The PMP Study Plan

I am starting 2014 with an intense focus on this project: to obtain my PMP certification.  So intense that it is pushing many other project aside, including publishing many posts here on the website.  They just stay there, in draft.  Hopefully, I will be able to complete and publish them soon.

To achieve this goal, I finally did the most important step: to register for the exam in early February.  Setting the date create a very strong commitment, and pressure to study.


And studying, I have been for the past two weeks.  It is an intense program.  I describe my strategy in this post, Study Time for the PMP Exam, that I published on January 7.

I now have done 7 full online PMP simulation exams.  This is a total of 1,400 questions answered.  I am doing this while having a full-time job and a family.  But I have to do what I have to do, and this schedule is just temporary.  I do believe that obtaining certifications is a good boost for a career.  I have been saying that for a long time (see Boost your career with certifications ).


Efficient PMP study plan

I have to be efficient in my studying approach.  As a professional accountant, I am used to professional exams.  Without a good approach, you can almost study infinitely and still feel like there’s still something to learn.  So after each exams, I always do the following:

  • Review the failed answers to learn from the mistakes.  After all, let’s focus on areas where I can improve, not on what I already master .
  • Identify from the scorecard the weakest knowledge area
  • Read again the chapter of the weakest knowledge area
  • Listen again fully to the modules of the PM-Prepcast for my weakest knowledge area.

This approach has been very helpful.  I have seen with the following improvements in the past weeks

  • Increase in my overall score, moving from 61% to 81%
  • The area identified in an exam as the weakest one now has a minimum mark above 70%.
  • Many knowledge areas with a score above 80%

It would like to always have an overall mark of at least 85% in a practice exam.

The exhaustion phase

Lately, I’ve started to mention to a few friends that this is starting to feel like brainwashing.  PMBOK is always on my mind.  I repeat over and over and over the same concepts.

The positive impact of this study plan is that the whole PMBOK is starting to make sense… Although I do get a feeling that everything in it is cut with such a fine knife.  But then, I guess that it is why it is such a comprehensive framework, that you can use for small or large projects in many different fields.  The negative impact is that I am starting to get bored with the book.  I guess it is a sign of exhaustion, caused by the intensity of the study plan.

A curiosity

Well, at least, I have the fun of discovering a web project management app.  I used this project to explore the app Gantter.  It is interesting.  It is also scary to see the total number of actual hours spent on that project.  I will have so much free time once this is complete and I have my PMP!

The moment of doubt

I must first say that I am at times tempted to just allow myself more times and move the exam to early March.  Why am I pushing myself so hard?  After all, I have a job! And maybe I should have more of a life!

On the other hand, I don’t want to prolong the agony of this intense studying schedule.

So let’s continue.  And let’s succeed.

Next steps in the PMP study plan

My plan for this weekend is this:

  • Study Cost Management
  • Do a PMP simulation exam
  • Study the weakest area identified in the simulation exam
  • Do another simulation exam

That should take about 8 hours of my weekend.

But first, time to take care of the body and mind.  This is January and it is the ski season.  That is what I’ll do first Saturday morning, with my family.




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PMBOK, 5th Edition on Amazon