Untold Secrets of PMP Exam Preparation

Santanu Deb recently cleared the PMP exam ( PMP number : 1861389)  with flying colors! Here he shares his experience and highlights of him PMP Exam Preparation  that are not discussed very often.

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Project Management Professional (PMP) is test of your understanding of project management concepts and application of project management knowledge. It is NOT a test of how well one can memorize or how fast one can read or write.
There are a lot of blogs, videos and online material that describe different aspects of PMP exam preparation and application process. Here I am describing a few which are not found easily.


PMP Application Audit Process:

Yes, My profile got selected for an Audit. It’s a random process. The moment I paid my fees, the next page showed a message that my application has been selected for Audit. It took 5-6 business days to get the extra work done (and yes 5-6 business days). My application got selected for an audit on Friday evening, prepared all the paperwork during the weekend, got the signatures on Monday and dispatched the courier on Tuesday. The Courier reached US on Thursday evening (US time) and it was opened on Friday midday and cleared within an hour’s time. So in total 5-6 business days!

Audit is random and does not take much time. Be careful with the courier company as that is where the maximum time is spent.


Test of Understanding:

Understanding requires you to get deeper knowledge and put things in perspective. Developing an understanding will require you to read and gather knowledge from multiple sources. For one topic, one source may be good while for another topic, another source may be awesome. I have seen and felt that youtube is the best place to go when things seem to annoy much. Whenever you do not understand a topic (Project lifecycle or Tuckerman Ladder model or Salience model or whatever), just try to get more information from youtube. Videos are easier and quicker to understand. This is one of the things which may take most of your PMP prep time. But the positive side of developing an understanding is that once it is developed, it is not easily forgotten. So concentrate on understanding the basics of the topic rather than trying to cram.

Understanding the concepts is the key to answering the situational questions.


Memorizing and Speed:

Both of these aspects are not as important as the previous one but a fair amount of thought and time also needs to be spent here. Though the things to memorize may not be huge but still there are things which one has to memorize. Formulas, Names, Theories etc fall in this category. Just keep a separate list of things which need to be memorized and visit them frequently. This will keep them live in your mind. Speed in reading is also necessary because you have to answer 200 questions in 240 minutes and the exam has questions which are lengthy (8-10 lines average). Keep track of time when you attend mocks and decide if you need to exclusively focus energy on your reading skills.

Regularly rehearse the memorizing topics; Speed of reading and understanding questions is significant.


Mock Tests:

Mock tests are an absolute necessity for passing the PMP exam. They will give you an understanding of what “kind” of questions is asked in the exam. The exam would not ask you direct questions or expect direct answers from you. PMI expects you to apprehend a situation and then choose the best solution out of the options provided. There are numerous mocks available which you can take for free. Take care to validate and analyze the mistakes after every mock. A mock without post exam analysis is not worth the time and effort spent on it.

Do as many mocks as you can and doing a post exam analysis is a must.


Impact of a Good Training Course:

A good training course is also important for preparing for the exam. One would need 35 contact hours to become eligible for appearing in the exam and the easiest way to get those contact hours is through a training course. I would highly recommend NOT taking the training course as the first step towards PMP exam preparation. PMP syllabus is huge and since all of those would be covered in 4-5 full day sessions. If one does not have any idea of PMP course material, he/she may get demotivated easily. I would recommend doing some self-study first and enroll for the course. While doing the self-study, try to get familiar with PMP course content, try to study and read about various topics, terms and theories to create the basic foundation. Once you have the foundation ready, you can enroll for the course and be able to get maximum benefits out of it.

Enroll for training only after doing some self-study and use the training to understand the critical topics and secure 35 Contact hours.


Scheduling of Exam:

The Prometric website is a very user friendly and good website. Scheduling the exam should take not more than 5 mins. Be ready with the Zip code of the city where you want to appear for the exam. One should be able to get the slot for an exam within the next two business days but this is not guaranteed. I would recommend scheduling the exam when you are ready to appear for the real exam. Work towards a tentative date and schedule it just few days before it. Rescheduling is expensive and should be avoided.

