Studying for the PMP certification exam alone can be pretty boring and difficult most of the time. A lot of project managers who want to become PMPs usually just start studying for the test as soon as they apply for the credential without having any specific plan in mind. They usually start off excited and eager to learn, but as soon as they are exposed to the huge amount of information they’re expected to learn, a lot of them lose motivation and slack of with their preparation. Failing to plan is planning to fail. You’ve probably heard that motto a million times but it really does work. Creating and following a plan is the most effective way to ensure you complete your training before test day arrives.
Based on advice and tips from hundreds of project managers who get their PMP certification, three months is enough time for someone to fully prepare for the test. That is assuming you’ve already earned your 35 contact hours and have at least three years of project management experience.
The first thing you should do is sign up with PMI if you haven’t already done so. Not only will you get a huge discount on the PMP exam registration fees, but you’ll also get a free copy of the PMBOK Guide which you will need to prepare.
Next, schedule your PMP exam date that is about 4 months from the current day. This will give you enough time to study and will prevent you from slacking off.
Choose a good PMP prep book and read it thoroughly from start to finish. Make sure you read it at a pace to finish it 3 weeks before test day (more on that later). For this time, you don’t want to be as focuses on memorizing material than you are on understanding it. Solve any sample questions and exercises in between or at the end of chapters, but do not solve any of the sample PMP exams at the end of the book. (Most good PMP books have sample exams at the back.)
You’ll find a lot advice that you should study 1 hour a day for 4 months or 3 hours a day for 2 months and stuff like that. There’s really no specific guideline since everybody learns at a different rate and has different schedules. As long as you’ll be able to finish and fully comprehend the material within the time you give yourself, then you can study for as long or as little as you’d like everyday.
The last 3 weeks you should focus solely on short term study techniques like flash cards, formula guides, etc. You should also solve as many sample exams in this time as possible. You should also use this time to review anything you’re not 100% sure of or don’t understand properly.
The last 3 days before the test you should do absolutely no more studying. Cramming all the material into your brain the night before the exam doesn’t work, so just take these last couple of days easy. Make sure you have breakfast and are well rested on the day of the exam to be 100% in test mode.
You don’t need to stick to my exact Project Management Professional certification study plan. Change the plan a little to suit your time and needs, just make sure you prepare sufficiently for test day!