Project Management

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Cornelius Fichtner help you with your PMP Exam Prep ( as well as earn free PDUs ( 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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Invitation to "The 2021 PMP Exam Q&A" - Live Streaming this Monday

Episode 455: Ten Steps to Earning Your PDUs (Free) #PMOT

Episode 454: Cornelius Fichtner's Project Business Career - Part 2 (Free) #PMOT

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6 Reasons Why You May Have Failed The PMP Exam 3 Times

While I hope it doesn’t happen to you, some people fail the PMP exam 3 times. If you do find yourself in that situation, you will have to wait a year from the date of your last exam before you will be able to apply for your PMP certification again.

Over the years, I have found several reasons why someone continues to fail the exam. However – and as hard as it may be to hear this – if it happens to you then you have to acknowledge that you are part of the problem! You are the one taking and failing the test and you should carry some responsibility for not being able to pass because many, many other people do manage to get through it each year.

But on the other hand PMI has made this exam extremely difficult, and by sitting for the exam multiple times you have proven that you are serious about passing the exam, getting your PMP Credential, and distinguishing yourself from your peers. You can still keep your head up high!

So once you are prepared to accept the complexities of the exam and your role in failing it, then you need to change your exam taking strategies and take a look at your exam techniques. You can make changes that will help you overcome those difficulties. First, you need to establish why you have failed and then you can take action to improve your chance of passing the exam next time. So let’s look at 6 reasons why you may have failed the PMP exam and what you can do about them.

Pass the PMP exam

1: You lack understanding of the PMP exam concepts

Perhaps the reason for failing the exam 3 times is simply that you don’t understand the concepts in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) - Fifth Edition or they did not sink in properly. While you may have studied everything several times, for some reason you simply haven’t been able to get them to make sense in a way that allows you to apply the concepts and pass the exam.

Action: Get yourself a "Study Buddy". Find someone in your area, company or PMI Chapter who is also studying and meet with them on a weekly basis. Review the concepts together and most importantly explain to each other how you understand the concepts. You can also work together on practice questions and explain the reasons for your answers. Making a case for why you think the answer you choose is the “best” answer will help both you and your buddy learn and more importantly remember the concept. After all, the best way to learn something is to teach it, wouldn’t you agree?

2: You struggle with standardized exams

Many students know the material, have the experience and have prepared well, but then they simply "freeze up" during a standardized test. They find the pressure too intense and can’t perform with that amount of stress.

Action: Unfortunately I'm not a psychologist and frankly I don't have a silver bullet for helping you through this. Everyone deals with test anxiety differently. You could take a lot of complete, 4-hour exams in order to prepare yourself using test conditions. Think about the exam as a chance to reward yourself for all your studying instead of something scary to be tackled. Visualization, working with a colleague, journaling and building your self-confidence may also help.

3: English may not be your first language

My own mother tongue is German and I must admit that when I took the exam I had difficulty understanding and clearly distinguishing between the various PMI terms and concepts that were so new to me.

Action: PMI offers language aids in 13 languages. This means that during the exam you can switch back and forth between the English text and the translation. However, bear in mind that doing this is time consuming and these language aids are difficult to use in an already stressful and time-constrained situation.

4: You can’t handle the exam room distractions

The exam rooms are not only used for PMP exams, so people will be coming in and out and there could be other distractions. The most severe case of this that I know of is a student who reported that a maid came into the exam room and cleaned her screen while she was taking the exam - she failed her test. Of course this is rare! But you should be ready for any sort of distraction during the exam and able to recover from it quickly (or ignore it completely).

Action: Take your laptop to your nearest coffee shop and take 2-3 sample exams right there in the midst of all the hustle and bustle. Learn to focus!

5: You didn’t take any practice exams

Unfortunately some of my students didn’t listen to my advice and attempted to take the PMP exam several times without logging on to a PMP exam simulator and practicing at home. Practice exams really will help you perform better during the real thing.

Action: Sign up for a PMP exam simulator. Take some practice exams.

6: You’ve lost confidence

After failing the exam several times it’s not unusual for someone to lose confidence in their ability to pass. I see this often: students just don't believe in themselves any longer.

Action: This is the moment when a PMP coach needs to be brought on board and you have to stop self-study as it will no longer work for you. The PMP coach (either in-person or virtual) will work with you

individually or in a very small group to review the PMP concepts and go through hundreds of exam questions to explain them. This is a great way to get a professional’s insight into how to approach the questions and build your confidence at the same time.

Once you’ve examined your own reasons for failing the exam you may find that it’s because of something different to these points. That’s OK - everyone is different! The main thing to remember is that while the PMP exam is tough, it isn’t impossible and it can be passed. So don’t get discouraged. Tackle the situation as you would any other failed or failing project: analyze what is going wrong, make changes to your project management plan and then bring the project to a successful close. After all, that’s what we project managers do!

Posted on: February 05, 2014 11:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Free PrepCast Video on YouTube - Network Diagram for the PMP Exam

In this Free PrepCast lesson, we cover the project schedule network diagram. We explain what it is, why it is so important for your project and how to apply the critical path method to it, so that you can determine early and late start/finish dates as well as schedule flexibility

This free video is only available for viewing until this weekend. Watch it now -


Posted on: December 19, 2013 03:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Take a free sample PMP exam. No signup required

Hi All,

Practice makes perfect, so test your PMP knowledge right now with the following 15 free PMP Exam sample questions in an online exam:

This exam is just one of a series of 8 exams. To sign up for all our free exams please visit

Posted on: November 07, 2013 06:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Featured PMP Exam Lessons Learned from Adam Leslie, PMP

How I passed my PMP exam:

I passed my PMP exam on August 19th. I did so after a lot of study (4 hours a day for 2.5 months). I am going to break down my lessons learned into two parts: "What I Did Do" and "What I Did Not Do".

What I Did Do


1. Created a study plan with projected a test date.


2. Studied Rita's book ( cover to cover.

Notice I did not say I read it - I studied it. I poured over it. I took notes, highlighted key areas and did further research on concepts that I did not understand.


3. Memorized Rita's process chart and the formula page in the back of the book.

I reviewed these almost every night before I went to bed.

To read more of his complete experience, please follow this link:


Posted on: November 06, 2013 09:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Free PMP Exam Sample Question

Hi All,

The following PMP® exam sample question is taken from the Free PMP Exam Simulator (The answer is at the very bottom):

Mary is managing a data migration project. The project is in execution. The project’s current
total Earned Value (EV) is $25,000 and the current Schedule Variance (SV) is
$5,000. What is the project’s current Schedule Performance Index (SPI)?

A) 1
B) 1.25
C) 0.83
D) 0.2



You need 2 formulas to calculate the correct result.

All our questions are updated to the latest PMBOK® Guide standard. Stop by at and try the PMP Exam Simulator free for 3 days. We also offer 110 free questions at We are a PMI Registered Education Provider.


Answer and Explanation:

The Correct Answer is B. SPI = EV/PV. We know that EV = $25,000, but not the PV. This means we first have to determine the current PV in order to determine the current SPI.

Posted on: October 20, 2013 09:36 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Don't play the saxophone. Let it play you."

- Charlie Parker



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