This is the concluding part of the 2-part series on PMBOK 6th Edition based PMP Guide. In the Part-1 of this series, we understood why PMBOK 6th edition is being introduced by PMI. We also saw, just for the kicks, how changes are introduced in PMBOK guide. Also we understood the exact PMP exam changes introduced in PMBOK, which are significant.
As promised, I will share in a bit the 6-week plan to go from ‘wanting to be a PMP’ to actually getting PMP certificate in hand!
Note: Download this entire guide for free as a PDF file at the end of this post.
Now the million dollar question is,
When Will PMP Exam Changes Come Into Effect?
This is where your planning neurons would begin to fire connections like crazy.
Answer to this question will help you decide whether or not to take PMP exam now, or not. Let me tell you, if you want to take the exam now it is definitely possible to do it in next 4 to 6 weeks. And I’ll give you a plan in a bit.
But here is the important point you need to keep in mind.
PMBOK is only a guidelines document and not the 100% study resource convering all of the PMP exam syllabus. PMI recognizes this fact clearly.
But, but but.. if you are taking CAPM exam, then PMBOK would be your 100% study source.
Yes. This means you need to research and pick one or two other study resources, apart from PMBOK of course, to cover entire PMP syllabus.
Alright. When will you get to see the new PMBOK guide?
According to PMI, you can get your hands on PMBOK 6th edition guide on 6th September, 2017!
If you are a PMI member you will even get the soft copy for free.
The EXACT date is not announced at the time of writing this article, it can be any day between Jan-1 to March-31, 2018.
For now, for your planning, just consider the date to be Jan 1, 2018.
Watch this space to know the exact date on which new PMP exam will come into affect.
If you want PMP exam based on PMBOK-5, you need to take it before December 31, 2017.
“Why should I want to take PMP exam based on PMBOK-5 Now?”
Any change brings with it some amount of chaos.
You know that PMBOK is not 100% resource for PMP exam, but for the sake of reference let us say ‘PMBOK-6 based PMP exam’. So, PMP exam based off PMBOK-6 will bring with it uncertainty about nature of questions and difficulty of questions. The general passing percentage may take a nosedive.
It will take some time for the dust to get settled, before people that have taken the new exam will share their wisdom and you get a sense of what to expect in the new exam. Even Simulators would have questions representing the real exam questions.
This may take at least 3 months, if you wish to go into the exam hall with some certainty, say sometime in Q2 of 2018. That is roughly about 7-9 months from now.
But if you can’t wait that long,
- or if you can’t wait to manage your project in a professional way,
- or if you are looking to change your job,
- or if you are looking for that promotion or raise in the upcoming appraisal,
- or if you are simply thirsty for project management knowledge,
..and so need to get your PMP at the earliest, here’s a plan you can use!
This is a proven plan based on the experience of over 784 successful PMP candidates.
The 6-Week Plan to Pass Your PMP Exam
Here we shall look at a 6-week plan to comfortably pass PMP.
Week 1: Lock your exam date and get cracking
There are few activities you can do right away.
This can be done before your week-1 begins or on the very first day (takes just few hours).
- Get your PMI membership (here), and download PMBOK guide
- Download a copy of ‘PMP examination content outline’ document from PMI.org and refer to it as you go along with your study resources.
- Sign up for the free 11-day PMP Study Blueprint email course, if not already (this is going to go away soon). This gives you a top-down approach and help come up with study schedule and a study plan with considerable ease.
- Choose your study resources:
- I highly recommend PMBOK to be one of them, simply because that’s where most of the exam questions are going to come from.
- My best recommendation for at least one more study resource is PMPrepCast & Exam Simulator (affiliate disclaimer: if you purcahse through this link I get a small commission, without any increased cost for you – which will help me give you these ‘Last Mile’ prep books as bonus). I used these for my own exam prep, and these can your best possible investment in PMP study. Don’t take my word for it, please do your own research and choose 1-2 more study resources, whichever you feel you’ll enjoy studying from.
