how to prepare for pmp examWhenever we start a project or certification or anything new, the first question we ask ourself:

Where should I start from ?

or how to prepare or equip myself for the upcoming task or challenge or whatever we want to accomplish ?.

If you have just started your preparation, then this post will help you on how to prepare for pmp exam, while self study.

These are the best tips I can give to study for pmp certification and those who have passed through this journey may endorse it.

[hr]How To Prepare For PMP Exam[hr]

OK, let’s dive in but First things First.




Seems this article is more on how to study PMBOK or what are the most important topics to read from PMBOK.

Whether you like it or not, you have to read the bible. Yes, I am talking about the PMBOK.


[twocol_one]pmbok 5th edition
[/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last]You can get a copy of PMBOK5 from Amazon here:

or by clicking on the book.[/twocol_one_last]


You definitely need to read the complete book.

Starting from page 1 (It’s debatable, whether to read PMBOK or not and I promise, I will cover this topic in some other blog post. Update: Here’s the article Do we need to read PMBOK )

Some of the topics are very important and even need to be memorize, (although PMP Exam is not about memorization) and so this blog post will focus on those important topics.

This picture is what I would recommend everyone to jump first before reading a single page of PMBOK.

PMBOK5 Page 61

PDF reader may show 87/616, means book page 87 and on the page itself it is page 61

I highly recommend you map this table or matrix in your mind.

  • Memorize 5 Process Groups
  • Memorize 10 Knowledge Areas
  • Memorize all these 46 Processes

Tips on how to memorize this table:

I remember, I took a hard copy of this page and stick it to my wash room door (yea, It’s funny but sometimes you have to do it), a copy on my wardrobe and also my office desk.
So this page was always in front of me all the time and believe me it worked.

Try it, and let me know the results. If you adopt any other techniques, please let everyone know in the comments below.

Once you are done with this page, you will have a holistic view of what PMBOK is all about and how you are going to proceed with the rest of the book.

A : Read PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility:


The second thing, I would recommend everyone to read code of ethics before proceeding with the book.

Previously, PMI Exam has a whole section for this area and you will be judge and score separately but later in 2011, it was changed and code of ethics questions were distributed in all 5 process groups, you can read about scoring and changes in this post : PMP Certification Changes in 2011

When you read the code of ethics, you will know many things that PMI believe are not ethical and professional  (and that you have been doing were wrong) and hence PMI demands that every PMI certification aspirant  must abide it’s code of ethics and in general believe that this profession of project management overall demands that we should be fair, transparent , professional in our dealings.

You can download PMI Code of Ethics free from PMI’s website. Here is the direct link: PMI Code of Ethics PDF Download



You memorize page 61 and read code of ethics and now the stage is set.


Now start reading PMBOK, and put yourself in PMI shoes. Why PMI shoes ?

Goosh, Man, you just read code of ethics and you will find every legal way to get the project deliver within triple and other constraints.

Code of ethics will give you an edge and understanding when you read PMBOK, but you need to know Project Manager’s traits and how to deal in each process.

But you don’t worry PMBOK got you covered.


B : Read Project Manager’s Interpersonal Skills:


Jump to page 513, your reader may show 539/616 and read interpersonal skills of a Project Manager.

It will give you insights on what qualities a Project Manager must have or need to develop. As you start reading and preparing yourself for the exam, you will already know your qualities of being a Project Manager and how you will deal with stakeholder’s, conflicts, procurement , problems and other issues in Projects.


You have already set a strong foundation for yourself  by reading code of ethics, project manager’s skills and memorizing knowledge area and process groups.


Let’s now begin to read PMBOK.


But wait, you might get confuse starting from page 1, so I suggest to read and memorize below topic instead of jumping to read page 1.


C : Glossary: Acronyms and Definitions:


Jump to page 523, your reader may show 549/616 and try to read, understand or memorize all the acronyms and definitions.

It will not only help you in exam but it’s a great way to know all the terms and acronyms that is extensively used in PMBOK, and you have to refer to this page over and over again to get the definitions, so it’s better to know them upfront.


I am sure, after above steps, you are more confident and prepare for exam

As I said above, I am not going to cover every topic but just the important ones, so here we go:


Since, you will be attempting questions, to know your knowledge and identifying gaps, these are some of the areas you may find yourself very weak, so why not brush your knowledge in these areas.


  • Difference between quality assurance and quality control
  • Risk Management
  • Close phase or project / close procurement
  • Procurement (What is done when)
  • Estimating techniques
  • Diagrams
  • Formulas
  • Theories


2: PMP Preparation Study Guides:


I won’t left you hanging and asking what study guide to read beside PMBOK.
OK, there are a lot of guides and I will write about all recommended study guides but I’ll recommend a couple on this post.


[twocol_one]Rita Mulcahy book
[/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last]You can get Rita’s Book latest edition that is 8th Edition by either clicking on the image on the left side or by clicking on this url: [/twocol_one_last]


[twocol_one]A brain friendly guide 2nd edition
[/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last]You can get Head First Book latest edition that is 3th Edition by either clicking on the image on the left side or by clicking on this url: .

Updated: For your information, this book is not yet available and expected date is January 2014, but you can pre-order[/twocol_one_last]


3: Exam Questions:[hr]

There are a ton of free questions available online but I will recommend a couple Free one that I believe are very good.

Head First: Head First labs offer 200 free questions. They have an online quiz format and also if you scroll down to the page, you will find a downloadable pdf file.

Oliver Lehman: Oliver Lehman has an online 75 questions available, and also a pdf with 200 questions on his site. The questions are old based on PMBOK3 but it’s still valid, but they are tough.


Advise: A little advise before your proceed, there is a plethora of information available on PMI and PMP Exam, please don’t jump into every news, blogs, forums, communities, books, cheat sheets and alike.

  • Follow a few blogs
  • Join a couple forums (Of course you can join my forum : PMP Preparation Forum )
  • Join a couple Discussion communities
  • Don’t read every book, a couple are enough.

Don’t be a victim of information overload..

Now it’s your turn
[unordered_list style=”green-dot”]

  • What are your strategies to study PMBOK?
  • How are you preparing for PMP Exam?
  • If you have done PMP, why not share your strategies in the comments below ??


Share This
%d bloggers like this: