Last blitz of study

I am on my final study weeks to take the PMP certification exam.

Many websites out there gives advice and tips on how to obtain the PMP certification.

You can often read the following key steps to pass the exam:

  • Read the PMBOK: Done!
  • Find an online preparation course: Done! Used the PM-Prepcast
  • Complete the contact hours: Done!
  • Submit your application: Done!
  • Commit to a date for the exam…

They say that setting the date for the exam is a key success factor, because it puts pressure on you to achieve the goal!    After you reserve a seat to take the exam on such date and time, the clock is ticking.  You don’t want to fail, so the set date acts as a motivation factor to study, study and study again.


So I did commit to a date in early February 2014.   And yes, I do feel the pressure.  I have been studying hours and hours for my PMP exam.

Study Plan for PMP exam

As a CPA (professional accountant), I have experienced taking professional exams.  Based on this experience, my workplan for certification exams always includes the following elements.

Reading directly the source material

I always read first the source material.  Yes, you can find preparation books that explain the contents differently.  I always prefer to read directly the authoritative text.  Even if it is for a tax exam, I would read the tax law first.  It is a bit dry, but I always find the learning to be much faster that way.  Secondary sources are always that: secondary.

So I did fully read the PMBOK, 5th edition.  No, it is not an award-winning and bestseller nonfiction book.  But it definitely puts the knowledge in my head.

Do a lot of practice exams

I usually go overboard with this.  I do a lot of practice exams.  After all, this is not a reading exam.  You are not tested on your ability to read.  Certification exams will test you on your ability to answer questions, so you better be prepared to answer questions.  That means that the study plan should be focused on two things:

  1. acquiring the knowledge
  2. developing the skills the properly answer questions

So far, I have done 4 practice exams, and would like to do about 10 by the end of January 2014.

Result-based review

Based on the result of a practice exam, I will then review again the specific chapters of PMBOK on which I got the lowest mark.  Why spend my time on those that I already know well enough.  Also, there’s more points to gain by studying the chapters with the lowest mark.


So right now studying for the PMP exam is my focus. I have some posts that I want to publish here on Project-Aria and am still working on preparing them.  However, I must admit that I feel the pressure to study every day.

Time to go and read the chapter on stakeholder management!


affiliate link to the PM exam simulator I am using:

PM Simulator