Preparing for the PMP exam takes time, and while I do NOT advocate a fast approach, sometimes there are "legitimate" reasons that require you to sit for the exam within 30 days (or sooner). Perhaps your employer has established this deadline for contractual reasons, perhaps you have found a highly desirable open position you would like to apply to but need the PMP for highest qualification, or perhaps you signed up to take the exam nearly a year ago but then you procrastinated, and now you only have 30 days left before your eligibility runs out.
What follows are key steps, processes, and resources that, along with your dedication, will allow you to prepare for and pass the PMP exam in 30 days (or less). Let me begin with some general thoughts on how to get started:
How to Get a PMP Certification Fast?
So you have decided (or been told) that you will get your PMP done in a very short period.
First, read my article, 10 Steps to Becoming a PMP to establish your eligibility, lay a foundation and start a preliminary plan. A key statement to remember during this process is that attaining the PMP certification shows your commitment to the project management profession and demonstrates credibility allowing for higher salaries as well as raising your resume above non-PMP certification holders. So don't get discouraged during this process.
Now that you have verified your eligibility to sit for the exam Don't Panic! Relax, take a deep breath, and begin to focus…the first important fact is not to become overwhelmed as there is A LOT of information to understand and many types of training opportunities.
As part of your initial planning – start clearing your calendar to allow for sufficient daily study time, and understand this will not be an easy path to success. In addition, to studying A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide), you will also benefit by reading through lessons learned from others who have prepared (and passed) on a "fast track" method.
Here are my key tips and resources to allow you to start on the fast path to get the PMP certification and to attain the coveted PMP certification.
How to Pass the PMP in 30 days?
As I said, while I do not recommend trying to study and pass the PMP in 30 days, sometimes there are legitimate reasons that you may find yourself in this situation. First and foremost, start with my article, Creating Your PMP Study Plan – The Complete Guide. This provides a very clear process to effectively create your customized study plan. Don't stress – this article also provides PMP Study Plan templates to help you get started.
There are many study plans – it’s important you design the one that best fits your learning style and continue to modify it as you take practice tests and establish the areas you need to focus your attention.
One method you could establish as a framework for your study time is to divide your available study window (in this case 30 days) by the percentage for each of the five Domains on the test. This table demonstrates this method:
|Domain||Percentage on Test||Study Time|
|Monitoring and Controlling||25%||7.5 days|
If you total these days up – it equals 29 days – which allows you one optional day that you can spend on review.
Within this 30-day window, you will also need to take practice tests – perhaps at the 15-day, 21 day and 29-day marks or more often. To learn more about the exam content, visit the PMP Examination Content Outline on the PMI website.
How to Pass the PMP in 10 days?
But what if you have been told you have to pass the PMP in a 10-day window – what do you do now?
About the only real approach if you have less than two weeks to prepare and pass the PMP is to attend a PMP Boot Camp. There are two major disadvantages with a boot camp:
- The expense associated with the Boot Camp (usually in the range of $1,500-$2,500), and
- How well you absorb the material (memorization versus true absorption)
The PMP Boot Camps do offer the advantage of time – most boot camps are three to five days long, and the PMP test is available on the last day of the boot camp. However, the boot camps do require significant "self-study" prior to and during attendance, which can be confusing to plan and organize yourself in a short period.
Need Your PMP Fast? Think Again!
If you have the option to study for more than 30 days – take it! Slow down, take your time, and ABSORB. The best way to pass the PMP exam is through methodical study, review, and application.
This additional time will allow you to learn the material in a manner that allows you to understand and implement the standards and theories – instead of just memorization to pass the test. The discovery of information for better understanding allows you to understand how the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs interrelate. Taking a slower approach will allow you the opportunity to effectively absorb the information and learn how to apply the knowledge to any of your projects.
After nearly a decade as a PMP exam trainer, I advocate this slower approach, which allows your brain enough time to absorb and retain the information for easier recall in the future. The key is to allow yourself a lot of hands-on practice and review time to become comfortable with the information.
So, What is the Best Way to Pass the PMP Exam?
What is your learning style? Are you a visual, auditory, or tactile learner? Do you learn best in groups or individually? Knowing your learning style is important to understand how to approach your studies for the PMP exam.
To learn more about your learning style, see question six in my article 7 Questions Every Student SHOULD Ask Their PMP Coach When Preparing for the PMP Exam. This understanding over memorization, slower over rushed methods allows for less anxiety, becoming a better project manager, and learning new techniques with the intent of using them on your projects.
No matter how or when you decide to sit for the PMP, The PM PrepCast will be an immense resource to guide you through your studies. At a minimum read the Lessons Learned Forum with experiences from others who have passed the PMP exam.
Now that you understand the value of allowing yourself time to study, spend an hour and review our free series of 8 videos on YouTube that walks you through the detailed and "time-consuming" step-by-step PMP Exam preparation process: www.pm-prepcast.com/8videos
About the author: Cornelius Fichtner, PMP is a noted PMP expert. He has helped over 35,000 students prepare for the PMP Exam with The Project Management PrepCast at http://www.pm-prepcast.com/pmprepcast and The PMP Exam Simulator at http://www.pm-prepcast.com/simulator.
This article originally appeared on The PM PrepCast and is reprinted by permission of the author.