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Helping you earn and maintain your PMI certification. Passing the PMP Exam is tough, but keeping your PMP Certification alive is just as challenging. Preparing for the exam requires an in-depth study of the PMBOK Guide and dedicated study discipline. And once you are PMP certified, then you are required to earn 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every 3 years to keep your certification alive. Let me help you make this journey easier with tips and tricks on how to prepare for and pass the exam as well as efficiently earning your PDUs once you are certified.

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Recent Posts

How to Prepare for the PMP® Exam in 30 days?

The PMP Exam Changes After 11 January 2016. Here’s What This Means For You.

PM Podcast 333: Project Manager Career Path Boost Through Thought Leadership

PM Podcast 332: Project Sponsor Challenges and Solutions

PM Podcast 331: Add Compassion to Your Project Manager Skill Set

How to Prepare for the PMP® Exam in 30 days?

You are asking yourself right now, “Where do I start to guarantee I pass the PMP® exam in 30 days”? Be patient, stay calm, and continue to read this quick article to understand the steps of this process – how each step leads to the next. So remember – finish one step before starting the next to prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed. Preparing for the PMP exam will take daily dedication to studying and understanding the material.

Preparing for the PMP exam takes time and while I do NOT advocate a fast approach, sometimes there are “legitimate” reasons that require you to sit for the exam within 30 days (or sooner). Perhaps your employer has established this deadline for contractual reasons, perhaps you have found a highly desirable open position you would like to apply to but need the PMP for highest qualification, or perhaps you signed up to take the exam nearly a year ago but then you procrastinated and now you only have 30 days left before your eligibility runs out.

What follows are key steps, processes, and resources that, along with your dedication, will allow you to prepare for and pass the PMP exam in 30 days (or less). Let me begin with some general thoughts on how to get started:

How to Get a PMP Certification Fast?

So you have decided (or been told) that you will get your PMP done in a very short period.

First, read my article, 10 Steps to Becoming a PMP to establish your eligibility, lay a foundation and start a preliminary plan. A key statement to remember during this process is that attaining the PMP certification shows your commitment to the project management profession and demonstrates credibility allowing for higher salaries as well as raising your resume above non-PMP certification holders. So don’t get discouraged during this process.

Now that you have verified your eligibility to sit for the exam, Don’t Panic! Relax, take a deep breath, and begin to focus… the first important fact is to not become overwhelmed as there is A LOT of information to understand and many types of training opportunities.

As part of your initial planning – start clearing your calendar to allow for sufficient daily study time, and understand this will not be an easy path to success. In addition to studying A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), you will also benefit by reading through lessons learned from others who have prepared (and passed) on a “fast track” method.

Here are my key tips and resources to allow you to start on the fast path to get the PMP certification and attaining the coveted PMP certification.

How to Pass the PMP in 30 days?

As I said, while I do not recommend trying to study and pass the PMP in 30 days, sometimes there are legitimate reasons that you may find yourself in this situation. First and foremost, start with my article, Creating Your PMP Study Plan – The Complete Guide. This provides a very clear process to effectively create your own customized study plan. Don’t stress – this article also provides PMP Study Plan templates to help you get started.

There are many study plans – it’s important you design the one that best fits your learning style and continue to modify it as you take practice tests and establish the areas you need to focus your attention.

One method you could establish as a framework for your study time is to divide your available study window (in this case 30 days) by the percentage for each of the five Domains on the test. This table demonstrates this method:

Percentage on Test
Study time
3.9 days
6.2 days
9.3 days
Monitoring and Controlling
7.5 days
2.1 days

If you total these days up – it actually equals 29 days – which allows you one optional day that you can spend on review.

Within this 30-day window, you will also need to take practice tests – perhaps at the 15-day, 21 day and 29-day marks or more often. To learn more about the exam content, visit the PMP Examination Content Outline on the PMI® website.

How to Pass the PMP in 10 days?

But what if you have been told you have to pass the PMP in a 10-day window – what do you do now?

About the only real approach if you have less than two weeks to prepare and pass the PMP is to attend a PMP Boot Camp. There are two major disadvantages with a boot camp:

·         The expense associated with the Boot Camp (usually in the range of $1,500-$2,500), and

·         How well you absorb the material (memorization versus true absorption).

The PMP Boot Camps do offer the advantage of time – most boot camps are three to five days long and the PMP test is available on the last day of the boot camp. However, the boot camps do require significant “self-study” prior to and during attendance, which can be confusing to plan and organize yourself in a short period.

Need your PMP Fast? Think again!

If you have the option to study for more than 30 days – take it! Slow down, take your time, and ABSORB. The best way to pass the PMP exam is through methodical study, review, and application.

This additional time will allow you to learn the material in a manner that allows you to understand and implement the standards and theories – instead of just memorization to pass the test. The discovery of information for better understanding allows you to understand how the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs interrelate. Taking a slower approach will allow you the opportunity to effectively absorb the information and learn how to apply the knowledge to any of your projects.

After nearly a decade as a PMP exam trainer, I advocate this slower approach, which allows your brain enough time to absorb and retain the information for easier recall in the future. The key is to allow yourself a lot of hands-on practice and review time to become comfortable with the information.

