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Preparing for the PMI® Authorized PMP® Exam: Using Sample Questions

Preparing for the PMI® Authorized PMP® Exam: Using Sample Questions

You’ve decided to take the Project Management Professional (PMP®) examination. Maybe you are new to project management, or you’ve spent the last eight years working on projects. Perhaps your organization is now requiring you to have the PMP certification or you’re motivated to become a professional project manager.

Step 1: Prerequisites

The first step is to make sure you have the prerequisites to take the exam. These can be found in the Exam Content Outline (ECO) dated January 1, 2021.

Step 2: Online Application

The next hurdle to clear is to prepare your application and get it accepted.

Step 3: Study for the Examination

The next step is to study for the examination. It doesn’t hurt to set a date to take the examination as a target to shoot for.

One of the best methods of preparing for the examination is to practice with an exam simulator that provides hundreds, if not thousands, of practice questions. Benefits of this approach include:

  • Learning what you know and don’t know
  • Understanding the way PMI® may phrase questions
  • Looking for keywords in the questions and in the answers
  • Focusing your study efforts
  • Increase the speed with which you answer the questions

Most people using exam simulators focus on the right answers and what makes them correct. The key to making the most of these simulators is knowing not just why the right answers are right, but also why each wrong answer is wrong. This quadruples your study efforts.

In 2018, Dr. James L. Haner published PMP: Project Management Professional Practice Exams (McGraw-Hill Education) that took advantage of this idea by giving rationales for both right and wrong responses.

In January 2021, PMI® rolled out new study materials and a new exam. This exam’s format was changed from predominantly predictive (also called traditional, waterfall or plan-driven) methodologies to 50% predictive and 50% adaptive/hybrid methodologies (i.e. Agile.) PMI also went from all multiple choice/single-select type questions to various other forms of questions (fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice/multiple answer, etc.)

On July 15, 2024, the International Institute for Learning (IIL) will begin utilizing a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) Powered Exam Prep Simulator. This incredible study tool is easy to use and provides extensive rationale for both the right answers and wrong answers.

Another feature of this study tool is an ability to test the speed with which you answer the questions. On the PMP exam, you have 230 minutes to answer 180 questions. For many applicants this can be challenging. Practicing the questions under time constraints can help simulate exam conditions.

Samples from IIL’s AI-Powered PMP® Exam Simulator. Learn more here.

In Conclusion

Something to keep in mind when using an exam simulator is that many of these tools select questions randomly to present to the applicant. Each time the applicant exits the simulation and starts over again, the test engine randomly selects questions again. This causes the practice session to present some of the same questions repeatedly. If the applicant only studies in short bursts and closes the simulator, they may only be seeing a small sample of the questions. This may lead to only seeing simpler questions and missing some more difficult questions. One way to avoid this issue is to leave the simulator open when you take a break or to plan to study for longer periods of time.

While one school of thought says that taking questions repeatedly only leads to memorizing certain questions and answers, repeating questions can also assist in rapidly recognizing what the questions are asking for.

One parting thought: memorizing questions, answers and study materials limits your learning. Try to internalize the ideas presented, understand completely the concepts, and be able to adapt to changing question situations. Spend about 40 hours on your own preparing for the PMP exam. Research weak areas by searching for reference documents and utilizing the internet with a goal of really learning the material.

Best wishes for a successful examination and attaining the PMP certification.

Ed Lively brings a wealth of experience to the project management field as a practitioner, presenter, mentor, and author. His multidimensional skills allow him to teach 52 different classes in three core subject areas: negotiation and conflict resolution skills, all aspects of project management and team leadership.

Learn more about IIL’s PMP® Exam Prep Course »

Disclaimer: The ideas, views, and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of International Institute for Learning or any entities they represent

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