What is the Best Way to Prepare for PMP Certification?

OK, if you’re studying for Project Management Professional certification, (or PMP), what is the best way to prepare? Are there shortcuts you could take? There might be – but then again there may not be!

A site called WisdomPearls.com shares 10 tips for passing the PMP exam. The first piece of advice it offers? Join the Project Management Institute. Sure, you gain access to its reams of project management knowledge but you also get all types of member discounts. So, not only are you prepared but you’re a little bit better off financially.

The post’s author, Samkit Shah, says “Diving right into the crux of how one should approach the PMP exam I will highlight a few important guidelines on how I prepared myself.

Time commitment – I took a total of 3 months to prepare for the PMP. I work full-time and so I used to study approximately 2-3 hours every day. During my last 3-4 weeks I bumped it up to 4-5 hours a day. During my last few days I went on to read at-least 6-8 hours a day.

Initial Approach – I used to read one chapter every day, attempt a few questions on that chapter and write down my notes from that chapter. I would highlight a few points which I feel were important for that chapter and make a quick reference guide.

Final Approach – As I moved closer to my exam date, I would review my notes, dump sheets that I created during my initial reading, and attempt full set of 100-200 questions per chapter available online.”

Shah’s advice seems strong for preparation. But so are the 10 specific tips featured at the bottom of the blog post.

PMChamp.com, which focuses on helping folks pass the PMP exam, offers a free Step-by-Step PMP Study Plan to prepare for the exam. Vinai Prakash, PMP, founder of PMChamp.com, says in that blog post, “Preparing for the PMP exam is quite unlike what you did in school and college. Here the focus is not on memorization, but understanding the concepts, best practices, guidelines, and project management framework, as per PMI’s PMBOK Guide (currently Fifth Edition).”

It says, “… when it comes to preparing for the PMP Exam, you need to have a plan that is specific, practical, time-bound and achievable. Without a good game plan, you may simply be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work, or just run out of steam mid-way…”

The site offer a good study plan for PMP:

Quickly enroll in a PMP Exam Preparation Workshop in your city.
Assess the gap in your knowledge
Filling up the PMP Certification Application Form
Firm up Your Study Plan in earnest
Suggested PMP Exam Study Plan:

Assuming that you have at least 6 weeks before the exam, spend the time as follows

First Round of Basic Study – Rita’s PMP Exam Prep Book

2 Days for Project Management Framework

20 Days for the 10 Knowledge Areas (2 days each)

Of course there is one thing to keep in mind. Is it worth getting your PMP certification? Brian tackled that at his blog Entangled.com. He lists these pros for the certification:

Many companies will not hire a non-certified project manager
You will make more money
Certification proves you have experience
Great networking opportunities among your PMP peers
He list these cons for certification:

It’s an expensive process
Preparing for the test is time consuming
Certification is time consuming to keep
Certification doesn’t make you a good project manager.
With regards to the last one, Crawford says, “Passing the PMP exam means that you’ve indicated that you have a certain amount of project management experience and education, and that you’ve passed a difficult test – that’s all. It doesn’t mean that you’re a good project manager, or that the projects that you’ve managed have been successful.”

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