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 PMP® Test Preparation Resources

Someone once said, "If you do business without advertising, it's like winking at someone in the dark." Similiarly, you could be the best, most knowledgable project manager in the world, but without a certification to prove it, many opportunities can pass you by. Also, it has been estimated that PMP® certified project managers are paid more for doing the same job as non certified PMs.

The most widely recognized certification for project managers is the PMP® certification from the Project Management Institue/PMI®. Many PM opportunities either require this certification, or list it as 'highly desired'. The good news is that basically all you have to do is document that your project management experience meets their minimum requirements, and then pass the PMP® Exam.

The best place to get started is to contact the Project Management Institute at www.pmi.org.

Once you get the application filled out, you need to start studying. Most PM's say passing the test is tough, and the better prepared you are, the better you'll do on the test. I'd like to recommend the following test preparation methods as a 'best pratice' to successfully passing the PMP® Exam:

Audio Podcast:

www.project-management-prepcast.com - A great podcast that you can download to your iPod or iPhone and watch (or listen to) anywhere you go. The narrator makes the rather dry subject matter more interesting with some good stories, test taking tips, etc.

For more details:
PM PrepCast Website

Classroom Training:

www.ce.ucf.edu - Or another test prep service. I was located in central Florida when I was prepping for the test, so University of Central Florida was a logical choice. To me, the university had a very professional presentation style and was very well organized.

In my experience, I'd say there are three types of PMP® Prep classroom training. Let's call them: Bootcamp, Standard and Collegiate. Bootcamps can last just a few days, and Standard classes typically meet once or twice a week over a 5 to 10 week period or longer. You can also take semester long project management classes at many colleges and universities, and some of them include PMP® exam prep as part of the class material.

Books and study material:

The first thing you'll need is the PMBOK®, the official 'body of knowledge' for the PMI®. Versions change every few years, so make sure you get the current one. Also, there are numerous test prep books, and I think it comes down to your learning style and personal preferences. Make sure you spend some time at the bookstore, or better yet, do a search online and look for something that fits your style.

On a Budget?:

In this economy, who isn't!? Many people are studying for the PMP® to help them get a job, and if you're out of work, every penny counts.

Classroom training can run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars. Even the books can get expensive, $150 or so seems to be a common amount. Thank you to Jim Shryock, PMP® for this great idea -- check out Project Management Prep books from the library for free! Just make sure they're based on the current version of the PMBOK®.

Also keep in mind that becoming a member of the PMI/Project Management Institute® entitles you to free materials, including the PMBOK® (at time of this publishing). David Freudenstein, PMP® has a great resource on how to navigate the PMI® website, what resources are available, etc at: http://www.technosurfer.net/2009/05/pmp-project-management-ebooks-included.html

The 'Brain Dump' Sheet:

I have talked to several people that like the commercially available flash cards. I personally didn't find them that useful. However, just about every successful PMP® test taker I talked to had a one or two page 'brain dump' sheet they'd re-create on a blank piece of paper in the first few minutes of the exam. There are lots of formulas and lists to memorize, and writing them all down up front allows you to focus on taking the exam, not remembering details. Here's what mine looked like:


Brain Dump Sheet Example


More Resources:

- Visit the official OMS blog site!:
http://www.omsconsultingpartners.blogspot.com

- Thanks to Oliver Lehmann, PMP® for providing us with some free prep questions, links etc.
http://www.oliverlehmann.com/pmp-self-test/75-free-questions.htm

- And thanks to Khurrum Ghori, PMP® for some more free prep questions as well
http://www.pmgoodies.com