How Can I Know Precisely What I Need To Study To Pass The PMP Exam?

I recently received an email that made me sad. A subscriber had taken the PMP exam and was a few points below the acceptable mark. He took his results and revisited the sections that he had scored low on the exam, but he was still wary of plunking down the money to take it again 200-301. “There are going to be new questions this time, what if I score low in a different area? I just don’t know what to study!”

I was sad, because he could have been ready to pass the test the first time. You know, we all have those same concerns, how can you know what is really important, and what material you are specifically weak in? Well, you can know before you sit down to the test. Here is how, before you sit for the exam, realize that each person has a different background and has prepared in different ways to take the exam.

The sections of the exam that are “hard” for one person could be “a snap” for someone else. Having said that, the knowledge base for the exam is contained in “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: (Pmbok Guide) (Paperback) version 4”. However, the PMI is more concerned that you, as a project manager can apply the principles in the book, not just regurgitate them for an exam. The application of the principles are easier to understand as they are taught from an exam prep book like “PMP Exam Prep, Sixth Edition: Rita’s Course in a Book for Passing the PMP Exam” or Andy Crowe’s “The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try”.. The key, though, is knowing what you need help with.

I will show you how to get that insight in an easy way. First, realize that you really want to know what to study and where to focus your precious study hours. I will show you exactly how to know where to start. You need to start with a practice exam. You can find some free practice exams around the net. I keep a list of them on my website. Answer all of the practice questions, now score the test and get the results. Which areas did you miss questions in? That is exactly where you need to do your study! Take out the PMBOK guide and your PMP Exam Prep text, and go through those sections again. Now take the practice exam once more. Did you score better? Did you miss questions in other areas? If so, then go study those areas now. You will get to a point where you are going to get all of the practice questions right. Now you have a decision to make. Are you going to go a little deeper and really find out where your PMP exam weakness is?

I mention this experience because I think that it applies, you can know your weaknesses before taking the PMP exam by taking practice exams on a PMP exam software simulator. Purchase some good simulation software and take the first practice test. Do the same thing that you did with the practice exam. Take the test, then score the exam. Which areas did you miss questions in? Look at the detailed answers and the justifications for why the particular answer for that question is right. Now go to your companion texts and re-read the weak chapters. You are going to reinforce exactly the areas that you personally need help with. Now go back and take the second sample PMP test. Did you miss questions in different areas? With the help of the detailed answers, did you understand why you missed the questions? Now go re-read the sections in the texts. Do you see a pattern developing? You should be hitting the 90-95% of the exam questions correctly by about test 5.

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