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How to prepare for the PMP exam part 3: build a project study plan

Cornelius Fichtner, PMP | Nov. 1, 2010
Studying for the exam toward PMP certification will be a much less daunting task if you apply your project management skills to it and create a project plan. In this third article in's series on preparing for the PMP exam, you'll learn the essential elements to include in your project study plan.

If you find yourself slipping against your weekly study goals, you'll know you need to either buckle down and stick to your study plan or reevaluate it if it's not realistic.

4. Select an Appropriate Study Location

Give some thought to your ideal study environment. Do you require complete quiet or prefer to have some light noise in the background? Do you prefer to study in a dimly lit space or a bright room? Your ideal study location should prevent (or at least) minimize interruptions and distractions. Studying in a place where you feel energized and can concentrate is critical to your success. Preparing for the PMP exam is not something you want to do in front of the TV or with your family buzzing around.

5. Communicate with Your "Stakeholders"

Your stakeholders in your effort to earn PMP certification are the people who are likely to be affected by your study schedule, such as family members, friends and some co-workers. Set expectations with them early about your study needs, and communicate with them often. Make sure they understand why becoming PMP certified is so important to you and why you need to devote some time away from household or social obligations to prepare for the exam. To ensure your stakeholders buy into your efforts, explain how they'll benefit from your having PMP certification.

Fill in family members on your study schedule so that they know when you're unavailable to take phone calls and can't be disturbed. If you have small children, you can opt to use a "signal" like hanging a red rope in front of the door where you study. That way your child knows that when the rope is up, mommy/daddy may not be disturbed.

6. Stay Flexible

After you define your PMP exam study plan, do not forget to remain flexible. Changes are a normal part of any project. Having a plan will help you quickly get back on track. Remember that being able to gracefully handle changes and uncertainty is what will make you a great project manager.


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