PMP Exam Lessons Learned From Those Who Have Been There

Are you considering studying for and obtaining your Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification? Are you wondering what study tools and methods others have used successfully? Are you interested in reading about the exam experiences of those who have recently passed the PMP® Exam? Then there is a forum you should check out onThe PMPrepCast website. All of the posts are lessons learned and tips from those who have recently become Project Management Professionals and who probably started with the same questions and concerns that you have.

Let’s take a look at one example from this forum. It was written by Amar Roy, PMP shortly after he obtained his PMP® Certification and contains the following insights into how the exam went for him.

Lessons learned and tips related to registering for the PMP® Exam:

  • Decide on a timeline for when you want to sit for the exam, and based on that, plan your preparation.
  • As soon as you have your 35 contact hours, register to take the PMP® Exam. This will help you to accelerate your planning process.
  • Become a PMI member before registering for the PMP® Exam; this will save you some money on study materials.
  • The PMP Exam application process is a timely affair. You will need to provide a description of the project(s) you were involved with and your role across each of the process groups. Make sure you have a detailed project-experience history before you start; this will save you a lot of time!

Lessons learned and tips related to PMP® Exam study materials:

  • Read the most current version of ThePMBOK® Guidefrom cover to cover twice; once early in the study process and again a couple of weeks before your exam date. The first reading will help to determine areas that need more focus, and the reading before the exam will reinforce concepts.
  • Additional suggested readings are the “The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try, Fourth Edition” by Andy Crowe, PMP,PgMP and the “PMP Exam Prep, Sixth Edition: Rita’s Course in a Book for Passing the PMP Exam” by Rita Mulcahy. Both of these texts have chapter tests included that you can use to gauge your PMP® knowledge.

Lessons learned and tips related to PMP® Exam practice tests:

  • Take at least 4-5 full length practice exams and have a goal in mind such as obtaining at least a 75% on each exam.Don’t get discouraged if you don’t reach your goal for the first exam. It will give you a good understanding of what you still need to learn, and you should get better with each exam.
  • Sitting for a four-hour exam can be rough. Build in breaks such as 5 minutes after the first 75 questions, 5 more minutes after the next 75 questions, and 10 minutes after the last 50 questions; then go back and review and revise your answers for the remainder of the time. If you practice this method, it will feel natural during the exam.
  • Make note of new concepts you come across in the practice exams; not all questions on the PMP® Exam come from the PMBOK® Guide.
  • Analyze the results of your practice exams to identify where you need to focus your study efforts.

Lessons learned and tips related to taking the PMP® Exam:

  • Know where your exam site is. Stop by the site a week before the test. This will reduce your stress on exam day a lot!
  • Make sure you know what identification you need such as passport or driver’s license to take the PMP® Exam.
  • Ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
  • Take a bottle of water and snacks with you.

Lessons learned and tips related to the PMP® Exam questions:

  • Make sure you know the difference between Quality Assurance and Quality Control.
  • There are a good number of questions pertaining to Procurement, Integration, Risk, and Scope Management.
  • Make sure you clearly understand Human Resource, Communication, Quality, Cost, and Time Management.
  • Understand the concept of Professional Responsibility.
  • Understand the concepts around earned value, if you practice the calculations a few times, you will be ready.
  • Make sure you understand other formulas such as expected monetary value, three-point estimate, PERT, network-related calculations, and communication channels.

These are just a few examples of the PMP® Exam related lessons learned and tips offered by those who have recently been in your shoes.You can access these lessons learned tips and many more in The PMPrepCast forum at

About our Guest author:
Amar Roy, PMP has more than 12 years of experience in IT project management,consulting and solution definition.His primary work focuses on providing IT solution for Fortune 500 manufacturing clients. He has managedmultiple projects in Supply Chain Management, Sales Analytic, web data mining projects. Besidesproject management his primary interests involves Big Data Analytic and Statistical analytic. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from a reputed University in India. He is presently workingas a Senior Project Manager at Infosys Ltd.

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Lenise Smith-Walters

In addition to the excellent tips for passing the PMP exam, I’ll add two other important tips for the passing exam:

(1) Make sure that you understand what is asked in the question. With that said, you must weed out the irrelevant information to get to the core of the expected answer. Questions can include information that has no bearing on the outcome. In addition, you must know when to “fill in the blanks,” particularly for questions regarding schedules and earned value management.

(2) The PMP exam is based on project management principles from the PMI point of view. This one is exceptionally important, since a person can end up responding to the exam questions from the perspective of his or her work experience, rather than project management from the PMI view. For example, the buck always stops with the project manager and no one else. In your real life work experience, your organization may ascribe responsibility for the end result to someone other than the project manager does not have the final authority for decisionmaking, such as a program manager or even the CIO.

Melissa James

The PMP exam is one of the competitive exams which you cannot clear by just going through the books of project management or by having 4 – 5 years of experience or 4500 to 7500 hours involvement in a Project. It requires a lot of effort with sincere preparation, dedication, hard work, good knowledge of the learned concepts of project management and how to implement those learned concepts in practical situations.

Here we have some TIPS for PMP® EXAM PREP