This is really the toughest and daunting question for everyone and anyone to answer, whether some one is an aspirant or a professional.
If you ask yourself, you will never get an answer.
If you ask a professional, he/s may have some recommendations, and may be some sort of checklist.
Like the one, we have today.
But to be honest, there is no answer to know, when are you ready for pmp exam.
You get this answer only, when you press submit button on the real exam day, and after completing the survey, you see it on your screen, Congratulations !!.
Honestly, including myself, and you may heard this from many professionals who have passed the pmp exam, that you are not even sure till the very last end.
Until, you see it on your screen after submitting all your questions or when the 4 hour times up.
As, I explained above, there is hardly any answer to this question but, let’s dive into and analyze some of the suggestions, recommendations and also try to create our own checklist.
PMP Exam Readiness Checklist
1: Project Management:
Do you see similarity in your way of doing Project Management and PMI way of Project Management?.
PMI tests whether you have real world experience in Project Management.
Whether, you are managing and directing projects, according to the PMBOK guidelines.
PMP Exam is to test your knowledge and ability to deliver a project the PMI way.
Regardless of industry:
- No matter who you are.
- Whatever your condition or circumstances you are working in.
- How your organization do projects.
- What kind of clients you deal with.
- Whatever enterprise environmental factors are.
If you find correlation between your way of doing projects and PMI’s way of doing Projects, mentioned in PMBOK, then you are good to go.
If you find dissimilarity, then the only way to pass exam is to tailor your way to PMI’s way. Remember PMI always win.
Let’s divide the book category into two:
- Reputable Study Guide
Latest version of the guide is PMBOK 6th Edition: You can access it here: http://amzn.to/2wCKd1y
As I mention above, PMP Exam tests your real world experience based on PMI’s PMBOK guidelines and not on memorizing the PMBOK itself.
However that said;
There are some terms / terminologies / topics that need to be memorized from PMBOK.
A: Process Groups, Knowledge Areas and ITTO’s (Input’s, Tools & Techniques and Outputs):
a: The 5 process Groups:
Do you know each one of them, I’m sure you know that, but,
- Do you know, what happens in each process group?
- Do you know, the activities, that occur in each one of them?
- Do you know, the outputs that each process group produce?
b: The 10 Knowledge Areas:
I’m sure you have memorized all the ten knowledge areas, and not just memorized, but,
- Do you know, Project Manager role in each knowledge area?
- Do you know, what process group is part of which knowledge area?
- Do you know, the activities and outputs of each knowledge area?
c: ITTO’s (Inputs, Tools & Techniques and Outputs):
There are over 600+ ITTO’s and no need to memorize a single one of them, but, ITTO’s are basically topics in the PMBOK guide.
You should know it’s meaning.
- It’s not important to remember or memorize, whether risk register is an input, output or Tool & Technique.
- It’s also not important to remember or memorize, whether risk register is an input to plan risk management or any other process.
- But, it’s important to know, What is Risk Register and from where we get risk register.
Now, back to the memorization part in PMBOK:
So, what to memorize from the PMBOK guide?.
I have already mention in a comprehensive list, almost all the topics and terms in my PMP Lessons Learned.
Note down everything mentioned, as it’s a must in order to pass pmp exam on your first try.
I’ll cover some of the most important one here:
- PMBOK Glossary: Terms, Topics, Definitions, Acronyms.
B: PMBOK Core, Framework, Structure:
If you visit page no 61 in PMBOK guide 5th Edition, if you look into your PDF reader at the top it will be page 87, like 87/616, you will be introduced to the core or framework or structure on which the whole PMBOK is based upon, regardless of the version no.
The 5 Process Groups and 9 Knowledge Areas are mapped together into 46 Processes (PMBOK5), and this picture depicts the whole structure of PMBOK guide.
- Did you memorize this page? (You must memorize and map this picture in your mind)
- Do you know what’s done in all these 46 processes. (You should know, what’s done in each process)
Reputable Study Guide:
There are alot of Study guides available. I have written a blog post on some of the top recommended books for PMP Certification.
Here, I’ll mention a couple of them.
No matter what ever pmp exam study guide you are reading, you should answer some questions from yourself, mentioned below.
- Rita Mulcahy Book: You can find it from here: https://amzn.to/2HlLBZF
- Head First Book: You can find it from here: https://amzn.to/2KwazYg
- Did you read your study guide well enough?
- Did you read it a few times or just once?
- Did you extract the knowledge thoroughly?
- Did you understood the topics, and now know, how to implement it in your real world?
3: PMP Exam Study Guides, Study Guide Questions vs Other Questions:
The study guides, mentioned above, or any other PMP exam preparation guide, all have questions at the end of each chapter, and it’s a good way to assess your knowledge in that chapter.
But Mostly, I have seen the questions are based on author understanding and his way of preaching and teaching, and so the questions normally resonate with what the author taught you in that specific chapter.
Now, you may be doing good and getting high scores in those questions, but have you ever tried other questions based on similar topic from other resources?.
Best way, is to read a chapter from a reputable study guide, or even PMBOK and then attempt questions based on that chapter from different resources.
If you are scoring above 80%. You are doing good.
4: PMP Exam Mockup Test taking strategy:
You must have taken online tests for other certifications, and you must know your test taking speed.
May be speed wasn’t a requirement in all those tests that you have ever taken, but for PMP exam, you need to come up with a speed strategy.
The speed strategy can only be tested in attempting full 200 mock questions in 4 hour.
- What is your strategy?
- How you manage or utilize your four hours?
- How many questions you attempt in those four hours?
- How many 200 Full mock questions, you have attempted ?
5: Handling Mock up Test Time, Stress , Anxiety and Focus:
We already know that real PMP exam has 4 hours and 200 questions.
Sitting Four hours continuously is both physically and mentally tough.
- How have you manage your time attempting full 4 hour mock tests ?
- It’s almost a minute or so to attempt a question and move on to another, do you think, you manage your time wisely?
- How you manage stress?
- How you manage anxiety?
- Are you comfortable taking 4 hour long test and not loosing focus?
- Are you sure, after an hour or so, you still focus and content and not want the mock tests to finish?
- You don’t need to have a PM Title to appear for the exam.
- You don’t need to be an expert in Project Management.
- You don’t need to memorize 600+ ITTO’s.
- You don’t need to memorize PMBOK.
What do you think, you are ready for PMP Exam?.
I’ll keep on updating this Post, please share your views in comments below.
Make it, don’t Fake it.
(First of all, since you start PMP process, you already adhere to PMI Code of Ethics and it demands to be ethical and professional in all your dealings).
So,the best way to check your PMP exam readiness is to start following PMI and PMBOK guidelines, and never forget to wear PMI hat during the exam.