PMP Online Exam Prep: Practice With Rules – Darrell Braswell, PMP

PMP online exam prep secrets revealed by Darrell BraswellPMP online exam prep can be a challenge, discovered Darrell. Although he prepared well, the exam threw surprises.

Darrell Braswell works as a consultant for a Project Management firm. With over 16 yrs experience in government project & program management, and operations, Darrell is a seasoned professional. A graduate of the University of Washington, Seattle, he lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

In this interview, Darrell shares the exact process he followed to get the perfect Above Target score.

And few crucial insights that might help you with your exam preparation.

If you are planning to take PMP exam online, don’t miss downloading the pdf and watching the official instructions video below.

Let us get started!

What made you take up PMP?

PMP Darrell BraswellSince starting my career in Project Management, I have recognized the importance of the PMP certification. But at the same time I realized that studying for the PMP would be a full-time job and earlier I didn’t have the time to study proficiently.

When I changed careers, my employer offered me the time to study for and take my PMP exam.

I knew that would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really have the 5-8 hours a day to study.

Now that I am PMP certified, I’m enjoying the benefits of this internationally recognized certification. The PMP certification also adds to my marketability.


I have severe test anxiety and obtaining my PMP on the first attempt, knowing that the failure rate is high on the first attempt, gave me self-confidence professionally and personally.

According to you, what is the ONE thing a PMP aspirant should have, to prepare well and pass the exam?

Forget everything you think you know about Project Management, and understand the PMI methodology.

Let me explain.

The difference here is that on the job we act largely based on the demands of the situation, considering many aspects such as client relationship, short-term and long-term benefits of a particular decision, and so on.

But PMI expects only one type of behavior for a given situation.

This is what is important to learn and keep in mind while answering the questions on the exam.

This one realization made my PMP exam preparation much easier.

Never base your answers on your own project management experience, rather think how PMI would expect the answer to be.

Also read:

Which study resources did you use?

I took the training PMI Exam Prep, The PMI Study Hall, and Andrew Ramdayal’s Udemy Exam Prep.

Finally, for practicing my exam skills and time management, I used PrepCast as my exam simulator.

I also read the Agile Practice Guide cover to cover.

What was your approach and study plan?

The approach that worked for me with my timeline was to take each of the exam prep courses twice.

The PMI Exam Prep referenced many articles, artifacts and PMBOK references, so I would print those out and use them as study guides.

Also, I took several practice exams and analyzed each question I didn’t answer correctly to determine why I answered the way I did. And understood why the correct answer was correct.

Did you face any blockers along the way?

My main issue was trying to determine where to spend my study time.

There were several experiences from people who took the test. Some said that it was all Agile, others said that there were many formula questions, others said it was a mix.

I became very overwhelmed with the different observations, so I finally decided to stop researching what was on the exam and just ensure that I had a clear understanding of everything listed in PMI’s PMP Examination Content Outline.

Some of the PMI practice exams has answers that were incorrect, and I notified them about the anomalies. This was very frustrating.

The most detailed review – including real videos – from PM PrepCast video course

Most detailed review - including few real videos - from PM PrepCast video course

The week before the exam is crucial. How did you prepare this week?

I spent my last week before the exam-taking practice tests.

The last 2 days before my exam, I took 2 timed mock tests each day and looked over the questions that I missed.

The day before my exam, I went through Ramdayal’s mindset approach, stopped for the day and tried to relax.

Can you talk about your PMP exam experience?

As I had a self-embossed hard deadline to complete my exam, I chose to take the exam via the online proctor.

My desk setup and camera were not very conducive to online testing, as my monitor is very large and the proctoring instructions require you not to move around too much.

I had not realized this before the exam, so I had to continue doing the best with the arrangement.

Also, I was interrupted about 3 times by the proctor because of my camera angle and where I was on camera.

The hardest part for me was that I did not know that I couldn’t even read the questions out loud or cover my mouth and read them.

So my advice is, if you are opting for the online exam, read the online exam rules and take mock tests by following those rules. This will make your actual exam experience much easier.

Here the PMP online exam prep rules file from PMI’s official page.

Note – always check for the latest version of the instructions on

[pdf id=’107863′]

Here is a detailed instruction video for PMP online exam prep –

The other important aspect of PMP exam is taking the two optional 10-minute breaks.

Taking breaks was extremely important for me as online proctoring is very stringent. I needed the time to relax my posture, stretch my legs, have light refreshment, drink juice and be ready for another session of high-focussed exam.

That was my methodology of going through questions and talking myself through them. I had to do them all in my head.

Any study tips for PMP students?

Everyone studies differently and comes with different experiences.

There are many resources out there that I believe will fit a person’s specific study technique. Choose the one that fits yours. This way you will save overall preparation time.

For your PMP online exam prep to be effective, understand the rules of online exam as referenced above, and practice full-length mock tests in similar conditions (such as not moving too much, not reading out question loud, taking 10-minute break after each 60 questions, and so on).

Good luck,

Darrell Braswell, PMP


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