- Here’s a first-hand review of these products (over 34289 people have passed so far).
- Submit your PMP application at PMI.org Use this free step-by-step guide and template to get this done.
- Once you get a green signal from PMI, go ahead and schedule your exam at Prometric. Use these exam schedule instructions.
By the end of week-1 you would have build a solid study foundation and got all the relevant pieces of the PMP puzzle together, and got a high-evel understanding of PMP syllabus.
Your are set on the right course. It is time to deep dive now!
There is going to be a mad rush for PMP exam slots at Prometric soon. You may want to submit your PMP application at the earliest, get your exam eligibility Id and book a slot with Prometric, at the earliest.
Week 2-3: Pick up Speed
This is a crucial phase in your PMP prep journey.
The idea is to ‘front-load’ your preparation in this phase of 2 weeks. Plan to spend as many hours a day as you can – use your study plan from week-1 to decide how many hours per KA you want to take.
The aim for this week is to complete ONE round of end-to-end study using your short listed study resources.
If you have chosen a video course such as PM Prepcast or that of Simplilearn (click for a detailed review) you will find it easier to go back and forth, even run videos at higher speeds to save time.
Here’s a technique you can use to increase study effectiveness: Take one Knowledge Area (KA) and go across the study resources focusing on just this KA.
This approach brings forth any implicit assumptions our brain makes while studying and results in better assimilation of information and deeper understanding.
Another useful strategy is to make your own notes. Nothing too elaborate, just short notes.
Use a pen and paper, Microsoft OneNote, Evernote, whatever you are comfortable with. Even make mindmaps. This helps in (a) increased understanding of PMP concepts (b) prepare revision notes to use in the week prior to the exam.
Use your weekends to catch up for any lag during week-days that you could not put enough efforts. Ditch movies and social gatherings, and reward yourself with smaller, non time-consuming treats each time you complete a KA.
Hit your study goals in these 2 weeks and you are almost guaranteed to ace your PMP exam.
Week 4-5: Accelerate
The goal of this phase is to concretize the knowledge you have gained in the previous 2 weeks by completing second round of end-to-end study.
As you do this update your study notes with additional points. Come up with mnemonics to remember lists, names, and groups of techniques (powers PM enjoys, 7 quality tools, quality gurus and their thoeries and so on).
But first, take your first 4-hour PMP mock test from the Simulator.
Chances are you will score pretty bad in this test. But you are not taking this mock test to test yourself. You are taking this for something else: to identify your weak areas.
PMP syllabus is quite involved – 5 Process Groups, 10 Knowledge Areas, all put together 47 processes sliding and dicing these PGs and KAs. Many ITTOs and many concepts. Chances are, you might not have caught few concepts, or there may be grey areas in some of the KAs. You might have misunderstood the logical flow between processes or missed few ITTOs. Whatever it is, during your first 4hr mock test you will uncover them. Make a note of these areas, and focus on them during this phase.
Here’s a technique to get most out of your mock tests: Each time you complete a mock test, spend a couple of hours going over each of the questions and understand the reasoning and logic behind the answer. This is a huge learning exercise.
Moreover, PMI tests your ability to apply PMP concepts to a given situation. When you analyze your mock test results in detail, you will start understanding how to apply concepts to a situation asked in the question and how to conclude the right answer from 4 given options.
At the end of these 2 weeks, you would have gone through 2 rounds of complete end-to-end study through your study resources. Knocked off blockers and issues.
You begin to feel very confident about hitting a homerun.
The goal is in sight. Just a week more to go!
Week 6: Negotiate the ‘Last-Mile’ distance
This is an important week.
I highly recommend that you take this week off from work and tell them you are available ONLY for emergencies.
This is your ‘Last Mile’ prep week. You don’t want some fire-fighting at work to ruin your weeks of efforts. Remember that PMBOK 6th edition based exam is round the corner and you don’t want to risk a second attempt of PMP exam.
So, derisk your preparation and isolate yourself during this week from any disturbances and distractions.
