Passing the Exam

Let's face the facts: This isn't much fun. Learning is hard work. The PMBOK reads like the printed version of a sleeping pill. You don't want this process to last any longer than is necessary, and your goal should be—it better be—to pass your certification exam on your first attempt. So don't think of "taking the exam," but focus instead on "passing your exam." You will pass your exam, not just take it. You're scheduling a time to pass the exam, not take it. And so on. Pass the thing and get back to your real life.

Just like your projects have plans, you need a plan on how to study, how to prepare, and then how to pass the exam. You can relax on this part—I've done most of the work for you.

Creating Your Study Strategy

I'll be your study buddy. You need a realistic timeline and a realistic expectation for studying to pass your exam. You can create whatever strategy you like, but here's my recommended approach to passing your exam. This book has 13 chapters and four appendixes. Each chapter in my book corresponds directly with the PMBOK—except I'm goofy and the PMBOK is boring. Chapter 13, while it doesn't relate directly to the PMBOK, deals with PMI's Code of Professional Conduct. Appendix A explains every project management document mentioned directly in the PMBOK. Appendix B is the summary of all the stuff you absolutely must know to pass your exam. Appendix C is based on the PMP Code of Ethics. It's a bunch of fun. You'll need to be familiar with the Code of Ethics for your exam—and for the rest of your life. Appendix D is all about the CD-ROM, the exams you can find there, and all the great project management videos you can watch (get the popcorn ready). The glossary is a glossary—all the terms I use in this book (yeah, all of them).

VIDEO How to use this book.

At the beginning of each chapter, you'll see an icon that looks like this one. It means that you should hop out to the CD and watch a video of me discussing the key concepts for that chapter. Sometimes I'll include more than one video per chapter, depending on what the topic may be. I recommend that you watch the introductory video for each chapter before starting. The videos are usually short, and I'm providing some good stuff. And you can make fun of my face.

At the end of each chapter, you'll find key terms. Get a stack of index cards and make flash cards of the key terms. You'll use these every day as you plow through this beast of a book—it'll help you keep the early chapters fresh in your mind as you happily move towards the end of this fine piece of literature.

At the end of each chapter, you'll find 20 practice exam questions. These questions are all from information within the chapter to test your comprehension. I've written these questions to be tougher than what you'll likely encounter on the live exam. My logic is that if you can answer my questions, you can answer PMI's questions, too. On the CD, you'll find a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet titled "Exam Scores"—you can see it in Figure 1-3. Enter your chapter scores in the spreadsheet, and you can track which chapters you need more work in and focus your studying time accordingly.

Finally, the CD includes one 200-question practice exam and one 150-question practice exam. Take one of these exams immediately after you finish this book. Keep taking the exam over and over until you can answer every question correctly. (I'm assuming that you won't get 100 percent on the first attempt on this exam. My apologies if you do.)

Once you've mastered the first exam, you're ready to repeat the process with the second. Boy, howdy! Doesn't this sound like fun? It's more fun than taking your live examination twice, I promise.

I've outlined quick references for how you should study and then pass your exam. You may be slightly ahead of other readers in your exam preparations, so I've intentionally left dates and timelines at your discretion. I think a couple of chapters a week is realistic—but I wouldn't do more than five chapters a week. Take some time and create a schedule of when you'll study, and then take measures to make certain you can keep the schedule you create.

Table 1-3 provides a sample strategy that you can modify as you see fit. Your schedule may take more or less time—this is just a sample strategy. I've included a document titled "My Exam Strategy" on the CD so that you can create your own schedule and strategy.

Figure 1-3 You can track your chapter scores to focus your studying times accordingly.

Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter I 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 II 12 13

Day

Chapter

Activities

Day I

I

Complete chapter exam Create and review flash cards

Day 2

2

Complete chapter exam Create and review flash cards

Day B

B

Complete chapter exam Create and review flash cards

Day 4

Review first three chapter exams Memorize flash cards

Day S

Watch chapter videos again Review flash cards

Day 6

4

Complete chapter exam Create and review flash cards

Day Z

S

Complete chapter exam Create and review flash cards

Day S

6

Complete chapter exam Create and review flash cards

Day 9

Review Chapters 4, 5, and 6 Review chapter exams to date Review flash cards

Watch videos from Chapters 4, 5, and 6

Day IC

1

Complete chapter exam Create and review flash cards

Day II

Review chapter exams to date Review flash cards Watch videos from Chapter 7 Practice formulas from Chapters 6 and 7

Day I2

S

Complete chapter exam Create and review flash cards

Day IB

9

Complete chapter exam Create and review flash cards

Day I4

IC

Complete chapter exam Create and review flash cards

Day IS

Review chapter exams to date Review flash cards

Practice formulas from Chapters 6 and 7

Day I6

II

Complete chapter exam Create and review flash cards

Day IZ

I2

Complete chapter exam Create and review flash cards

Day IS

Review Chapters 11 and 12 exams Review key terms to date Watch Chapters 11 and 12 videos

Table 1-3 A Sample Study Strategy

Table 1-3 A Sample Study Strategy

Day

Chapter

Activities

Day 19

Create and review flash cards

Download Professional Code of Conduct from

www.pmi.org.

Day 20

Take Exam 1 until a perfect score is achieved

Day 21

Review key terms Watch chapter videos

Day 22

Appendix B

Confirm familiarity with project management documents

Day 23

Appendix C

Confirm knowledge of key project management topics Review flash cards

Day 24

Practice exam until perfect score is achieved

Day 25

Review flash cards Review chapter exams

Day 26

Pass the project management exam Gloat to peers

Day 27

Send e-mail to [email protected] with comments on this book and how it helped you pass your exam

Table 1-3 A Sample Study Strategy (continued)

Table 1-3 A Sample Study Strategy (continued)

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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