You’ve finished the PMP Exam Prep Boot Camp, and your head is probably swimming with formulas, processes, and ITTOs. You are so close to the finish line, and we want to help you get there!
Here are our 6 tips for a successful PMP exam day:
1). SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION AND SCHEDULE YOUR EXAM
If you have not submitted your PMP application, you need to do so as soon as possible. The application is truly the first step in the certification process.
Once your application has been accepted by PMI, schedule your exam. Pick a date and build your study plan accordingly. If you put off scheduling your exam, you have nothing holding you accountable.
Please be aware that the longer you wait to schedule the less availability there is to test in person. In contrast, you have the ability to test online and could choose to test at 2:00 a.m. Just be mindful that even with the online version, availability can become limited.
With that being said, pick a testing window that works best for you. If you feel at your best in the morning, make sure your test time is in the morning. Also, take into account the format. If you feel like you won’t be as successful testing at home, consider the testing center. If you take the online test, you will not have access to scratch paper or a physical whiteboard. Before scheduling your online test, try a practice test using the Pearson Vue whiteboard to gauge your confidence.
If you are struggling to knock the application out, let us know. We have some tips and tricks that can help you successfully complete this step.
2). EVALUATE YOUR PROGRESS AND BUILD A STUDY PLAN
The best way to see your progress is by taking practice exams (and lots of them). Setting aside four hours can be challenging, but you need to know what you don’t know.
After you finish a practice exam, evaluate which process groups and knowledge areas you are struggling with and begin to rank order them. Use the exam content outline to determine which process groups take priority. For instance, if you scored low on Closing and Executing, it would be more advantageous for you to focus on Executing as Executing accounts for 31 percent of the exam.
Once you have your weak spots identified, begin to craft a study schedule for the week. Aim for at least 45 minutes a day either by reviewing content or taking practice quizzes. Know what you are going to study each day, set a time to study, and stick to it. Make your studying a habit and as defined as possible. If you leave room for ambiguity, you will find yourself not studying or studying the wrong material.
At the end of the week, set aside time for another practice exam so you can effectively evaluate your progress. After the practice exam, review not only the questions you missed but the questions you got right. Make sure to read the answer explanations so you understand the reasoning. You want to think like a PMI test maker!
Repeat tip two as many times as possible with the goal of getting at least a 75 percent or higher on your practice exams.
If you score lower than 75 percent, try not to get discouraged (I know, firsthand, it is easier said than done). The test is designed to be difficult, and at the end of the day, it is a game. Approach it in such a manner, which will make studying more palatable, but also more strategic.
3). WRITE YOUR PROCESS FRAMEWORK MIND MAP DAILY
In addition to your daily 45-minute content review, you should carve out at least 10 minutes every day to write out the process framework mind map.
On the test, you are likely to see questions that ask you which process comes before or after another. Having the process framework ingrained into your memory will save you time. You don’t want to waste time trying to recall whether Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis is before or after Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis. You simply have to know that Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis is before.
4). PRACTICE EARNED VALUE FORMULAS
If math isn’t your strong suit, be sure to spend sufficient time practicing your earned value formulas. You need to have these memorized, and you need to understand when to use them. The test makers will give you clues to help you determine items such as the planned value or the schedule variance, but they won’t give you every piece of the puzzle. They want to see how you can use several of the earned formulas effectively to come to the right answer.
So, practice, practice, practice!
5). USE FLASHCARDS
Understanding the PMI’s vocabulary is crucial to a successful test day, and thankfully, your online materials allow you to print flashcards.
At times, using flashcards might seem rudimentary, but the practice helps you quickly identify which terms need further review.
You are likely to see a lengthy scenario (anywhere from 4-8 sentences) that will describe a situation, and you will be asked to identify the process or the ITTO. From interpersonal team skills such as problem-solving to resource optimization techniques like resource smoothing, having a solid foundation of the vocabulary will make test day more manageable.
As working professionals with lives outside of work, our lives can be chaotic and stressful. When studying for the PMP, you need to know your limits and when you need to rest. Cramming information for hours can do more harm than good.
Be sure to take study breaks and rest days if you can no longer process information.
In the end, your mind and body will thank you, but don’t get in the habit of saying every day is a rest day. That will be counterproductive. Be honest with yourself as you know your body and mind best.
We hope you find these tips helpful as you prepare for test day. If you have study resources you’d like to share, please let us know so we can share them with fellow students!
We are rooting for you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jeff Grant sees himself as a storyteller, and thankfully, he gets to tell some incredible stories by serving as the marketing coordinator for the UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, Jeff can be found implementing new marketing strategies or writing content. When Jeff is away from the office, he could be found hiking the Cumberland Trail, trying new recipes, or getting lost in a good book.
Connect with Jeff on LinkedIn.