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How to Study for the PMP® Exam

Instructor: Lindsey Mitchell

Lindsey has achieved a bachelor's degree in Global Policy and Communication, with minors in biology and French. She currently teaches English in France.

This article discusses how to study for the PMP examination, including information about the exam itself as well as a few resources that are available to future test-takers as they study.

Preparing for the PMP Examination

In order to be prepared for the Project Management Professional (PMP) credentialing examination, there are a number of steps that individuals can take to ensure targeted study.

Understand What's on the Exam

No matter how much work experience an individual has, it is still important that future test-takers familiarize themselves with the PMP exam's content so that they can make sure they are prepared for all of the questions that may appear on the test. The Project Management Institute (PMI), the organization that facilitates and administers the PMP credential and examination, provides detailed information about the exam on its website.

PMP Test Content

The PMP exam consists of a total of 200 multiple-choice question and covers five major content areas, or domains. A certain percentage of the total questions are taken from each domain area, as shown in the table below.

DomainPercentage
Initiation13%
Monitoring and Controlling25%
Planning24%
Executing31%
Closing7%

For each domain area, test-takers are expected to be familiar with and able to execute a number of different skills related to that domain. For example, in the planning domain, test-takers are expected to be familiar with topics like human resources planning, risk management planning, and procurement planning, among other topics. PMI provides information about each domain in its online examination content outline. Individuals may have mastered some of these skills through their work experience, while others they may have to learn more about through their exam preparation.

Develop a Study Plan

Once familiar with the exam content, test-takers may also want to spend some time making a study plan that fits their individual timeframe and study style. PMI reports that successful examinees spend around 35 hours studying for their exam. It's important for PMP candidates to develop a schedule that will allow them to fit in these hours without cramming them in days before their testing appointment.

Prep Resources

PMI also recommends using multiple study resources to prepare, including PMP sample questions. Beyond using the resources provided by PMI, test-takers may be interested in checking out other professional test preparation services. Study.com has created a Project Management Study Guide that may be of interest to individuals studying for the PMP exam.

This resource is organized into five chapters that align with the five domain areas that appear on the exam. Because there is a significant amount of material to cover, each of the five chapters is broken down into smaller lessons that are delivered via video. For example, within the project planning chapter, students can take lessons that cover topics like managing the cost of a project and risk planning for a project. After each lesson, students have the opportunity to take a quiz over the material covered in the lesson to help them further understand the concepts. At the end of each of the five chapters, there are chapter tests that students can take before finally taking the end-of-course comprehensive examination.

Individuals who would like to learn more details about obtaining their PMP certification outside of taking the examination may be interested in Study.com's lesson on the PMP Certification Process.

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