Saturday, July 7, 2007

PMP Exam Prep: Taking The Exam

Anticipate that many questions will have multiple correct answers. It is your challenge to pick the best answer based on how PMI outlines the situation should be handled. Remember to answer questions from PMI s perspective, not from your real-life experience. Think, What does PMI say I should I do? rather than What s worked in the past?

The actual exam allows you to mark any question for later review. Plan on making several passes through all 200 questions of the exam. Double-check yourself on questions that you are unsure of your answer. During the initial pass through the exam, mark any question that you are not 100% sure of the answer. On the second pass, review all the marked questions.

You may discover that the answer to a given question is detailed out in another question or answer throughout the exam. During the exam, as the test taker, you will need to manage your exam time. 200 questions in four hours (240 minutes) = 1.2 minutes per question. Some questions will be as easy as 15 seconds; others may take 3 4 minutes. You are not required to immediately take the exam when you sit down at the computer terminal. Use this time to gather your thoughts and pmp certification prepare your reference sheet. Write down all formulas, diagrams, and pmp certification information that will assist you with the exam. This allows you to clear your thoughts and pmp certification focus better as you begin the exam.

When you begin the exam process, you will initially be provided a tutorial of how to use the terminal and pmp certification how to take the exam. If you feel comfortable with the information, you can pass over this tutorial quickly and pmp certification begin the exam. Pace yourself and pmp certification be sure to read all four answers completely. Do not just choose the first potentially correct answer you see, there may be a More right / Most right answer available. Take breaks throughout the exam. You have 4 hours for the exam, you need to complete at least 50 questions per hour and pmp certification allot for periodic breaks to allow yourself to regain focus and pmp certification rest. Question content is something to pay close attention too. Practice exam questions provide valuable insight into actual exam questions. There will be several types of questions to be cognizant of:

Situational questions
Time-consuming questions
Fill-in-the-blank and pmp certification other factual-type questions
Select the exception from the four possible answers
Short stories
Calculations and pmp certification /or draw simple diagrams.

In our estimation, around 75% of the exam questions come directly from the PMBOK Guide. The remaining questions are derived from other reference materials and pmp certification real-world situations. Solid common project sense should help you in answering these.

Some key exam topics you won t find in the PMBOK but should understand are: Conflict-resolution techniques, Organizational theories, Problem-solving Techniques and pmp certification Theories of motivation. Before the exam begins, you have fifteen minutes to do the tutorial. I used this time before the exam to do a memory dump of the formulas. The tutorial is straightforward on marking questions, reviewing questions and pmp certification how to view exhibits.
Usually, the examination center will give you time to write down things, get your thought clear and pmp certification then you begin the tutorial.

Take few minutes to do the memory dump.

If the question contains diagrams, tables or other numbers used in calculations, copy these down completely on your scratch paper before beginning the development of the solution. Number your notes and pmp certification diagrams (the exam calls these exhibits) on the scratch paper and pmp certification use it in an orderly fashion, later to facilitate checking. Often the exhibit used in one section of the exam will be used in another section.

Keep a close eye on the way a question is phrased. The exam has lots of which is the correct answer EXCEPT. Usually the questions will highlight this (i.e. word EXCEPT or BUT)

Be very careful of questions framed in the double negative ( None of the following are true EXCEPT . ). Re-phase these questions (if necessary, write the rephrased question down on your scratch paper and pmp certification number it) to eliminate both negatives ( which of the following is true ).

Use the calculator for all but the most elementary calculations. If you have enough time re-calculate your calculations -- again using the calculator. It is amazing how often, in the pressure of the examination 1+1 = 3 by mistake.

Make note of questions that have exhibits, or calculations these are often referred to in later questions and pmp certification open question will give you a clue.

Remember to answer all questions! If you miss a question, when the exam hits review it will flag questions you missed.

Keep track of your score: Use your predictor tool mentioned in my previous blog.

Friday, July 6, 2007

PMP Exam Prep: Building a Study Plan

Begin with the end in mind: Estimate the amount of time you need to prepare for the exam and to schedule for the PMP Certification Test. If you need 8 weeks to prepare, schedule your exam for 8 weeks from today and pmp certification work to meet your deadline. This helps ensure your focus.

