projects ten in three

How to Study for the PMP Exam When You’re Busy

As part of my “Ten in Three,” I’m studying to become PMP (Project Management Professional) Certified. It’s a crazy four hour test that covers the contents of the Project Management Book of Knowledge, and if that doesn’t make it sound fun enough, it’s also a requisite of my current job that I pass the exam during my first year of employment.

My current plan is to study through October and then take the test itself before the end of the year. If I don’t pass, I have until April 2015 to try again. I’m currently through about half of the material.
 

“Study” from Niya on “we heart it” – clearly I need to buy a cute owl mug 🙂

Here’s how I’m tackling it:

1. I’ve signed up for Cornelius Fichtner’s “PMPrepcast.” Cornelius is out of Los Angeles and has been podcasting about project management for years. He does a decent job of keeping the content as interesting as possible. The podcasts provide about 50 hours of instruction and qualify for the required 35 hours of instruction to sign up for the test itself. I like that I can listen to the prepcast in my car as I commute, and I like that I bought the package that also has a set of practice tests.

2. Reading the PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge) Guide*. I’m reading that sucker cover to cover, twice. This first pass I’m timing it to match with the content I’m hearing in the prepcast. To make time for it, I’ve been reading in the lunch room while I eat my lunch.

3. Head First PMP  book*. This is one of the O’Reilly guides, and it is a bit more light hearted and graphically interesting than the PMBOK (which isn’t hard to do). I like that the authors present many of the topics in ways that are very relate-able. At the same time, I find some of it too corny.

I am going to try and take as many practice exams as I can. Most everyone who has taken the exam says it’s hard, and suggests that you take practice exams until you can score about 80-85% reliably. At that point you’ve absorbed most of the material and you’re likely to pass the real test.

So that’s the plan. I’ve been having a really hard time finding the time to study, but it’s really one of those things where I’ve just got to hunker down and get to it.

*The links in #2 and #3 above include an affiliate link out to Amazon. (That’s where I got my copies of both books.) If you click through and purchase with Amazon, I make a tiny bit of money.

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