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Monday, 05 February 2007 17:14

Tips for taking the PMP exam

Written by  Mindy Blossom
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  1. Join PMI. It's about $150 between the national and local chapters. Then you get a $100 discount on the exam which is normally $550, I think.
  2. Get 35 PDUs, or be sure you complete the PDUs before you take the exam.
  3. Fill out the online app. It will break down all of your PM experience into about 50 different areas. Have your referenes updated contact info. PMI does a random audit of applicants, so fill out the info as best you can.
  4. PMI responds that your application has been accepted in about a week.
  5. Only then can you schedule an exam date.
  6. Pass the exam.
  7. Status is good for 3 years. To main status, you need to earn 60 PDU's over the 3 years. Then pay again to renew status. You don't need to take the test again.

Test and retest yourself, because:
  1. you can read the material forever, but the tests bring you into the frame of mind of answering situational-type and PMI-like questions.
  2. it gives you focus since you will have an idea of where you are very strong and where you are weaker - if you are very strong in most areas, then just focus on where you are weak, because the exam tests you across several topics and where you are strongest can balance out your weaker areas.
  3. it gives you a sense of how it will feel to sit in one place and answer 200 questions over a 4 hour span. I took 3.5 hours to go through the exam once and review the ones I had "marked" for review.

Testing tools I used:

  1. Crosswind book, by Tony Johnson -- 30 questions on every chapter with good explanations for each answer, then a full length exam of 200 questions in the back.
  2. -- a great bargain because it has a couple of Baseline exams, plus 25 questions for each chapter, in addition to an "e-simulator" exam that was broken into two 100 questions sections, so you can opt to do just 100 questions and/or simulate the full exam of 200 questions.
  3. Another e-simulator I used was PMCampus ($75 for 3 exams). I took one of the 4 hour exams and got a percentage analysis of my strongest and weakest areas based on the questions given so I knew where to focus. The online exams are good because they also recreate the look/feel, functionality, and question format of the actual exam, so you are better prepared for what to expect.
There's lots of talk about the e-simulator (on CD) from Rita Mulcahy, but it's $300+ and I don't feel like you necessarily need it. I believe the key is to take one full length 4 hour exam to experience it and analyze your stregths, then just to test and retest yourself using other methods.

I only used the PMBOK (which is given to you free on CD when you join PMI) and Rita Mulcahy's book which I found is good. It translates the staid PMBOK into simple language and real life examples. It also brings together the different 9 knowledge areas and 5 processes, and all their permutations, into a clear structure. I highlighted and notated both, then re-read those portions only. They say to read the material 3x and you are ready.

Other materials
Other materials are good to get a different spin on the same material. I liked this site,

Not great on the design, but it provided bullet-pointed info, and then 100+ questions and answers for every topic.

Create a cheat sheet
There are formulas, inputs/outputs to certain project phases, etc. that you need to know. Create a cheat sheet as you study, then whittle it down, and practice writing it out by memory. Then when you get to the exam, take a minute before you do the test to write your cheat sheet. It did help me because you do a brain dump and don't need to think about it later when your head is swimming during the exam.

Take the day off of work before the exam to leisurely practice writing your cheat sheet from memory, brush up on the material, then don't do anything that night.

Eat alot of protein and caffeine for breakfast - with travel time and prep, you may not eat anything for 5-6 hours.

Good luck!
Read 8112 times Last modified on Thursday, 16 April 2009 13:43
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