PMP Exam Made Easy series, Part 3: 5 More Tips To Pass PMP Exam

PMP exam made easy series - part 3 strategies to pass PMPOver the years 3 of my 14 PMP books have hit Amazon bestseller #1 positions in all the categories they have been listed in.

And have been purchased by over 15,924+ times across the globe.

During this time I have spoken to over 5342+ people one-on-one, helping them prepare for the exam either through my books, courses, or coaching.

And, I have interviewed over 331+ PMPs to learn their prep advice secrets.

All this has resulted in some incredible insights into PMP exam preparation.

I have been sharing these PMP exam study tips in this series, for the first time, with my blog readers.

That’s you!

It’s my way of thanking you for being part of my community, whether you have been part of my PMP daily support communities (on LinkedIn and on Facebook), email subscriber, course student, or blog reader.

In the first part of the ‘PMP Exam Made Easy’ series, we saw the top 5 tips you can use to simplify PMP prep efforts and increase the odds of success.

In the second part, we saw 5 more.

Let’s see the 5 more PMP prep tips today.

Bookmark this series of articles and visit regularly to refine your PMP prep approach!

Get a cup of your fav brew, share this page with a friend, and let’s dive in! ๐Ÿ˜€

Grab my free PMP course to supercharge your PMP study!

๐Ÿ‘‰ PMP Exam Made Easy, Tip #11: Use a good PMP exam simulator.

PMP exam made easy series - part 3 strategies to pass PMPWhat’s the #1 reason for failing in PMP exam?

Knowing this could help you pass the exam.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Top reason for failing PMP: Not using a good exam simulator.

Out of all the PMP students that I have spoken with, here’s what I have found:

The top reason for failure is: not using a simulator.

Please don’t make that mistake.

“Why should I get one?”

That’s a great question.

Here’s why –

1/ PMP exam is not a knowledge-based exam.

Many people make the mistake of rote learning.

  • The majority of questions are of ‘situational’ type
  • Designed to test your ability to apply concepts
  • That takes time, so you need a lot of practice

That’s why PMI has work experience as eligibility criteria.

2/ You get only 76 seconds per question.

  • You answer 180 questions in 230 minutes
  • You also require time to review tougher questions
  • Meaning, on average, you aim for 60 seconds per question

Time management is critical in the PMP exam.
The best way to practice this is to take mock tests.

3/ You need to identify study gaps and fill them.

There is a LOT to study for the PMP exam.

  • Predictive, Agile, Hybrid (processes, practices, principles)
  • PMBOK + Agile guide alone is about a 1000-page affair
  • PMI does not specify strict boundaries for the exam

You need to identify weak areas and plug them in before the exam.

In short:

Good simulator helps you –

  1. Practice how to apply concepts and solve questions.
  2. Manage time well on the exam, to solve + review.
  3. Discover knowledge gaps and fill them quickly.

Here are my two recommended simulators:

Use them in your research to zero in on the one you will need for your preparation.

Get 3 popular articles on PMP study:

๐Ÿ‘‰ PMP Exam Made Easy, Tip #12: Join an engaging study community.

“What’s the fastest way to learn PMP?”, I’m often asked.

There are many, I’d say. And my favorite is:

๐Ÿ‘‰ Teach someone as you learn.

There’s something about the PMP study that you must know.

(In fact, this is true for studying any subject.)

When we learn something new, our brain makes a few ‘implicit assumptions’.

Those connecting-the-dot-interpretations that we don’t notice consciously.

And some of them may not be correct. They need to be clarified.

Here’s an example:

Have you ever taken an exam and wondered why a few questions were ‘twisted’?

Actually, the questions were not twisted, they simply questioned your implicit assumptions.

They made you look at the subject in a way you had not.

Another way this happens subtly:

You study a concept in a book. Then when you go over the same concept in the PMBOK guide,

you think, “Wait a minute, looks like this is not how I understood it in the book!”

And then when you dive deep, you get an Aha! moment.

You develop new insight.

Has this ever happened to you?

That’s an implicit assumption brought out and clarified.

You got to clarify them if you want your PMP study to be effective.

