The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification has gained immense popularity in the past decade and is considered a must-have for many in the project management industry. According to the PMI, individuals who complete the PMP certification can considerably increase their salary by an average of 20%, and they can help organizations complete projects on time, within the budget and accomplish goals. 

While highly beneficial, passing the PMP is no cakewalk. Hence, we’ve compiled a list of the 9 most crucial tips that you can follow while preparing for your exam. 

1. The PMBOK Guide Comes Last 

While preparing for the exam, you might be inclined to start referring to the PMBOK guide first, considering it provides all the details about the PMP exam. However, this is a mistake. The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), while highly beneficial, contains a lot of new terminologies, which is usually very difficult to understand. Hence, studying from the guide without proper knowledge or any reference is like self-studying the Greek language without any assistance. 

Hence, before referring to the PMBOK, you should first gain knowledge about various terminologies and processes. 

2. Customize Your Study Plan 

The PMP exam tests you on five domains (this will change to three domains in 2021), which covers a host of various subject areas. You must prepare a study plan that touches upon each of these domains. This means completing mock exams, reviewing online forums and revisiting areas that you don’t understand entirely. 

Hence, if you don’t plan your studying schedule properly, your chances for passing the exam will drop substantially. On the other hand, carefully analyzing and creating a customized plan can help you considerably. While creating this plan, you should consider the following factors: 

. When Do You Intend To Take The Exam? 

Through the Prometric test centre website, you can select a time and location that works best for you. 

. How Much Time Can You Dedicate To Studying? 

Most people who take this exam already have steady jobs; hence you need to consider how much time you can dedicate to studying. 

. How Much Access Do You Have For Training Courses?

You need to ensure you have sufficient material to use while preparing for the exam. You can avail official study material online that will help you gain an overall understanding of each topic that will be covered in the exam. 

. Which Training Method Is Most Effective For Yyou? 

There are multiple training methods you can use while preparing for the exam, including self-learning or enrolling, for a preparation course. Analyze your past experience and determine which training method will help you prepare for the exam most effectively. 

3. Understand The Concepts Instead of Memorizing 

Essentially, the PMP exam is a set of practical tests that challenge your ability to execute concepts and theories in real-life project management scenarios. Considering the number of terminologies and concepts involved in the exam, you might be inclined to memorize the subject material, instead of understanding them. Once you know how to apply the various concepts, process groups and standard formulas, you should be easily able to remember them while taking the exam. 

4. Understand How The Exam Works 

Arguably, the first step to success is having a firm understanding of what you’re about to face. Similarly, you should understand how the exam is conducted and what is expected from you. To attain this knowledge, you can visit the PMI website, which provides all the most necessary information about the certification. On the website, you will also find information like official training providers, exam topics to prepare for, and insightful study material. 

Moreover, the PMBOK guide provides important details, including by not limited to an overview of the certification, prerequisites, type of questions that you can expect, and the time allocated for the exam. 

5. Leverage Exam-Prep Resources

There are a host of various exam-prep resources you can refer to while preparing for the exam that can help you understand the complicated concepts easily, and ensure you will complete the exam successfully. Some of these include:

  • The PMP Handout 
  • The PMP Exam Content Outline 
  • PMP Sample Questions 

6. Enrol In An Exam Prep Course

While opting to self-study for this exam is surely a bold move, it may not prove to be the best of strategies. This is primarily due to the sheer amount of knowledge about different subject areas that you need to cover. Even if you’ve been working in the field for multiple years, some of the concepts may not be relevant or in line with PMI’s point of view. Hence, to avoid unnecessary overload, you could consider enrolling in any of the PMP certification exam preparation courses which is accredited by Project Management Institute (PMI).

7. Always Attempt Practice Exams 

One of the fastest ways of ensuring that you pass the exam with great results is by solving multiple practice exams. The PMP exam consists of approximately 200 questions that need to be answered within four hours. Which means, during the exam, you will have less than one minute to answer all the questions. Hence, not only do you need to have sufficient knowledge about the questions but must work on your time management skills and stress control. 

If the results aren’t favourable in your first practice test, don’t be discouraged. It’s quite normal to underperform, which is why it’s better to fail the test than the actual exam. Instead, understand in which areas there is a scope for improvement, and make notes on doubts that you need to clarify. 

8. Be Part of An Online Community

Using Google search, you can find multiple PMP forums, wikis, and even personal websites that have content published by candidates and certified professionals, which is relevant to the exam. Hence, being part of such communities can help you greatly while you’re preparing for the exam. 

9. Create An Exam-Day Preparation Plan

While ensuring that you’re prepared for the exam from an academic standpoint is extremely crucial, you need also prepare for a couple of things that will come in handy on the exam day. Ensure you have these three basic components in place at least a week before the date of your exam: 

Exam Kit 

As trivial as this sounds, you need to ensure that you have everything you need for your PMP exam in advance. Some candidates fail to even attend the exam as they forget to bring adequate identification. Hence, you should always be prepared. You could also contact your testing centre a couple of days in advance to gauge a proper understanding of the requirements. 

Stay Calm & Get Plenty of Sleep 

If you’re not calm and focused, the chances are that you won’t be able to answer even those questions that you understand quite well. Hence, no matter how tempting that last round of studying sounds, ensure that you are well-rested and calm before attempting the exam. 

Plan Your Arrival In Advance 

You need to make proper arrangements to ensure you’re able to reach the test site on time as candidates are often not admitted to complete the exam if they are late. You could look out for things like bus timing if you travel in public transport. And, if you’re driving, it’s recommended to find parking. 

While highly beneficial, the PMP exam can be quite a challenge to successfully complete. Hence, it’s always recommended to get assistance from preparation courses or experts who can help you ace the test!