Deciding to be a project manager is a step into a career field with an abundance of job opportunities at your fingertips. Do you have skills in leadership, time management, and interpersonal communication? Then this job may be a perfect fit for your talents. If you decide that you want to become a project manager, you will have to pass a test called the Project Management Professional (or PMP) exam. Like any exam, the PMP exam will require hours of study. Over the years, the exam has gone through many changes, making it more complex than ever. Therefore, it is important that you stay up to date on the latest knowledge that will make or break your chances of passing. Here are a few tips for passing the PMP exam.
Read the Material
Before you begin studying, you must survey the material so that you have a handle on what can be expected. You will find that some of the material will be easy to grasp and some will require further study. Do yourself a favor and invest in a guide book or study materials; the best PMP review courses will provide comprehensive information and mock exams to practice with. Gaining familiarity with the topics covered will allow you to take note of what you will need to focus on.
Create a Study Plan
If it has been a while since you last took an exam, you may find it difficult sit down and study. Therefore, be advised to create a schedule that you can stick to. You might have prior professional obligations, as well as obligations to family, however, it’s important to take some time to study each week. Perhaps you are an early riser, so you can study for an hour or two before your kids get up. Or, you might be a night owl and you can juggle your daytime life with studying well into the night. It will be easier to get studying done once you plan your weekly or daily schedule around your priorities.
Become an Active Learner
Find a way of learning that suites you best. If you learn best by reading, then spend a dedicated amount of time reading. Whatever you do, don’t passively study. Instead, take notes and ask questions to yourself. Try to use different media to learn—the variety will help you better retain information. When in doubt, get an instructor who can help you. Taking classes allows you to better prepare yourself for a few reasons; first of all, you get to interact with an experienced instructor in real time; secondly, you can interact with your peers and create a study group with them; finally, your instructor will hopefully deliver information with many learning techniques that will help you learn.
Take a Practice Test
Before you sit down for the actual exam, it may be wise to take a practice test. On exam day, you are only given four hours to complete the questions, so take a morning, afternoon, or evening to run through the test once and see if you can finish it in time. You can do this several times before the test date and improve your chances, sharpen your mind, and improve your score. Doing this will also reduce stress and anxiety before the exam because you will be more familiar with the process. You will also be able to review your answers to see what your average score is. Are you on course or do you need to spend more time studying? A practice test will let you know for sure.
Double Check Your Answers
There are many common stumbling blocks that people encounter while taking a test. Some people breeze through the questions with over-inflated confidence, while others overthink their answer. Going back and double checking your answers is essential to catch any simple mistakes you might have made. If you have a weakness in mathematics, for example, strengthen your chances by spending extra time on the questions with a relaxed mind. You may, for example, double, triple, or quadruple check your answers on a question in a subject that is not your strong suit. It is essential that you give yourself time to go back and check your answers so that you catch these mistakes.
Once you’ve received your PM or PMP certification, your employment opportunities will likely flourish. Check job listings in your area and determine the advancements available to you.