Walking into the PMP exam room is an experience. This is the moment you’ve worked toward for months. You’ve invested years of effort in work experience, courses and exam preparation. You have even read through the PMBOK Guide more than once. After all that work, are you ready? Only you can know the answer for sure.
However, there is one secret method that the most successful PMP exam takers to pass right away. Moreover, the best part? You don’t have to create any study resources on your own – you can leverage existing resources on the marketplace. One of the best resources to use are PMP practice tests. Once you complete a course to get your contact hours, practice tests give you the chance to check whether you have knowledge gaps.
Introducing PMP Practice Tests
Reading over PMP study materials over and over again is not enough to get ready for the exam. Why? That is a passive learning method. It does have value. It is best to supplement it with active learning techniques.
According to Queen’s University, “Rather than being a passive recipient of information, the active learner puts knowledge to use.” That’s exactly what you want to do when it comes to the PMP. After all, you should aspire to both pass the exam and make progress toward your long-term goals of becoming a better project manager.
In the short term, you need the capability of applying your knowledge to the PMP exam itself. While you will not be expected to write essays, critical thinking and problem solving using project management concepts are still vital. There are even some expectations that you use math.
Are You Ready For The Exam Environment?
When you sit at home and study the PMBOK Guide, it’s easy to become confident. You also need to check if you can apply that knowledge in an exam setting. By using a practice test, you will test your knowledge under exam-like circumstances. Specifically, can you still apply your knowledge when you have many questions to answer in a limited time frame? The best way to find out is to use a PMP practice test and make sure to give yourself limited time.
Tip: If you have been out of school for some years, your test-taking skills may be getting rough. To give yourself the best chance of passing, take care of yourself by getting a full night’s sleep before the exam and avoid cramming. Regularly studying for 30-60 minutes per day over a matter of weeks is far more effective than attempting to learn everything in a weekend.
Which PMP Practice Test Resource Should You Use?
There are many PMP practice exams on the marketplace. How do you know which one to choose? There are two criteria I recommend you use.
Do They Have A Free PMP Practice Test?
Check if the provider has a free PMP practice test so that you can experiment to see if you find it helpful. The quantity and quality of the practice exam questions provided matters. Ideally, you will want to complete 200 questions on a practice test. Why 200? That’s the current number of questions you can expect to see on the PMP exam. Regarding quality, keep track of whether or not the exam questions covers all of the knowledge areas in the PMBOK Guide.
What PMP Study Preparation Products Do They Offer?
A single free PMP practice test will probably not be enough to guarantee your success. That’s why I recommend looking for a provider that can provide a complete solution – a study course, practice questions and more. Is it possible to use study resources from multiple providers and still succeed? Sure. The only challenge is that you will be switching back and forth between different instructional methods which means your productivity will suffer.
What To Do If You Have Poor PMP Practice Test Results?
Here’s the harsh reality: you might fail the first PMP practice test you choose.
Before you give, keep the following points in mind. Studying for the PMP certification exam requires careful preparation. You need to get used to the types of questions that are used. You also need to master quite a few different formulas. Many experienced project managers struggle with the exam because it is different from the ways projects are managed at their organization.
Fortunately, you have some options to recover from failing a practice test. Let’s get started:
- Pre-Application. If you took the practice test to see how you would perform in the exam, congratulations! You have used the practice test to detect gaps in your knowledge, and you can prepare accordingly. If you scored under 50%, I recommend giving yourself three to four months to study assuming you have about 5 hours of weekly study time. If you scored higher than that level on the practice test, you could consider a more aggressive schedule. Just remember to keep in mind your other responsibilities as you plan your exam study schedule.
- 45-90 Days From Exam Date. As a general rule, I recommend achieving 80% or higher on a practice test as a measure of your readiness. If you are still scoring before that level, you have two options. You can either double your study efforts or reschedule the exam to a later date so that you have more time to study. In some cases, you may want to consider taking a vacation day off from work to further your studies.
- 45 Days Or Less. At this point, you have probably been studying for some weeks or months already. For the areas where you have weakest scores, some targeted memorization work may be your best bet. If you are not a natural numbers person, you may find it helpful to memorize the formulas and other numeric data points.
The solution you choose will depend on your level of motivation and how much time you have left to study for the exam. If you have more than 30 days from your exam, stay the course by working on the knowledge areas you find most difficult.