๐Ÿ‘‰ “How to bring out these implicit assumptions?”

You can do this in 2 ways.

  1. Learn concepts through different study resources
  2. Teach someone what you learn

#2 is faster.

“Whom do I teach, Shiv?”, you may ask.

You can teach PMP to,

  • Someone that’s preparing for PMP exam, ideally
  • Someone who is interested in PM concepts
  • If you don’t find anyone, teach your pet!

All these approaches work, and you start from #1.

In short:

Want to learn PMP the faster way?

Teach someone PMP stuff as you learn.

You’ll develop deeper insights that help you on the exam.

They also make you a better project manager.

Get 5 recent PMP’s strategies to help you pass PMP:

๐Ÿ‘‰ PMP Exam Made Easy, Tip #13: Use immersive learning techniques.

Can’t remember the chapters you studied earlier?

You are not alone.

Most PMP aspirants feel the same at one point or the other.

Here’s the solution:

๐Ÿ‘‰ Use immersive learning techniques.

PMI added more content to PMP in 2021.

The previous syllabus counted toward 50% of the exam questions.

Agile & Hybrid content counted for the remaining 50%.

What did this mean for you, the PMP aspirant?

Twice the effort for the same outcome!

Double the time as well?


If you follow the immersive study technique, you will NOT spend double the time.

In other words, you can prepare for PMP with just 50% of your time & effort.

Here is how:

1. Study in chunks.

Take up one chapter, one concept, or one Knowledge Area at a time.

You need a single context to deal with at a time.

2. Visualize yourself in the situation.

For example, if you’re studying the ‘Identify Risks’ process,
imagine you are identifying risks in your project.

Actually take time, think about your stakeholders, project situation,
risk categories, and think of the Threats and Opportunities.

3. Create your own project artifacts.

As part of step #2 above:

  • Create a risk register for your project.
  • Your stakeholder register.
  • Own burndown chart.
  • A Kanban board.
  • ..anything else!

Creating artifacts helps you absorb the concepts.

4. Make your own study notes.

No matter how amazingly PMP content is presented to you,
when you write down what you learn in your own words,
you will make sure that you’ve understood it well.

You can create study notes by,

  • Drawing mind maps (or use from the course)
  • Creating own flashcards
  • Writing gift of the content
  • Or any other way you’re comfortable with

Your study notes are an amazing revision tool!

In short:

Immersive learning is a very powerful technique.

My students are saving up to 40% of overall prep effort and time.

You do it by –

  1. Studying in chunks.
  2. Visualizing you in the situation.
  3. Creating own project artifacts.
  4. Making your own study notes.


  • Round-1 study itself accounts for 70% of prep time
  • Round-2 study takes only 30%-50% time of Round-1
  • You create a powerful revision* tool (your study notes)

(* refer to the ‘revision week’ post in this series for more.)

Get top 5 popular articles to help you pass PMP with confidence:

๐Ÿ‘‰ PMP Exam Made Easy, Tip #14: Use this optimal mix of study rounds.

“How many rounds should I study for the exam?”

You’ve likely thought of this question at least once.

Here is what I have discovered working with thousands of students.

๐Ÿ‘‰ The optimal mix = 2 rounds of study + 1 round of revision.

Here’s how it works out.

1๏ธโƒฃ Round-1: New discoveries!

PMP covers Predictive, Agile, & Hybrid project management approaches.

And the Predictive part alone contains 10 knowledge areas, right?

Chances are, you haven’t worked on every one of these areas.

Many places don’t involve PM in Procurement, for instance.

The first round will give you many such ‘discoveries’.

Learning and internalizing them takes time.

Also, NO skipping of topics, please.

Let your brain have the time it needs.

Let it feast on the content and digest it.

This is the best thing you can do now.

If you hurry now, you’ll worry later.

Your brain won’t get 100% of it.

That’ll happen in round 2!

2๏ธโƒฃ Round-2: The pleasure round!

Because things start to fall in place now.

You will have a lot of ‘Aha’ moments.

You’ll truly enjoy the PMP study.

You’ll fill in many gaps.

You’ll feel more confident.

You can’t wait to take the exam.

So you’ll do mock tests strategically.

