Project Management

Treat the PMP® Exam Like a Project: Using the Power of Lessons Learned to Pass on Your Next Try

Kristen is a project manager in Ridgewood, New York.

“Overall Performance: FAIL” flashed on the screen before my heavy eyes, culminating four hours of exam-taking. Completely crushed was an understatement. For months, I had been tirelessly studying for the PMP®—months that entailed taking a live bootcamp course, practice exams on weekends, and app quizzes on packed trains during my commutes to and from work.

After taking a necessary hiatus and finally deciding that it was worth giving it another go, I realized that passing the exam requires treating it as any project management endeavor. It also meant being honest with myself and accepting that in spite of my diligent studying, something in my approach was not working. Back to the drawing board I went.

Capitalizing on lessons learned, I completely overhauled my study plan. Two months later, I retook the PMP exam and passed with “Above Target” in all five process groups, exceeding any and all expectations. Below I will share what I believe to be my key success factors. If you were stuck in a similar predicament—or are feeling stuck in a rut while studying—my goal is to give you the encouragement and optimism that you too can and will pass the exam.

1. Use more than one source to study—and use your own expert judgement to find which methods work best. Everyone’s road to being certified looks different, and what may …

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

- Steven Wright



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