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What Is The Best Way to Study For The PMP Exam?

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It’s important to acknowledge that everyone studies differently. Some people can sit down and just read and absorb the material, others need practical examples to work through, and some people need someone there to answer questions as they go through the material. Essentially, there is no “one way” that is the best way to study for the PMP exam or any exam. 

However, here at Velociteach, we do have a few pieces of advice that we think make a difference when you’re ready to tackle the PMP exam because passing this exam is no simple matter. 

The PMP certification tells future employers and associates that you are a highly qualified and professional individual who can take care of business when the time comes. The Project Management Institute purposely makes the PMP exam difficult for that reason. 

The PMP exam consists of 180 questions and is just under four hours long. It’s an extremely challenging exam making it absolutely critical to take your studies as seriously as possible. 

Don’t let the difficulty of the exam scare you off, though. With the proper goals and techniques, you can optimize your studies and pass on your first try. So let’s talk about how to best study for the PMP exam.  

Making Realistic Goals For Yourself

Sometimes we expect too much from ourselves. You set out goals for yourself and suddenly realize that you’ve way overshot your actual abilities. 

And while it’s healthy to push yourself and try to reach a little beyond your comfort zone, realistic expectations help maintain healthy and positive progress. 

Scheduling

Take a look at your calendar – You probably already have important responsibilities in your timeline. Scheduling specific study times around what you already have will help keep you on track and create an achievable and realistic timeline. 

Not only that, but having an organized calendar will help you stay focused and reduce anxiety. If you randomly schedule whenever you happen to have time, you start asking yourself questions like, “How much have I been studying so far? Has it been enough? Am I overworking myself or not working enough?”

Velociteach has several options for all types of calendar options, whether you only have a couple of hours a night or you have a few days to dedicate.

  • The best-selling book, audio, and guides for DIY Students. 
  • Self-paced, online courses and practice tests written by PMP-certified, real-world project managers
  • A four-day boot camp class led by PMP-certified instructors which includes everything above plus a bounty of study materials, support from the Velociteach team, and a money-back guarantee.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of our four day class, then Velociteach will keep you on track with our tried and tested curriculum, study materials, and support from your instructor and the Velociteach team.  This option allows you to dedicate specific days for the course and follow-up studies and tackle your exam preparation in a shorter amount of time overall.

Or, you might want to set your own pace, in which case we have online materials and course bundles available. You can even build your own bundle to tailor to your specific goals and exam-prep needs.  With this option, you have the flexibility to choose the time, location, and pace of your exam preparation.

Focus

These days we have technology at our fingertips nearly at all times, which is generally helpful. But sometimes, when we’re trying to focus on something, the number of distractions can be overwhelming. There’s so much to look at, like:

  • Endless online content.
  • Online stores of literally any kind.
  • Constant News stories. 
  • Pictures of your family and friends.
  • New recipes to try out for dinner.
  • The latest movies and television shows.
  • Messages to and from anyone you want.

This list could go on, but we think you get the point: The things that could possibly distract you from studying are endless, and not only that, they’re extremely tempting. 

So what do we do?

Remove The Distractions

We know; it almost feels awkward to be away from your phone for an extended amount of time. And then you feel awkward because you feel awkward about it? Don’t worry; we get it. 

But taking a step away from your device will seriously help you focus. It’s much easier to resist looking at your phone if it’s in the other room rather than in your pocket. And it’s just while you’re studying so that you can truly hone in on what’s in front of you. 

A step further would be disconnecting your computer from the internet, if that’s a possibility. Of course, if you’re attending an online course, that’s not quite realistic. But, if you are reading through our exam-prep book, grab some highlighters and pens, and close your laptop.

If you’re studying the flashcard app or materials you have on your computer, then turn off other browsers so that you can resist the urge to see what YouTube has to offer when your mind begins to drift. Turn off email and other notifications, like Slack or Facebook or LinkedIn. Remove the distractions. Focus.

Take Practice Tests

Practice. Practice. And more practice. You may have taken your last standardized test many years ago, and that part of your brain feels out of shape! One of the keys to success we hear from our students: take practice tests. Simulating the actual exam will get your senses alert, back in tune with the rigors and time constraints of this PMP exam.

We offer some of the most effective, highly-rated practice tests on the market. All of our questions are aligned with the current Exam Content Outline from PMI. And, our online PMP exam simulator is extremely popular with all customers… from the DIY, to the student who attends the four-day bootcamp. After passing the actual exam, many of our students tell us that our practice tests were a key to their success and closely matched those questions on the actual PMP exam.

