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Does anyone have any pointers on passing the PMP exam?


Jamilia Tyler Glen Burnie, MD

I have reviewed the PMBOK for the PMP test outline but does anyone have any input on what exactly to study or any input on how challenging the test is?

27 May 2019 4 replies Education & Training



Kymberli Morris Livingston, NJ

I cannot echo what has been said above strongly enough. You cannot apply "real life" Project Management to this test, you need to learn their material and provide their answers. There are a number of courses that are very helpful and I advise taking them. Rita Mulcahy's book is the gold standard for a reason - it is simply the best at helping you prepare for this test. I recommend studying that in conjunction with a class specifically geared towards PMP Test Preparation (not a course on Project Management in general).

Good luck!!


Andrea Gnilka Springfield, VA

I did both an 8-week PMP boot camp offered by Deloitte, my employer, in 2016 and also studied from two different prep books for the test. The book I found the most helpful was Rita Mulcahy's prep book. You can find it on Amazon here:

She had the best games and exercises to help you memorize the phases and categories. Her terminology also matched most closely to what was actually on the exam. There is no way to wing this exam. It is four hours, you need to study their methodology, and recognize that your experience as a PM may not match that methodology at all. They teach you what SHOULD be done on every project, but actuality is much different than this. In this way, having less PM experience can be a benefit for the exam because you won't get confused between real life experience and what the PMBOK teaches. Block off about two to three months to study. Shortcuts do not usually end well for this test.

Hope this helps.



Jonathan Tame Fairfax, VA

I'll add on to what Katie said regarding the material not being intuitive. You really have to put yourself in a PMI frame of mind. From their perspective, the PMP (and all of their other certifications) is much more than just a verification that someone passed a test. They really believe strongly in their ethos and a number of the questions are going to test your character and moral compass. The key is they want you to give them the PMI answer.

When I went through my boot camp (can't recommend those enough), this point was repeated over and over and over again. The questions aren't asking you what YOU would do but instead are asking what a PMI-certified PMP would do. You will not pass if you can't understand the difference and put yourself in that mindset before you test. It reminds me of a scene in a John Travolta movie from the 90's, The General's Daughter, where he's a CID investigator that gets told by the Genera's aide to remember that "there are three ways things get done around here: the right way, the wrong way, and the Army way." If you want to pass the PMP, you have to do it the PMI way.


Katie Templin San Jose, CA

I did a 4 day boot camp training course in person. There are also online courses. I found the best way to study was to take practice PMP exams online and then research the questions you got wrong. As someone who was a PM for 13 years before taking the course and exam, it is not intuitive. You MUST know the material and the order in which the material is laid out for managing a project. We have a 35 person department and 15 people have taken the exam in the last year. We all agree a training course is a good investment. Most of us used Project Management Academy.

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