Build a plan: Figure out how many hours per day you can dedicate to preparing for the PMP Exam, and pmp certification stick with it. Allocate blocks of time for studying on the weekends.

Form study groups: Learning in teams can be beneficial for everyone, if it is focused study.

Learn in Chunks or Sections; don t try to capture it all at once.

Learn to Mind Map: The human mind makes a connection each time your pen and pmp certification paper meet. In conjunction with this, the visual makings of a mind map will help keep information fresh in your minds eye.

Brain Dumps: When you arrive at the testing center, before you take the actual PMP Exam, perform a brain dump. This is an activity where you use the scratch paper provided to write out all of the exam notes you ve committed to memory. In order to do this at the testing center, you must practice it daily. I recommend focusing on the calculations and pmp certification formulas.

Practice Exams at the end of each chapter or section. Each day I did a set 50-200 questions after a chapter. The following day I reviewed weak areas. I found the more questions and pmp certification answers that I did, the better prepared and pmp certification more comfortable I was.

Cramming before test day: I took one week off before writing the exam to review and pmp certification cram for the exam It was slow getting into a study mode but once I applied myself, it seems to be the best study method for me.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

PMP Exam Prep: Develop A Study Strategy

Use the exam simulator at to gauge your learning efforts. By knowing what your scores are, you can focus on the areas you need the most work on. I did lots questions before and pmp certification after a knowledge area, worked on weaker or questionable questions. This teaches you to read the questions carefully Sometimes you see a common or re-occurring theme.

If you are a visual learner write things down as you study. I created terms, glossaries and pmp certification definitions by writing it helped me remember things

Create flashcards with important project management processes, terms and pmp certification equations. On one side of the card put the term and pmp certification on the other side write the equation. When I had time, I would thumb through the cards. It was not important to memorize all the terms, since the test is multiple choice. However, you must be prepared to recognize the definition, or a variant of the definition, as well as how and pmp certification when you might apply it.

Learn what is required to pass the PMP test. You may have techniques and pmp certification processes that work better than the PMI way, but for the purposes of passing the test, it is the PMI way that matters.

The more experience you have as a veteran project manager the more difficult you will find the exam. The reason is best answer. Experience or personal best practices tell you one thing, where the PMI approach may be slightly different. This doesn t mean you re not a qualified PM, but it can skew your exam scores. Always answer the PMP Exam questions from PMI s perspective.

Know the inputs, tools and pmp certification techniques

Do not be afraid, the exam is not that hard if you know the material from the PMI perspective!

Bottom line, the exam is not impossible, just detail oriented. You must also forget some of your project management experience and pmp certification know the PMI way. Read the whole question, and pmp certification look at all the answers. When I got done, and pmp certification saw the score, I took a deep breath & reflected that it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

Following are of Adult Learning techniques you may adopt for pmp certification:
1. Active Learning
2. Accelerated Learning
3. Memorization
4. Chunking
5. Motivation
6. Mind Mapping
7. Brain Dump

You can see more on this in my next blog.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Lessons Learned From PMP Certification Exam

There are many methods for you to prepare for the grueling 4 hour PMP Exam. I have listed a few of the most successful here:

1. PMP Exam Prep Classes: These courses are specifically designed to fill your mind with the knowledge required to pass the test. Typically a more expensive route, but very effective at helping you clear the PMP Exam. Most of these courses qualify for contact hours or PDU s, which can be used on your application with PMI.

2. Self-Paced Study efforts: There are numerous books and pmp certification materials out there to assist you in preparing for the PMP Exam. Self-paced study happens on your schedule and progress at your individual pace. Individualized programs enable the majority of people to complete the material more quickly. In addition, it also allows slower learners to set a pace commensurate with their learning speed. In a traditional training program, all participants are usually required to go through the material at the same time and pmp certification pace. Self-paced Learning gives students a chance to speed up or slow down as necessary. Make sure that the product you buy is aligned to PMBOK. is a great place to start. The PMP Success Study Guide is PMBOK aligned, easy to comprehend and pmp certification very exam focused and also includes great exam tips.

