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How hard is the PMI PMP test?
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 read a number of portions of recommended books and did take a couple of outside classes that were helpful. I studied pretty intensely for the month before the exam. Take a lot of the ESI practice tests. They are very helpful. It's not too hard if you study and study the right materials. I got 172 questions correct.

I'm currently taking the prep class through my local PMI chapter. They recommend at least 120 hours of study in addition to the class time. The class has been very much worth the $500 cost. They give a lot of tips and advice you want find elsewhere.
Where can I find the ESI practice tests for the PMP certification?

You need to know more than just the PMBOK to pass the test. I used the IIL IQ software and Rita Mulchay's prep CD and book. If you use Rita's and the PMBOK you should do just fine. IIL is too much Kerzner. I studied everynight for 2weeks prior (about 2-3 hours a night) and passed the first time. I did not take any formal prep course just home study.
I agree with the previous postings about using Rita Mulcahy's book and taking as many practice tests as you can. There is also a set of 9 audio CDs available from ESI for about $99 which you can listen to in the car which covers the highlights of each of the 9 PMBOK areas. Each CD is about 45 minutes worth of information. Great for helping you focus on what is important and as a final review. I probably studied between 80-100 hours total and scored 81% on the test.

What makes the exam challenging are the questions that force you to make a judgement call. These type of questions will create a situation and ask things like "What should the Project Manager do FIRST?" or "What's the BEST action the Project Manger could take?" I took the exam yesterday and passed, and must have had about 25 - 30 questions of that type.

I also self-studied using Rita Mulcahey's books and CD. I also used Newell's book (seemed to be based on old exam topics), the practice exam on the PMI web site, and the Assessment exam from Castle Learning ( Knowing the PMBOK will help with the definition-type questions and the "What are the Inputs to.." questions, but some focused prep using a prep class or one of the prep guides is the way to go.

I used the PMBOK Q&A book, took the PMI chapter prep course, and reviewed two books on human resources (I determined that was my weak knowledge area) I also have 30 years work experience. I passed, missing a question or two in just about every area.

In terms of wringing out my brain for information, it was as tough as my PHD comprehensive exam. But I felt a lot more confident about the outcome for the PMP than I did for my PHD.

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.

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 for your Exam Prep needs.

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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