Which PMP® Training Program is Right for You?

How Do You Choose?

To pass your PMP exam, you need exam prep training. You have hundreds of options. How do you decide which one is right for you? 

The answer: start with your needs.

Question #1: How Do You Learn Best?

We each learn a little differently. Some of us favor self-study, while others favor group learning experiences. In addition, some tools help us more than others:

  • Online lessons and quizzes
  • Printed materials
  • Audio recordings
  • Live classroom
  • A combination of multiple tools listed above 

Question #2: How Should You Receive Your PMP Training?

Again, you have options:

  • Self-study
  • Group study
  • A blended learning experience: self-study followed by live classroom learning

Blended learning gives you the most bang for the buck. Regardless of your "best" learning method, blended learning exposes you to multiple ways to learn to pass your PMP exam.

Question #3: Which Blended Learning Experience is Best for You?

The best blended learning experience for PMP training has these components:

Online Learning, Prior to Live Training

My PMP training program uses Andy Crowe's Velociteach online learning system.

My PMP training program uses Andy Crowe's Velociteach online learning system.

  • 35 hours of online lessons
  • Quizzes after most lessons
  • Media center, with additional learning tools
  • Simulated 200-question PMP exam, with answers and rationales

Printed Learning Tools to Use Before, During and After the Live Training

I use the Velociteach PMP Advantage Student Learning Kit

I use the Velociteach PMP Advantage Student Learning Kit

  • Textbook (I prefer Andy Crowe's "The PMP Exam: How to Pass It on your First Try".)
  • Fold-out Quick-Reference Guide, containing formulas, definitions and other helpful tips
  • 250 flash cards, to help you drill on topics you'll find on the exam
  • 6 audio CDs containing conversations with Andy Crowe and others, about how to pass the PMP exam
  • I also add the current edition of the PMBOK, the Project Management Body of Knowledge, published by the Project Management Institute.

Live Classroom Experience


You'll learn how to pass the PMP exam in a live experience, where you listen, learn, discuss and practice. You will learn by studying, participating and doing.

  • Slides
  • Student workbook
  • Stories, from an experienced storyteller, author and speaker
  • Case studies
  • Examples, to apply project management principles to project management activities

Make an Informed Decision about Your PMP Training

  1. Start with your needs, including the ways you learn best.
  2. Compare the various learning options, using your needs as your guide.
  3. Commit.

How to Study for Your PMP Exam

You know what to study for your PMP exam. Now, it's time to consider how to study.

Step 1: Set a Goal to Pass Your PMP Exam

Write this sentence on paper: "I (say your name) will pass my PMP exam by (enter a date)"

Now, sign it and date it.

You have just begun a project with this commitment:

  • Deliverable: passing the PMP exam
  • Due date: the date you wrote down
  • Accountable person: look in the mirror; it's you

Share your project with your co-workers, friends and family. They will hold you accountable. They will also do everything in their power to help complete your project and achieve your goal.

Step 2: Make a Study Calendar

Set time to study for your PMP exam. Make appointments with yourself. Share your appointments with your friends and family. They will hold you accountable. They will also clear the way so you can study.

Step 3: Execute - Follow Your Study Plan

Now that you have a goal, a deliverable, a due date, an accountable person and a study schedule, keep your study appointments. Watching Star Trek re-runs on TV will not help you. Find a quiet place, or wear noise-cancellation headphones. Use all of the learning tools at your disposal:

  • The PMBOK
  • Online lessons and quizzes
  • Online 200-question simulated PMP exam
  • Textbook
  • Flash cards
  • Quick-reference guide
  • Audio CDs
  • Workbook and notes from a live PMP course

If you have taken one of my PMP boot camps, you already have each of the study tools listed above.

When you can pass a 200-question simulated PMP exam with a score of 80%, three times in a row, chances are you are ready to sit for your real PMP exam.

When you pass, drop me a note at mikeg@gossconsulting.com, so I can celebrate your success.

What to Study for Your PMP® Exam

There's a Lot of Material - Here's Your Roadmap to Studying for Your PMP Exam


The Project Management Body of Knowledge is the primary source for the questions on the PMP exam. It isn't the sole source, but it's the major source. Exam prep courses, textbooks and other tools are based primarily on the PMBOK. Through March 25, 2018, the PMBOK Fifth Edition is the source for many of the questions on the PMP exam. A new PMP exam arrives on March 26, 2018. Its primary source is the PMBOK Sixth Edition, That edition is in print now.

