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What is the best strategy to prepare for PMP?

Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is not a cake walk. Having said that it’s not even that tough as people talk and make it. It just need a focused approach. Shortcut approach may not work for PMP but if prepared in a planned manner, success is guaranteed. In addition to a plan the strategy also depends on your current know-how about PMP and its content. In this article we shall have a look at the different steps required to prepare for PMP.

Also Read: How to prepare for PMP certification exam?

Strategy

Starting anything looks very hard but when you take the first step and move forward, way to success unfold slowly. This is very true for PMP journey. The most effective results outburst when the preparation is done in a focused and planned. Below is one prospective of strategy one can take to prepare for PMP in stepwise manner. In this stepwise approach we shall discuss from a prospective where aspirant is completely new to PMP so that we cover end to end, however if you are already aware of few bits, you can jump to next step.                            PMP Preparation Strategy We shall discuss each and every step in detail to understand the meaning and rigor of it and accordingly plan for it.

Understand Eligibility, Exam content

Many PMP aspirants are already well-versed with this step however there is a chunk of people who doesn’t know about it and start getting information in bits and pieces. Those information has problems like it’s not true, create confusion, and make a false image of certification and exam. One has to go through the eligibility criteria and exam content given by PMI and make oneself well versed with it. Below link can be used for all this information. There is a link to handbook for PMP at the same link. As a first step, download it and give a quick read to it.

http://www.pmi.org/certifications/types/project-management-pmp

Make a high level Plan with targets

This is human tendency that we don’t work without an end goal and a path forward to that goal. As it’s said also that nothing works without deadlines or time-boxing. If you keep yourself flexible in terms of PMP exam writing date, you will keep on pushing it and parking it to the next available break you can afford and prepare for it. It’s very important to set the target date/month for PMP exam and plan backward from that date. If there is no hurry set this date as X+5 months where X is current day.

Take PDU Training

Training is anyway required from PMP exam eligibility prospective. Other benefit of training is it will set you right for your preparation. That trigger to start preparation and getting overview works wonders for few. One more prospective for taking training is, after giving a quick read of one prep book before taking this. My view on this is, if you have that much time and a clear focus approach, go for it, it will help you during your training but if you are struggling to finish reading and pushing your training, don’t delay it.

Complete exam prep guide

This is most exhausting step where you will be reading of PMBOK and any supplementary book you are referring. This step will consume time and also distract you but sticking to plan is very important for completing this step. Many aspirant find PMBOK hard or theoretical because of which they are not able to focus and complete this step. In that case, a supplementary book can help.

There are many books like Rita, Head first, Kidman etc.. I personally recommend Head first as it’s a light read and in parallel to PMBOK this make most sense. To get the maximum benefit, read same chapter from both PMBOK and supplementary book and lock it in mind. You can also refer online materials for the concepts not clear by reading books

Must Read: 25 PMP Formulas to Pass the PMP Certification Exam

Take Mock Exams

After the extensive read of PMBOK and other references, this is the time to test the learnings. In this step, aspirants has to go for full mock tests. These mocks are not going to test the knowledge and leaning but also the stamina for 4 hours test. It will take 1–2 mock tests to set your stamina for sitting for long time and focusing on questions. These mocks will get you ready for exam in multiple respects. Next step has to be repeated after every mock test.

We have more than 1200 questions for PMP exam. This would be very useful for your preparation.

Note the gaps and refer material

Mocks without proper analysis will not be fruitful. To make full use of the mock test, after every mock it is to identify the gaps and areas where you have scored less, else the purpose of mock test is gone. Identify the areas where you need revision or where your answers were not correct. Work on it before attempting next mock. Refer internet, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogs etc..all the channels required to make sure yourself understand the concepts which are not clear. As per my experience after 3-4 mocks you will be clear on your weak areas and you will be prepared for it.

Repeat mocks till you get 90% for 2 consecutive tests:

This step is just a pointer and automatically after 2-3 mocks you will be clear and start scoring in the mocks. 90% is the final target, but even if it’s less it should be fine. If you score between 85 to 90 % for 2 consecutive mocks you are ready else you need to continue working on your gaps and attempting it. This step may be repeated multiple times and this is what will give you confidence and readiness check.

Conclusion

Focusing and following this plan is not tough. Here and there little-bit tweaking and flexibility can be easily accommodated. Primary aspect of any plan is, one need to adhere to it. PMP sounds hard because aspirants read one chapter then break for a quarter and again restart, which is where the rigor disappears. Just be focused and follow these steps as place holder for you to reality check. You will be good and attain your PMP credentials very soon.  

About Dharmalingam N

Dharmalingam.N holds a master degree in Business Administration and writes on a wide range of topics ranging from technology to business analysis. He has a background in Relationship Management. Some of the topics he has written about and that have been published include; project management, business analysis and customer engagement.
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