Friday, March 20, 2015

Quick tips for preparing for PMP (Project Management Professional) exam

I took the exam this month and here are some leanings from my experience and few tips that may help you in your preparation.

  1. Take sample exams: Do not wait to complete studying the entire course before taking the exam. You would have a fair understanding of most concepts from the 35 Contact hours that you would have completed. You could start with short exams 30-50 questions and then move on to full length exams. There are a number of free sample exams available online. I took only the free exams.  Most free sample exams are good however you may come across a couple which may not seem to appropriate (eg: wrong answers, wrong options, weird questions etc). So, make sure you use your judgement and cross check answers when in doubt.                                     
  2. Focus on content in the PMBOK: There are various topics that you will come across which are outside the scope of PMBOK. Do not spend too must time on those especially if you are short of time. At the same time it is advisable to get a deeper understanding of the concepts that are mentioned only briefly in the PMBOK. Since, the questions are often situational it is helpful to understand the concepts in detail. (eg: Net Present Value, Pareto Chart, Delphi Technique, Free Float, Total Float etc)                                                                                            
  3. Bigger Picture:  Once you have completed the entire course spend a few hours trying to understand the entire flow of project management processes and knowledge areas. Try and understand which process the inputs come from and which process the output flows into.            
  4. Don’t miss the formulae: There are a 10-15 numerical questions make sure you get them right. Learn your formulae and practice these questions. They are all very straight forward and quick wins. Few concepts that you need to understand – Earned Value, Expected Monetary Value, Communication Channel & Critical Path.                                                                            
  5. Learn the jargons: Lastly, make sure you understand the meaning and application of the jargons used in PMBOK. Again, these will help out with the straight forward questions. 

Reference for sample tests:
This is a difficult test so take it only after you have completed the entire course. Don’t let the low score is this test disappoint you as most questions are not likely to come in the actual exam. However, doing this helps you ensure that your concepts are clear.
This site will additionally give you references to a number of sample exams.

2.  - (SI Logic, Christopher Scordo, PMP, ITIL)
This resource is available free only to PMI members. This set is relatively simpler than the actual exam. However, this helps in providing practice with the questions which are simple and it is important to get them right in the exam.