2017 has just rolled in. If you are a project manager eyeing for that promotion, raise or even that dream project to get into - chances are that you've made a resolution to get your PMP this year. You might have even started your PMP exam prep.

You would do well to hit this goal this year because PMI may bring in the newer version of PMBOK (6th version) early next year. As with every time, the 'newer' exam will have its own nuances and it would take several months before the students get used to the new exam.

'Weirdness' of PMP exam

Unlike other certifications you might have taken in your career, PMP has a bit of weirdness to it.

For one, even PMI does not disclose exactly how they grade the exam. Although industry experts like Cornelius have figured how this is done, there is no official word. In Cornelius' own words (from one of his facebook posts) -

“Passing the PMP Exam is no longer determined by the percentage of questions you answer correctly. It is calculated using a sound psychometric analysis. In essence, this means that the harder questions are worth more than the easier questions.

So you get a higher score if you answer more of the harder questions correctly and a lower score if you answer more of the easier questions correctly. The minimum score needed to pass is determined by the overall difficulty of your individual exam.”

This means that the more you hone your skills of answering questions quickly and correctly, higher are your chances of passing the exam.

Or consider this scenario.

For test questions, most of the times, PMI adds an option of two that is partially correct. This means that based on the level of preparation of a candidate one of the partially correct options may look like the right answer.

Then there are 'What is the BEST thing to do next' type of questions.

Then there are ITTOs

PMBOK has 47 processes, each of them have few Inputs, Tools & Techniques and Outputs. Assume 6 ITTOs per process on an average. And you can do the math to see how many ITTOs are there for 47 processes put together.

Has the thought of the need to remember and recall all ITTOs crossed your mind? Did you feel a bit depressed at the enormity of this exercise?

If so, you are not alone. Many PMP students worry about this.

Well, the good news is that there is no need to remember ITTOs at all.

But then how do you answer those ITTO based questions on the exam, right?

All you've got to do follow this simple 2 step process (as I've detailed in one of the posts) -

  1. Spend 10mins every day for a week and write down the table 3-2 of PMBOK-5 in a spreadsheet.
  2. Spend time on the Data Flow Diagram after each process to understand how the input of a process turns into an output and how that output becomes input for another process.

If you did this exercise, you'll never have to bother about ITTO based questions.

Why does this approach work?

This exercise helps you understand,

  • how these processes inter-connect, and
  • how each process feeds into the next one in a logical manner through the inputs and inputs

Also, if you have gone through PMBOK at least once you probably understand that it is not one of the easiest books to read. But there are few tips like the one above, or this one, that help you get most out of PMBOK in least amount of time.

Your PMP Coach

Would you feel that there's got to be someone, like a coach, that could help you avoid pitfalls of PMP journey and make it actually easy and enjoyable?

Someone to help you prepare a step-by-step plan, help create a study schedule suitable for you, and guide with required resources to make you PMP exam prep easy.

One approach is to hire a coach.

As you can imagine, this could be an expensive proposition. Because a good coach would charge in excess of a $100 per hour of coaching.

Is there an alternative?

What if you had a website that could act like a coach taking PMP student by hand through the steps to getting PMP certificate?

One such blog is PMExamSmartNotes.com. The blog itself is engineered to act as a PMP coach.

This blog has several useful and free resources for a PMP certification candidate. Besides the free resources and several blog posts, the blog include also tips and tricks of recent PMP exam takers. Therefore, it will be good to get an insight from a recent PMP exam taker from this blog.

In Summary

PMP exam prep can be a difficult journey or the one that is enjoyed thoroughly. All that you need is a simple plan, daily study schedule, good set of study resources (books, video courses, simulators, so on), planned milestones, and a 'study coach'.

Good luck!

Author: Shiv Shenoy

Shiv Shenoy is founder of pmexamsmartnotes.com and works as PMP coach for PMP certification aspirants.

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