The PMP exam is well known for keeping passing scores close to their chest and for changing exam formats every 2 or 3 years or so. If the exam format doesn’t change then their core book – the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK) changes. Nevertheless, there is a constant flux at PMI where exams are concerned and since 2006 – when they stopped publishing passing scores – no one really knows what their passing percentage is anymore; making it all the more difficult for candidates to prepare for the exam and ensure their readiness.
Anyhow, here for the sake of making the exam study a bit easier to manage, I’m going through some options available to you.
PMP Training / Studying Techniques
There are a number of studying methods you can choose from to get PMP certified. For the purpose of ease , I’ll just put them into two core methods. i.e. Self Training and Online PMP Training.
Self training / studying
If you go with self training for the PMP exam you are already aware of the discipline it requires for a successful outcome. The place where many people run into problems is the varying degrees of information out there on preparation books, exam simulators and how to go through the material given in the PMBoK. Here, I will go a little bit into the options available and how to use the materials to the best effect.
Possibly the oldest PMP Prep book that has been regularly updated with PMBoK editions over the last 18 years. Anyone who studies for the exam swears by this book including me. During the course of my studies, I used this book and its ‘end of chapter’ questions to practice however to run through exam mode, I tried out the other books for the sake of questions only. After I was done with the exam – that I cleared in my first try – I went back to the materials in the books; Rita’s book was head and shoulders above the rest. I wouldn’t recommend any other book or practice material when doing self study online.
PMP Training Practice questions:
To study for the exam you need to practice the questions; ideally near the actual exam question number of 200. Here are a few online and mostly free resources for exam questions:
PMStudy.com: Practice questions for Project Integration Management & Project Management Framework.
PmStudy.com: Free Exam Simulation covering 200 questions to be completed in 4 hours.
Oliver Lehmann’s 75 Free Sample Questions: http://www.oliverlehmann.com/pmp-self-test/75-free-questions.htm
PM training PMP Practice Exam: They give you 90 day access to PMP exam questions from a database of 1000 questions. If you don’t wish to scour the internet for them, then you should buy this for $59 only.
There are tons of other resources out there that I will eventually get to in a dedicated post.
So that’s about it. All you need to do is ensure you’ve practiced enough – ideally do 2 full exam simulations with passing grade of 80% before you go in for the exam. Ensure that you always go over the correct and wrong answers to understand why they were correct. If the reasoning doesn’t make sense, then check the reference for that question.
Virtual / Online PMP training
Another method for PMP training that professionals use to great effect is via self paced online study or what is commonly called PMP Online training.
A number of well known distance learning institutes offer this and it is a very successful model as it fits into the home and work life of the busy project manager. Too many professionals are simply unable to take out the time for a boot camp, weekend classes or evening classes because of their busy schedules. Here’s a list that I recommend.
It is slightly expensive on the list here however it is worth the money. First of all, they deliver the content via iOS and Android devices as well, hence making training easy and accessible on the go. Then there are the 32 hours of instructor led training, 29 hours of e learning content chapter exams and 5 simulated tests; all backed by SimpliLearn‘s money back guarantee if you don’t pass the exam in your first attempt. Mind you, to claim this you will need to have attempted your exam within 45 days of completing the course or online classroom training.
Currently they have a 50% off on the training if you register before 4 Jan 2016.
Another well known self paced PMP online certification training is provided by ezCertifications. Their most basic offering is the PMP Online Training for $299 with the exception that it doesn’t include the practice simulation exam. What you do get however is 35 hours of course study with a pre course test and a post course test. At the end of this training you will know exactly how well you’re prepared for the exam. If you want a simulated exam test to go with it, then you should consider their 60 days access with 1 simulated exam for $349.
Their approach to Online PMP training is rather unique as it is one on one coaching. What they effectively do is assess your understanding level of Project management skills, knowledge and training and create a study plan for you. Then you follow along with online tutoring sessions every other day or week where your assigned instructor tests your understanding on the topic you’ve studied before the session and you can ask pointed questions and get clarifications. Essentially you’re doing the studies in your own time (like in self study) however you are doing this using the right materials for you and someone other than yourself is checking on your progress as you go along. At the end of your study (covers 35 hours of tutor time within 2 months) you are given a practice test to assess your skills and a certificate so you can also claim these hours with PMI if needed. They have been doing this on a small scale for a few years now with great success (even though they are not PMI REP). They have an offer running for PMP Training for $149 with a money back guarantee.