The PMP exam has been characterized by about.com as as one of the most intense certification exams out there. It is a grueling 200 question, four hour exam. What makes it difficult is that, although the exam is knowledge based, the questions center around the application of best Project Management Practices. The Project Management Institute (PMI) has an ambitious goal of documenting all of those best practices in a book they call the “Guide to the Project Management Body Of Knowledge”, or the PMBOK Guide for short. The PMBOK guide has the documented best practices and methodologies and is a volume that every PMP applicant needs to own and use CISM exam.
Many of the questions on the PMP exam are situational in nature, they will state a specific situation with a fictional company and give you some details about the company and the situation. Perhaps the information will be needed to answer then next three or four questions–so the information given will be more than what is needed to answer the current question. The most important detail about answering the questions on the PMP exam is to take the time to read and understand the question thoroughly. The wording is often long and purposely wordy, and will sometimes need to be broken down to capture what is part of the question and what is part of the situational information.
As you read the PMBOK guide you will notice immediately that it revolves around the processes that project team members may be involved in. Project Management then, is managing these processes in a way to make the most efficient use of resources and time to produce something unique and never produced before. The PMBOK guide spells out the inputs, outputs, tools and techniques associated with each process.
If you know that the processes make up the bulk of the best practices documented in the PMBOK guide, then you know that those processes will be the focus of the PMI’s PMP test. The trick that will help the most on the PMP exam is to ask yourself, “what process am I in right now?” That may need to be followed up with, “what process should come next?” and “what processes have been completed to get to this point?” How will knowing what process you are in be helpful? The PMI is good at creating answer choices that are truths or best practices, but are not the BEST answer to the current question.