam?

In most regions, you have the choice of joining a scheduled in-person exam at a designated location or taking the exam online at the place and time of your choosing.

  • In-person PMI exams are offered at approved Pearson VUE Testing Centers worldwide. Check Pearson VUE’s website for a location near you – and remember to also check for information about changes to exam availability or schedule in your area.
  • Online exams can be done anywhere, anytime. If you’re leaning towards taking the exam online, check out our post, “Take the PMP exam online”.

How long is the exam?

A maximum of 230 minutes is allocated to complete the exam (just under 4 hours), with two ten-minute breaks for online exams (no breaks for in-person exams).

What questions are on the exam?

The exam is made up of a total of 180 questions, which are a mixture of multiple-choice, multiple responses, matching, hotspot, and limited fill-in-the-blank.

What topics are covered in the exam?

Great question! In the new 2021 exam, the questions have been refocused around 3 new “domains”, in recognition of the increasingly diverse skill set for professionals in the project management field. The domains and question breakdown are as follows:

  1. People (related to the skills and activities associated with effectively leading a project team) = 42% of the exam questions,
  2. Process (the technical aspects, or “how-to” of managing a project) = 50% of the exam questions, and
  3. Business Environment (focused on the connection between projects and organization strategy) = 8% of the exam questions.

What else can you tell me about the questions and topics to expect?

About half of the exam will look at predictive project management approaches (traditional or waterfall) and the other half will look at adaptive (agile or hybrid) approaches.

When do I get my results?

Right away, no waiting. Regardless of whether you take the exam in-person or online, you get your results at the end of the exam, with no waiting or wondering.

What if I fail the exam?

Can I try again? You can take the exam up to three times within your one-year eligibility period, and 2 of 5 people typically do need another try before they nail it. Fees are associated with re-examination. Details for re-examination can be found in the certification handbook.

But who needs that stress? Our 100% pass guaranteed PMP exam prep course will help you prepare, and make sure you pass the first time!

What if I don’t complete or pass the exam before my one-year runs out?

Your application is valid for one year only from the date it is approved. If your eligibility lapses, you will need to apply again.

How to Prepare for the PMP Exam

Those are the easier facts. Now on to the trickier stuff – how to prepare. Maybe you have questions about that – and that’s fine. We have answers!

  • To start, how long do people typically spend preparing? According to the PMI, successful candidates spend an average of 35 hours preparing.
  • How do people usually spend those 35 hours preparing for this exam? The answer to this is a little dependent on your own learning style, but there are definitely some best practice tips you can draw on.
  • What can I learn from people who struggled with the exam? Speaking with people who have not been successful on their first try with the exam, most say that either they didn’t do enough practice tests, or they didn’t budget their time correctly. Knowing that gives you a definite advantage!

Best Practice Study Tips

Maybe you are wondering where to start with your studying and prep for the exam – here are some best practice tips to help you create and stick to a winning plan.

You can’t go wrong with Brain Sensei’s Complete PMP Exam Prep Course. It’s online, so you can do it anytime, anywhere. It’s not boring! The unique storytelling and spaced repetition system (SRS) keep it interesting AND have better learning outcomes.

There are mini-quizzes and exams at the end of each module to test understanding and make sure you stay on track, too. And that’s not all: there are four complete ‘practice exams’, with questions and a format that mimics the actual PMP exam so you can confirm your readiness!

You’ll also need the lengthy and slightly dense A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), published by PMI, but with our prep course guiding you, you’ll only need to read specific sections for important topics where you struggled on the practice questions. This guide is written in PMI language and will be a great reference tool for areas you need to deep dive and master to be successful in the exam.

What comes next?

Just like with anything you tackle, you need a plan and a schedule. It might even help to think of it as a project: Create some objectives, identify your timeline, map out tasks and dependencies – and make sure you stick to your study plan.

So, I read the PMBOK, I’m good, right?

Do I need to read any other study guides? Heck yes! The PMBOK is the PMI guidebook, but not a study guide. There are a bunch of study guides available on the market, but with Brain Sensei’s Complete PMP Exam Prep Course you will only need the PMBOK Guide, Agile Practice Guide, PMP Handbook, and PMP Exam Content Outline (mostly for reference purposes to dig deeper on a particular topic).

Anything else?

Yes, for sure. Don’t just do a bunch of reading. Make sure you tackle practice questions.

PMP exam questions are scenario-based, and the scenarios can be varied. So, just reading the theory doesn’t mean that you can effectively apply your knowledge in situations, and when on the clock. That’s where the practice questions really help.

Also, practice questions will help you identify the different kinds of questions as you read them and the skills you need to build to tackle them. When you are taking your exam, the minute you read a question you should be able to tap into your strategy to solve it.

So, practice questions. That’s it?

Nope, another skill to hone is practice exams.

Making sure you’re ready to focus for four hours to build confidence for exam day and give you a chance to work out any wrinkles. Are you budgeting your time well?

If taking the exam online, practice in the space you’ll use for the real thing. Is your chair comfortable? How’s the lighting in the room at the time of day you’re going to do the exam? Are your keyboard and mouse in good order?

What about online courses to help me prepare?

I’d like a little structure. Well, we have a great course here you may want to consider. Don’t miss the opportunity to use your 35 hours of required project management training to help you prepare for the exam. Our course counts, and that can check two boxes for you – meeting the eligibility requirement AND helping you prepare.

Our online PMP exam prep course includes a range of interactive modules, practice questions and exams, content summaries and self-assessments, and access to a private Facebook group where you can ask questions if you get stuck, get support, and compare notes.

Earlier we talked about learning styles, you might be wondering how that plays into this. We all learn differently, and chances are, over the course of your life, you’ve learned some strategies that work well for you and some that just don’t click.

For example, some of us learn well using flashcards, while others learn better with an auditory mode of learning – the Brain Sensei SRS approach is scientifically proven and very effective.

Some people study best in a group, where you can discuss and interact with others on the topic – and the Brain Sensei private Facebook group is a wonderful solution to this, transcending time and space online!

The best way for you to ace this exam is to understand your strengths and weaknesses as well as your study styles. Try different approaches in your mock tests and zero in on one that works best for you.

Anything else?

This is making me nervous. What else can I do to ensure success?

If you chose to become a PMI member, maybe for the price break on the exam fee, you now have access to a ton of resources from PMI and you also have a new network of other project management professionals.

Drawing on this network can help you stay plugged into any changes or new developments in the field. You can also tap into project management experiences that others have, which can help you crack some of the difficult scenario-based questions.

Whatever tactics you employ to prepare for the exam, keep in mind the two most important tips from people who’ve gone before you: Budget and use your prep time wisely, and be sure to practice. Good luck with your exam!

Read Our Reviews

Brain Sensei is rated 4.6 out of 5.0 stars based on 60 review(s).

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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