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How to prepare for the PMP exam part 6: using practice tests to get ready

Cornelius Fichtner, PMP | Nov. 20, 2010
Despite all the studying you 've done for the Project Management Professional Exam you may be nervous about taking the test. Here we break down how PMP sample questions and PMP Exam Simulators can help test your knowledge and prepare you for the big day.

Interpretational questions may also test your ability to deduce a situation or condition. For example: "If your project has an SPI and a CPI both greater than 1, how well is your project performing?"

Specific Technique questions will contain a tool or technique like a network diagram and ask you to provide an element that's inherent in that diagram such as forward pass or backward pass.

While there are some free PMP exam sample questions available online, that is just a start. As you move further along in your studies, you will probably want more and harder questions. Your best bet is to get quality questions in an exam simulator.

PMP Exam Simulators

A good way to gauge your readiness to take the actual PMP Exam is to practice using a PMP Exam Simulator. There are a variety of them on the open market, and some students choose more than one PMP exam simulator, so confirm the PMP Exam Simulator product you buy includes these MUST HAVE features:

1. Look for an Online PMP Exam Simulator that fits your budget. Do not be fooled into thinking that just because a simulator has a reasonable price that it does not offer a comprehensive product. Compare features, costs, reputation, and take advantage of any free trials offered.

2. Confirm that your prospective Online PMP Exam Simulator is based on the PMBOK Guide (current fourth edition), represents all of the question types and provides hints/explanations for each question.

3. Ask if PMP exam questions were written by more than one person. Make sure that the questions were written by multiple, certified PMPs, and that the questions parallel the actual PMP Exam. The Project Management Institute sought out PMPs to volunteer from all over the world to write the exam questions and another body of volunteers to review. This gives the actual PMP exam its reputation of being unpredictable. The best simulators will have the same variability in the background of the people who created them.

4. Look for an Online PMP Exam Simulator that helps you learn the material by allowing you to review the exam questions and explanations after taking the exam ("exam" mode) and question by question during the study or "learning" mode. Reviewing questions right away will help you to identify and focus on specific Process Groups and Knowledge Areas from the PMBOK Guide. Make sure your exam simulator gives you access for at least 60 days so you can go back and review the questions and re-take the exam.


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