PMP Exam Tip: Use your PM Exam Simulator - Early and Often

This PMP exam tip is brought to you by our PMP Exam Coach - Dan Ryan, PMP: Use your PM Exam Simulator - Early and Often

I work with many students who use exam simulators to practice for the PMP exam. I have had the experience to find out that a great many of these students do not activate their PM exam simulator until days or even weeks after their studies have begun. When I ask them why they say "I was planning on finishing all the PM Prepcast videos first" or "I was going to finish reading my PMP prep book first". I don't like this approach and I always respond by telling them to start using the simulator immediately. Although it may seem counter intuitive to some there is a very powerful benefit to reviewing each knowledge area one by one and as you complete that knowledge area you can go into the PM exam simulator and do a quiz. This allows you to track your progress on an incremental basis as you progress through your studies. If you score a 90% or 100% on a Communications quiz for example, do you really need to spend a ton of time studying that topic further? or -- maybe that allows you to allocated some extra time to an area you struggle in? For some this could include Risk or Earned Value, etc. Do you want to spend more time on your weaknesses or your strengths? If you answered your weaknesses, then activate your PM Exam Simulator and use it often.

To learn more about PMP Exam Coaching please visit or email Dan Ryan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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How to Get Your Own PMP Exam Study Coach

Cute female scratching head in thought Depositphotos 3465294 xsLook no further! Your PMP exam prep confusion ends here! With Your Own PMP Exam Study Coach, you’ll follow a proven study approach by your coach Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM. You'll know exactly what to do. Day after day. Week after week.

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How to Prepare for the PMP® Exam in 30 Days

How to Prepare for the PMP® Exam in 30 daysYou are asking yourself right now, “Where do I start to guarantee I pass the PMP® exam in 30 days”? Be patient, stay calm, and continue to read this quick article to understand the steps of this process – how each step leads to the next. So remember – finish one step before starting the next to prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed. Preparing for the PMP exam will take daily dedication to studying and understanding the material.

Preparing for the PMP exam takes time and while I do NOT advocate a fast approach, sometimes there are “legitimate” reasons that require you to sit for the exam within 30 days (or sooner). Perhaps your employer has established this deadline for contractual reasons, perhaps you have found a highly desirable open position you would like to apply to but need the PMP for highest qualification, or perhaps you signed up to take the exam nearly a year ago but then you procrastinated and now you only have 30 days left before your eligibility runs out.

What follows are key steps, processes, and resources that, along with your dedication, will allow you to prepare for and pass the PMP exam in 30 days (or less). Let me begin with some general thoughts on how to get started:

How to Get a PMP Certification Fast?

So you have decided (or been told) that you will get your PMP done in a very short period.

First, read my article, 10 Steps to Becoming a PMP to establish your eligibility, lay a foundation and start a preliminary plan. A key statement to remember during this process is that attaining the PMP certification shows your commitment to the project management profession and demonstrates credibility allowing for higher salaries as well as raising your resume above non-PMP certification holders. So don’t get discouraged during this process.

Now that you have verified your eligibility to sit for the exam, Don’t Panic! Relax, take a deep breath, and begin to focus… the first important fact is to not become overwhelmed as there is A LOT of information to understand and many types of training opportunities.

As part of your initial planning – start clearing your calendar to allow for sufficient daily study time, and understand this will not be an easy path to success. In addition to studying A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), you will also benefit by reading through lessons learned from others who have prepared (and passed) on a “fast track” method.

Here are my key tips and resources to allow you to start on the fast path to get the PMP certification and attaining the coveted PMP certification.

How to Pass the PMP in 30 Days?

As I said, while I do not recommend trying to study and pass the PMP in 30 days, sometimes there are legitimate reasons that you may find yourself in this situation. First and foremost, start with my article, Creating Your PMP Study Plan – The Complete Guide. This provides a very clear process to effectively create your own customized study plan. Don’t stress – this article also provides PMP Study Plan templates to help you get started.

There are many study plans – it’s important you design the one that best fits your learning style and continue to modify it as you take practice tests and establish the areas you need to focus your attention.

