Project management is a highly sought-after skill in a number of areas, including but not limited to governments, NGO's, nonprofits, corporations, financial institutions, and various industrial sectors. While you can have years or decades of experience in project management, becoming a certified project management professional is another thing altogether. More certified PMP's report higher earning power - as much as 20 percent per year - after completing their certification. While very few job descriptions refer to the need for a project hero, modern businesses need people who speak the global language of project completion and can get things done.
Preparing for your PMP certification exam has not changed all that much. There are a variety of resources available to help you build your comprehension of the subject matter, and practice tests that will make you more confident on exam day. Check out online resources and the official PMI site in order to evaluate what you need to do in order to pass. Master your exam anxiety in exactly the same way that you would approach completing a project.
Here are 8 top tips that will help you to pass the PMP certification exam successfully:
Commit Yourself to the Process
You can talk about becoming a PMP for years. However, it is not until you take the first step and work your way through the preparation and examination process that you will actually achieve that goal. Commit yourself to this tedious process at the very beginning so that you can remain focused throughout the process.
Avoid Beginning with the PMBOK Guide
A major mistake that many aspiring PMPs make is to dive directly into the PMBOK guide, hoping to use it as a key to unlocking their certification. It is highly recommended to trust in the Head First PMP guide instead to learn how to master the PMP exam through practical exercises, anecdotes and worksheets.
Explore Other Books and Guides
The road to project management certification involves much more than just one road or one book. Make sure that you take advantage of multiple books and resources that are available. It is important to remain committed to one at a time or approach your studying with a clear and defined strategy. However, do not put all your eggs in one basket by just using one guide.
Identify Your Weaknesses
There are many different facets within the PMP certification exam that you will need to master. Make sure that you take the time to identify your strong points as well as your weaknesses so that you can work on turning those weaknesses into strengths.
Do Not Focus on Memorization
The key is to focus on understanding the material – not memorizing it. There is a vast amount of information covered within the PMP certification course and corresponding examination. Focus on comprehension to ensure that you will do your best.
Take the Practice Exams Seriously
Make sure that you take any PMP practice examination that you take seriously – especially if you have already covered the coursework and workbooks. Doing so will ensure that you are prepared primarily because you are forcing yourself to mentally and physically take the exam seriously. You will also have a chance to review your strengths and weaknesses based on how you perform on the practice exam. Think of practice exams as your simulator. While it might be fun to crash the aircraft or Buzz the buildings, you're really there to learn how to fly a plane.
Avoid Cramming at All Costs
The last thing that you want to do before your PMP certification exam is to cram and study excessively the day (or night) before the exam. Trust in your preparation process and the hard work that you have put into this experience during the weeks and months leading up to the test day. Stay hydrated and make sure that you get plenty of sleep so that you can be in your best form physically and mentally the day of the test. Cramming and the subsequent sleep deprivation doesn't work any better than it did in college or high school, so avoid the temptation.
Confidence, Confidence and More Confidence
Confidence is a valuable commodity as you prepare for your project management certification test. Keep in mind that you have worked very hard to get to this point of the process – enjoy the experience, stay engaged with the test and do your best.
On Time, Complete, and Within Budget
Resources are not infinite, and waste within project leads to missed deadlines, shoddy or incomplete work, and a churn of workers and professionals through the project that can disrupt workflow. Competing for scarce resources, onboarding professional staff, and utilizing them efficiently is a hallmark of the trained project management professional. Add a plum certification to your CV that's more than just window dressing, show your competence and intelligence by obtaining your PMP certification.