Scheduling of exam should be done just few days before the target date. Rescheduling exam is expensive and should be avoided.


Pre-Exam Day:

I believe this is the most important day. Staying calm and keeping anxiety under control is the key. I did not appear for any test nor did I study rigorously on this day. I went for an early morning walk with my mother, dropped my daughter to school, spent a quiet day at office (which is when I went through my flash cards and notes), picked my daughter back from school, had an awesome afternoon nap, went to a local mall with the family, ate an early dinner and retired early for the day. Before sleeping, I gathered all the documents (appointment confirmation, passport, driving direction to the venue etc) and kept them in the bag.

Don’t get worried about the exam. Make sure that you have a good sleep so that you are fresh the next day.


Exam Day:

This is the D-Day. Remain calm and keep anxiety at bay. Do something that keep your mind cool. I engaged myself in listening to Buddhist chants while driving to the venue. Once there, I had coffee at Barista and immediately after that showed up at the Prometric center. I started my exam earlier than the scheduled time which is such an awesome thing. Yes, in Prometric, if you reach early and wish to start early you can do so provided they have vacant cubicles available.

Be relaxed and generous towards time. Do NOT hurry while going to the venue. The extra time can be utilized to either study or start the exam early.


What’s inside the Prometric center?

Prometric centers are highly professional environments. Multilevel checks at different steps by different people are done to avoid any malpractice. Lockers are available to store any valuables. The locker can ONLY fit a laptop bag so be careful on what you might want to store. You will only carry an Original ID and locker key inside; nothing else. You will be given 2 pencils, 1 workbook and 1 calculator (if you want). You can ask for more stationary but you shall have to submit one to receive the other. The seats are not lavish but comfortable enough. Cameras are all over the seat. You have an option to use an ear muff headphone that will reduce any noise that might distract you. I recommend using it. Prometric staff takes rounds in the bay area and keep eye on your activities physically and via camera. Should you need any help, you are expected to raise your hand. Seeing it, one prometric personnel will come to you for assistance. You are not expected to leave you seat without company. Breaks are very expensive as they may take up to 10-15 mins of your time. Through frisking is done every time you go out and come in. Avoid wearing a lot of layers or pocketed clothes as all pockets are checked every time which take a lot of time.

Read the whole story; it might be of great help.

Passing Marks:

This is one of most confusion prone areas of PMP preparation. Different sources of information hint at different passing marks or grades. Passing score or grade for PMP examination is not disclosed by PMI. No one knows how many questions one needs to answer correctly to pass the exam. Even the passing grades are not clear. Many have an impression that getting 3 Moderately Proficient is sufficient for passing the exam but this is not true. I have seen results where 4 Moderately Proficient or 5 Moderately Proficient have failed the exam. Securing 75-80 percent on mock exams is a good indication that one may be prepared for taking the actual exam.

No one knows the minimum passing score for PMI PMP; securing 75-80% in mock exam is a good indication of exam readiness.

Post Exam:

Relax !! You have worked hard for the past few weeks and you deserve some bit of rest and relaxation. Prometric gives you a printed result sheet. The PMI certificate takes a few days to arrive at your mailing address.
Do not forget to thank those who have helped you in your PMP journey. Later you may also want to write your experience and strategy and publish it somewhere so that other PMP aspirants may benefit from them.

Say thanks to anyone you should and do share your lessons learnt with others.

Difference between PMP Contact Hours and PDUs

I have seen many people using PMP Contact Hours and PDUs alternatively to mean the same. But, in reality they are totally different. Here are the key differences between PMP Contact Hours and PDUs.