So, what is the Best Way to Pass the PMP Exam?

What is your learning style? Are you a visual, auditory, or tactile learner? Do you learn best in groups or individually? Knowing your learning style is important to understanding how to approach your studies for the PMP exam.

To learn more about your learning style, see question six in my article 7 Questions Every Student SHOULD Ask Their PMP Coach When Preparing for the PMP Exam. This understanding over memorization, slower over rushed methods allows for less anxiety, becoming a better project manager, and learning new techniques with the intent of using them on your projects.

No matter how or when you decide to sit for the PMP, The PM PrepCast will be an immense resource to guide you through your studies. At a minimum read the Lessons Learned Forum with experiences from others who have passed the PMP exam.

Now that you understand the value of allowing yourself time to study, spend an hour and review our free series of 8 videos on YouTube that walks you through the detailed and “time consuming” step-by-step PMP Exam preparation process: www.pm-prepcast.com/8videos

About the author: Cornelius Fichtner, PMP is a noted PMP expert. He has helped over 35,000 students prepare for the PMP Exam with The Project Management PrepCast at http://www.pm-prepcast.com/pmprepcast and The PMP Exam Simulator at http://www.pm-prepcast.com/simulator.

This article originally appeared on The PM PrepCast and is reprinted by permission of the author.

Posted on: October 01, 2015 01:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

The PMP Exam Changes After 11 January 2016. Here’s What This Means For You.

Every five to seven years, the Project Management Institute (PMI)® performs a “Role Delineation Study (RDS)”. This is basically a big survey among project managers like you and me from around the world with the goal to identify what it is that we do on our projects. As a result of the most recent RDS, PMI now has a pretty accurate picture of the tasks that we project managers perform, as well as the knowledge and skills required for our job.

PMI has used this information to update the PMP Examination Content Outline. This document is the basis for the PMP Exam. And because this document changed, the PMP exam also has to be updated.

The update to the PMP exam is scheduled for 11 January 2016.

Let’s first look at why this change is happening and then we will examine what this means for you. You’ll be surprised at how little is actually changing.

Why is The PMP Exam Changing?

PMI wants to ensure that the PMP Exam is an accurate reflection of the tasks, knowledge and skills project management professionals actually perform and need on a daily basis. If PMI didn’t regularly add new methods and remove outdated ones, then PMP aspirants like yourself would still be tested on obsolete tools and techniques that were used 30 years ago when the PMP exam first came into being.

The PMBOK® Guide Isn’t Changing

This is important: The PMP Exam is based on the PMP Examination Content Outline and NOT on the PMBOK® Guide. Yes, there are many overlaps, but they are not 100% the same and the exam content outline even has some unique sections not covered by the PMBOK® Guide. The PMBOK® Guide itself, however, is not changing.

The PMP Exam Structure Isn’t Changing

The PMP Exam is a computer-based exam. You have to answer 200 multiple-choice questions in four hours. There is no change in this aspect of the PMP Exam.

The Domains and Score Report Aren’t Changing (Much)

When taking the PMP Exam, you will be tested in the five domains of Initiating (13%), Planning (24%), Executing (31%), Monitoring & Controlling (25%) as well as Closing (7%). At the end of the exam you will receive a score report that tells you how you did in each domain and whether you passed or failed the exam.

There is just one minor change here: Executing went up from 30% to 31%, while Closing went down from 8% to 7%. This is negligible and should not affect how you prepare for the PMP exam.

The PMP Exam Eligibility Requirements Aren’t Changing

The PMP Exam eligibility requirements remain the same. You still need to show the same amount of education and experience as before. You can find the details on page six of the PMP Credential Handbook. No change.

The Exam Changes on 11 January 2016. No Ifs, Ands or Buts About It.

The change was originally scheduled to take place on 1 November 2015. This was not enough time for everyone involved to get ready, so PMI changed the date to 11 January 2016.

The current exam will remain active until 11 January 2016. After 11 January 2016, only the new version of the PMP exam will be administered. In other words:

•    If you are taking the exam on or before 11 January 2016 you will take the current exam.
•    If you are taking the exam after 11 January 2016 you will take the new exam.

Your Study Materials Will Change

The new PMP Exam Content outline, includes some modifications to existing tasks, removal of a few tasks and the addition of eight new tasks. Some of the main drivers for the exam changes include:

•    Emphasis on business strategy and benefits realization
•    Values of lessons learned
•    Project charter responsibility
•    Enhancing stakeholder relationship.

PMI states that about 25% content change is based on new topics from the 8 new tasks, which were previously not tested. Note that in addition there are other changes to overall exam questions, which will be updated that are not tied to these 8 new tasks.

One of the reasons why PMI has moved the exam changeover date to 11 January 2016 is to give Registered Education Providers (R.E.P.s) more time to include all the new concepts into their training materials. It is their responsibility to ensure that their training materials are up to date. And so, as a student, this should not concern you too much. You should simply be able to expect that your provider ensures that your training materials are current. That’s what you are paying for.

