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PMP Exam Tip - Always use the PMBOK Guides’s approach when answering PMP Exam sample questions

There is a bit of a disconnect that PMP Exam takers report as they are preparing for the exam. Because you must be an experienced project manager to take the exam,
you bring years of experience in managing projects and using tools &
techniques with you. Often, these are based on company internal project
management best practices and tactics that you found working for you. However,
the PMP Exam
requires that you apply the concepts from the PMBOK Guide to real-life
situations as presented in the exam questions. If the methodology that you are
experienced in using is not aligned with the PMBOK Guide, then you may pick the
wrong answers in your test.

Furthermore, the projects you manage may not have required you to deal in all
the PMBOK Guide's Knowledge Areas. For instance, risk management was something
I did very rarely on my projects and maybe in your career you never had to deal
with procurement. So it is likely that you’ll be more comfortable with some
project management knowledge areas and processes than others. This can lead to
two problems:

First you may feel that because you are an absolute pro in scheduling (after
all you have years of experience here) you can slack off in your studies and
rely on your own project management experience instead. You tend to minimize
studying for the areas you know best. But this can hurt you because the PMBOK’s
approach is the correct approach for the PMP exam.

The second is the tendency to minimize the importance of project management
areas with which you are unfamiliar. Just because I didn't do much risk
management doesn't mean that it isn't important. But we are creatures of habit,
so it's only normal to also think that the "unimportant" areas on our
projects are also "unimportant" on the exam. PMPs are expected to
demonstrate a good understanding of all aspects of project management as
defined in the PMBOK. So pay particular attention to the processes with which
you are not familiar.

So what's the best approach? I always recommend to my students that they study
the PMBOK Guide at least twice before taking the exam and that they immediately
start using the practices learned on their projects. Applying the theory from
the PMBOK Guide on your projects is the best way of learning it and passing the

Until next time,
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP
President, OSP International LLC
The Project Management PrepCast™ -
The Project Management Podcast™ -

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Good point. This is a problem with many "certification" exams. I spent ten years as an urban planner (a specialized project manager) before taking the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) exam. Reviewing the study guides created more confusion than answers, but once I started the exam, I decided that if I just pretended I was in Planning 101 at a planning theory college and answer questions that way, I'd pass...and I did. Some of the questions actually forced selection of answers that would result in legal consequences in many states. Other questions forced answers that were applicable in some regions of the country and not others. The American Planning Association, which manages the exam, ended up dropping a large number of questions from scoring because of those problems. I'll be taking PMP coming right out of a PMBOK-based course, so at least, it'll be fresh for me.

I agree with you.  Imagine the plight  of PMP aspirants who have a background in non-IT careers.

I was one of them and it was very difficult to unlearn all my work experience.

For the PMP exam- I read the other 4 "Easy"   Books first-  and the PMBOK reading was the 5th book in this cycle which I repeated TWICE with simulation exams for an hour every night.  


Practice Practice, Practice- that's the best way to get into the PMBOK groove..  I studied hard for around 6 weeks many times succumbing to crises' of confidence, before getting consistent 90% in all practice tests.  

Did not have money to attend training classes!

Good post.

what about old versions of PMBok and others PMI standards.



And PMBOK only enough.

Sorry the holidays messed up my schedule. Did not see this email.

Depends on your background. I have worked in many countries and yet trying to lose all 20 years of that knowledge was killing!!

Lose all old PMBOKs-

Also- if u tell me a bit abt urself I can give u a recommended road map. I am not a professional trainer - but always willing to help other PMP aspirants as per PMI code. One thing I notice at PMI- is the excellent follow-up on ethics and standards- which is very very encouraging.

Send me a small idea on what you are- becos I did read a whole lot more- and I have guided 19 aspirants for the latest- (I will not say LECTURE- but guided!!) test. When u send ur details, please let me know how many hours u can snatch away from family and also how many hours u r willing to burn the candle at night.

I must have slept maybe 2 hours every night- some nights NOT AT ALL. I do not subscribe to any short cuts and do not recommend any too.

Please remember- I am willing to help anyone on a recommended basis- nothing else.


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