PMP Contact Hours:

  • PMP contact hours refer to the formal project management training to be taken BEFORE earning the PMP credential
  • One hour of such formal training earns one contact hour
  • Earning 35 contact hours is a prerequisite to apply for PMP certification
  • These  contact hours can be earned through university programs,employer sponsored trainings and programs, programs from training providers and consultants, distance learning programs provided by online training providers that may or many be R.E.Ps

You can find more about some of the popular 35 contact hours trainings here.



PMP Contact Hour PDU

  • PDU stands for Professional Development Unit
  • PDUs come into picture AFTER you earn your PMP credential
  • PDUs are key part of PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements(CCR)
  • You need to earn 60 PDUs in three years  to maintain your PMP credential
  • You can earn PDUs by participating in professional development activities that include E-Learning, PMI community offered meetings and sessions,R.E.P courses, self directed learning etc.
  • Contact Hour Trainings DO NOT qualify to earn PDUs
  • There are both paid and free ways to earn these PDUs

To learn more about earning PDUs for free read this article: How I earned my PMP CCR PDUs for Free


10 Secret Tips to Study Smart and Pass PMP Exam


To pass PMP exam, one has to sit for four hours and answer 200 questions. Naturally there will  be some anxiety around your preparation for the PMP exam. With so much study materials available, deciding on what to study, how to study could be challenge. Unless you get that right, you will end up spending a lot of time and money, yet not achieve the desired result.

Here are some crucial tips based on the experience from my preparation to attend the PMP exam.

1. A Plan is Key to Pass PMP Exam

This is the critical step to your success in the PMP exam. Before you start preparing for the exam you should have three questions answered and they should be in your study plan. WHAT, HOW and HOW LONG?

Plan for PMP Exam

What to Study for the PMP Exam?

Here you decide your study activities. Normally this includes the following:

  • Reading the PMBOK Guide.
  • Reading one ( you don’t need more!) PMP exam preparation book.
  • Using your 35 Contact Hour Training aids to clear your understanding of processes, knowledge areas and  ITTOs.
  • Taking practice exams. Practice Exams are extremely important. Go through this article: How to get the best out of PMP Practice Exams to get more insight on this topic.
  • Preparing notes with formula, ITTOs and other mind maps.
  • Re visiting weak areas to get a better understanding.

How and How Long to Study?

These two go hand in hand. Since how long depends on how, address them together.

How you study is up to you. But there are certain things that have proven to help thousands of PMP candidates.


2. Run Through Study > Test > Evaluate > Clarify Cycle.

This is very powerful.This takes an iterative approach to your PMP exam preparation. The iteration contains four steps. You repeat the cycle until you achieve the desired result. This is the basic concept. But what you do in each step could vary from iteration to iteration. We will discuss that in later sections.

PMP Exam Preparation Cycle
PMP Exam Preparation Cycle

Cycle Phase 1: Study For the PMP Exam:

This is the phase where you go through the study materials and try to understand the concepts. Some of the activities in this phase include:

  • Reading PMBOK guide
  • Reading any other PMP preparation book
  • Watching the PMP training videos
  • Listening to the PMP preparation audios
  • Learning formulas and calculations
  • Practicing diagrams and mind maps

Cycle Phase 2: Test What You Studied:

This is the point where you are checking out what you studied. Don’t wait to take tests until all your studies are complete. Taking these tests will help you focus on weak areas and improve.

Some of the activities in this phase include:

  • Taking practice tests
  • Taking timed, simulated exams
  • Writing down all the formulas
  • Listing ITTOs

Cycle Phase 3: Evaluate Your Understanding

This is the reality check! Now that you have taken some tests, evaluate them and see where you stand. This step involves verifying your practice exam answers and cross checking the formula or ITTOs you have written down. The results will identify your strong and weak areas.

Cycle Phase 4: Clarify Things You Don’t Know

During the evaluation you have identified your mistakes and weak areas. It is time to clarify them and get a better understanding of those topics. Revisit those topics, and get a better understanding of them.


