A Study Plan and lesson learnt !

PMP Lesson Learnt and Study Plan


 To attain PMP certification by clearing a grueling 4 hour exams comprises of 200 questions.

 Target Audience:

Anyone preparing for this exam including people who have scheduled it or who are undergoing training or who are planning to get themselves certified.

Study Material:

PMBOK 4th Edition (A must - Main Book)

Rita Mulchay 7th Edition (Recommended Helper book)

Andy Crowe 4th Edition comes with 1 week Velociteach free access (Recommended Helper book)

PMP Headfirst 2nd Edition (Recommended Helper book)

Kim Heldman 6th Edition (Recommended Helper book)

Free Exam Sites:






PM Study


Oliver F.
Lehmann, PMP


EdWel Programs


Head First Labs




PMfASTRACK v7 (paid)


Pmzilla 200 Tough Questions(paid)


Exam Central (old questions good for practice)











Preparation Time Required:

      Ideally a good 4-6 weeks of dedicated study of 2-4 hours a day (varies from person to person).


1)      Read PMBOK ( 2-3 times)

2)      Helper Book  (2 times)

3)      Mock Tests   (Full length  4-8 in numbers)

4)      Self Notes, Rajesh Nair’s Notes and Raga 355 points for last couple of day’s revision.

5)      Read PMI Code of Conduct.

Study Plan

The following steps should be followed for effective results:

1)      Read one Chapter from any helper book mentioned above.

2)      Refer PMBOK for that chapter and understand the definition for each process groups and ITTO’s. Make notes of important points.

3)      Attempt questions from the helper book provided @the end of the chapter.

4)      Review the explanations provided and map with your understanding.

5)      Repeat Step 1 for next chapter.

6)      After Completion of all chapters go through the PMP Glossary & Appendix A (page 350 and 351)

7)      Next attempt brainbok.com quizzes to revise ITTO and Glossary terms.

8)      Attempt 3-4 full length tests from above mentioned sites.

9)      Assess your performance and re-read the PMBOK and helper book.

10)   Again attempt questions from 2-3 other exam sites mentioned above.

11)   If your scores are in range of 70- 80% you are ready to take the exam.

Exam Day Strategy:

1)      Be relaxed and do not take any mock test at least 2-3 days before the Exam day.

2)      Visit Exam Center before to reach on time without any hassle.

3)      Keep last 2-3 days for revision.

4)      Reach Center half an hour before schedule time.

5)      Carry energy drinks and eatables (if you are not use to sitting for 4 hours).

6)      Please do not carry anything except ID proof and Appointment letter.




Exam Game Plan

1)      Please write down all the formulas and Process with groups (PMBOK page 43 table) during initial 15 minutes tutorial time.

2)      Read questions properly and look for keywords such as Best, Least likely, most likely, Not ,Next , Process , Process Group , Input, output or tools.

3)      Also be aware of made up terms which are not as per PMI standard.

4)      In case of doubt mark it for review.

5)      Do not stuck on one question for long. On exam you will be able to strike out 2 wrong options out of 4 easily , therefore, make a choice from the rest of the 2 options and move forward.

6)      Try to finish the exam in 3 hours and leave 1 hour for Review (varies from person to person).

7)      Please do not review those questions which you are 100% sure and waste time.

8)      Skip questions for which you have no clues and make an educated guess during review.

9)      Expect 20-30 direct questions, 15-20 formulae based questions and rest 140-150 situational questions.

10)   Remember ethical answer choice wins in case of PMP whose thrust more on PM being morally and ethically correct.


1)      All questions are equally weighted:

 It is not true as PMP is using  a combination of "Modified Angoff Technique" and psychometric method adopted by PMI since Sept 2005 .This means questions are scaled and graded as per difficulty levels and requires a minimum % to clear exam overall.

2)      You need to get Moderately Proficient or above on all the process group to clear PMP:

 Again it depends on the aggregation of marks scored on each process group as overall pass marks and individual process group’s grades are independently evaluated on exam.

For example (just a representation): 

Assume that there are 10 marks for each process group and grade for each process groups is defined as follows:

Max Marks – 50 (10 for each process group)

Overall pass marks – 31 (62%)

BP means 5 and below

MP means 5-7 marks

P means 7 and above

If someone scores 6 marks in every process group then his grade for each process group would be MP but his aggregation of 30 would still be less than 31 overall pass marks and his result might be FAIL.

In another case, someone has 4 MP’s with 7 marks each and 2 BP’s with 4 marks each which aggregates to 36 much above than 31 overall marks and final results might be PASS.

3)      Any paid Brain dump questions sets available in market consist of actual PMP questions and sufficient to pass:

PMP is totally different ball game altogether and their exam questions can’t be available to outside world. I believe they have one of the largest exam questions bank available for any certification exam where even the possibility or probability of repeat questions for any 2 exam takers is very low let alone the dump questions available in the market. Therefore, It is a total waste of time, effort and energy to try for it.

4)      One needs to memorize/cram all ITTO to clear this exam:

Again a fallacy worth avoiding because there are more than 500 such ITTO’s overall. We could easily understand the probalistics set of ITTO’s for each process group and on exam one could easily figure it out from the options. So it is always better to understand and learn it instead of memorizing them.

Thanks, Nishant

P.S. > I cleared PMP in first attempt with all P's in each process group with 4 weeks of study last week.

Excellent post Nishant. Terrific. I totally agree to the grading of the question you mentioned. It also depends what marks are given to each question. It would be better if someone downplays his total work experience in number of hours. One should not exceed much beyond the mandatory 4500 hours, needed by PMI. Good thoughts penned down Nishant....... KK!!!

very nice post

Nicely written LL. Congrats


Really a helpful post.

Thanks Nishant !!

Excellent work and nicely written. I will take some notes too. :)

Saket, PMP