The PMP certification is a tough exam, but the right mindsets and testing techniques can help make things a little easier. Most of the questions on the exam are now scenario based and ask what do you do next, what is the next best step, or even what is the next step in the project. Lessons learned from recent exam takers say the exam is 80% Agile, which is higher than PMI says but it may feel like it. The exam is based on the Jan 2021 Exam Content Outline probably one of the main documents you should read and use as a study guide. So what’s your plan? Even after a 35 hour prep course you should plan on studying anywhere from 3 weeks to 4 months. There are many great plans on what and how to study. Find the one that works for you.

The topic here is the mindset. Always assume information needed to answer the question is included in the question. Often there will be two or more possible answers, prioritize answers from best to worst. Avoid extreme actions in your answers, such as closing the project, escalating to the Sponsor or other external party, not helping the customer. Aim for answers that have inclusiveness and collaboration, or an action by the project manager. Don’t skip process steps, processes or documents to accelerate project delivery or closure. Don’t pass the problem to someone else, or escalate to management unless it’s a last resort. The Project Manager is always proactive, puts the team first as a servant leader and is a good steward for the business / customer’s goals.

What about the test questions? Problem solving – Focus on solving the problem, never postpone the problem. First thing to do – Focus on the order, what’s next, process order important. Elimination technique – find the wrong answers. Be aware of extreme answers – Never, Always, All, None, Must. What would a servant leader do? 5 step process – Align, Understand, Evaluate, Decide, Improve. 50/50 rule – pick the best answer. Positive bias – Answer is possible until you eliminate it.

Find what works for you. Understand both predicative and Agile processes, take as many practice questions as you can. Scores of 75% or above is your target score.