Taking the PMP exam can be stressful. That’s why we have created to sample checklist for you to review as you get ready for your exam.  It is a chronological approach that helps describe what should you be thinking about when.  This will help you to organize your “Passing the PMP Exam” project more smoothly.

Our PMP Exam Checklist

  1. How to Study for the PMP Exam
  2. The Night Before the Exam
  3. Day of the PMP Exam
  4. Before the Beginning of the Exam
  5. During the PMP Exam
  6. Some Key PMI-isms

How to Study for the PMP Exam

  • Review the PMI-isms in the PMP® Exam Prep book, and understand how they apply to the best project management practices.
  • Study the suggestions for taking the exam in the PMP® Exam Prep book.
  • Review the material three times (follow the rule of three).
  • Develop good study habits.
  • Form a study group of people taking the test at about the same time as you are.
  • Set a date for taking the exam with the testing provider, basing the date on a realistic schedule.
  • Set time each day to spend studying; you cannot retain information crammed into a single-day, eight-hour session.
  • Study in more depth the areas you feel uncomfortable with but be careful not to over-study; you should not need more than 40 hours of study time after taking RMC’s PMP Exam Prep class.
  • Use the PMP® Exam Prep book to learn, Hot Topics to keep the material fresh, and PM FASTrack® Cloud to verify you understand the material and to find your gaps.
  • Develop a test-taking strategy, practice it, refine it, and then use it.
  • Practice concentrating on the question on the screen only.
  • Take a four-hour practice test in a “controlled” situation (as if you were in the test center, i.e., no refrigerator runs, etc.).

The Night Before the Exam

  • Visualize the entire process from beginning to the successful conclusion.
  • Gather everything you need for the next day so it is all ready and you will not need to worry about it in the morning.
  • Go to bed; if you are restless, stay there and rest. Do not stress out over the lack of sleep. Get extra sleep in the few nights before the test. Normally you need a minimum of six hours of sleep to feel alert.

Day of the PMP Exam

  • Start with a moderate breakfast and try to avoid caffeine.
  • If you are going to a test center, be on time, not too early or too late.  If you are taking the exam online, you will want to log in early to make sure you don’t have any technical issues.
  • NO frantic reviews—remember, you know the material.
  • Distract yourself by reading a magazine, newspaper, or book.

Before Beginning the PMP Exam

  • Find a location that is away from distractions and has good lighting.
  • Practice deep breathing.
  • Do your download sheet.
  • Ask any questions you have so you are not distracted during the test.
  • Bring an aggressive but realistic attitude to the test.
  • Remind
  • Remind yourself to budget your time by using the Mark for Review button. For each of the three 60-question exam sections, you should  give yourself 76 minutes. Using about 1 minute per question as you have practiced will allow you 16 minutes to check the questions you have marked.

During the PMP Exam

  • Focus on the test. All the things you need are on the download sheet. If you encounter some hard questions, easier ones are coming.
  • Focus on one question at a time, totally concentrating on the one on the screen in front of you. You can go back to the others later.
  • Figure out the topic for each question, to put it in the proper perspective.
  • Remember the three-pass rule. Do not spend too much time on a question on the first pass; instead, mark it and move on.
  • Be sure to use the two 10-minute breaks allowed between exam sections.  Get up, stretch and leave the room for a few minutes.  Just be sure to be back in your seat before the 10 minutes are up.
  • If the test feels more difficult than you anticipated, focus on just doing your best.
  • There WILL be questions you cannot answer; expect it and move on.
  • Do not change answers without PROOF you made a mistake. Between 70 and 80 percent of the time, your first “gut feel” is correct.
  • Avoid worrying about time. I know this is hard with the stupid clock in the upper right-hand corner ticking away, but try to focus on the question, not the clock.
  • If you become anxious, visualize a calm, soothing scene, or better yet, visualize seeing “you passed” on the screen.
  • As you begin to reread, or if you find it difficult to concentrate, practice relaxation and stretching techniques. . Remember if you take the test remotely, your movements should be limited.
  • Have energy snacks available outside of your testing area to eat during your breaks. Be sure to eat them BEFORE you get tired. It takes time for them to work, so do not wait until the second break if you’re concerned about your energy.
  • Think of the test as a game. Do your best.

Some Key PMI-isms

  • Memorization is not the key; understanding is.
  • Identify and fill gaps using the PMP® Exam Prep book and PM FASTrack®.
  • You do not “figure it out as you go.” You plan ahead and make it happen correctly, according to the plan.
  • You must have metrics to know where you are and how far you are from the plan.
  • Ensure changes go through a process to make sure only approved changes make it into the plan.
  • Use control limits and refine them as needed.
  • Search for the root causes of problems.
  • Check your work as you go. Do not wait until the end.

You’ve Got This!  RMC is Here to Help

Developing a PMP Exam prep checklist will help you feel more confident and less stressed about taking the PMP exam. Another great tool to help you prepare is Rita’s Process Chart game which is a fun, interactive way to study the process groups.  You can also check out our latest Taking the PMP exam webinar.  If you are still deciding whether to take the test online or in person, learn more about each option.  If you have further questions, feel free to contact us to get more information.

Cate Curry
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