3. Practice Exams: Practicing against simulated PMP Exam Questions is one of the best ways to prepare for the actual exam. Completing multiple practice exams gives the learner an opportunity to better understand the exam layout, types of questions and pmp certification pace of the exam. There will be 200 questions over 4 hours equals roughly 1.2 minutes per question. You have to learn to gauge your exam pace.

Many people use a predictor. To do this, make columns on a sheet, one for 90%, one for 50% and pmp certification one for 25%. If you know the answer to a question with little or no doubt, put a mark under 90% column, if you think you know the answer to a question, but there may be an alternate correct answer, put a mark under the 50% column, if you have to guess at the answer, place a mark in the 25% column. At the end of the exam total up the 90% marks say you have 114 * .90 = 104. Similarly for 50% say 60 marks under the 50% column, 60* .50 = 30. Finally total number of marks under 25%, in this example 26 * .25 = 6.5. 104 + 30 + 6.5 = 140 (pass)

As you practice against the sample questions adjust these. If your predictor is consistently high say 180% and pmp certification you are scoring lower change the ratios. For me I find 80%, 50% formula works was the best predictor. You can do these calculations in your head.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

PMP Exam Preparation - Best Practices

The PMBok is difficult to understand and lacks concrete examples. Hence I first start with Rita Mulcahy’s PMP exam prep book and then read Kim Heldman’s project management professional study guide.

Mulcahy’s book is more geared towards the examination but does not cover ITTO (Input, Tools, Techniques, Outputs), this is well-covered in Heldman’s book. These 2 books complement each other and provide much greater understanding than the PMBok guide.

The online forum is the most helpful web site for studying PMP. It contains plenty of exam advices from other PMP exam takers, along with Jim Owens’ study notes which discuss a variety of topics that typically appears on the exam.

For practices questions use the 2 books along with and It is absolutely critical to practice many situational questions & memorize the ITTOs for the exam.

Monday, July 2, 2007

What is Project Management?

Almost any activity that involves carrying out a non-repetitive task can be a project.

But there is a big difference between carrying out a very simple project involving one or two people and one involving a complex mix of people, organisations and tasks.

This has been true for millennia, but large-scale projects like the Pyramids often used rather simple control and resource techniques including brute force to 'motivate' the workforce!

The art of planning for the future has always been a human trait. In essence a project can be captured on paper with a few simple elements: a start date, an end date, the tasks that have to be carried out and when they should be finished, and some idea of the resources (people, machines etc) that will be needed during the course of the project.

When the plan starts to involve different things happening at different times, some of which are dependent on each other, plus resources required at different times and in different quantities and perhaps working at different rates, the paper plan could start to cover a vast area and be unreadable.

This was a problem facing the US Navy in the development of the Polaris missile system. There were so many aspects to the project that a new technique had to be invented to cope with it: the PERT technique. This and later developments led to mathematical techniques that can be used to find the critical path through a series of planned tasks that interconnect during the life of a project.

You could begin the story of modern project management from this time. But that would be unfair as project management is not only about planning but also about human attributes like leadership and motivation.

Nevertheless, the idea that complex plans could be analysed by a computer to allow someone to control a project is the basis of much of the development in technology that now allow projects of any size and complexity not only to be planned but also modelled to answer 'what if?' questions.

The original programs and computers tended to produce answers long after an event had taken place. Now, there are many project planning and scheduling programs that can provide real time information, as well as linking to risk analysis, time recording, costing, estimating and other aspects of project control.

But computer programs are not project management: they are tools for project managers to use. Project management is all that mix of components of control, leadership, teamwork, resource management etc, that goes into a successful project.

Project managers can be found in all industries. Their numbers have grown rapidly as industry and commerce has realised that much of what it does is project work. And as project-based organisations have started to emerge, project management is becoming established as both a professional career path and a way of controlling business.

So opportunities in project management now exist not only in being a project manager, but also as part of the support team in a project or programme office or as a team leader for part of a project. There are also qualifications that can be attained through the professional associations.

One reason for the rapid growth is the need to understand how to look after complex projects, often in high tech areas, which are critical to business success but also have to use scarce resources efficiently.

Most people still want their projects to be on time, meet quality objectives, and not cost more than the budget. These form the classic time, quality, cost triangle.

In fact if you have an unlimited budget and unlimited time, project management becomes rather easy. For most people, however, time and money are critical and that is what makes project management so important today.