Step 8: Answer as many Sample Questions as you can.
You get what you pay for. Free is good to get an idea, but you will have to pay for “real” questions in a book, as a CD or online. The benefit of buying a book is that you can go down to your local bookshop and take some time to look through the questions in the books before you decide which one to buy. The benefit of buying your sample tests as a CD or online is that they usually come in some form of an exam simulation. That way you can get used to answering your questions on the computer. We offer links to over 30 free and commercial sample tests in the PMP resources section of our website at http://www.pmprepcast.com.
As you make your way through all the free samples that you find online two things will happen: First you will get used to answering exam questions, which is good. And second you will begin to disagree with some of the suggested answers, which is even better. By disagreeing and then opening up your study materials to review you will learn even more. Therefore, even the worst exam sample question that you can find can teach you how to pass the exam. It’s all a matter of your personal attitude and knowing that even a bad question can take you further.
Also important: Keep track of your score. As time goes by, you will notice that you are more and more able to answer questions correctly. If you keep your score, then you can see where you are. Here is rule of thumb for you: if you consistently answer 85% of the questions correctly, then you are ready to take the exam.
Step 9: Study Hard and have a Plan.
Studying for the PMP® exam is a serious endeavor and requires personal dedication. Manage your road to becoming a PMP like a project and create a plan - a study plan. In this plan, define how many hours you will study every day, how many chapters you will read and how many sample questions you will answer. Having a good plan is the start. Then you will also have to tell your family and friends about it. That way they know that you will be “gone” for the next 2-3 months to prepare. But don’t overdo it. You should plan on having breaks and leisure time as well. You need variety in your life, so don’t forget to go and see a movie every now and then or have a drink with your friends.
During your studies, be prepared for ups and downs. Some sections of the PMBOK® Guide are easy for you and you feel great. But then, there are those sections that are more difficult because you don’t have any experience. Don’t despair. Don’t think that you are never going to understand this. Thousands of people have passed the exam before you and you can pass it, too! Stay positive at all times.
Step 10: Take the Exam.
After all that hard work, taking the exam almost sounds like the easy part. But there are a few things to consider that will help you to make this a good and successful experience for you.
Try and get a good night’s sleep the night before the exam. Being refreshed and having slept enough is important. There is no need for you to study the night before the exam and stay up until 3am. You have studied long and hard and you are now ready for this. So sleep.
A lot of people choose to take the day of the actual exam off. You can sleep in, eat a good breakfast, go for a walk and relax. That way you will not be too nervous when you get to the testing center. It is of course also a good idea to drive to the testing center a week before, so that you know where it is and you may also want to try and arrive 1 hour early. Just in case that you miss the bus or your car has problems.
Here is what you should bring: Two forms of official identification with a photo; Water and some snacks; A sweater or light jacket; A simple calculator; Earplugs because it could be noisy.
Before the exam starts there is a short tutorial that explains how to use the computer and software. Don’t skip it. There is important information in the tutorial. If you take the tutorial, then you can be sure that you understand everything and don’t make any mistakes because you made assumptions. Now click the “Start Exam” button. Good luck!
Step 11 (Bonus Step): Earn 60 PDUs in 3 Years.
Congratulations! You are a PMP as soon as you pass the exam. There is no waiting period. As soon as you see “Passed” on the screen you hold the PMP certification. Go home and send an email to all your friends and colleagues and tell them that you are now a PMP. Celebrate!
However, you are not a PMP for life. Every 3 years you will need to collect and claim Professional Development Units (PDUs) to keep the certification active. You will need 60 PDUs every 3 years to keep your certification active.
You can gain PDUs by attending your local PMI chapter dinner meeting, by volunteering for the PMI or by attending seminars offered by PMI’s Registered Education Providers. The good news is that starting November 2006 the PMI has given the OK for you to listen to Podcasts and claim a maximum of 15 PDUs in 3 years. There are about half a dozen project management podcasts available to you on the internet for free.
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP is the host of The Project Management Podcast™ at www.thepmpodcast.com and The Project Management PrepCast™, the first true PMP® Podcast at www.pmprepcast.com. Cornelius worked as a Project Manager in his native Switzerland, in Germany and in the USA for the last 17 years. He received his PMP credential in April 2004. He has led projects for a management consulting company, a national retailer and an internet startup company. Currently, Cornelius works as a project manager for one of the oldest financial service providers in the USA. His passions are project management methodologies, PMOs and helping others pass the PMP Exam. In addition to hosting the PrepCast™, he is an instructor for the PMP Workshop and the 2007 Chair of his local PMI chapter. He currently lives in Silverado, California, USA with his wife and their two computers.
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