Let’s jump straight into it. 8 Tips on taking the PMP Exam.
Before the Exam
Tip #1: Study Effectively
I have elaborated on how to study effectively in my previous post on PMP: 6 Tips on Studying for the PMP Exam. Some of the mentioned tips include understanding the exam structure to allocate your efforts effectively, booking the exam ahead of time, and gettng some practice with exam simulations.
Tip #2: Understand Test Centre Procedures
The PMP exam is a computer based exam conducted in Prometric Centres across the globe. Make sure to review test centre procedures before taking the exam.
Remember to bring your government-issued photo ID accompanied by the exam invite. All belongings must be stored in a provided locker before entering the exam area. Most exam centres will provide ear plugs, handheld calculator (upon request), pencil, and a blank sheet of paper.
Tip #3: Self Optimization
PMP Certification Exam is an exhausting experience. Allow yourself a good night’s sleep and limit your studying to a maximum of 3-4 hours the day before. Since you are not permitted to bring any water or food into the exam room, make sure to eat a well nourished and hydrating meal. Lastly, do yourself a favor and dress comfortably for the exam.
During the Exam
Tip #4: Build a Formula Sheet at the Beginning
A formula sheet is a page of information consisting of formulas, diagrams, charts, anything you think you might forget during the exam. I recommend you to recreate the Process Group and Knowledge Area Matrix in the first 15 minutes of the exam. It helped me answer most process driven questions.
Tip #5: Keep Track of Time
The PMP exam is a 4-hour closed book exam with 200 multiple choice questions. You have approximately 25 questions to be answered within 30 minutes. Keep 30 minutes as a milestone. Speed up if you have answered less than 25 questions in 30 minutes. This averages to 1.2 minutes per question. Questions involving calculations may take longer to answer. If a question takes longer than 3-4 minutes, I suggest to make use of the mark function. PMP allows you to mark the questions as an indicator for you to go back at a later time and review the answer.
Tip #6: Read the Question Carefully and Highlight Keywords
PMP allows you to highlight keywords on the computer screen. I found it helpful to read the last sentence first to get an idea of what is being asked and highlight the key words. This technique helped me remain focus, especially with wordy questions.
It is equally important to read the questions carefully and all available options before choosing. Be skeptical about options containing extreme words such as “always”, “never”, “only”, and “must” because there are usually exceptions to rules. Re-read all questions containing negative words such as “not” or “least”. Be especially careful about the use of double or triple negatives within a sentence to assure you fully understand what is being asked. Sometimes the question will contain multiple concepts within the same true and false statements. If any part of the statement is false, it will render the entire option to be false.
Tip #7: Use the Elimination Technique
When you must guess, choose the best answer after eliminating options that you are confident to be invalid. Eliminating 2 out of 4 questions will improve your chances of success.
Tip #8: Taking Breaks
It is impossible to upkeep your focus for 4 hours straight. Notice when your attention is drifting, and take interval breaks. Pause, adjust your posture, and do some quick stretches. Note that if you need to take any form of bio-break, you will need to sign-in and sign-out every single time. Light stretching and brief naps are the way to go.
Checked out my previous posts on PMP certification below.