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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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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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I have eight years of PM experience. I also took nine months of classes at the University of Washington and have a certificate in PM. In addition I went to the Velociteach 3 day class. I knew the formulas and that helped me alot. I took the new test (April 2006), and yes it is a challenge, but you can do it if you apply yourself.
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Presently there are in excess of 200,000 PMI members, with many others joining PMI to pursue the PMP certification.

Based on the salary increases experienced by IT professionals with the PMP, this credential carries some clout and is capturing great interest. Membership statistics from PMI indicate that the Computers/Software/DP and IT industries are the top two industry areas among PMI members, with about 15,000 and 12,000 members respectively in each industry category (estimated in 2005).

In whatever way people prepare to become certified Project Managers, the benefits are immeasurable to both the employee and the employer. Employees are rewarded with increased salaries, job promotions, and in general, better job prospects. Employers who use PMP's are assured that they have hired Project Managers who have a core competency in Project Management and the requisite experience to perform as a project manager. Studies have shown that projects managed by people who are not certified Project Managers have only a 25% chance of success, whereas projects run by those who are knowledgeable in Modern Project Management tools and techniques - as are people with the PMP certification - have a 75% success rate.


Who do you think companies would prefer to have at the helm of their projects?

Visit www.readysetpass.com for your Exam Prep needs.
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It's not that hard and I think those that spend over $1,000 are not getting much value. The truth is, yes, you do need to study. However, spending more than a month of studying is a waste of time and will leave knowing more information than the test requires. I used Andy Crowe's book How To Pass The PMP On The First try and it lived up to its title. Studying the PMBOK is pointless. The only thing I might recommend in addtion to Andy Crowe's book is an additional book of sample questions. I found the ones he had in his book to be on the light side.
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