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How hard is the PMI PMP test?
Anonymous
I'm hoping for some input from people who have taken the PMP certification test. How much effort do you really need to put into it? If I only need to get 68.5% right (137 out of 200 questions), and they're all multiple choice, and I already know PMBOK pretty well...does this really require months of study and prep courses? It's not that I'm unwilling to study--I would just like some indication as to the level of study required.
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From my experience, the key to successfully passing the test is iterating between exam materials and doing mock exams. When I did my first mock exam, I was very surprise how many I got wrong even though I thought I knew the materials inside out. I would review those questions I got wrong and understand why. Usually it is not that you don't know the material but more importantly you have to understand/read the questions better. When you do mock exams and you are getting 75 - 80%, you should be ready. I think it is better to over studied the first time & pass and not study enough & having to do it over again. Good luck.
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Good article.to stop making avoidable mistakes in project management one can also try attending good PMP classes conducted by any of the PMI registered REP's for gainig expertise best processes of project management. Any good PMP prep course will provide students with lots of actionable insights in project management along with preparing them for PMP certification.
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Depends how good you are at this sort of thing, and how good your knowledge really is - and if you know the theory well enough to separate from real experience - I've seen plenty of people who answer what they'd do in real life which is not always the answer from the book!

Some people with perfect knowledge are still not great at answering the format of questions used - I've seen a few who freeze, or make mistakes like spot something in the question they recognise and fail to read the whole thing, or get tripped up by the multiple negatives and other odd grammatical constructions used in some questions.

The easiest way to answer for yourself is to use practice exams - and PMchallenge and PMwars on this site are great ways to see how good you really are not only at the knowledge but at actually doing the test under challenge conditions.
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I would tell any PMP aspirant this: all of the preparation you're doing, you're going to need it. The exam is very difficult in the sense that failing it is pretty easy. I took the exam as the new PMBOK was rolled out in August of 2012: while I studied practice exams like crazy, I never took one actual practice exam. I think that may give one a false sense of security. Timing is everything on this exam, and that's where the difficulty lies, not so much in the questions themselves. Take the fifteen minute tutorial time to write down as many formulas as you remember on your scrap paper. Know the processes inside out. I recall I had one particular tricky question involving EAC. There are enough of these questions to put you right behind a passing grade, so know those formulas. That feeling of passing is a wonderful one-the minute you have to wait after hitting submit is excruciating. Good luck!
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PMP Exam questions themselves are not that hard.But, sitting there for 4 hours anticipating every bit of tricky questions can be mind boggling. This is more like a Japanese Water torture. After 2 hours,you just want to get it over with. That said, thorough knowledge of the ITTOs from PMBOK guide and takind a few sample tests will be greatly beneficial. I am thinking of joining a study group for my PMP.
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If you are more of a beginner like me (have managed only three projects) , I HIGHLY recommend you do a bootcamp training. I did mine through PMTI. Very good course with six 50 question practice test through day 3 and a full-length 200 question practice exam on day 4. My PMTI instructor was excellent with over 20 years of PM experience. After the bootcamp, I studied another 25 hours. Memorize the Knowledge Areas, Process groups, Processes, and math formulas (EVM). Do a brain dump on the scrap sheets you are given after five minutes of tutorial for electronic exam. Also, if the questions seem to have a ridiculous amount of calculations or diagramming, they are meant to trick you. Mark for review after you have finished the other questions that require no scrap paper. This makes for good time management. Know your PM terms and CPM. I would also recommend making flashcards for the ITTOs. I didn't even attempt memorizing those, but went over the flashcards a good 5-6 times.Use "tie-breakers." Almost all questions on the exam have two obvious incorrect answers and two plausible answers. Think about how PMI would answer, meaning very regimented and process-based. I passed on first attempt. The boot camp really prepared me the most for what I should focus on.
My Android Playstore had a couple of free apps for PMP testing if you are burned out the night before...I sure was. I fit in a good workout prior to the examine to relieve stress.
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If you are more of a beginner like me (have managed only three projects) , I HIGHLY recommend you do a bootcamp training. I did mine through PMTI. Very good course with six 50 question practice test through day 3 and a full-length 200 question practice exam on day 4. My PMTI instructor was excellent with over 20 years of PM experience. After the bootcamp, I studied another 25 hours. Memorize the Knowledge Areas, Process groups, Processes, and math formulas (EVM). Do a brain dump on the scrap sheets you are given after five minutes of tutorial for electronic exam. Also, if the questions seem to have a ridiculous amount of calculations or diagramming, they are meant to trick you. Mark for review after you have finished the other questions that require no scrap paper. This makes for good time management. Know your PM terms and CPM. I would also recommend making flashcards for the ITTOs. I didn't even attempt memorizing those, but went over the flashcards a good 5-6 times.Use "tie-breakers." Almost all questions on the exam have two obvious incorrect answers and two plausible answers. Think about how PMI would answer, meaning very regimented and process-based. I passed on first attempt. The boot camp really prepared me the most for what I should focus on.
My Android Playstore had a couple of free apps for PMP testing if you are burned out the night before...I sure was. I fit in a good workout prior to the examine to relieve stress.
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While the exam should not be underestimated, passing it should not be a problem if you have taken the process of studying for it seriously. Like many of the posts here, I'd recommend:

1. Get good study materials, IIL, Rita Mulcahy, etc. and follow the lessons in there.
2. Get a good overview book on PM Practices and go through that.
3. Very important: Use an exam simulator. While this is not essential it is very good and familiarizing you with how the test will look and feel when you finally take it.
4. If you need support, contact or start a study group in your area through your local PM association (PMI or other).
5. Get a copy of the PMBOK from PMI and study that as some of the exam is based on it.

As others have said, PMP certification is more a statement of your commitment to the profession (or certifications) than proof of your competence as a PM. If you are committed to higher PM standards, you'll still need to prove yourself everyday. That's true with or without the PMP.

Also, as Dave Schnell points out, let me add one thing. If you don't have problems with memorization then by all means memorize the basic formulas and as soon as you get into the exam, write them down on scrap paper before you begin. If you (like Dave) have difficulty with that, you'll need to find an alternate approach as he did. This advice came to me from several sources. There are not that many formulas and I was able to memorize and then write them down as advised in the materials I had.

So, all in all, it is intense but very doable for most people. Good luck and let us know how you do.
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Get a book, and study the inputs and outputs to each process. this will help you more than anything else, in my opinion. It helps you to parse out the most invalid answers first, and concentrate on the most likely. The test is actually more about your expertise at test taking, than it is about what you actually know. I know plenty of PMPs who struggle with basic project management, so what does that tell you? Getting the PMP does force PMs to get up to speed on common terminology, and that is definitely a plus. BTW, I can't remember formulas - but i do know what the components of the formulas mean, so with that I am able to construct the formulas to get my answer. So, if you know and use the metrics, you don't have to worry about formula memorization too much.
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I am curious as to whether anyone here has very recent experience taking the PMP exam, and if so how difficult is it really? I have been approved for the exam, and took an exam prep class last October/November.

Because of a lot of frenzied life circumstances (having a baby, remodeling a home), I postponed my exam nearly a year now. I start to wonder, because there is so much hype being pumped into the PMP, and how it requires so much study time, and I wonder whether these expectations aren't exaggerated somewhat, because of the amount of revenue (on the part of instructors, PMI) and expense (on the part of the students) results from the PMP cert.

Do we make it out to be a bigger deal than it really is because the perceived stakes are high? Or is it really that tough?
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