Getting ready for the PMP® exam - 2: How to organise your study
You purchased the PMBOK® and one of the suggested PMP® exam textbook (either Rita's or Kim's). You place both in front of you. You stare at the PMBOK® with its 400+ pages and at the other book, that probably is in the range of the 500+. How do you eat an elephant? You know as it goes: one bite at a time.
In order to organise your study you need to correctly understand the structure of the PMBOK® (fifth edition).
The PMBOK® fifth edition is subdivided into chapters (sections disappeared from the fourth edition). Chapters 1 and 2 have been extended in the fifth edition (from about 40 pages to 60) to accomodate more information about projects, Project Management and its role into organizations. The fundamental Knowledge Areas table can be found in chapter 3 at page 61. In our opinion, to organize your study it is useful to consider the first 3 chapters as a single study unit.
Chapters from 4 to 13 describe each a single knowledge area. For example chapter 13, which has been introduced in the PMBOK fifth edition, is dedicated to the Project Stakeholder Management knowledge area. You should treat each of these ten chapters as a single study unit.
To complete the picture, you need to add the project manager professional responsibility and ethics topic. You can find first hand information about this topic by reading the "PMI® Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct" that you can download from the PMI® website.
Resuming, to earn your PMP® you'll need to eat the following 1 + 10 + 1 = 12 elephant bites for PMBOK® fifth edition. In the following table we provide a possible study layout.
|PMP study layout - PMBOK® fifth ed.|
|Unit 1: PMBOK® chapters 1 - 3|
|Unit 2: PMBOK® chapter 4 - PROJECT INTEGRATION MANAGEMENT|
|Unit 3: PMBOK® chapter 5 - PROJECT SCOPE MANAGEMENT|
|Unit 4: PMBOK® chapter 6 - PROJECT TIME MANAGEMENT|
|Unit 5: PMBOK® chapter 7 - PROJECT COST MANAGEMENT|
|Unit 6: PMBOK® chapter 8 - PROJECT QUALITY MANAGEMENT|
|Unit 7: PMBOK® chapter 9 - PROJECT HR MANAGEMENT|
|Unit 8: PMBOK® chapter 10 - PROJECT COMMUNICATIONS MANAGEMENT|
|Unit 9: PMBOK® chapter 11 - PROJECT RISK MANAGEMENT|
|Unit 10: PMBOK® chapter 12 - PROJECT PROCUREMENT MANAGEMENT|
|Unit 11: PMBOK® chapter 13 - PROJECT STAKEHOLDER MANAGEMENT|
|Unit 12: Professional responsibility and ethics|
The following is a possible PMP® study method:
- Read one study unit in the PMBOK.
- Read the corresponding chapter in your PMP® exam textbook of choice (either Rita's or Kim's).
- Try the test at the end of the textbook chapter, and take note of your score. Make a photocopy of the questions and keep the original clean in order to take the test again later.
- Carry out steps 1 to 3 for each study unit. This first pass of the 12 study units may consume about 40% - 45% of the total study effort.
- Start again from the first study unit: now study directly in the PMP® exam textbook (either Rita's or Kim's) and use the PMBOK as a reference.
- Take the test at the end of each textbook chapter again: you should notice a clear improvement in your score. Do not be afraid if you remember some of the answers from the first pass, as this will help you memorize some concepts.
- Carry out steps 5 to 6 for each study unit. This second pass should consume a further 30% of your total study effort.
- Time for PMP mock exams! We suggest our practice PM exam: you will find individual mock exams for each study unit and four separate mock exams covering the full study programme. Take the individual study units mock exams in order to quickly identify your weak and strong spots. Spend additional time studying any unit where you score less than 70%. Use the private forum to contact our experts and get proper advice.
- Take the first of the four mock exams covering the full study programme. You should now score 70% or over on the full programme. Again use the results to identify weak areas in your preparation. Again use the private forum to contact our experts and get proper advice.
- Repeat step 9 until your score is over 75%.
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