Project Management Study Buddy – My Top 3 Recommendations for Passing the PMP

I thought it might be useful for some to hear my story about studying for the PMP or the CAPM exam. I did not do the classroom route or the bootcamp expense. I studied alone but I didn’t go it alone as I had a support network of mentors. I was also audited. I also failed my first attempt. So here’s some studying tips!

  1. Immerse yourself in it
    • Whether that is a bootcamp for 40 hours straight, a routine study group once a week, designated study time every night, you need constant interaction with the content. Even if you’re a PM at your regular job, the fundamentals that are being tested are very cut and dry; you need to study for the exam like you would a psychology exam. I highly recommend Carl and LeRoy on the PMP Exam Prep CDs. I’d listen for an hour a day on the way to work and back.
  2. Practice answers
    • Anywhere has test questions, but what you really need to do is go over the answers of the ones you got right and wrong. Many questions don’t have one right answer, there are 3 good answers and 1 better answer and you could easily talk yourself into any of them. Rita in the PMP Exam has great explanations. Read the thought process to train yourself to do the same.
  3. The project life cycle
    • I struggled with these questions the most. Does this action happen in planning or monitoring and controlling? Memorizing orders isn’t enough; you have to carefully watch the verb used in the question to get it right. Are they creating project members? Identifying them? Or assigning tasks to them? It seems simple, but since the books and materials typically train by section, these questions sneak up on you.

Does the PMP prepare you for a job as a Project Manager? I think it does emphasize the tools and processes needed to be good at it. Experience and networking will help you become a great one, which the PMI community emphasizes as well. I think it’s a great group to be a part of!

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