How to prepare for the PMP exam?

Knowledge | PMP Certification

PMP exam requirements

Step 1: Sign-up for Project Management Institute (PMI) membership online at
Being member has several advantages, including a rebate on the exam fees
PMI Membership fee = USD 129
PMP Exam Fee for members = USD 405 (non members pay USD 555)

Step 2: Earn 35 Contact Hours, either in classroom or online, of Project Management Education.
Tips: After the training, offer yourself a time period of 3 weeks to study, make research using for example Youtube videos on PMP exam subjects, read books, do exercises, practices at least two complete mock exams to assess your readiness, and emphasizes your learning where you have drawbacks. Proceed by knowledge area, then by process group to be sure your cover all the aspects. Do not forget to study the Professional & Social Responsibility. The thing is: MAKE A PLAN, NEVER GIVE UP, TAKE ACTIONS. Your objective is to pass the exam at the first sitting, not to take the exam.

I recommend the following books:

  • All-in-One CAMP/PMP Project Management Certification by Joseph Phillips
  • PMP Exam Prep Questions, Answers & Explanation by Christopher Scordo, PMP, ITIL
  • Q&As for PMBOK Guide Fourth Edition by Frank T. Anbara, PhD, PMP

You can also order a copy of the PMBok 4th edition from PMI.

Audio books exist that you can purchase online and listen when your are tired reading or riding the subway, or maybe waiting in line.

You will be learning the following chapters:

  • Project Management Framework
  • Project Integration Management
  • Project Scope Management
  • Project Time Management
  • Project Cost Management
  • Project Quality Management
  • Project Human Resources Management
  • Project Communication Management
  • Project Risk Management
  • Project Procurement Planning
  • Professional Ethics and Social Responsibility

Step 3: Apply for PMP Certification Exam with PMI
You need to report your project management experience (hours) to PMI as part of your application. Record your project management hours in an excel sheet first. This will come very handy when filling up the online application form. You can use Microsoft Excel to create one on your own or search the web for examples.

  • You need to achieve 35 Contact Hours of Project Management education “before” you apply for PMP Certification with PMI. Therefore, step 2 is a pre-requisite for step 3.
  • PMI reviews your application and if it is determined to be complete, PMI will send you an email to submit the exam fee. PMI typically takes about 1 week for application approval. Your application approval is valid for one-year from the date you receive the approval email.

After you pay for the exam, PMP Exam Fee for members = USD 405 (non members pay USD 555), PMI will send you an email indicating one of the following next steps:

  • Examination scheduling instructions to help you schedule your examination.
  • Application has randomly been selected for PMI’s audit process.
  • If you receive exam scheduling instructions, you can go ahead and schedule your exam with Prometric (Step 4).
  • If your application is selected for an audit, PMI will provide you the follow-up instructions to comply with the audit.

Note: that PMI does not ask for any documentation or other evidence at the time of application. However, if your application is selected for audit, you will be asked to provide copies of your degree/diploma certificates, signatures from your manager(s)/supervisor(s) verifying your project management experience and your Contact Hours certificate(s).

Step 4: Book the Exam with Prometric Testing Center immediately
Choose an exam date that offer you at least 10 days for complementary studies. If you are working, try to book on a day you are off or ensure you can get an off day.

Step 5: Make a final study plan
Study by knowledge area and by process group, one to tree chapter per day depending on the volume, taking at least two complete mock exams. Read the glossary. Keep in your mind but you have to pass the exam. NEVER GIVE UP.

Step 6: Take the Exam
The distribution of exam questions across different project management process groups is:

  • Initiating the project: 13%
  • Planning the project: 24%
  • Executing the project: 30%
  • Monitoring and controlling the project: 25%
  • Closing the project: 8%


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