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How to Pass PMP Exam

written by: Kevin-F • edited by: Marlene Gundlach • updated: 3/30/2009

Passing the PMP exam is indeed a challenging task and it calls for an organized approach, a well-conceived study plan, comprehensive set of study materials, practice tests and exam simulations.

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    There is no denying that passing the PMP exam is tough and challenging, but not impossible as hundreds of thousands of people have already passed the PMP exam. The success formula obviously lies in a positive attitude, hard work, and a determination to succeed. This is however better achieved by developing an effective project plan based upon the many factors that contribute to success in PMP exams.

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    Practical steps to succeed

    • Chalk out a time-table and spend maximum time for undisturbed study.
    • It will be a great help to collaborate with fellow students who are also preparing for the exam by joining a study group, or even an online forum.
    • The systematic approach would be to prepare a project plan for test preparation in accordance with one’s learning style and learning comfort and then strictly follow the plan.
    • It will be extremely useful to gather study information from various learning resources – online references, soft and hard copy of study materials, experts, fellow aspirants, books, journals, and other various PMP practice question papers.
    • The best sources of obtaining books and printed materials are libraries,, and
    • Attend the Project Management Institute (PMI) chapter meetings and interact with both qualified PMP and other PMP aspirants.
    • Study one chapter per day/night and make it a point to answer the chapter review questions.
    • After completing the book, try the first PMP practice exam and assess your result by calculating the score to see if it has gone beyond the 61% mark.
    • Be prepared to take second PMP Practice exam. This exam is only available for one day - so sign up only if fully confident.
    • Access the exam results on the day of the second exam itself and take the print out of the entire exam with its format fully incorporated.
    • Register for the real PMP exam within a fortnight of taking the second practice exam.
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    Study materials

    It is absolutely necessary to obtain a copy of The Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide as it is the basis for the entire PMP study, although it may have to be supplemented by other resources. The aspirant will need some personal guidance as the PMBOK Guide consists of dry reading material, impersonal language style, and is somewhat incomprehensible at first reading. One can order the PMBOK Guide from It is essential that the aspirant enrolls in PMI and in that case, the candidate will get one copy of PMBOK Guide free of charge.

    Training materials are available in many forms including CD's, audio tapes, books, exam simulation packages with comprehensive questions & answers guide, classroom training, crash course, instructor led e-learning, and not the least, virtual classroom training through online medium.

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    Other useful tips

    As a rule, it should take approximately 200 hours to thoroughly prepare for this exam. However preparation time may vary depending on the natural skills, availability of time, self-discipline, and propensity for hard work as well as learning styles. Though each individual may have different learning styles, there are a number of formulas, rules, procedures which all candidates will have to necessarily memorize.

    Develop a learning method that places less stress and allows greater degree of comfort to work through the study material in a structured fashion. Many candidates have reported that forming a study group with a few other aspirants to be useful. The study group can meet a couple of times per week for joint study. Study group preparations can mean a lot of saving of time and money. But be careful while choosing the study group members because many people enrolling for a study group are not focused and never sit for the exam.