4 Things to Remember While Taking PMP Training
In order to be eligible to take the PMP, you are required to complete 35 contract hours
of Project Management Education (unless you already have the CAPM
certification). This usually means that instructor-led
training is required. This requirement can be fulfilled in a number of ways. You may opt to take a self-paced online course, to be completed at any time or anywhere - or you may undergo a week-long intensive boot camp and get everything out of the way as fast as possible. The cost of training varies, too - you can spend anywhere between $100 and $2,000 on training courses! There really are a plethora of options available.
Whatever you choose to pursue as your PMP training, in order to fully reap the benefits, you must be engaged and active throughout your course. This will help you prepare for the next phase after going through training - studying for the exam on your own! Here are four things to keep in mind as you go through PMP training in order to make the most of it.
4 Things to Remember While Taking PMP Training
1. PMP Training Materials from certified instructors will reflect information that comes exclusively from the PMBOK and the Agile Practice Guide.
In short: If it is not on the PMP, it will not be covered. Professional PMP instructors will focus on teaching you theoretical knowledge on project management techniques, which is required to pass the exam. There are certain assumptions that need to be made when answering questions written by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Unless a question on your exam explicitly notes an exception to these rules, you must assume that you are in a traditional project environment while taking the exam.
For example, there may be differences between the way that your organization runs projects and the way that the PMBOK defines a project effort. The PMP situation may not always reflect your own personal experiences. However, in order to accurately answer questions on the PMP, you must eliminate biases from your own firsthand experiences and instead ask the question, "How would this issue be resolved by following best practices in the PMBOK?" Instructor-led training helps you accomplish just this and prepares you to answer the right style of questions for the PMP Exam.
2. You will not be immediately prepared to take the PMP after you have completed training.
This applies whether you opt to take a self-paced or an intensive course. Unless you have hyperthymia and can remember everything you hear (I'd venture to guess that you don't - only sixty people in the world
have ever been diagnosed!), PMP training on its own will not
encompass enough study or practice to prepare you to take the exam.
However, be especially sure to keep this at the forefront of your mind if you are taking a week-long boot camp. PMP boot camps are intensive and give you a crash course of all concepts you will need to know for the exam in a short amount of time. Because of this, you may think that you will want to schedule and take your exam as soon as possible after your boot camp so that you do not forget anything! I cannot emphasize enough what a bad idea this is.
Education hours are designed specifically to give you base level or concept knowledge, but usually, it does little to prepare you to answer the situational questions on the exam. On the exam, you will often be applying multiple theoretical concepts to a single question in order to determine what the best answer will be. You will need lots of practice answering sample PMP questions and studying on your own time in order to fully prepare for the exam.
After your PMP training/boot camp, the real work starts. You will be studying concepts over and over again, making flashcards, taking practice exams, and reviewing concepts with study partners. How much time it will take you to prepare depends entirely on your:
- Job experience
- General project management knowledge level
- Test-taking ability
In rare cases, a person may be able to prepare for the PMP exam in as little as ten days, but most people take at least a couple of months to prepare. It is up to you to dedicate the time and energy that you need to pass the exam.
3. Keep a notebook or brief list to write down concepts you do not immediately understand.
Often, instructor-led training courses will provide you with materials to help you study concepts for the exam, eliminating the need for intensive note-taking. This can be helpful! Even if this is the case, I would still opt to keep a small notebook or sheet of paper to jot down concepts that you are finding more difficult to grasp. If you struggled with a concept during your PMP training, you may find it particularly difficult to study on your own.
Keep a list of the things that come up during your training course of items that didn't make immediate sense to you or need additional explaining. It will help you in many ways:
- Know what to emphasize when creating your personal study plan
- Helps you form specific questions to ask your instructor
- Creates a concise list of topics you may need to find additional material for
- Focus on certain types of questions during practice exams
4. Form a network with other attendees.
No matter where you choose to conduct your training, you will have classmates. Use this to your advantage! Form a network with others who are studying to take the PMP at the same time as you. Taking a remote class is no exception - we should all be used to connecting virtually at this point!
Peer support can help you in the following ways:
- It creates accountability: peer groups help ensure that others are studying according to their own defined study plan. You can also share with the group when you have scheduled a date and time to take your exam. This may seem like a simple concept, but it's proven to be effective. Sharing your commitment to taking the exam with others who share the same goal increases the likelihood that you will stick to your original plan. It also helps you to stay motivated and disciplined in your approach.
- It is an easy way to form a study group: Forming a study group with others can help us work through problem questions and concepts we do not understand. Some may find study groups to be more effective than others, but there is value to be found for every type of learner in a study group. If you are the type who retains concepts better when studying on your own, you may still benefit from a study group, because...
- It's a teaching opportunity: One of the best ways to fully understand new information is to pass that information onto someone else. Explaining PMP concepts to a classmate will help solidify concepts in your own mind. Once you can easily explain a concept to someone in a way that helps them understand it, you have reached a new level of mastery in your own knowledge. This will increase your confidence for the exam!
- Take advantage of having an expert instructor. Additionally, you have another amazing resource at your disposal during your PMP training - an expert instructor! Do not take this for granted; it is extremely helpful to be able to have an industry expert whom you can ask critical questions. You will have access to your instructor for a limited amount of time, so make sure that you ask lots of questions while they are available to you.
There are many benefits to undergoing PMP Training; it is required for a reason. PMP training
should give you an excellent base layer of knowledge to build on as you prepare for the exam. However, you will only be able to fully realize these benefits if you are engaged in the course and determined to get the most out of it. Be intentional with your time spent in training and use the tips above to help you make the most of the time.
Your PMP training class is bound to be chalk full of information, and at times it may seem overwhelming. It is your responsibility to ensure that you take advantage of your training in order to fully prepare to take the exam. But don't lose hope! You should not expect to remember everything that you learn from PMP training. Training is an introduction to the content covered on the exam; you will have a lot more work to do once you are studying on your own. The silver lining here is that you can take as much time to prepare as you need before you take the real PMP exam. With the right mindset and preparation, you will be ready to take on the world once you are done with training (or at least, the next phase of studying for the PMP!)