Project Management

How to Prepare for PMP exam?

Thank you for the overwhelming response on “A Beginner’s Guide for PMP® Certification by a PMP®” . I hope it will continue giving sparks to more PMP aspirants.

Lets talk about the preparation part now. When it comes to preparation, then there is no one approach suits all scenario. Everyone has their own learning style, pace and bandwidth for exam preparation. So the first question that comes in the mind is:

1. How Long should one take to prepare for PMP exam?

PMP® Exam strategy generally depends on the following 4 factors:

1. Project Management Experience

2. Understanding of the PMBOK® methodology

3. Learning pace

4. Time we can dedicate for study (*Most Important)

To make things easier, here is an Excel based PMP Exam Preparation Time Calculator.

This calculator can help you estimate the approximate exam preparation time in weeks and months. You can download it and provide the selections in green cells from the drop down. This is one of its kind of tool and is available only on

PMP Exam Preparation Time Calculator

 2. Which books should I refer for PMP® exam preparation?

In short, it is recommended that you should stick to only 1 book only. Here are the  top 5 and most popular choices. All of them are good but you can pick the one which suits your learning style. My personal favorite is off course Rita Mulcahy :). I would not recommend PMBOK® as it is much time-consuming. If you have more questions, feel free to Contact me.


3. Final PMP® Exam Preparation Strategy

Here is 6 Step Learning Strategy Plan for PMP® preparation I have devised and used. Again, it is not a mandatory plan with stages but it can give you overall idea about the learning stages every PMP® aspirants goes through. The 6 steps are:

  1. Pre-Learning
  2. Formal Learning (generally a 4 days workshop)
  3. Detailed Study
  4. MOCK test First PASS
  5. MOCK test Second PASS
  6. Before Exam



6 Step Learning Strategy Plan for PMP® by

My Final advice is to make sure you prepare notes for the topics in which you need improvement and do not over practice with mock tests (specially 2 days before exam). Generally 6-10 mock tests are enough for understanding the exam pattern and complexity.

4. PMP Exam Structure

PMP Exam is of 4 hour duration which tests your knowledge on 5 domain areas (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling and Closing). It contains 200 MCQ’s (multiple choice questions). 25 questions are pilot questions which are not calculated for the final passing criteria.  There is no way to identify the pilot questions, so you should treat each question equally and should focus on all the 200 questions. There is no negative marking.

Remember:-  You should prepare for all the domains and knowledge area as passing each domain is very critical for overall passing the PMP certification.




There are generally 6 types of questions you face in PMP exam:

  • Scenario based
  • Situational
  • Using attached illustrations such as Network Diagram
  • Formulas and Computing
  • Negative descriptors such as Except
  • Two likely Answers

5. Tips & Tricks

Below are my top 5 tips and tricks for PMP exam preparation:

  1. Do not delay the final preparation once you have taken the 4 days workshop. If delayed, you lose focus, money invested and most important your ambition.
  2. Manage your time:– PMP question scenarios require a lot of time to practice, so you should plan your study accordingly. Feel free to use the PMP Exam Preparation Time Calculator
  3. Understand the Flow: If the question gives you a problem that has occurred and asks what should PM has done to correct or what was done wrong look for the option that belongs to planning process because there only you would have prevented it.
  4. Understand the Logic: If the question presents a situation where a risk has only been identified but not occurred yet you will qualify the risk else if it has already occurred you will do a workaround
  5. Understand the flow: Try to relate things like deliverable comes out of executions goes to control quality becomes a verified deliverable goes to validate scope process becomes an accepted deliverable and goes to closing process as input.

Feel free to share, Like, comment on this post! 

If you have any questions please raise your query at the following and I will try my best to respond. HAVE A QUERY??

Disclaimer:- PMI®, PMBOK®, PMP® and PMI-ACP® are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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Categories: Project Management

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17 replies »

  1. Pingback: A Beginner’s Guide for PMP® Certification by a PMP® –
  2. Brilliant work Jayant for drafting this for aspirants..timing and a helping hand in you couldn’t have been better with the start of year..:)

  3. Hi, Jayant, I love your life philosophy. Please, I want to take the CAPM exam. As there are barely any materials for BOOK 6 do you think using portions of the old materials BOOK 5 say Rita will help? OR, do you have any recommended book for preparing for CAPM PMBOK 6? Thank you in advance.

    • Thank you for your feedback. CAPM exam will be changing by 21 May 2018. So, you have good amount of time to crack it basis PMBOK5 or Rita’s 8th edition. As highlighted in the above post, use the book which best suits your learning style. You are the best judge for the same. If you plan to do it after 21 May (which I would not recommend), Rita’s 9th Edition is the best available resource basis PMBOK6.

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