10 tips for passing PMP exam

1. Read the PMBoK 5th edition three times before taking the exam. In that, use mind mapping to take notes, once. On scope, quality and procurement knowledge areas, there will be some questions straight from inputs / tools and techniques / output; In risk management the order of events (the risk life cycle) is important; In quality management you get many questions on planning and QC tools etc. So reading PMBoK is crucial. If you can get some experiences PMs to explain PMBoK concepts, from beginning to end, with examples and stories, you should grab that opportunity. Technical documents can be boring to read by yourselves.

2. Study in short frequent intervals. As you near the exam date, make a plan on how much and when you are going to read what portions. Just by executing the plan (even if you do not fully complete) your confidence will go up.

3. Don’t spend many hours, late into the night, before the exam. This is not like a school board exam. PMP exam tests your conceptual understanding of project management, based on your experience. You should map your experience onto the terms in PMBoK and develop clarity on the tools and techniques.

4. So take guilt free rest days and be alert during the exam. Give up coffee, tea, smoking and alcohol for a month before the exam (to whatever extent possible) so that your agility of mind improves.

5. Take model tests in between reading PMBoK and other additional material. Review the results the same day and see what went wrong. Taking “n” number of questions / tests before the exam is not the goal. Learning from those test’s results, on where your usual thinking deviates from the best practice prescribed by PMI, and getting into the PMI groove is the key.

6. Though there is little coverage on “Initiating” and “Closing a project” in PMBoK there will be some 30 questions out of 200 from those two process groups. So know all about how to initiate and close a project or phase the perfect way.

7. The duration of PMP exam is four hours. After you are 35 something, writing a four hour exam is more of an endurance test than a knowledge test. The mind becomes numb after an hour into the exam. To replenish oxygen to the brain and refresh yourself, 1. Take a break every hour of the exam; 2. Do some stretching and breathing exercise 3. Eat something protein rich;and go back into the exam hall.

8. Out of 200 questions 25 questions are not taken for scoring. The score needed to pass the exam is 106 out of 175. But you should target to get full score (175 out of 175) and not something above 106. If you feel comfortable with some knowledge areas because of relevant experience, aim to get same level of comfort in the other areas also. After all this is not rocket science. You can talk to peer PMs and vicariously get the experience.

9. If 3 out of 4 answers look correct, read the question again. There may be an “except / not / mostly” at the end of the question. There a lot of such tips which you can get from those who passed the exam or…Go to the next tip.

10. Attend our PMP boot camp to get all the tips in one place + professional training on project management. You may find some question banks and other such help online. But real life mentors can make a huge difference. Also you will meet like minded PMs aligned to the same goal of passing PMP in a boot camp. The discussions with the trainers and peers can be very valuable and the friendships made there can help you well establish in the management career. Moreover it is quite affordable in India. So go ahead and pamper yourself. (-:)

Management Scholars Academy conducts PMP boot camps every month in Chennai to help managers who aspire to get PMP credential. Follow this link for more details – http://msacademy.in/pmp.htm Please tell your friends who want to become PMP about MS Academy boot camp.

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This author published 109 posts in this site.
Ganapathy Subramanian, Founder and CEO of MS Academy has a B.E degree from CEG Anna University. After 20 years in IT industry, he left a senior management position to pursue and lead his dream project - Management Scholars Academy. In his successful IT career, Ganapathy has been VP-HR at Polaris FT Ltd and Director-Projects at CSC India Pvt Ltd. He has designed, developed, and deployed many innovative leadership training programs, PM competency diagnostics frameworks, and performance management systems for project managers. These programs helped the corporates build PM competency and excel in project management practices. Ganapathy has traveled extensively in the US, UK, Japan and Singapore as a consultant for AT&T, Lucent, Citibank, CSC, Unilever and Visa. Ganapathy has been a mentor to many project managers in CSC, Polaris and now to hundreds of PMs through MS Academy. He has coached many PMs to appear and get the PMP certification. The reason MS Academy's PMP training program has become so popular so quickly is that the trainers give personal time and attention during and after the boot camp and guide the PMP aspirants step by step towards their goal. Please visit http://www.msacademy.in/ or contact ganapathy@msacademy.in for further details.


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May 3rd, 2010

Hi Ganapthy,
Here are some of my tips for clearing PMP. Hope you like them.
.-= Ishrath´s last blog ..Parched in Plenty – Tree Silhouette Painting in Oil Media =-.

Hi Ishrath,

Your PMP tips will be useful for my readers. I was more impressed with your painting and the poem. Very touching. Keep visiting the blog and contribute.


May 6th, 2010

Sure Ganapthy. I will be a regular here. Keep updating content often. Good luck.

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October 5th, 2010

Thank you……

Fine article, fine blog, I bear bookmarked your blog, it is worthy liability this. Thank you….

Israel Promisco
October 31st, 2010

Brilliant blog posting. I found your post very interesting, I think you are a brilliant writer. I added your blog to my bookmarks and will return in the future.

December 10th, 2010

Useful tips for PMP aspirants. Certainly spending four hours looking at the screen is the worst thing to do for people who had been away from school for quite some time. Thanks for sharing.

Scott Wheeler
February 9th, 2016

Excellent . I found http://www.mindmapify.com to be very useful for PMP Mindmaps

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