Critical Project: Earn Your PMP® Certification in 2020
As the job market evolves, you should always be working on keeping skills fresh and expertise sharp. A Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification enhances the professional standing of anyone, regardless of whether your official title is “project manager” or if project management is a skill set within many you have. Research for the U.S. suggests PMP certification holders earn 25% more than counterparts without the designation. The PMP exam is a challenging experience that requires good planning for a successful outcome.
PMP® Exam Changes in 2021 (And Why That Matters in 2020)
The Project Management Institute (PMI) manages the globally recognized Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification. To stay current with global business changes, the exam itself is updated every few years. The current iteration of the exam will end on December 31, 2020 and a new exam launches on January 2, 2021.
It is important to note that the change is for the EXAM only and not the Certification itself. The PMI has given over twelve months’ notice for the exam change to allow “…candidates with additional time and access to training resources to help them prepare and sit for the exam confidently.” There are only few months left in 2020 in which you can leverage vetted training resources and best practices for the current exam format.
How Long Does It Take to Prep for the PMP® Exam?
This is not the time to block off a day to cram and hope for the best. One survey of 100 PMP® certification holders asked how long they studied, and the answers ranged from a week to 6 months! The conclusion was about 2 months of 2 - 3 hours daily study (so roughly, 90days x 2.5 hours = 225 hours).
One Project Manager blogger asked PMP® certification holders “How long did PMP ® exam prep take you?” and found:
The 2020 exam will be available for only a few more months. It is critical that you create a study plan for your PMP® certification work. Your own situation will shape how and when you study, but the key point is this: STUDY. Prep courses are a powerful way to shape your study work to ensure you align with the current exam.
Do You Need to Study if You are Already a Project Manager?
Yes. A lot.
The PMP® Certification exam is not a test of how you or your company practices project management. It is not a test of how you personally manage challenging projects. It is grounded in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) and asks questions in a very specific way that frequently does not reflect how the skills are practiced in real-world business settings.
You may be the most senior Project Manager in your organization, and your expertise will be of help in the more complex situational questions. But it does not prepare you for the technicalities or PMBOK specifics within the exam. Consider the preparing for the exam a project unto itself and develop a plan for your success.
How Do You Prep for PMP® Exam?
The Project Management Academy PMP® Certification Study Guide includes great advice for the aspiring PMP® exam taker: Allow Sufficient Time to Prepare. Your PMP® exam preparation should include:
- Select a PMP® Exam prep course from a PMI Authorized Trainer
- Review the PMP® certification requirements from PMI (passing the exam is only one part)
- Create (and stick to it!) a study schedule that includes review materials and practice exams
- Manage your exam prep schedule with time for study, prep course, practice exams, application, and exam day
Through years of experience helping professionals prepare for the very unique PMP® exam, Project Management Academy instructors have seen a consistently higher exam pass rate for students who have a plan with each of those components regardless of their project management experience on the job.
Speaking from my personal exam experience and from mentoring other project managers, my most important advice is this: Take a prep course from a certified training source. Although I’m a big believer in self-directed learning, this is not the case for it. The prep course will help orient you to the unusual way the PMI will ask questions and how the PMI technicalities and terms are woven into the exam. Remember, the PMP® exam is not a test of your project management abilities, it is a test of your knowledge of PMI standards and recommended practices.
Make a Plan to Earn Your PMP® Certification in 2020
Add a professional milestone to 2020 and earn your Project Management Professional certification. The effort you apply now will have a lastly positive impact on your career opportunities.
About Megan Bell, MPM, PMP
A multi-hyphenate of corporate training, higher education, and creative agency work, Bell’s passion for connecting people to impactful information fuels an evolving career journey. Her portfolio includes conducting learning analytic research and reporting, managing a corporate mentoring program, authoring a blog series, facilitating leadership and career programs, serving on a non-profit board, and even occasional voice work. Bell’s education background encompasses UNC-Chapel Hill, Western Carolina University, and North Carolina State University.
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