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When Is the Best Time to Take a PMP Exam Prep

Taking the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam to finally secure your certification needs more work than you think. There are a series of requirements you need to meet and qualifications you need to remember. It is said to be “extremely difficult” most especially for first-timers so if you are looking to take the leap, you need to be fully prepared. But when do you know it is the best time to take a PMP exam prep?

Preparing for the most popular project management certification is not a piece of cake. You will need to take this step seriously as failing the exam means you only have two other chances to retake the exam within your 1-year eligibility. So it’s advisable to give it your all at your first go, or at least the first three. You need to make sure you choose the best time to take the exam and you evaluate yourself on how prepared you are to take it.

What is the PMP Exam?

The PMP exam is the official certification given to project management professionals by the Project Management Institute (PMI). This recognition seeks to demonstrate the vast knowledge and expertise in the field of project management. Project managers handle million-dollar projects from various companies and they need to possess a solid foundation and experience in project management. Not only does a PMP certification boost one’s credentials, but it also offers a lot of career advantages upon earning it.

The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions that must be finished within four hours. In both theoretical and situational forms, the questions will test your understanding of the niche and the ability to solve problems in real life.

There are three methods of application for the exam which include:

  • Online PMP application
  • Paper PMP application
  • PMP application through a training provider

Online application is the most recommended as it is the fastest method to register and get results. Its application reviews and results may take as short as five business days, whereas for the paper and training provider, application may take up to a month.

To give an overview of the questions you need to prepare for, here is the outline of PMI’s online exam content that contains its 5 domains:

  • 13% on Initiating
  • 24% on Planning
  • 31% on Executing
  • 25% on Monitoring and Controlling
  • 7% on Closing

Get a score of 107 out of the 175 questions and you will pass. The additional 25 are not scored as they are used for quality improvement of PMI. You’ll never know which questions are scored and which ones are not so it’s better to be careful when answering each item.

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What is the PMP exam prep?

The PMP prep is a major requirement of PMI that refers to a 35-hour PMP educational training. This includes taking up project management courses that will solidify your knowledge in handling projects with efficiency and accuracy. Most commonly called as PMP prep course, this program seeks to provide you the proper instruction in project management and prepare you to successfully pass the exam.

Courses that give you a complete overview of project management are your best bets in meeting this requirement. Any training material that will provide you the fundamentals to advanced complexities of managing a project is fine as long as you can provide the institution name, course name, date attended, and the accrued hours upon application for the exam.

When is the best time to take the PMP exam prep?

How do you know it’s the right time to take a prep course? Deciding when to take the required prep training should be easy. There are three eligibility measurements to qualify for the exam and that’s where you will base when you will get your prep course. You have to meet the first two requirements before pursuing your prep course:

  1. You earned three years of professional project management experience.
  2. You completed a total of 4,500 hours of leading and directing projects.

Knowing that you have met the first two, you may move on to taking that prep course so that you can finally set a schedule for your proper PMP exam. But before you do that, evaluate yourself one last time. How prepared are you? What are the reasons why you are doing this? Your goals affect the next steps in your career—you have to ensure this next big leap is aligned to them before you pursue that exam.

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Here are some helpful tips to decide if you are ready to pursue that exam:

You are looking for career growth.

Your years of experience display how much you have grown in the industry. The interest to expand your growth more means that you are truly invested in yourself. Having a PMP certification provides you more career opportunities and avenues to hone additional skills you need.

You want a higher salary.

Granted that you have taken the extra effort to apply for the certification, any employer will have to reconsider giving you a raise or offering you a higher pay more than a project manager who has no PMP certification. This is one of the effective ways to easily raise your salary as 23% of PMP holders are proven to earn more than their non-certified colleagues.

You are ready to take on bigger projects.

When you have realized the organization’s need for better processes, you try to assess if you want to be the very person to implement those. Be that person who takes this challenge to grow your existing skill set. Bigger projects mean you are paving the way for a better, more knowledgeable you. 

You want to build your credibility.

Not just an accessory, the PMP certification creates a big impact on your credentials. Clients will prefer that you handle their projects as you are certified to possess the exceptional skills of an efficient project manager. PMI sets a high standard of excellence and passing the exam means you have the capacity to execute your duties with superiority.

That’s how you know you are ready for the next milestone in your life. Not only do you have to meet the requirements prior to taking the exam, but you also have to make sure that you are mentally prepared to ace it! There is no specific time to take it, as long as you are fully prepared in terms of career, intellect, and mentality. If you’ve got all those down, you can take the exam as soon as you want.

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About The Author

Hazel S.

Hazel S.

Hazel is a Communication graduate who writes about e-learning subjects that vary across all fields. She believes in the power of knowledge to achieve triumphs in life—whether careerwise or personal. Currently, she is living with her family and two white cats.