I teach PMP Certification classes and have seen hundreds of students who are in quest of the PMP certification. All have project management experience but most don’t know the terms, inputs, outputs or the tools and techniques that the PMP exam will expect you to know. The exam is full of practical questions that assume you’ve been there and done that. You’ll need that experience coupled with knowing the facts, data and processes that makeup project management according to the project management institute. I’ve taught over 70 PMP classes and over 50% of my students never take the exam.  So what’s the best advice for taking and passing the exam? The most important step in passing the PMP exam is to apply, pay for and schedule the exam. Until you’ve done all three, the exam may be just a dream.

Plan to study a little bit each week. Read the PMBOK, and then start working through a PMP exam preparation course book like the Rita Mulcahy Exam Prep, or Andy Crowe, or even Head First. Study each knowledge area and take the short test offered in most courses to validate your skills in each knowledge area. Next take a full practice test to establish a baseline for your overall knowledge and help determine your test strategy. I advise taking four full practice tests from different sources until you are scoring at least 75% on the exam. Determine what if anything you’ll write down for your “brain dump” and practice that information several times. Examples might be formulas, HR theories or just lists of concepts.

You’ll never be fully ready, so work toward your scheduled date, have confidence, have a test plan, stick with your first answers, and pass the exam.