Practical Suggestions to a non-practical Exam

As long as you understand the concepts and how the process flows, you should be good to go.  One thing I really want to emphasize - do not memorize.  Understand the concepts, create a scenario in your mind, and apply the concepts in the PMBoK.   If you are a PM practioner, do not insist what's practical in your head - stick with the concepts. 

1)  Key concept: Do what's good for 1) the customer 2) then your organization. 

2)  According to, PM rules.  S/He is empowered to do anything, solve everything.  S/He seeks to solve and not be passive (that is a key concept).  The right answer is always the PM doing something, presenting a solution.  Avoid answers to situational questions that can be considered passive. 

3)  Always be fair.  Key concept: "win-win".

4)  Important: Know the right tools and their application.  Example, why use a flowchart, run chart, pareto, etc.?  Which processes are they used for?  If you can answer those 2 questions, you are ready.

5)  Again, don't memorize, you need to understand the concepts instead.  Even the formula, no need to memorize if you understand their application - I am not kidding.

6)  Important: During the the exam,  take a 5-minute snack break after the first 75 questions (banana and nuts).  Breathe.  Inhale and slooowly exhale - Something about anxiety and adrenalin.  Key concept: Anxiety will prevent you from passing this marathon of an exam! 

7)  Read the entire question.  There are subtle keywords that will direct you to the right answer.  Read all 4 answer options.  I noticed that there are always 1 in the set that tricks your mind into tripping you - avoid that 1 if you are guessing.  IF you are just guessing, try to pick the next best answer - chances are, they are trying to trick ya!

8)  Finally, get in the exam center knowing that you will pass. Be confident but not cocky.  Think of it like this exam is just formalities in receiving your certificate.  Hard to explain but I really think it's the anxiety of taking the exam that makes this certification "SO" difficult.... it really is not.  

These are just concepts from a defined book - the PMBoK. Not trivializing, just putting things in perspective.


admin's picture

Good tips Jeff.I would like to add that sometimes the first 20-30 questions may be tough or you may get it wrong. Dont be nervous, the exam has fair share of tough and easy questions so questions may get easier towards the middle.