I am thrilled to say that I finally earned my PMP certification and achieved above target in all areas! The exam is a beast, and unfortunately it took me over two years to understand the process, apply, and prepare. I am sharing my tips in hopes of making this experience easier and quicker for others on the same path. This is Part 1, where I am sharing my tips for preparation and studying.
Understanding the 35 PDUs
In order to apply for the PMP, you must complete 35 hours of project management training (PDUs). This was one of the first points of confusion for me. PMI has a list of “authorized training partners” on their site and a list of courses they offer. I also receive tons of email spam about PMP prep courses that cost thousands of dollars. I did not realize until much later that you do not have to use one of these authorized training partners in order to receive your 35 PDUs for the application. One of my clients brought it to my attention that a Udemy course (which I receive for free through our Perficient business license) would count for my 35 PDUs. All I had to do was click enroll and complete the course!
As for which Udemy courses I recommend, the one I completed for my 35 PDUs was taught by Joseph Phillips. However, looking around the internet while studying, I saw an overwhelming number of recommendations for this course taught by Andrew Ramdayal.
Keep Everything Handy
OneNote was helpful for organizing all PMP information and references I needed in one place. I had a note for my company policy related to paying for professional education, a timeline of my recent projects with all relevant information, and notes from the Udemy courses. I also kept a note with all useful links that I stumbled upon along the way so that I could have them handy. Some examples of links I kept track of are the exam content outline, sample questions, and Udemy courses. Keeping all information in one place will keep you from having to hunt for it when you need it (or, in my case, when you have to reactivate your application again)!
Consider Using Time Off
I thought I could complete my Udemy course in small chunks, using just a few hours at night per week. I have two kids – 6 years old and 3 years old. Attempting to complete this course in my free time was so much more difficult than I expected. Luckily, Perficient has a flexible time off policy that allows us to take time off as needed throughout the year. Having started my Udemy course in May, I decided to take a large chunk of my time off over the holidays to power through the rest of the course and submit my application. I spent probably 40-50 hours on the course between the videos, assignments, and practice questions. Whichever way you slice it, preparing for this exam is a big commitment that requires some sacrifice.
Utilize Kindle Resources
Kindle resources were very helpful for me during my study period. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle app and read e-books on your phone. I used the Libby app to borrow the PMBOK Guide from my local library and read it on my Kindle. I did end up purchasing the PMBOK Guide because I found the content very helpful. My Kindle Unlimited membership allowed me to download several free resources, such as flashcards. It was so convenient to be able to access these resources on my phone and be able to flip through a few flash cards at any time.
In Part 2 of my blog, I will go over tips for the days leading up to and specifics related to the exam. See you then!
Great accomplishment Emily! Best wishes in your new and enhanced career!
Hi Emily, thanks a lot for sharing your experience and hints. I took and passed the PMP exam on my first attempt 10 years ago, and everything you recommend is true!