One method you could establish as a framework for your study time is to divide your available study window (in this case 30 days) by the percentage for each of the five Domains on the test. This table demonstrates this method:

Domain Percentage on Test Study time
Initiation 13% 3.9 days
Planning 24% 6.2 days
Executing 31% 9.3 days
Monitoring and Controlling 25% 7.5 days
Closing 7% 2.1 days

If you total these days up – it actually equals 29 days – which allows you one optional day that you can spend on review.

Within this 30-day window, you will also need to take practice tests – perhaps at the 15-day, 21 day and 29-day marks or more often. To learn more about the exam content, visit the PMP Examination Content Outline on the PMI® website.

How to Pass the PMP in 10 Days?

But what if you have been told you have to pass the PMP in a 10-day window – what do you do now?

About the only real approach if you have less than two weeks to prepare and pass the PMP is to attend a PMP Boot Camp. There are two major disadvantages with a boot camp:

  • The expense associated with the Boot Camp (usually in the range of $1,500-$2,500), and
  • How well you absorb the material (memorization versus true absorption).

The PMP Boot Camps do offer the advantage of time – most boot camps are three to five days long and the PMP test is available on the last day of the boot camp. However, the boot camps do require significant “self-study” prior to and during attendance, which can be confusing to plan and organize yourself in a short period.

Need your PMP Fast? Think again!

If you have the option to study for more than 30 days – take it! Slow down, take your time, and ABSORB. The best way to pass the PMP exam is through methodical study, review, and application.

This additional time will allow you to learn the material in a manner that allows you to understand and implement the standards and theories – instead of just memorization to pass the test. The discovery of information for better understanding allows you to understand how the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs interrelate. Taking a slower approach will allow you the opportunity to effectively absorb the information and learn how to apply the knowledge to any of your projects.

After nearly a decade as a PMP exam trainer, I advocate this slower approach, which allows your brain enough time to absorb and retain the information for easier recall in the future. The key is to allow yourself a lot of hands-on practice and review time to become comfortable with the information.

So, what is the Best Way to Pass the PMP Exam?

What is your learning style? Are you a visual, auditory, or tactile learner? Do you learn best in groups or individually? Knowing your learning style is important to understanding how to approach your studies for the PMP exam.

To learn more about your learning style, see question six in my article 7 Questions Every Student SHOULD Ask Their PMP Coach When Preparing for the PMP Exam. This understanding over memorization, slower over rushed methods allows for less anxiety, becoming a better project manager, and learning new techniques with the intent of using them on your projects.

No matter how or when you decide to sit for the PMP, The PM PrepCast will be an immense resource to guide you through your studies. At a minimum read the Lessons Learned Forum with experiences from others who have passed the PMP exam.

Now that you understand the value of allowing yourself time to study, spend an hour and review our free serious of 8 videos on YouTube that walks you through the detailed and "time consuming" step-by-step PMP Exam preparation process:


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Featured PMP Exam Lessons Learned from Muhammad Rauf Akram Nasir, PMP

PMP Exam Lessons LearnedLessons learned, study resources and more shared to us by PM PrepCast student, Muhammad Rauf Akram Nasir, PMP.

By the grace of ALLAH, today I earned my PMP certification with 4 P’s and 1 MP. It was a great journey and I want to share my lessons learned with all of you so you can take advantage of it.

I thought of becoming a PMP back in 2013 but I was so busy with my job and few exciting and challenging projects that I could not even spare some time to research about it or even to get registered on PMI website.

This year my contract finished and while applying for couple of new assignments, I was told that they specifically need PMP certified candidates (which was not advertised with the job posting by the way) so that ignite the desire of becoming a PMP again.

Being a good project manager (I know I am self-praising :) ) and realizing that life is a project in itself, I took PMP exam as a Project. Below are the steps, I took before starting preparation:

  1. I registered myself on PMI website, and got myself a licensed copy of PMBOK 5th Edition. I would recommend anyone who want to be a PMP to do this as their first step.
  2. I did online research about available resources, guides and the best way to earn 35 contact hours.
  3. I set the goal to not only prepare for PMP (and to get 5 P’s :) ) but also improve my Project Management knowledge and skills.
  4. I prepared a detailed project management plan combining resources, schedule, budget, risks and stakeholders needs.
  5. I was selected for the Audit but I had prepared everything in advance (Risk Management) and face no trouble clearing the Audit.

Read more here:


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