 3. PMBOK Guide is a Necessary Evil: Don’t Ignore It

I have heard a lot of complaints that PMBOK Guide is dry and boring, hard to read and understand etc. But, keep in mind, that is what you will be tested on. So, don’t skip it. Start with the PMBOK Guide first. Read the guide in its entirety even if some of the concepts don’t make much sense to you. When you read other books and study materials you will get better understanding of these concepts.


4. Take  Breadth First Approach

Be it PMBOK Guide or any other PMP exam preparation book, they all cover the same concept. Only difference is in the presentation and narration. Project Management Body Of Knowledge is a collection of complex, detailed concepts. So, no matter which book you pick, don’t expect to understand everything. In the first iteration of the study cycle, focus on touching on all the topics and get an idea of what is included in the subject. In later iterations you will be able to more effectively dive deep in to each topic.


5. Know What you Don’t Know

As you read through the books or listen to the audio resources, keep a note of topics you didn’t quite follow. Don’t go back and forth on the same topic trying to grasp it. It doesn’t help. Instead create a list of those areas and pay more attention to them in your next study cycle iteration.

Unless you keep track of your weak areas you many never go back and study them again. So, as you move on keep a running list of such topics and strike off the ones you are clear about.

The same list can be appended with the weak areas you identified during evaluation too. If, in a practice exam your score in a specific knowledge area is low, note it down and make sure you pay extra attention to that area next time.


6. Create Mind Maps

PMBOK Guide presents a lot of inter-related information that are intricately connected together. Hence it is very useful to create a pictorial representation of how knowledge areas, process groups and ITTOs are interconnected. That image is the mind map of the PMBOK structure. Once that image firmly stamps on the brain, it will be very easy to understand the questions and choose the best answer. The mind map approach works much better than just memorizing plain words or statements.


7. Study Consistently & Stick to Your Books

Success in PMP exam requires consistency in study. Be prepared to spend at least 15 hours per week for the exam preparation. Be regular in studying. Studying 20 hour one week and then taking a month long break will drastically hit your pace of study. Once you get the momentum, keep it going until the finish line.

There are many good books available to study for PMP certification. Different books have worked well for different people. There is no one or two best book to chose. Everyone’s style and preference is different.

So, don’t go hunting for the best PMP study book in the world. Instead, read reviews or borrow and check a few books and then stick to PMBOK Guide and one additional book.

Reading more books won’t necessarily help you understand the concept better. Beyond two books, you are more likely to be confused. Instead, go through the same books multiple times to strengthen your knowledge and understanding. This will help you form an image of the topics in your mind as well.

If you have access to more books, certainly try out the practice exams from them. That will help you validating your overall understanding of the PMBOK concepts. At times reading a book and immediately taking the practice exams in it may be deceiving. Reading one book and taking the exam on the same topic from another book is certainly a good idea.


8. Get the Most Out of PMP Practice Tests

Taking practice tests are the MOST critical part of your study. Take as many practice tests as you can. This will only help you do better in the exam. Once you study some book or topic or listen to an audio, it is a very good idea to test yourself on that. Take some practice exams in that area and check how you did. While there are some free practice tests available online, I highly recommend you use at-least one commercially available PMP practice exam. They are more exhaustive, flexible and come with answers and explanation to the answers as well.


9. Make Best Use of Lessons Learned

As PMP credential has become one of the most sought after certifications, there are lot of professionals becoming PMPs now. Many of them share their experience, mistake they made, tricks they used, what worked and what did not, etc in the form of PMP Lessons Learned. Make best use of them and they will give a good guidance for your PMP exam preparation.


10. Check Your Readiness

One of the commonly asked questions is that when will one know that he or she is ready to take the exam. While there is no definite answer, practice exam result could help. If you consistently score about 80-85% in three different timed, full length, simulated practice exams that should give you a good confidence level to take the real PMP exam.

