PMP Certification Study Guide

Studying for the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification exam requires organization and dedication. The exam is administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and all questions are derived from content in “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge,” referred to as PMBOK. Good project management involves estimating, planning and documenting. Learn the process groups, knowledge areas, inputs, tools and techniques and outputs before you take practice exams to be ready for the four-hour computer-based examination. There are 200 multiple-choice questions. You may spend 100 or more hours studying for the PMP exam.

Studying Project Definition

Read the PMBOK to thoroughly understand the definition of a project: a temporary effort with a defined beginning and end that results in a product or service. As a project manager, you may have extensive experience supervising development efforts. However, studying for the PMP exam demands that you also learn the PMI’s prescribed vocabulary and labels for the tools and techniques used to handle scope, timing, cost and quality requirements to meet or exceed stakeholder expectations over the course of the project development life cycle and its phases.

Examining the Processes

Project management processes describe how to organize the work that needs to be done in the life cycle phases. Learn the five process groups: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling and Closing. Each process has inputs and outputs as well as tools and techniques you may be required to recall. The Initiating processes involve recognizing that an official project should start. The Planning processes entail creating a plan. The Executing processes contain details on coordinating resources. The Controlling processes ensure project goals are met. The Closing processes comprise formal completion.

Putting It All Together

Practice creating a work breakdown structure (WBS) for projects you manage. It is a way of grouping project assignments into a logical organization. Beginning at the top, each descending level includes more detail. Be able to recognize tasks that can be completed in less than two weeks and produce an output. Utilize formulas and diagramming techniques to manage project time estimation. Learn and practice using formulas for earned value analysis used in project cost management. You may be unfamiliar with some terms if you do not work in a particular function (for example, procurement) so take the time to learn the terminology in all processes. Review the “Project Management Professional Code of Conduct,” which covers ethics, legal issues and cultural issues. The time and effort you put into your studying will be worth it when you pass the exam on the first try.


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