Top 5 Tips for Success with the PMP Exam

June 27th, 2009

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is a valuable designation to have because it shows a level of experience and professional quality that is crucial in today’s depressed economy, and it will differentiate you from the rest of your competition – or at least, keep you among the top echelon of your competition.

Before you’ll be able to get the PMP, you must pass a taxing examination. The test is long and many people have to take the exam several times, but you can be one of those who successfully pass the exam if you take the following suggestions to heart:

  1. Pace yourself to ensure that you have enough time to answer all the questions – and take all the time you’re allowed for the test. Review your answers to make sure that you read the questions correctly and interpreted them properly (but don’t change answers without a good reason – generally, you’re first answer is the best, unless you’ve mis-read or mis-interpreted the question the first time). If you do decide to change an answer, have a good, specific reason for doing so; e.g.: “I didn’t see the word ‘not’ in the question.”
  2. Remember that any answer – again, no matter how attractively they may present it – that suggests “gold-plating” (i.e., delivering more than was agreed upon) is never the right answer. Do not choose it.
  3. Take a PMP Prep course. This is the easiest and most effective way to ensure that you’ll be successful (however, it can be costly). These courses are generally brief 3-5 day intensives that are typically held shortly before you are scheduled to sit for the exam. One of the biggest benefits of such courses is the interaction you’ll have with the other participants and the ability to learn and understand how they would approach the situations, along with the rationales for their choices. If you can’t go to a course, buy one of the test software programs, or at least, take every practice test you can find – and clearly understand why any answers you missed were considered wrong by PMI.
  4. Remember that any answer – no matter how good it may sound – that in any way suggests that an unethical “shortcut” is the right answer – is automatically, the wrong answer. Do not choose any answer that suggests that bypassing the rules and PMI principles is okay.
  5. Get plenty of rest the night before taking the test. The test is long, and it is challenging, so you’ll need to be able to think clearly as you ponder the answers – especially since several of the answers may actually be true, but the test will generally ask you for the best answer, and only one answer will qualify as the best answer. You’ll need good judgment and clear thinking to be able to pick out the best from the other good answers.

If you’ve done all of the above, you should be in good shape to take the test – and to pass it on your first stab.

Good Luck!

I’m a PMP, and I’ve found it to be invaluable over the past several years; however, even the PMP is no promise of continual employment in this downturn. It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan, or in this case, a second income source. I’ve started working my own work at home business to give me residual income to carry me through those “in-between” times when I don’t have an active engagement. If you’d like to learn how you, too, can generate a second income, check out my website:

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