How to prepare for the PMP exam

2018-12-20 13:15:00

PMP certification is an international designation by the Project Management Institute to project management professionals. It is for someone

  • who seek a transition of career paths from technical to managerial

  • who learn project management from experience but seek systematic study

  • who want to improve their project management knowledge

PMP exam prerequisites

From the information gathered from the PMI website,

- Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or the global equivalent)
- 7,500 hours leading and directing projects
- 35 hours of project management education
- Four-year degree
- 4,500 hours leading and directing projects
- 35 hours of project management education


Besides the 35 hours of mandatory training, the average preparation time can be divided into several sections as shown below,

It is recommended by test takers who passed the exam that you prepare for the exam like a sprint, usually in about 2-3 months, rather than like a marathon which might make it too long and exhausting.

Cost besides your time

The minimal time cost required for preparing the PMP certification exam for most test takers are:

  • Buying a PMI membership (US$139) which helps in saving for the exam fee and a free download of the PMBOK Guide

  • The PMP Certification Exam Fee (US$405, this is for PMI members; for non-members, it is US$555), and

  • 35 Hours Project Management Education (about US$200, prices may vary on courses).

Besides, you might also have to buy prep books and mock exams, such as

  • PMP Exam Simulator, and

  • PMP Exam Prep Study Guide

If all the items mentioned above are summed up, the cost would be around $1,000. You wouldn't want to fail in that exam, as so much money and time you have invested.

How to prepare for the PMP exam

Now it comes to how to prepare for it.

PMBOK, the Project Management Body of Knowledge guide, offers the foundation knowledge recognized in the realm of project management, so read the book thoroughly, and get familiar with 47 PMBOK processes 10 knowledge areas. Agile management is newly added in the PMP scope, as it is getting attention from managers all over the world in the last two decades. Compared to the 5th edition of the PMBOK guide, the 6th edition has over 300 pages added because of the Agile management, which makes the total number of the pages goes to about 980.

For more information about the 6th edition of the book, check HERE.

This PMP exam has 200 questions plus 25 that will not be taken into account. It takes 4 hours, so it can be a test on your physical strength too. You have to take the mock exam seriously and practice for real. Sit down and try to finish the mock exam in 4 hours to see whether you can handle it.

Recommended mock test resources

Head First PMP

This is the most recommended mock test book. If you are on a short budget for the exam, you have to buy this book at least.

Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep

This is the other prep book that is recommended in probably every how-to-prepare articles.

When taking the exam...

Tips from the internet can be summarized in the followings

  • There will questions that seems not strange to you, like the 25 questions server as a litmus test. So don't panic. Skip the one you are not sure of, then come back for it.
  • Look for the synonyms of keywords in PMBOK.
  • Answer questions according to PMI, not your experience.
  • Use techniques when dealing with questions that seem to have more than one answer. Click HERE to those techniques.
  • When the question is too lengthy, read the last sentence first.

Last but not least, never EVER leave a question blank.





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