The focus this week will be on the following –
- Take as many mock tests as you can and strategize how to optimize your 4 hours of exam time to get most questions right
- Go over your study notes and revise
- Create your brain dump – focusing on grey areas that need additional focus. You may not be able to use braindump during exam like earlier people used to, but the exercise itself brings your focus to that short list of topics or areas that need additional focus.
As much as possible take 4hr mock tests during same slot as your PMP test. It could be morning slot, noon, or evening. This will help you observe yourself (if you are drowsy after lunch, hungry before lunchtime and so on).
Here’s a technique you can use –
Click this link and search on the page for the phrase “proven strategy”, and use the technique on one of your 4hr mock tests. This is a technique used by many PMP students to naturally get into a mindset of success and answer MORE questions right on the exam. See if this approach helps you!
That’s about it! You are pretty much there to give your PMP test!
If you need an even more detailed plan with more techniques used by successful PMPs, I recommend checking out this ebook. You can read it in your browser at read.amazon.com
You may feel some butterflies in stomach, which is okay. It will keep you alert and agile (no pun intended 🙂 ).
“Why do I Want to Take the PMP Exam Based on PMBOK 6th Edition?”
Now there are reasons you may want to wait out and take PMBOK-6 based exam.
Here are few –
- You want be certified on the LATEST project management standards. This will sure give you an edge in the job market when you have your PMP.
- You are not yet eligible for the PMP (or CAPM) exam as per PMI’s eligibility criteria. Well, you got to wait.
- You have some important events that block you out for months from PMP study, so you are sure that you won’t have time to do it.
Here are few things you can do right now to make sure you get a head start when PMP exam changes kicks in.
1. Join PMI today.
From here. Read through member benefits.
You will demostrate your commitment to move ahead in your career. Plus, being a PMI member will give you discount on exam fee, so your overall PMP cost will reduce.
The biggest advantage would be that you will get your hands on PMBOK-6 guide as soon as it is released on 6 September, 2017.
2. Begin studying PMBOK-6 guide
It would be a fresh start for you. So, right now don’t bother going through PMBOK-5, jump straight into 6th edition as soon as it is out. Also, understand Examination Content Outline once that comes out as well.
You may not get much at the outset. It is okay. Just get into the habit of spending few hours every week on PMBOK and understand concepts.
Start mapping those processes to your own project. This would be an invaluable learning exercise. And chances are you’ll start getting better results at work!
3. Get PM PrepCast and Simulator
From here, so you can get my ‘Last Mile prep’ PMP books as well.
Why do you want to do this now?
Whenever there is an update to PMP syllabus, more often than not REPs (Registered Education Providers) increase the cost of study resources (books, courses etc). So by buying now you get them at a lesser cost.
Cornelius (owner of PM PrepCast) gives a free upgrade to updated course if you have NOT taken the PMP test and passed it by the time course content is updated. Therefore, you are well covered.
4. Join a forum
Watch for PMBOK-6 related annoucements and updates. As people start sharing their experience with the new exam, look for nuggets that help you prepare better.
5. Follow the above 6-week plan
Whenever you feel ready to take up the new exam, follow the 6-week plan given above and get your PMP certification with ease.
There you go!
You now know everything there is to know about PMBOK-6. With this you also know whether you want to attempt your PMP right away, and if so you have a proven 6-week plan and all the necessary resources to hit it off.
If you want to wait out and take PMBOK-6 based test, you now know what to do in order to reduce exam cost and increase the odds of passing the new exam when it is out in Q1-2018.
Download this entire guide for Free by clicking this button below –
Should you need any help please feel to write to me at shiv(at)pmexamsmatnotes(dot)com
Go ace that exam!
Shiv loves to help start-ups build software products, PMP aspirants ace the exam and shine at work, and help individuals and SMEs get most out of their internet presence (read 'earn massive money' 🙂 ).
Shiv lives on the picturesque suburban Bangalore with his wife and two lovely kids and in his spare time he plays flute and paints.
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