1. Don’t Use Too Many Exam Prep Books

What usually happens is that students preparing for the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Project Management Profession (PMP)® exam try to go through too many PMP exam prep books or online courses thinking that they will be able to absorb everything that they watch and read. That is far from the truth. Too many books will, in fact, confuse you. Usually, one good exam prep book and one course is enough to complement the PMBOK® Guide. Studying the PMBOK Guide is, of course, a must for any PMP student and no exam prep book is a substitute for it. And don’t forget to study the PMBOK Guide Glossary. As boring as that may seem, you’ll really get to know and understand the terminology you need for the exam. So instead of muddling your brains with too many prep books, choose the one you like best to complement your PMBOK studies to ensure a successful exam.

2. Hit Up Forums

There are topics on the exam that are not mentioned in the PMBOK Guide but still make regular appearances on the exam. Many popular exam prep books cover these topics. But PMI adds new topics on an on-going basis so it’s difficult to know what lies ahead on your own exam. To be able to overcome this, it is wise to learn from others. Try to read PMP online forums where exam passers are more than willing to share their experiences in taking the exam. Read their “lessons learned” to hear what topics may appear. This can be an essential part of your preparation, but don’t get carried away. Spending a few minutes daily, reviewing and commenting on posts is usually sufficient.

3. Read, Read, Read and Practice, Practice, Practice

Don’t take the PMP exam immediately after your PMP exam prep class. Similarly, don’t wait for months either. The right moment is usually between two and five weeks after you finish your class. A good PMP exam preparation course provider will tell you to do more reading and practice exam questions. They should also direct you to training products specifically designed for the purpose. Additionally, you might consider online or software-based training products.

4. Prepare for Formulas

There are still a few formulas to be learned (mainly in the cost management area). Some students report that they saw no formula questions at all on their exams and others say that they were really, really glad they had studied the formulas so in-depth. You should therefore learn the formulas and their applications and then, before the actual exam starts, write them down on the scratch pad that will be provided in the exam room. This is called a brain dump. You want to do this before beginning the exam so you won’t have to dredge them from memory in the midst of an anxiety attack.

5. Stay Light on Your Feet

Don’t hesitate to go back and change the answer to a previous question. You will encounter the situation where answering one question provides you with further insight into a previous question.

This article originally appeared on The PM PrepCast and is reprinted by permission of the author.

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