FAQ - How to Prepare for Exam Day

Step 1: arrive rested

Your brain works better when you allow it to recharge. When you are preparing for your PMP exam, recharging your brain is mandatory.

I know a PMP boot camp student who studied well past 1 AM the night before her exam. She arrived at the testing center for her 8 AM exam. She was a little shaky. When she began her exam, she didn't recognize any of the questions from her practice exams. She finished all 200 questions, but she knew she was just guessing. 

She failed her PMP exam on her first try.

During a coaching session, she made a plan to succeed. Her plan was basically to do the opposite of the preparation for her first exam. She got a full night's sleep. She was confident as she strolled over to her workstation, to take her PMP exam.

Of course, she passed this time.

Step 2: perform a brain dump

When you first arrive at your workstation in the testing center, you will take a brief lesson on how to take the PMP exam. The time of that lesson does not count towards your four-hour PMP time. 

During the lesson, do not pick up a pencil. Do not write anything. If the testing center monitors see you writing during the lesson, they will take your pencils and paper away.

Start your PMP exam. That will start your four-hour timer.

Take no more than ten minutes preparing your brain dump. Use your pencil and paper to write down memory triggers that will help you answer your test questions. You decide what to include in your brain dump. You might include:

  • The table of Process Groups, Knowledge Areas and Processes
  • Formulas
  • Definitions
  • Network path diagrams
  • Anything else that you believe will help you answer test questions

Step 3: read the questions completely

Watch out for the word "not" in the wording of the question.

Watch out for the words "project" and "product" in the wording of the question. Don't switch them around in your brain.

Watch out for long story problems. The real question is probably the first or last sentence.

important pointer

Before test day, make sure you have taken enough practice exams. Unless you have taken several 200-question practice exams, and scored at least 80% three times in a row, you are not ready to sit for your PMP exam. Give yourself the time and practice necessary to succeed.