Your Change Management Guide to PMP Exam with PMBOK Guide 5

PMI has released PMBOK Guide 5th Edition in the beginning of 2013. However, until July 31, 2013 the PMP examination will NOT be based on this new PMBOK Guide. The examination will continue to be based on PMBOK Guide 4th Edition, released back in 2008. Starting July 31, 2013 PMI will revise the examination to align with the new PMBOK Guide 5.

As a project manager, this is high time you think about the change management. This is the time to plan your exam preparation and scheduling if you are going to take the PMP examination in next few months.

PMP Exam Change

If you are planning to take the PMP exam BEFORE July 31,2013…

Practically nothing changes for you. You need to use the 4th edition of PMBOK Guide and all study materials and preparation courses based on PMBOK Guide 4th edition. But, now ( June-July, 2013) it is time when most of the training and study material providers start releasing their updated versions of the material aligning with PMBOK Guide 5. You SHOULD NOT use them. Make sure you always use the study aids and trainings based on PMBOK Guide 4th edition.

If you are planning to take the PMP exam AFTER July 31,2013…

What does not change?

  • Qualification and prerequisite to apply for the PMP exam does not change. You don’t have to time the exam based on your qualification.
  • Application process to apply for the PMP exam doesn’t change.
  • PMP examination fee will not change with the new exam
  • PMI has not mentioned anything about the change in PPM exam pattern

What changes and what you need to do

  • PMBOK Guide: The reference book for the PMP exam will change starting July 31, 2013. If you are planning to appear for the exam after that date,  DO NOT use PMBOK Guide 4th edition, instead use PMBOK Guide 5th Edition
  • All  PMP Exam Training Courses: Training providers are in the process of updating their training materials now. But,  not many have released their revised training materials based on PMBOK Guide 5th edition as we write this guide. Please make sure you use revised training materials for your preparation. If you have recently purchased training course based on PMBOK Guide 4th addition you may be eligible for free update when they release new version.  Check with the training providers if they can provide you new training material free of cost based on your recent purchase.

For example PM Prepcast has come up with the following pricing policy when they release new version of Prepcast by end of June 2013

      • Free upgrade for purchases between May-July 2013.
      • A $29 upgrade fee for purchases from January to April 2013.
  • All Study Materials and Practice Exams: They are bound to change with new PMBOK Guide. Again, you make sure to use the new version of the books, formula guides, exam simulators etc for your exam preparation. Here too, you can check with you seller if you are eligible for free or discounted upgrade.

For Example new PMP Exam Simulator will be available with the following discount policy

        • Free upgrade for purchases between May-July 2013.
        • A $9.99 upgrade fee for purchases made between January to April 2013.

Avoid the stabilization phase

The first few weeks after PMI switches over to the new exam, there could be some uncertainties around the questions, reporting etc. It is recommended not to take the exam during that period to avoid you becoming a guinea pig for this change. It is better to avoid second half of July ( everyone will be rushing to take the exam using PMBOK Guide 4 and you may not get the seats etc) and first half of August ( when you don’t have must history to learn from) for taking the exam.

Closely watch PMP Exam discussion forums and mail groups

When it comes to feedback on the new exam, these are your best friends. Here you will get early clue on the new exam. The people who have taken the new exam will be sharing their experience and discussing their lessons learned in these platforms. Use them and get tips for your PMP exam preparation.

How Much Does The PMP Certification Cost?

Lot of times people ask me this question:  How much does the PMP Certification Cost?
Well, I cannot give you one number, because it could vary from person to person based on the books and study materials they purchase.

PMP Certification Cost would include the following:

PMP Certification Cost

  • PMI membership fee
  • PMP exam application fee
  • 35 contact hour training cost
  • Books and other training material cost


So, instead of answering the question with a single number, I tried  to give possible cost components for the PMP Certification with and without PMI membership.

