PRINCE2 - Studying and Preparing for Practitioner Exam

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Thu 24 Oct 2013 3:26 pm


I thought that sharing my experience with obtaining PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner certification through an e-learning trainer may be helpful for other PRINCE2 students.

Random points, in no particular order, and mainly applicable to Practitioner.
  1. PRINCE2 is very dry and I found it tough to motivate myself to study. However, after many, many hours of misty comprehension, the material came together logically and thus became less dry and more interesting.
  2. It is a LOT of work. Not impossible to handle, but be prepared to spend days/weeks on it.
  3. I have seen criticisms of e-learning as not being rigorous enough and turning out people with a sub-standard appreciation and comprehension of PRINCE2. This is not valid. It is true that the e-learning material may be poor, but at the end of the day all candidates write exams to the same standard. If the tutorial matter is poor, then the student must have compensated in order to pass.
  4. Study Foundation FROM the official PRINCE2 Guide (alongside what other material your trainer has provided) if you plan to progress to Practitioner.
  5. The Practitioner exam is open-book. You will not pass by just depending on your luck to look up the answers during the exam. You need to thoroughly understand all PRINCE2 Themes and Processes, and how they interrelate.
  6. I have seen advice to refrain from referring to the Guide more than a few times in the Practitioner exam. Not withstanding point 5, this is poor advice! I used the Guide extensively during the exam to check on my facts ... but this was only practical because I had prepared well (i.e. I knew PRINCE2 well) and I knew where in the guide to find the relevant material related to the question.
  7. Time for Practitioner is very tight, be sure to apply good time management when progressing through the Practitioner questions.
  8. I did not consider Foundation to be a difficult exam. Practitioner was hard, and you need to prepare accordingly.
  9. Make sure that you understand the format of the different types of Practitioner questions. There is a significant amount of skill needed for this alone!!!
  10. I found that the e-learning material was somewhat inadequate to prepare me for Practitioner. For me what worked was going repeatedly through the three mock exams I had. This acclimatised me to the question format, and helped me understand what level of competence Practitioner is aiming to test.
  11. If you have stayed the course with my longish essay, my last tip is my best tip: Appendix A is your best friend during the Practitioner Exam.

I hope that this may help someone out there, especially if they are doing PRINCE2 through e-learning which can be quite lonely.
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Thu 24 Oct 2013 10:18 pm

Hi kcako,

Excellent and thorough post. I also found the PRINCE2 subject matter rather dry to start with and I agree, once you have persevered for a while it starts to make sense.

Thanks for posting.

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Fri 25 Oct 2013 4:50 am

Nice to know about your study experience. Study at this stage is more like a tougher task than any other thing as you have many other interest along with the study (quite different from your school) but it feels good when it comes to know that you are still motivated to study. Good to red your post fellow. Keep it up.
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Fri 25 Oct 2013 1:37 pm

Thanks for posting.

I think Foundation on e-learning would be easy to pass, but Practitioner would be best suited to a classroom enviroment. When I attained the Prince2 Practitioner cert, I was in a classroom and I found we all 'bounced' ideas around and thus I learned aspects which I would not of done on my own.
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Sun 15 Jun 2014 11:20 pm

The strange thing for me is I found foundation harder than practitioner. Maybe this was due to P2 been new in the first exam but more understood during the second.

I found the F exam had a number of question that in my opinion tried to trip me up with similar phrasing in parts, the P paper was obviously focused on a given situation and I found I could apply this much easier.

My opinion of P2 is that it's a great tool that allows a PM the facility to map out a set of guidelines that follow a given pattern that cover all bases, but in reality most PMs won't use the set method. I like P2 don't get me wrong, and if you learn the terms you sound very professional in front of a prospective client, but for me these terms are also it's downfall as they can confuse and complicate if not documented correctly.

I used online training for both and found you tube exam help really worked for me, David Litten offers some great advice in the make up of the question structures that saved me valuable time in the exam.
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Sat 05 Jul 2014 9:15 am

I found the foundation very easy as well. When I took my exam, I realised most of the questions were repeated question from past exam papers. I also initially found it difficult to motivate myself as I self studied for it. I think the best way to prep for the the prince2 exam is to have a crash session and get it done. The longer you wait the less you become motivated.

I am trying to get my self to prep and take the practitioner. Do you know where I can download exam papers for both Foundation and Practitioner?

