As we’ve discussed previously, preparing for the PMP test takes some time and effort studying the PMBOK Guide. Studying the PMBOK Guide alone, however, will not guarantee you a passing PMP exam! Many a good project manager has failed the PMP exam, but with some forethought and focused study techniques, you can ensure your chances of being successful are maximized.
So what do we mean by focused study techniques? Well, we’re going to discuss four targeted study techniques here for you to consider incorporating into your PMP study.
Use a targeted study guide – a targeted study guide will help you to focus on areas of the PMBOK manual that are most likely to be represented in the test and in a manner is which they are likely to be represented. Having a study guide that points you in the direction of the most important information will dramatically increase your study efficiency by ensuring the time you spend on the various subject areas is proportional to the representation of that area in the PMP test. An example of a targeted study guide is the mometrix PMP Exam Secrets Study Guide.
Use study materials in a variety of learning formats – another way to increase the effectiveness of your PMP study is to use study materials available in different formats. Consider not only reading the PMBOK guide and a study guide, but listening to audio and watching video. People have different ways of learning so these methods may appeal to some more than others, however, combining various formats can certainly boost your learning! Audio and to video also give you opportunity to study at times and in places where you may not have otherwise been able to study. The use of portable media players to listen to PMP study audio and watch video means that your study material can be wherever you are, at the ready. An example of a great video based PMP exam prep course is the PM Prepcast.
Use sample PMP questions – This item is imperative. Where many fall down is not in their knowledge of the PMBOK Guide but in how answering the questions provided to demonstrate that knowledge. The questions can be ‘wordy’ requiring thorough and careful reading through to ensure the question is understood. Likewise the answers can also require more than one read through and often there is more than one answer that may seem correct, requiring you to make sure the answer is the most appropriate answer according to the PMBOK manual. The way to become familar with PMP questions is to use sample PMP examination questions in your study. A lot of them! There are many places on the internet where you will find limited numbers of free questions available. Many of these are great and will help you, though you should make sure that they are based on the most up to date PMBOK manual. There are also many companies offering sample PMP questions for purchase on their own or as part of a study package or study guide – for example, the PMP Prep Kit offers 200 sample PMP examination questions as part of their video and audio study package. This sort of deal can often be more efficient in the long run as you can purchase a large amount at once and save yourself the time and effort of trawling the net for quality, up to date, free sample PMP questions.
PMP Simulation – There’s nothing like experience when it comes to taking the PMP test – by this, of course, I don’t mean you should fail and take it multiple times! There are many companies who have software with the prime purpose of PMP simulation. PMP exam simulation software provides you with not only the sample PMP questions but also with the simulated exam experience, including timing. PMP exam simulators can provide you with access to hundreds of questions, formatted into multiple exams and this should definately be a part of your study regime.
So there are some ways to focus your study and really maximize your study efficiency and effectiveness.