My Recommendations For PMP Students

1.) Take Your PMP Exam before 11 January 2016
Plan your PMP exam studies in such a way that you can take the exam before 11 December 2015, which is one full month before the changeover. In this way, you avoid the last minute rush in January when everyone wants to take the old exam before it changes. This timeframe also gives you an extra four weeks to recover and retake the exam, if worst comes to worst and you don’t pass on your first try.

2) Study the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition
You must study the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition no matter if you are planning to take your exam before, on or after 11 January 2016. It is still the primary source to learn about exam concepts.

3.) Use Study Materials From PMI Registered Education Providers
We and other PMI R.E.Ps are working fast to update our study materials to cover the new concepts that are being introduced. And because of this, you and all other PMP students don’t have to worry about the changes at all. Instead, before you buy study materials from a PMI R.E.P., ask them to confirm that the materials are current first.

4.) Read The PMI FAQ:
Read the PMI Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page if you want to delve into all the details.


My final recommendation to you as a PMP student is this: Don’t worry about the coming change too much!

We have done an extensive comparison between the old and new examination content outline and I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing “big” coming. Yes, there are a number of exciting concepts like lean principles, regulatory impact, or emotional intelligence listed in the new outline. But most likely you have already heard of these new tasks, knowledge and skills, or you may even be practicing them at present.

Also remember that PMI is continuously updating the PMP exam. For example, some time back questions about “delegation” started appearing on the exam. PMI didn’t officially announce this and so nobody made a fuss about it. But now that PMI is officially announcing an update everyone gets anxious.

So instead of agonizing about this change, a more positive approach for you as a PMP candidate is to simply purchase and use the right study materials that cover all the concepts you need for your exam. Focus your energy on your studies and don’t worry about the update.

About the author: Cornelius Fichtner, PMP is a noted PMP expert. He has helped over 35,000 students prepare for the PMP Exam with The Project Management PrepCast at http://www.pm-prepcast.com/pmprepcast and The PMP Exam Simulator at http://www.pm-prepcast.com/simulator.

This article originally appeared on The PM PrepCast and is reprinted by permission of the author.

Posted on: October 01, 2015 01:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

PM Podcast 333: Project Manager Career Path Boost Through Thought Leadership

Categories: Career, PDUs

Listen to this free interview and earn 0.25 PDUs (Category C):

(Click to download MP3)

Emad RahimIf you are looking to boost your project manager career then you are very likely thinking along the lines of getting a mentor, taking on a stretch assignment, going back to school to get a degree or certification, or maybe even improving your public speaking skills.

But most likely you haven’t thought about accelerating your project manager career path through thought leadership in project management and joining the ranks of famous project managers out there.

And if you think that becoming a thought leader in project management is hard to do, then think again.

Our guest Dr. Emad Rahim, DM, PMP (www.linkedin.com/in/erahim, @DrEmadRahim) assures us that talking about what you love -- project management -- through writing, speaking or simply by finding and sharing pertinent articles will make you get noticed as a thought leader in our industry.

It’s a simple but powerful concept to boost your career in project management.

(This interview was originally published on The Project Management Podcast.)

Posted on: September 22, 2015 07:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

PM Podcast 332: Project Sponsor Challenges and Solutions

Categories: PDUs, Project Sponsorship

Listen to this free interview and earn 0.25 PDUs (Category C):

(Click to download MP3)

Todd WilliamsWhat is the definition of the project sponsor role?

If you have an executive sponsor on your project and you have a documented and agreed upon project sponsor definition, then you are exceptional.

Why? According to Todd Williams’ (eCameron, Inc) latest white paper titled “Challenges in Executive Project Sponsorship” the lack of project sponsor roles and responsibilities is a major issue. It’s right up there with a lack of engagement, missing change management and the fact that executives don’t even acknowledge that these challenges exist to name just a few.

This executive sponsorship white paper is at the core of our discussion. Todd and I will review the identified challenges and give you the solutions he proposes. You’ll even get his definition of the role of project sponsor.

Posted on: September 18, 2015 03:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

PM Podcast 331: Add Compassion to Your Project Manager Skill Set

Categories: PDUs, soft skills

Listen to this free interview and earn 0.50 PDUs (Category C):

(Click to download MP3)

Margaret MeloniWhen you think of your project manager skills, then “compassion” is probably not the first word that comes to mind. You would probably first list some other hard project management tools and techniques like your scheduling abilities or completing your projects on scope and on budget.

And only if you keep adding words to this project management skills list will you eventually come to terms like conflict management, team building, empathy and compassion.

Margaret Meloni (http://www.margaretmeloni.com) says that we project managers should value compassion much more than we do.

If we are supposed to use compassion as one of our project management soft skills then we have to first define what it is, how it relates to project management and hear examples of how to use it on our projects. And that’s exactly what you are going to get from Margaret’s interview.

But the most important question that I have asked Margaret is this: If compassion is truly so important for me as a project manager, how can I see quantifiable results on my projects?

Posted on: September 15, 2015 10:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

I have an existential map; it has 'you are here' written all over it.

- Steven Wright