How to Pass the PMP Exam – Part 4 (of 5): Final prep

5. Complete application and book exam
Once I obtained my 35 contact hours certificate, I completed the application. PMI then took almost a week approve my application (their site says they can take up to 5 days) at which point I booked and paid for my exam, using PMI’s online exam scheduling tool.

6. Practice Exams –
This was the most important part of my study preparation!

I used the sample tests in the Rita Mulcahy book that I mentioned above. The questions in the book were very good. The problem is, you can only really do them once or twice before you start recognizing the questions and you recall the answers. So, you need to get some sample exams.

I purchased a package of 4 sample tests from This is an online test service. The exams are administered and tracked online and they closely mimic the PMP exam format. The exam summaries (after you write the tests) are quite good, summarizing your responses, highlighting areas for improvement and breaking down your level of knowledge by subject area.

I expected that my competency would improve as I progressed through each exam. Unfortunately for me, this was not the case. My scores stayed at a level that was below what I was comfortable with and it didn’t seem to improve as I completed subsequent exams. This made me very nervous. I was certain that there was something wrong with my ability retain information and that I was going to struggle on the actual exam.

But, my nervousness was all for not. Looking back, the 4 sample tests were sufficiently different that the content did not repeat a lot of the same questions. Thus, I really was writing 4 totally different exams (or close to it) and thus, my debrief time was spent covering new material each time. This helped ensure that I adequately covered all of the subject matter required to pass the exam.

7. Pass the exam

As I progressed through the exam, I started to get the feeling that it was easier than I expected it to be. I was careful not to get too confident, but by the time I got to the end of the exam, I felt confident that my prep time was perfectly executed to ensure success on exam day.

And sure enough, I passed the exam.

By Todd Dow

Author, Geek, CF fundraiser & Cancer Survivor. My family, baseball, infosec, privacy & devops are a few of my favorite things.

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