Being Mentally and Physically Prepared

Setting yourself up for success in every way possible will ensure that your study sessions are time well spent. And one way to do this is to make sure that mentally and physically, you’re in the proper zone to study. 

Abruptly shifting gears isn’t what our minds like to do. If you were to go from watching a show or playing a game straight into studying, then your brain is going to spend the first chunk of time still thinking about what you were doing before. 

Adding your blocks of study time to a calendar will be a huge help in knowing when to begin a proper shift into a study session. Try taking a few minutes before studying to step away from whatever you were doing beforehand. 

Put your phone down, take a few deep breaths and think about what you’ll be studying. Then, put yourself into the proper mindset to focus on your topics for that session and not on something that might distract you.

Know How To Take A Break

We know it might sound counterintuitive, but research has shown that students retain the most information from studying and working when dividing their time into 45 to 60-minute blocks, taking breaks in between.

We’ve all been there, desperately trying to push through our study materials like it was a marathon that we were at the cusp of finishing. 

But your brain can only stay focused on something for so long before getting tired, not to mention the strain a computer screen can put on your eyes after an extended amount of time.

Taking short, five to ten-minute breaks throughout your studies, every hour or so, will help you avoid the mental fatigue people might associate with studying. 

You may reward yourself with scheduled breaks to check email, dabble in social media, take a walk, or grab a snack; just remember to take a minute to shift back into your studies. Set a timer and find that study rhythm that works best for you.

Different Courses for Different Study Habits

Velociteach has several great options for all learners because we know everyone takes in information differently. Our content and delivery is based on adult learning theory and was created to appeal to a variety of learning styles.

PMP Class

We offer our PMP 6th Edition Plus Agile Exam Prep Class for students, which includes: 

  • Four days of training led by a PMP-certified instructor who can relate the PMI content to real-world examples and answer your questions.
  • The best-best-selling book The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try by Velociteach CEO and renowned PMP, Andy Crowe.
  • Course workbook containing quizzes, exercises, and interactive lessons
  • Study tool kit with a quick reference guide, a flashcard app, and over 8 hours of audio files.
  • E-learning: 6-month access to InSite, Velociteach’s interactive e-learning system, filled with audio visual modules and a media center with exercises and handouts
  • Bonus E-learning content includes courses on Fundamentals of Earned Value Management, Fundamentals of Schedule Network Diagramming, and The Strategy of Project Selection.
  • 35+ contact hours of PM education and experience you can use to apply to take the PMP exam. 
  • Tools and assistance with the PMP Exam Application
  • Ongoing, post-class support by Velociteach’s training team
  • Practice Tests! Highly effective exam simulator that includes over 1100 questions, answers, & explanations – all aligned to the current exam. Includes all the latest question formats, too.

We don’t want to toot our own horn too much, but professionals and students highly rate the effectiveness of these classes. We’ve been perfecting this class for nearly 2 decades, and we’ve optimized the class to prepare you in the best way possible for your PMP exam.

DIY

If you’re someone trying to balance work and education and need materials that you can walk through at your own pace, then we’ve got online courses and self-study materials available as well. 

We have The Complete PMP Exam Prep Bundle that we’ve designed to prepare you for your PMP exam. This bundle includes 4 courses and 1100 practice questions at a 20% discount. 

This bundle is available in one-month, three-month, and six-month options so that you can set your own pace depending on your life and your preferences. Each course or practice test is also available individually so that you can select exactly what you need to fit your study journey. 

In Conclusion

Velociteach.com offers a variety of options for all types of learners, whether you’re trying to teach yourself online and need materials that you can access on your own schedule or are interested in our Bootcamp course that covers everything you’ll need to know over the course of four days. 

However you go about studying, it’s important to relax and remember that you’re human. Make a schedule for yourself, give yourself breaks, and understand your limits. Don’t cram like you may have done in college, and don’t assume that you can always resist the urge to look at funny puppy pictures on your phone. 

Trust us: it’s important to take funny puppy picture breaks along the way.

Sources:
  1. PMP Exam Passing Rate: What Percentage of People Pass The Exam? | PM-by-PM.
  2. Guidelines for Creating a Study Schedule – Learning Strategies Center
  3. How to Have a Productive Study Break

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