PMP Textbooks

Several people have written PMP exam prep textbooks. My personal favorite is "The PMP Exam: How to Pass It on Your First Try," by Andy Crowe. It was one of the tools that helped me pass my PMP exam in 2011. 

PMI and Independent Publications

The Project Management Institute publishes several white papers, reports and books. Some are free to the general public. Others are available only to PMI members. 

Many independent authors have published articles containing tips to pass the PMP exam. Your favorite search engine can deliver hundreds of suggestions.

Your Greatest PMP Exam Prep Tool: Practice Exams 

Take many practice exams. When you can score 80%, three times in a row, you are probably ready to sit for your PMP exam.

A past president of PMI-Portland took ten practice exams before he sat for his real PMP exam. Of course, he passed.

PMBOK SCMIMBOK - What's All the Fuss?

What the PMBOK Is

Best Practices: The Project Management Body of Knowledge, published by the Project Management Institute, is the accumulated best practices of the project management profession. Its content evolves through feedback from project managers...and their sponsors and customers...from all over the world.

PMP Exam Content: The content of the PMBOK is the source of most (but not all) of the questions on the PMP exam and the CAPM exam. 

What the PMBOK Is Not

The introduction to the PMBOK states that it is not the carved-into-stone rulebook for how to manage projects. Project managers are expected to apply the best practices of the PMBOK to their own projects.

Why It Matters: International Standards

When everyone understands the same terms and definitions, formulas and processes, then all of our projects will perform better. Since 50 percent of projects around the world fail to meet the original objectives of their project charters, the PMBOK offers a way to improve project performance on all levels.

How to Use It in Your Project Management Career

When you follow the best practices of the PMBOK, your projects will perform better. That will open doors of opportunity for greater responsibility and income. 

Because your projects will tend to perform better, your customers will receive higher-quality deliverables, on time and within budget.

Everyone wins!

For Fun and Profit, Join Your Local PMI® Chapter

After you join the Project Management Institute®, you have the opportunity to join your local PMI chapter. What's in it for you, to become a member of your local chapter?


1. Gain Knowledge, to Help Your Projects

The educational sessions and keynote dinner presentations will keep you up-to-date on the latest trends in project management, leadership and communications. The knowledge you gain will help you deliver better projects.

2. Employment Opportunities

At my chapter, PMI-Portland, we pass the microphone during the dinner meeting. Many job-matching opportunities occur as the microphone is passed. Are you looking for work? Raise your hand and briefly describe what you can contribute. Are you an employer, seeking applicants? Describe your opportunity. Many chapter members have used this opportunity to further their careers.

3. Earn PDUs by Attending the Chapter Meetings

When you attend a monthly chapter meeting, you can earn two PDUs. You'll earn one PDU at the educational session before the general meeting. At the general meeting, you'll earn another PDU by attending the keynote presentation. If your club meets ten months out of the year, that's 20 PDUs per year, or 60 PDUs in three years...meeting your 60-PDU requirement to renew your PMP® credential.

These are only three reasons to join your local PMI chapter. There are so many more. Contact your load chapter from the chapter directory on the PMI website, and join today.

Why It's Better for Your Project Management Career to Join PMI®

Bill decided to take his PMP exam without joining PMI or his local PMI chapter. He praised himself for his wisdom in saving the cost of the annual dues. He even passed his exam. 

Since he didn't join PMI, he didn't take advantage of the discounted educational tools and publications available to members. That also meant he couldn't join his local chapter, or attend their monthly meetings.

Bill gained no new insights about the project management profession, but he saved $164 in first-year dues.

Mary joined PMI and her local PMI chapter during her PMP exam application process. She spent $139 on her first-year PMI membership and application fee. She spent a whopping $25 for a year's dues at her local PMI chapter. She downloaded many helpful PMI publications, at a discount. She learned much from her local chapter's monthly meetings.

Today, Bill works for Mary.

It's better for your project management career to join PMI.

How to Respond to a PMP Exam Application Audit

Types of Audits

You submitted your PMP exam application. A couple of days later, you received an email message from PMI. It started one of these ways:

  • "Your exam application has been approved." This is the one most people receive.
  • "We need further clarification on one of your entries." This can usually be resolved quickly from your experience.
  • "You have been randomly selected for a complete audit of your application." This one takes more effort, paperwork and time. 

