Two of my peers who have more than 15 years of IT experience in the banking industry and as a project manager for almost five years appeared for the PMP certification exam last week. They said they took a PMP Prep course from a registered PMI education provider and prepared well for the exam. However, still they were not able to pass the exam. Like them, several hundreds of project managers who appear for the exam fail to pass on their first attempt.
As we all know the Project Management Institute (PMI) is the leader and the most widely recognized organization in promoting project management best practices. It was founded in 1969 and started offering the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certifications in 1984. Many jobs require the candidate to have completed the PMP exam.
There are many reasons why candidates fail in the exam. The most common reasons are:
They have a shallow understanding and don’t study deeply: This is one of the most common reasons why candidate fail to pass on their first attempt. Both practical and theoretical knowledge is required for one to pass the exam in the first attempt itself.
Solution: I would suggest the exam takers to read PMBOK Guide latest version from cover to cover at least three times. You will be easily answering several questions if you read the Appendix sections from page 345 to 455. Concentrating more on Appendix section G (interpersonal skills) would help you to answer lot of behavioral oriented questions on the exam.
They fail to read all answers: This is another mistake most of the exam takers do. They look at the given options sequentially and if they think the option 1 or 2 is right, they skip the other options.
Solution: Read questions and given answers carefully. Re-read all questions containing negative words such as “not” “least” or “except”. Likewise check for all qualifying words: “all”, “most”, ‘some’, “none” and keywords such as input, output, tools and project management process. Since the exam is four hours you have enough time to go through all the given four options.
They do not think PMBOK is always right: Let me give a simple example here. Below is a sample exam question for your reference
Phase exits, stage gates or kill points are all terms for:
a. GO/No meeting
b. Project closure criteria
c. Kickoff for next phase
d. Phase end reviews
The right choice is “D”. Even though your organization may use different way of assessing the project phases and different terminologies for processes, the PMBOK says before closing a project or a phase the manager should contact Phase-end reviews.
Solution: When you are taking the exam you need to think PMBOK Guide is always right and in order to pass the exam, we need to use the right Key word phases used in PMBOK Guide regardless of whatever you do today to manager your project.
As some of may know already, PMP candidates are limited to three exam attempts within a year. If they fail three times within one year, they will have to wait one more year before submitting their application form. Hence, focus on the passing the pmp certification exam the first time. Anonymous survey results show that less than 50% exam candidates actually pass the exam on their first attempt and I’m pretty sure you can pass it at the first attempt if you avoid the mistakes highlighted here.
Original Author : Dr. Joseline Edward, PhD
Courtesy : http://www.way2pm.com/