Cost ComponentWith PMI MembershipWithout PMI MembershipRemarks
USD 919.00USD 990.00
PMI Annual Membership FeeUSD 129.000Your PMP exam fee discount is more than the membership fee
One time fee for new membersUSD 10.000
PMP Exam FeeUSD 405.00USD 555.00Huge discount for MPI members!
PMBOK Guide0USD 60.00You get free electronic copy of the PMBOK Guide with your membership
35 Contact Hour TrainingUSD 200.00USD 200.00You can get good 35 contact hour trainings from R.E.Ps online for about USD 200.00
Additional PMP Preparation BookUSD 75.00USD 75.00This cost may vary. I have given an approximate cost here
One Exam Simulation SoftwareUSD 100.00USD 100.00A Good simulator will cost about 100 bucks


Note: You can maintain and renew your PMI membership and PMP credentials independent of the other. You don’t need to be a PMI member to become a PMP and vice-a-verse. Of course there will be cost difference based on your membership status as mentioned in the table above.

Other than the generic cost mentioned in the table above there could be other costs based on your situation. These are not common. Hence I have mentioned them separately.

Travel and Accommodation Cost:

If your prometric examination center is not in the same city where you live, you may incur additional travel and accommodation costs. That will vary from person to person.

PMP Exam Rescheduling Cost:

  • If you Cancel or re-schedule your exam 31 or more days from the exam date there is NO fee.
  • If you cancel or re-schedule your exam within 30 days to 3 days prior to the exam there will be a USD 70.00 fee charged.
  • If you cancel the exam within 2 days of the exam you forfeit entire exam fee. In this case there is no option to re schedule the exam.

PMP Re Examination Fee:

God forbid, if you fail in the PMP exam, you still have two more attempts to take the exam and pass it within one year of the eligibility period.
The re-examination fee is as follows:

  •     USD 275.00 for PMI members.
  •     USD 375.00 for non PMI members.

A Step by Step Guide to Clear the PMP Application Audit

You have carefully filled the PMP application form… Meticulously documented your project experience… Included all supporting documents and submitted it online. The PMI has reviewed your application and you are happy. Now, you go ahead and make the payment.  Duh..!!!! you are selected for a PMP application audit! Suddenly you get a feeling of heart attack and you panic without knowing what to do next, almost losing the hope of becoming a PMP.

Well… many PMP exam applicants feel this when their application is picked for an audit. They think that is end of the world and start worrying about clearing the audit. some even start suspecting the authenticity of their own project experience. But it doesn’t have to be that way. As long as you know PMI’s motive behind the audit, actual audit process and your experience claims are real, you can easily clear the audit and appear for the exam.

I can tell this to you with authority, since I have been there and done that. My PMP application was picked for an audit. So, I am sharing this from my personal experience.

Keeping reading to know all about handling PMP application audit.

Why were you picked for PMP application audit?

Well, PMI didn’t pick “your” application. Their system randomly picked an application that happened to be yours. It doesn’t mean that PMI reviewed your documentation, became suspicious and chose to audit. It doesn’t work that way.  In order to maintain the high standard of the PMP certification, PMI has chosen to randomly audit certain percentage of the applications and verify the authenticity of the documents submitted and experience claimed.

What is the requirement for the audit?

If your application is chosen for audit, PMI will send you a package( electronic form) with detailed instructions. But for the quick reference, this is what PMI wants to verify.

  1. Your project management experience
  2. 35 Contact hours of project management education
  3. Formal education

You will have sixty days to provide the necessary proof to verify these credentials and clear the audit.

How to fulfill the PMP application audit requirements?

When your application is selected for an audit, you will receive an email from the PMI, that looks like this.

PMP Application Audit

Following the instructions you will be able to download necessary forms. Generally there will be an audit instruction document and a project management audit report form. The audit instruction document will have all the details related to the audit.

