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30.0 Подготовка к PMP® сертификационному экзамену

(30.0)

(This section reflects the experiences of the author and is not designed to meet everyone’s needs for PMP certification.)

When I was in the job market in the mid-90's, I don't remember seeing any jobs where there was a requirement or a preference for project management certification. However, when I was looking again in early 2000, there were quite a number of positions where project management certification was required. Not a majority for sure, but there were a definite number where the certification was required. This was especially the case for the senior project and program management positions. The project management certification that most US companies recognize is called Project Management Professional (PMP®). The Project Management Institute (PMI) administers the PMP certification. If my experience, and the literature, is true, this certification will become more and more valuable for project managers in the future. 

The purpose of this section is not to provide a great amount of background on the PMP certification or the requirements. Suffice it to say that you are required to prove a substantial amount of recent project management experience and a certain level of recent project management training. (Depending if you have a degree or not, you must document between 4,500 and 7,500 hours of project management experience.) You must also pass a test that demonstrates your understanding and application of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)). For all the details on the PMP qualifications, benefits and requirements, visit www.PMI.org

The purpose of this page is to describe how I prepared for the PMP exam. If any readers decide to pursue PMP certification, this information may be of some benefit.

Realization

First I had to come to the general conclusion that the PMP credentials would be of value to me in the future. Based on my experience in my last job search, and my desire for the formal credentials that recognize significant project management background, I decided that I needed to get the PMP certification. It took about five months from the day I decided to pursue the certification to the day I passed the test..

Second, I decided that I wanted to have a preparatory class to help me understand what I should focus on for the test. Even though I had managed projects for years, I was very weak from the standpoint of the project management philosophy of the PMI organization. Remember that your experience gets you part of the way toward the PMP. The rest is to understand the specific project management philosophy of the Project Management Institute and be able to pass a test on that knowledge. Our local Atlanta PMI chapter offered a PMP Preparation class on four Saturdays to help me prepare for the PMP exam. I signed up for this class and it was invaluable in getting me in the right frame of mind.

Approach

Once I attended the first class I received advice that I decided to take to heart. I didn't think of these myself, but I adapted them for my preparation.

  • Think of the PMP prep as a small project and attack it as a project. This includes creating and executing a project workplan. I followed this philosophy and have included my basic workplan below. In other words, plan the work - work the plan. By getting it into a project workplan, you are more likely to follow through on the commitment.

  • You should already have project management experience, so learn what is required to pass the PMP test. You may have techniques and processes that work better than the PMI way, but for the purposes of passing the test, it is the PMI way that matters.

  • During the first class, a book called "PMP Exam Prep" by Rita Mulcahy, was recommended by the instructor. The book is expensive - around $90.00 plus shipping. However, my philosophy was that I would rather pay the money now, rather than have to take the test twice. The book provides a valuable second source to learn what is required to pass the test, and it includes 200 practice questions. You can order this book through Mulcahy's website - www.rmcproject.com. (I have no vested interest in the book or the website, but it did help me.)

  • I created flashcards with important project management processes, terms and equations. On one side of the card was the term and on the other side I wrote the definition or detailed equation. When I had time, I would thumb through the cards. It was not important to memorize all the terms, since the test is multiple choice. However, you must be prepared to recognize the definition, or a variant of the definition, as well as how and when you might apply it. I had close to 80 cards when I was done. Part of the value of this technique is to actually write the terms and definitions yourself. Therefore, I created my own flashcards rather than purchase them or use someone else’s cards.

  • Before the exam began, you have a few minutes to prepare and read instructions. I also used this time to write out all nine PMI knowledge areas and sub-processes, as well as indicate the overall process group (initiate, plan, execute, control, close). As the test progressed, I could easily look over and get my bearings on the process map without having to think too hard. You need to know the material to that degree if you want to pass. You also need to know all the PMBOK® Guide equations and how to apply them in a story problem context.

I attended the four-Saturday preparation class, and then submitted my resume to PMI. After the class, I studied the material and practiced sample questions every day for two more weeks, until my resume was accepted and I received a control number allowing me to take the exam. I called for a time and set it for one week out. Now I was focused every day - going over the material again and again in my mind. 

I arrived at the testing site early, went over some last minute review of areas that I thought I might be weak, and then took the exam. As well as I prepped; I still thought it was difficult. I took almost three hours to get through the 200 questions the first time. I then spent one hour reviewing my answers. This took me to the limit of the four hours allotted. Some of the questions were about definitions and processes and these I answered fairly quickly. Many were designed to lay out a project scenario, and then they would ask you for the BEST answer. In other words, two of the answers could be correct, but one was a better answer than another. These took a while to understand and answer correctly.

When the test was completed and graded, I had 171 correct out of 200. You needed 140 correct to pass. I was very relieved.

Activities

I copied the appropriate activities from my workplan below. The important thing is not necessarily my specific activities, but rather that you have your own plan to be successful - and then follow it. This workplan started the day of my first PMP prep class. It was then that I heard the technique about building a workplan to focus on the “project” of getting PMP certified. (In my original workplan, I also had begin-date, end date and predecessor.)

1

Preparation Class #1 of 4 (start of workplan)

1 day

2

Find out what is needed for PMP exam

1 day

3

Order Preparing for PMP Exam book, by Mulcahy

1 day

4

Preparation Class #2 of 4

1 day

5

Create a standard resume in PMI format to document project management experience

4 days

6

Spend 30 minutes each day studying (repeat for three weeks while class is going on)

21 days

7

Send in application packet to PMI, certified mail

1 day

8

Build index cards of definitions and terms. Update as needed.

15 days

9

Build index cards of processes and sub-processes. Update as needed.

5 days

10

Create matrix of knowledge areas and processes

2 days

11

Create cheat-sheet showing major inputs/outputs/techniques for each sub-process

5 days

12

Preparation Class #3 of 4

1 day

13

Go through PMP Exam book first time

6 days

14

Go through PMP Exam book second time

4 days

15

Go through PMP Exam book third time

4 days

16

Spend at least 60 minutes each day studying (repeat for two to three weeks, up to exam date)

15 days

17

Preparation Class #4 of 4

1 day

18

Set up time to take PMP exam

5 days

19

Take off work the day before the exam for final preparation

4 days

20

Study all day before the exam

1 day

21

Take PMP exam

1 day