Reasons for Audits

There are two reasons why your audit occurs:

  1. The reviewer needs a clarification on one of your entries. The rest of your application is OK.
  2. You are, indeed, randomly selected for a full audit. It happens.

How to Respond

It's all in the details. Use your supporting records to answer the questions raised in the audit. Submit your response quickly and completely. 

The Outcome: Success!

When your response satisfies the reviewer, you will receive an email notifying you that your exam application is approved. 

PMP® Exam Application - How to Record Your Project Experience

The Requirement

A section of the PMP exam application requires you to document your project leadership experience. Your title doesn't have to be "project manager." 

Depending on your formal education, here are the minimums:

  • Bachelors Degree or higher: 4,500 hours
  • Diploma or Associates Degree: 7,500 hours

Complete details of the requirements are contained in a PMI publication titled The PMP Handbook.

The Format

As you enter your experience, PMI exam application reviewers will be looking for a format that follows the five Process Groups found in the Project Management Body of Knowledge. You may use an abbreviation for each section, or you may use the entire word. Put it in capital letters so the reviewer can easily spot it. Here is the format:

OBJECTIVE (or OBJ): Describe what your project was supposed to accomplish, at a high level. You might say, "Develop a software module to handle customer credit card payments." 

INITIATING (or IN): What documents or other proof (the reviewers call them "deliverables") came from your Initiating processes? You could say, "Prepared the project charter for signature."

PLANNING (or PL): What "deliverables" were produced? Examples include the Project Management Plan, the Project Schedule, the Project Budget and other subsidiary management plans.

EXECUTING (or EX): What "deliverables" were produced? Examples include the production of the deliverables of your project. If your objective was to build 100,000 coffee mugs, then you might describe your work as "manufactured mugs." 

MONITORING & CONTROLLING (or MC): Describe your work in auditing and adjusting your EXecuting processes.

CLOSING (or CL): Describe your work in seeking the customer's final acceptance and transfer of title to the customer. You may also describe your lessons-learned meeting and the financial and administrative close of the project.

Do It Right the First Time, to Speed Your Approval

Now that you know what the reviewers are trained to look for, you can make sure your PMP exam application has the greatest chance of fast approval.

How to Earn Your PMP® Contact Hours

PMI's PMP Training Requirement

On your PMP application, you must show at least 35 hours of project management training.

Training can come from live PMP courses, college courses on project management or online PMP training programs. Full details are contained in a Project Management Institute publication titled The PMP Handbook. Click Here to view and download this PMI publication.

My Solution

Attend one of my risk-free PMPforYOU four-day PMP boot camps. My blended-learning program guides you from kick-off to exam:

Online Learning

  • 35 hours of lessons and quizzes
  • Media Center tools to learn processes, their components and their relationships
  • 200-question simulated PMP exam

Printed Learning Materials

  • Andy Crowe's famous textbook on how to pass the exam, printed over 250,000 times
  • 6 audio CDs containing conversations on how to pass the exam
  • Fold-out quick-reference guide to formulas and definitions
  • 250 flash cards
  • Student workbook for the live course

Live Training from One of the Most Effective Trainers

Your Trainer, Mike Goss, PMP, DTM, Certified Coach

  • College instructor for 20 years
  • PMP boot camp trainer since 2014 (Oregon, Washington, South Carolina)

Course Content

  • Top-rated Velociteach online and printed learning tools
  • Live, four-day PMP boot camp, with Velociteach slides
  • Project management processes, process groups and knowledge areas from the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)
  • Each student receives a printed PMBOK
  • Stories to help you learn, from a master storyteller and Distinguished Toastmaster

How to Begin Your PMP® Application

Before you can sit for your PMP exam, you must complete your exam application. Many people have trouble getting started. Here's the answer:

Complete details on your PMP exam application are in a PMI publication called The PMP Handbook. You can download it here:

Here are three steps to get you started:

  1. You can complete and mail in a paper application, or you can complete an online application. Choose the online one. It starts with creating a free online account at http://www.pmi.org. Then go to https://certification.pmi.org to begin your exam application. Enter your basic contact information, then proceed.
  2. You must report 35 contact hours of project management training. If you are enrolled in a four-day PMP boot camp, you can enter the boot camp hours on the last day of the course. 
  3. Record your project experience. This topic is covered in a Frequently-Asked Question.