Verifying the project experience

A manager, supervisor, or colleague with first hand knowledge of the experience on your application need to review the experience you mentioned, sign the audit report form with their name and contact information and put it in a sealed envelope. They are required to sign their name on the sealed flap of the envelope. You can collect this envelope from them and mail it to PMI. No scanned or faxed copies will be accepted.

Verifying the 35 Contact hours of education

When you take the training, you will receive a certificate from the education provider indicating that you have fulfilled 35 contact hours of project management education. Include that certificate as proof of course completion.

Verifying the formal education

Include the certificate or diploma or transcript from the school for your highest attained degree.

Once you have the three verification documents ready, mail them to the PMI office address mentioned in the mail you received. Once they review the evidence and verify your qualifications, you will receive an email from PMI that you have cleared the audit.

See Sample email below.

At this point you are back on track to pursue your PMP dream.

PMP Exam is changing. What do you need to know?

If you don’t know already, please note that as of August 31, 2011, the PMP Certification examination is changing. If you are preparing for the PMP exam, it is very important to know and understand how this will impact you. Based on the PMI communication, I am trying provide a concise and simplified picture of the upcoming change. As usual, if you have questions or comments please don’t hesitate to bring them in the comments section below or through the contact form.

Why the Change?

The PMI is a  global organization that offers reliable credentials to the project managers world wide. The PMI is using a  Role Delineation Study (RDS) to reform the  PMI examination. This is an initiative to ensure that the examination effectively measures and evaluates the skills, competence and knowledge of the practitioner. With this, the PMP credential holders can be confident that their test has been developed based on the best practices and standards.

What is Changing?

The main thing that is changing as a result of the RDS is the PMP examination.

In the new examination, the questions will be mapped against PMP Examination Content Outline.

The RDS has identified certain domains, tasks involved in each domain and skills and knowledge required to perform those tasks. The PMP exam questions are formed to measure the practitioner in these areas. According to the PMI, about 30% of the exam questions will be changed to align with the RDS.

Distribution of questions across the domains is as follows:

Initiating the project13%
Planning the project24%
Executing the project30%
Monitoring & Controlling the project25%
Closing the project8%

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As you can see above, the process groups in the PMBOK guide are referred to as domains in the RDS. The PMP Examination Content Outline defines the tasks in these domains and related skills & knowledge either related to single domain or  cutting across multiple domains.

Another change you might have noticed is that there is no separate section to cover professional and social responsibility. Since it is something that is part of all domains, it will be tested as part of other domain areas.

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Top 10 Things to Follow During the PMP Exam Preparation

These are some of the very important things to follow during your PMP Exam Preparation. A systematic and planned approach is key to pass the PMP exam.

1. Fill the application accurately

Your PMP Exam preparation starts here. This may sound trivial. But the PMP examination application requires a quite a lot of details about your professional project management experience. Filling the application form improperly or misrepresenting your experience could result in delays in application processing. Pay extra attention and ensure that your application is complete and accurate.

2. Read the PMBOK Guide

I hear a lot of complaints that this guide is very dry and boring. To a certain extent I would agree with that. However, we need to keep in mind that it is a kind of text book for the PMP certification exam. The purpose of the PMBOK guide is to capture the essence of project management knowledge in a  comprehensive way. Easy reading is not the priority there. In that sense PMBOK guide does a very good job in presenting that  “body of knowledge”. The PMP examination is based completely on this book. So, even if you start yawning after reading a few pages or don’t get anything from it, keep going. Trust me, when you read it the second time, you get a much better idea of the concepts. So, make PMPBOK Guide part of your PMP exam preparation

3. Read at least one other book or training guide

There are tons of books available for PMP exam preparation. I suggest you use at least one of them for you preparation. It is not that PMBOK guide doesn’t cover the topics. But it is the way these books present the topics and describe the concepts in a simplified manner. There is no ‘one book’ that I can recommend. Check out the reviews on some of the popular books and pick the one you like. They are all good books.  But, different people prefer different presentation styles and approach to explaining the concepts.

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