The Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate is widely regarded as the gold standard for project management training and gaining PMP certification is a common goal for those working in the industry. The benefits of obtaining certification are numerous, which include enhancing your knowledge, employment prospects, and earning potential.
Nevertheless, achieving this objective can be difficult. As an article for the Accounting Institute for Success points out, the exam is aimed at a high difficulty level and requires project managers to answer 200 questions in a 4-hour period. In this post, we take a closer look at some of the most crucial steps for success.
1. Make Sure You Meet the Requirements
The first step towards gaining your PMP certificate is to make sure you meet the requirements. The PMP certification is targeted towards professional project managers who already have extensive experience. Indeed, the PMI has set the following minimum criteria that must be fulfilled before you are eligible to sit for the exam:
Option 1: A secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree, or global equivalent) plus at least 7,500 hours of leading and directing projects, and at least 35 hours of project management education
Option 2: A 4-year degree (bachelor’s degree, or global equivalent), plus at least 4,500 hours of leading and directing projects, and at least 35 hours of project management education
You should be able to carry out your duties as a project manager with a general level of supervision. You can find more information about the entry requirements for the PMP certificate on the PMI website.
2. Complete the Online Application
The next step is to complete the online application process. Before doing so, it may be advantageous to become a PMI member and there are various membership benefits, including a discount of up to 25 percent for those in the UK. You should also make sure you have the exam fee available before applying.
Another important step to carry out before starting the application itself is to secure some references. The people you use for this should be notified in advance and you should make sure they are happy to serve in this role.
Work your way through the online application process on the PMI website. You will need to detail your project management experience, among other things. You will also need to decide on a date for your exam. Generally, it is recommended that you give yourself a minimum of six weeks, but you may need as long as six months.
Remember, it is better to give yourself too much preparation time than not enough time.
3. Acquire the Right Study Materials
With your exam booked, it is vital that you acquire the right study materials, so that you can begin preparing for your exam. For the PMP certificate, the exam is based on the Project Management Book of Knowledge, also known as the PMBOK Guide, so you should make it a top priority to get hold of this and to learn from it.
You may be able to find other project manager training books and materials online, but you should try to stick to materials that make reference to the PMP certification. This will help to ensure that you are learning relevant information and are not taking in any content that contradicts the PMBOK Guide.
4. Set Aside Time to Study for Your Exam
Finally, you need to set aside enough time to study for your exam. Depending on how long you have between booking the exam and sitting for it, you may be able to fit in a preparation course. Even if you cannot do this, you need to commit to around 35 hours’ worth of study time in order to be sufficiently equipped.
During this phase, you should also take the time to practice your exam skills. Generally, the best way to do this is to take online practice exams, so that you can familiarize yourself not only with the types of questions you are likely to encounter but also with what it actually feels like to sit for an exam that lasts several hours.
While it can be difficult to recreate the exact exam conditions you will face—especially in the absence of real pressure—finding somewhere quiet to sit for mock exams, in conditions that are as close as possible to what you will encounter, is a great way to boost your confidence and avoid a situation where you freeze on the day.
Motivating yourself to do your revision work and sit for mock exams can be difficult, especially if you are balancing studying with a full-time job. Nevertheless, creating a study schedule can help. Also, it is worth seeing if anyone else in your workplace is interested in taking the exam so that you can study together.
The Last Word
Ultimately, becoming PMP certified can make you a more attractive candidate for employers and can increase your earning potential. Yet, it is not a simple undertaking and project managers wishing to achieve certification must prepare properly. Following the steps outlined in this article can go a long way towards assisting with this.