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Sun 08 Feb 2015 1:06 pm

I passed my PRINCE2 practitioner exam yesterday and this was my experience:

I prepared for the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam on my own. I had taken a three day course in my office for the Foundation plus the exam in early December 2014. My strategy for the exam was:
  1. On December 29th 2014 I ordered "Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2" manual online in Amazon.
  2. Sign up for MPlaza PRINCE2 Practitioner Self-Study plus the exam. The total cost is 395€. I wouldn’t say the material they offer is amazing, but it is good help. You can definitely find some of their material posted on other sites for free and only buy the exam on their site and still pass it. I think their prices to buy just the exam online are the cheapest on the internet.
  3. I read "An Introduction to PRINCE2" by Frank Turley at MPlaza PRINCE2 Practitioner Self-Study site. It was a good reminder of what I had seen during the PRINCE2 Foundation course.
  4. I read "The PRINCE2 Training" at Manual MPlaza PRINCE2 Practitioner Self-Study site. It is a simplified version of the "Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2".
  5. I read for the first time "Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2". This is the only help you will have during the exam, so feel free to write, underline and put references between the pages. What I did was in the header put the number of the page where I could find information related to it (for example, in the products described in Appendix A, I would write next to their entry the pages where I could find additional info in the manual).
  6. I tabbed the Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 with the tabs found at ... -black.pdf after printing them in sticker paper.
  7. I read about the different questions at Passing the PRINCE2 practitioner exam ebook ( ... -ebook.php)
  8. I did three practice exams, the two official ones and one of the two offered by MPlaza. If you don’t want to pay for the two official ones, you can find them at: ... Papers.pdf
  9. In that link there is also two re-registration exams, with additional two questions that are not in the full exam.
  10. The two practice exams from the MPlaza are a bit rubbish, but I still took one of them.
  11. In the three practice exams I scored between 64 and 66. So I felt confident about taking the exam the weekend after.
  12. I went online and with the voucher I got from Mplaza I booked my exam at Peoplecert. I had already taken the ITIL Foundation exam at Peoplecert and I believe they have an amazing service. You can book an exam until four hours before you take it! I gave myself six days between the booking and the exam. During this time, I reread "Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2" and I felt ready for the exam.
  13. After taking the exam, it is clear that the some of the most important parts of the book are the Appendix A and the Appendix C. In my exam there were a lot of question on Project Assurance.
  14. On the day of the exam, I did it at home, with a clear table, with my passport, blank papers, a laptop, the "Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2" manual, lots of pens and pencils and a glass of water. After the proctor examined my room, my passport, my blank papers and my official manual through the webcam, the exam started. The book can have tabs and written notes, but you can’t have information on additional printed pages.
  15. The PRINCE2 exam is supposed to be 2:30h, but maybe because I am Spanish, I was given more time?
  16. At the beginning of the exam you can print the Project Scenario and the Additional information. The exam practices I had done were all through the computer without a printed copy so I was OK with continuing on the computer (besides I didn’t have a printer at home). The only problem I found was that if you were in the middle of a question, such as the ones where you have to analyze the content of a plan or a product description or a business case, and you have to spot the errors, it may be very useful to have it printed! If you don’t have it printed, there are two places to go for additional information and the project scenario. If you click in the link on the upper right corner, a popup window appears. If you click on the link at the center bottom, the project scenario and additional information rolls out. None of the options allow you to see the information and the question answers at the same time.
  17. After clicking finish exam, you get the results within few seconds. The proctor has been on mute for a couple of hours, and in my case, after scoring 66/80, he congratulated me. He told me I could take a photo with my cellphone. I went for it, turned it on, took a pic, finished the exam and went out to celebrate!
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Tue 10 Feb 2015 9:58 pm

Congratulations on passing your P2 Practitioner exam. Always a nice feeling getting through something like this.

Am in the same situation you were and presently preparing for my P2 Practitioner.

Passed the Foundation with 100% self study. Bought the book "Prince2 Study Guide" by David Hinde and found it a very useful tool for preparing for this exam. Read it from cover to cover and re-read the sections recommended for the Foundation. Book contains a number of practice questions, two past papers and real world scenarios. Also did some of the free practice exams and past papers available online.

As someone mentioned earlier here, I actually found the Foundation questions a little more challenging than any of the past papers that I'd been through. In fact someone I know who is a full time PM said he found the foundation slightly more challenging than the Practitioner! Guess one is purely memory retention where the other is application of knowledge.

As far as Practitioner goes, thanks for putting those links on for extra study material. Going to get my head down for a month then have a 3 day Practitioner Course at Q and A booked inc exam. Managed to get my employer to fund this too :)
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Sat 14 Feb 2015 7:40 pm

stonesfan wrote:
Passed the Foundation with 100% self study. Bought the book "Prince2 Study Guide" by David Hinde and found it a very useful tool for preparing for this exam. Read it from cover to cover and re-read the sections recommended for the Foundation. Book contains a number of practice questions, two past papers and real world scenarios. Also did some of the free practice exams and past papers available online.
Hi There

I am thinking of sitting the PRINCE2 Foundation paper. May I ask you where/how you sat the exam? The classroom courses are too expensive so I was hoping to do self-study too but there seems to be many exam providers and I am not sure the best one to go with. Please would you be able to advise? Many thanks and good luck with the Practitioners .
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Thu 19 Feb 2015 7:59 pm

I sat my exam at 360 GSP in Wembley. I believe the test provider for this was EXIN. Exam was around £150 if I remember right. I believe if you are self motivated you can get through the foundation with self study and no structured course. Going on what others have said self study for Practitioner is possible although you will really need to push hard and and go through as many past papers and sample questions to get an idea of what you are going to encounter for the exam. Maybe an idea to do an E Learning type course for Practitioner if money is tight. It can only enhance your chances of passing that exam!

Good luck.