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
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™ - http://www.project-management-prepcast.com
The Project Management Podcast™ - http://www.project-management-podcast.com
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!
what about old versions of PMBok and others PMI standards.
And PMBOK only enough.