This is the RIGHT time to book the exam slot.

Because you can forecast better now.

Go ahead and do the booking!

3๏ธโƒฃ A round of revision

You’ll take the exam at the end of this.

This is typically a one-week affair.

Plan ur exam date accordingly.

Go over videos at 1.5X speed.

Go over all the mind maps.

Your own study notes.

Glossary of PMBOK.

Glossary of APG.

Those Flashcards.

And most importantly,

as many mock tests as you can!

Sleep for 8 hrs the night before your exam.

Then, walk into the exam room with confidence.

Come out victorious and tell me you passed! ๐Ÿ˜Š

In short:

The optimal mix of PMP study = 2 rounds of study + revision.

1๏ธโƒฃ Round-1: New discoveries! (typically 4-6 weeks)
2๏ธโƒฃ Round-2: The pleasure round! (2-3 weeks)
3๏ธโƒฃ A round of revision (1 week)

This is the average time taken by most of my students.

You can possibly do it in a shorter time, or longer.

Depending on the time you spend each day.

If you need any help, do reach out to me.

I run 2 daily -support communities you can join:

Join them for free today.

๐Ÿ‘‰ PMP Exam Made Easy, Tip #15: Take the week before exam off from work.

Which part of your PMP journey is more fragile?

Know this and you can increase the odds of success 2X.

The week before your exam is the most crucial part.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Take the week before the exam off from work, this can be a lifesaver.

Here’s why –

One of the smart things you can do is to dedicate 1 week for revision.

At the end of this week, you take the exam.

In other words, keep the week before your exam as revision week.

What you do (and not do) during this week has a big impact.

๐Ÿ‘‰ What TO DO during revision week –

1/ Revise.

  • Go over videos at 1.5X or 2X speed
  • Go over your own study notes
  • Revise through mind maps
  • Flashcards, Glossaries

2/ Take mock tests.

  • Practice full-length tests
  • Aim for 1 min per question
  • Identify gray areas and study

3/ Work on the logistics.

a. If you take the online option

  • Install test software on the computer
  • Plan for power/internet failure
  • Keep your room clean

b. If you take the test-center option –

  • Drive to test-center 2-day earlier
  • Verify your documents with the staff
  • Noise-canceling headphones available?

๐Ÿ‘‰ What NOT to do during revision week –

1/ Do not study new topics

  • If you studied to a plan, you won’t have any
  • Avoid any possibility of panic

2/ Do not compare with others

  • This can do more damage than help
  • Everyone has a different journey

3/ Do not commit to other high-priority work

  • This is a highly risky proposition
  • I’ll tell you about an incident in a bit

๐Ÿ‘‰ Why do I suggest taking off from work during this revision week?

  • Gives you zero-disturbance-focused time
  • Set expectations with your team, manager, & clients
  • Tell them that you cannot be disturbed even in emergencies
  • Have someone to cover for you; in your team, for the manager, for clients

I recall this –

One of my students didn’t set expectations.
3 days before the exam, the production server went down.
The whole team worked round the clock for 3 days fire-fighting.

He could not attend his PMP exam.

> Don’t leave anything to chance.

In short:

1/ De-risk your exam in every way.
2/ Dedicate ‘revision week’ for just that.
3/ Take off the week from work, set expectations

If you need any help with your PMP exam, please reach out to me.

In summary,

In part 1ย of this series, we covered 5 top PMP study tips, and in part 2, 5 more!

What we covered in this third part of the series are:

11. Use a good PMP exam simulator.
12. Join engaging study communities.
13. Use immersive learning techniques.
14. Use this optimal mix of study rounds.
15. Take the week before exam off from work.

Hope these tips will help you simplify your PMP prep, and even fast-track it.

So you can enjoy the preparation and be certain to an extent of passing it with an Above Target score.

Please bookmark these pages, I’ll soon publish the third part of this series.


Shiv Shenoy, PMP

(Connect with me on LinkedIn)

I share content every day to help project managers grow fast. Follow me on LinkedIn and click the Bell icon to not miss any posts.

When you are ready, here are a few ways I can help you enjoy your PMP prep and pass the exam with ease:


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