We frequently get requests from our students to provide a recommended study plan for the PMP® certification. People learn in different ways and at different pace. It’s hard for us to prescribe a method that works for everyone. However, to assist our students who are starting out with their preparation, we are providing some general guidance in this article. This plan should help you prepare for PMP in about 8-12 weeks (your mileage may vary). You need to tailor the plan according to your situation, needs and learning style. This plan can also be used for the CAPM® certification.
Before you even get started, go through our PMP Introduction page. It will provide you with all the important information that you need to know for the exam, and links to download all the resources listed in this article.
Recommended Study Material
In order to pass the new PMP exam, you would need the PMBOK® Guide, 6th Ed and the Agile Practice Guide, both of which are free with PMI Membership. You can also take some of the popular free PMP sample tests available online. Here’s the list of all the resources that you need.
- BrainBOK Study Guide
- BrainBOK App (Exam Simulator, Flashcards, Quiz, ITTO Explorer)
- PMBOK® Guide, 7th Ed
- PMBOK® Guide, 6th Ed for Project Management Processes
- Agile Practice Guide
- The Scrum Guide
Five-step Study Plan
The five-step study plan is detailed below.
Step 1 - Quick overview (1-2 weeks)
Before you start using the BrainBOK program, it’s important that you get a quick overview of the structure and content of the PMBOK® Guide.
Do a quick pass of the PMBOK® Guide first just to get familiar with the structure. You should be able to recognize the 5 Process Groups, 10 Knowledge Areas, and the 49 Project Management processes. You should also be able to understand that each process has inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs (ITTOs) and that processes often overlap. You do not need to understand each ITTO at this point.
Step 2 - Deep Dive (3-4 weeks)
Read our online PM Study Guide from beginning to end. You may skip the Agile section at this point as it will be covered in the next step. Use BrainBOK App for ITTO Explorer, Quizzes and Flashcards to reinforce your concepts as you go along. After each Knowledge Area, attempt the Quizzes and Flashcards for that Knowledge Area.
A general guide on using the ITTO Explorer tool is available here (6-step process to master ITTOs):
Repeat the above process until you are thoroughly familiar with the material. Make notes as you go along. Our study guide provides 65+ study notes. Refer to the study notes section of our guide as needed.
Step 3 - Understand Agile Concepts (1-2 week)
Go through the Agile Practice Guide (collaboratively developed by PMI and Agile Alliance). It’s about 190 pages, and is a light read.
The PMP Exam 2021 may use Scrum terminology such as ScrumMaster, Product Owner, Sprint, etc. Therefore, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the Scrum Framework. Fortunately, you can learn the basics of Scrum in less than 2 hours. Go through The Scrum Guide, which is a free resource. It provides a concise and good summary of the Scrum framework.
Go through the Agile section of our online study guide at this point for learning all the agile concepts that you need to know for the exam.
Step 4 - Test yourself (2-3 weeks)
Now would be the time to validate your knowledge. Take our PMP Fundamentals exam 1 and 2 to assess your knowledge. Review all the questions, particularly those that you got wrong, to identify the gaps. Again use the study guide and tools to address those gaps.
Repeat the process for the three main PMP Practice Exams (1, 2, and 3).
We recommend taking the exams in this order:
- PMP Basics Assessment
- PMP Foundation Exam L1
- PMP Foundation Exam L2
- PMP Foundation Exam L3
- PMP Advanced Exam L1
- PMP Advanced Exam L2
- PMP Final Challenge Exam
- PMP Formula Challenge Exam (optional)
Again make notes as you go along. While you can retake the exams as many times as you want within your subscription period, the first attempt score is the real indicator of your exam readiness. We recommend that you take the exams when you feel relatively comfortable with the material in the resources that we’ve listed. If you take the exams too soon, your results may be skewed. Also note that our practice exams are slightly more difficult than the real PMP exam.
Step 5 - Put everything together (1-2 weeks)
Revise your notes, participate in discussion forums and try other free exams available online.
We hope that this article gives you a good idea about how to go about your preparation. Good luck for your certification exam and happy learning!
If you need any support, feel free to write to us.
Sign Up for BrainBOK
If you are preparing for the PMP® or CAPM® certification, BrainBOK can significantly boost your chances of success. Our PMP® content is fully updated per the PMP Exam Content Outline (ECO) 2021 (latest as of July 2023). We provide all the resources that you need to pass the exam including study guide, practice exams, flashcards, quizzes, ITTO tool, formula guide, and contact hours. Our program will save you several weeks of preparation time and give you a solid foundation in project management, which is required to ace the PMP certification exam.
Subscribe to any of our plans and get a 7-day free look period with our money-back guarantee. If you have any questions or comments, please post them below.
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