How to pass the exam to become a PMP® and not die trying… (part I)

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If you are an experimented project manager that at some point of his life thought about getting the PMP certification and after seeing the material got scared and abandoned, don’t be ashamed, you are not alone…

I think it happened to more than one of us. Facing face to face the PMBOK® is not easy or obvious and you need a little help to reach your goal. I’ll tell you here about the 12 steps I took to get the objective of being a PMP. If they work for you, perfect, this post will have accomplished its mission.

The first 4 steps are in this post, the rest, in consecutive posts.

  1. Comply the requirements to be a PMP
  2. Make a preparatory course
  3. Start studying and get an online exam simulator
  4. Decide a date for your exam
  5. Fill out the forms in the PMI
  6. Make the payment of the examination fee
  7. Comply the audit process (if needed)
  8. Book an exam date in Prometic’s web
  9. Study, study and study
  10. Do simulations of tests
  11. Do the PMP exam
  12. Celebrate your success

1. Comply the requirements to be a PMP®

We are starting from the base that you are a Project Manager with enough education and experience to be able to attend the exam. Which means, you comply one of these two requirements:

  • 4 year university degree, 3 years minimum of experience in project management and 35 hours of project managing education or CAPM® certification in good standing, or
  • High school diploma, 5 years minimum of project manager experience and 35 hours of project management education or CAPM® certification in good standing

Requirements are available in PMI®‘s web page

2. Make a preparatory course

Once it’s confirmed that you can attend the exam, the following recommended step is to sign up to a preparatory course. With no doubt it will help you for different reasons:

  • You get in touch with other people in your same situation whom you can share concerns, doubts, etc.
  • You have a PMP as a professor that will guide you and give you tricks to pass the exam.
  • (If he is willing to), you can ask him your doubts after the course, when you are studying lonely in your home.
  • In the course they’ll give you useful complementary material to the PMBOK given that in the exam there will be questions that are not in the PMBOK and because they give you the heavy content of the PMBOK interpreted and explained.
  • (In my case) we received temporary access to an online platform with tests to study each subject and with final exams.

In my case, I did the preparatory course with Daniel Echeverría, who gave us good complementary material to PMBOK and who was always available to solve any doubt that arose during my long studying days.

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OCTOBER 2014 UPDATE: Together with Daniel Echeverría and two other experienced Project Managers and Teachers, we launched in the market The Best Online Course in Spanish to get the PMP®/CAPM® certification. The course includes all the material you need to pass the exam (videos, presentations, texts, tests…) and access to Daniel Echeverría’s Exam Simulator. Our passed exams ratio is over 97,5%. More information.

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Besides, a course mate opened a Linked-in group where some asked questions, others gave advices after attending the exam etc. By the way, what started being a group for our course year has evolved and now it’s an open group you can join, it’s called “Project Manager Aragón (PMP)”.

3. Start studying and do an online exam Simulator

After finishing the preparatory course start studying. Study a subject and then do the tests corresponding to that subject. Depending on the simulator you use it will keep your scores and when you do that test again it will tell you how your scores evolved.

To do tests during my studies and exams I used two simulators:

  • Pablo Lledó’s simulator that they gave us in a temporary way during the preparatory course and that you can buy on his web.
  • Daniel Echeverría‘s simulator. You can try this one for free on his web to see if you like it.

What I liked the most about the second one was that when you use it in the “study mode”, after answering a question it tells you (if it is or not correct), it gives you the explanation and refers to the PMBOK page (or other literature) where they deal about that subject and from where the question and answers were taken from.

Once you have done the first review of all the set of subjects and seeing the scores you got, reflect: how much time do I need to study all this material correctly?

Have in mind that you must study to get a score of 80% correct answers. Only this way you’ll ensure passing the exam.

After reflecting, go on to the next point.

4. Decide the date of your exam

Depending on how determined you are you can set a date before starting to study, there are people that prefer to have a visible goal from the start or that is in a rush to get the certificate. This is something very personal.

If you are still interested, keep reading the following steps in the próximo post

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