Are you prepared to pass your CAPM / PMP Exams?

0 Posted by - July 8, 2011 - Skills & Tools, Views & Interviews

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PMI Pre Exam Requirements


• A secondary diploma (high school or the global equivalent)

• At least 1,500 hours experience OR 23 hours of project management education.
Link for more information
• 150 multiple choice
• 15 questions are random pre-test ones
• Examination Time = 3 hours



• A four-year degree (bachelor’s or the global equivalent) and at least three years of project management experience, with 4,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.

• A secondary diploma (high school or the global equivalent) with at least five years of project management experience, with 7,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education
Link for more information
• 200 multiple choice
• 25 questions are random pre-test ones
• Examination Time = 4 hours

Embrace the Process & knowledge Table, don’t be afraid of it!

PMBOK 4TH EDITION, Chapter 3, page 43, table 3-1

Love and embrace this table, this is the key to passing your exams and your guide to managing projects well.


I suggest sticking this table on your wall, looking at it before bed and first thing in the morning. Remember school and tables!  Whichever method you used to learn those multiplication, addition and periodic tables before employ the similar technique to understand and learn this table.

Learning my arabic numbers – Table on my wall!


Visual learning always helps, but if you prefer auditory methods then record yourself talking about the processes and keep playing it yourself.


Understand the relationship between processes, knowledge areas and (Inputs, tools & techniques and Outputs) ITTO.


Play games! Try cutting out the 42 processes & then grouping & sequencing them vertically under the 5 process groups and then horizontally into each knowledge area.


Remember PMBOK is a guide to managing projects well so there is a real life purpose to it all. Our suggestion is not to depend on memorization alone, try to understand PMBOK as a common sense way to logically sequence processes.


Think – Deliverables, Processes, Knowledge areas, ITTO



‘Practice makes Perfect’


There is no better way to prepare than to sit practice exams. There are both paid and free online exam questions. Most good exam prep. books set exam questions at the end of each chapter.

Free online exam simulators

Some of these are pretty good, I shall leave you to add in the comments sections which ones you all recommend and why.

Purchased exam simulators

Normally your local PMI approved (REP) Training center can help recommend reputable ones I tend to go with RMC products as I am familiar with them and there standard is generally quite high.

There are many other good companies and products, it is better to go on recommendation and read reviews before buying. Please recommend or advise against products you have used in the comments section below.

Other approaches

I do strongly believe in PM cross word puzzles, Word searches, scrambles etc. these create familiarity with terms and test your understanding in different ways. I love and always recommend the daily digest questions and free download puzzles on I haven’t tried the simulator or the other products and therefore can’t comment on them.

  • Talk to PM’s who use PMBOK processes
  • Look around for real life case studies
  • Try to understand and place the process in action on an actual project
  • Read around the deliverable, tool or technique, knowledge or process area your having difficulty with, find exercises to complete. This helps to deepen your understanding and remember it.
  • Read and follow PM bloggers posts, follow #pmot, #pmi etc on twitter, join FB & LinkedIn PM related discussions and pages. This gives you wider perspective on a subject matter with real examples.

Play Games! Thank you CAPM group for letting me picture you.

Suffocating in formulas, tools & techniques!

Break them down, a good exam prep. product will guide you towards the ones you need to focus on. Build familiarity by answering questions on these subjects and they will begin to make sense. Interact more with unfamiliar subjects, try to appreciate why they exist and understand its importance for a project manager. This will help to make formulas and the T&T’s more friendly.

Practice makes perfect – Build Stamina

Do lots and lots of exam questions, I always stress the importance of this to my course participants.  In the beginning reaching question 100 might feel like a giant milestone but the more often you sit the exam the easier it will become reaching 200.

Practice builds stamina, familiarity, understanding and confidence

Preparations for the PMP will require time, effort and discipline. Aim to average above 85% in your practice exams this will ensure success on the actual exam.

Rewards of passing

There are numerous benefits, the first is a personal sense of achievement & increased confidence in your PM abilities.  Furthermore PMI credentials confirm your professionalism, attracting more job opportunities and increase in salary.


Good Luck!

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