PMP or Project Management Professional certification is one of the most highly recognized certifications that is offered to professionals for their career advancement. It is the most important industry-recognized certification for professionals. Achieving PMP certification will add a new milestone to your career and land you high-paying jobs from different industries across the world. One can achieve the PMP certification by successfully clearing the PMP exam.

To prepare for the PMP exam, each aspiring candidate must fulfill all the educational and experiential criteria provided by PMI. One must also adhere to the code of professional conduct and must have the required level of understanding, experience, and knowledge of project management to be eligible for the PMP exam. If you have decided to get your Project Management Professional (PMP) credential, then here are the top tips to clear your PMP exam in the first attempt.

Table of Contents:

  • What is Project Management?
  • What is PMP Certification?
  • Benefits of Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification
  • Top Tips to Crack the PMP Exam
  • Conclusion

What is Project Management?

Project management is the discipline of carefully projecting or planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling resources to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria. It includes six performance domains: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, closing, and professional and social responsibility.

Project Management Professional (PMP) is a professional designation offered by the Professional Management Institute (PMI). It is one of the most reputed designations all over the world and universally accepted across different industries like the civil, manufacturing, and IT industry.

What is PMP Certification?

PMP certification is one of the top-paying certifications globally. Successful completion of a PMP certification establishes your knowledge of handling complex projects successfully. It also implies that the projects are done following high-quality project management standards which play a key role in the competitive global business arena, where it is important to meet the growing needs of the customers who demand better products and faster services.

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Benefits of Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification

Learn new Skills & Knowledge

With a PMP certification, you will master a set of hard and soft skills. It will build your knowledge on fundamental project management processes tools, frameworks, strategies, trends, and methodologies. You will gain a comprehensive knowledge of global project management standards.

High Earning Potential

PMP is one of the top-paying certifications. It can increase your earning potential. PMP-certified project managers can earn 10-15% more than non-certified ones.

Adds value to your resume

Recruiters usually prioritize profiles with PMP certification over those which do not have such certification. You can enhance your resume with a PMP certification from a globally recognized body.

Land your dream job

A PMP certification can help you stand outside the crowd and boost your career growth. It enhances your chances of getting a job in big multinational firms where competition is tough.

Stay ahead in the Competition

Project management jobs are high in demand and are competitive, with a PMP certification, you will prove to be an asset to the organization you work for.

Networking Opportunities

A PMP certification can help you connect with thousands of other like-minded professionals from various countries and experts worldwide. It enhances your professional marketability and broadens networking opportunities.

So now that we know about the returns that can be expected from doing a PMP certification, the next big question is how to qualify for the same.

Cracking the PMP exam is not easy and it requires a lot of preparation. There have been instances where project managers with years of work experience have failed as they undermined the examination.

The PMP exam is a reputable one and is not going to be easy to crack unless you take it seriously. You have to be highly committed and dedicatedly prepare for the PMP exam. Here is the roadmap and the top tips that will help you to crack the PMP exam in the first attempt:

Top Tips to Crack the PMP Exam

1. Know about the PMP Exam well

PMP is a certification for experienced project managers who have dealt with all aspects of project delivery. Here are some of the pointers that you should keep in mind about the exam:

  • The exam consists of 200 questions that outline the five process groups (Initiation, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing)
  • The exam will test you in nine knowledge areas (Integration, Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Human Resource, Communication, Risk, and Procurement)
  • Out of the 200 questions, 25 are pretest questions. They do not affect the candidate’s score
  • The time duration of the exam is 4 hours
  • The passing score for the exam is almost 61% (106 questions correct out of 175 scored questions)
  • You will have 3 attempts to pass the exam in a year
  • If you fail the examination three times within the one-year eligibility period, you must wait one year

Also, know what the syllabus of the PMP exam is and what areas it will focus on. Here is a table to give you an idea of the exam:

pmp exam structure

2. Check out what are the prerequisites of the PMP exam

To be eligible to appear for a PMP certification, you have to fulfill the following PMP prerequisites:

  • A four-year degree with 36 months leading projects and 35 hours of project management education/CAPM Certification


  • A high school diploma or an associate’s degree with 60 months leading projects, and 35 hours of project management education/CAPM Certification.

3. Set a timeline

Decide a date and month by when you would want to clear the exam and start working towards it. Plan and study 6 months ahead of the date decided and ensure it’s a rigorous study of 7-8 hours daily.

In case you are a working professional, it’s advisable to set aside 4-5 hours each day for this exam. Working professionals have the advantage of hands-on experience on project management concepts and are easily able to relate to the same, hence it might take less time in grasping the concepts.

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4. Enroll in a PMP learning course

Having experience in project management is great, but to prepare for the exam you will need some amount of training. There are various PMI chapters or Registered Education Providers (ERPs) which provide formal study courses aimed at preparing the candidates for the PMP exam. You can enroll in such a training course to get high-quality training and also study materials to continue your preparation at home.

There are various online PMP courses by registered education providers as well, which will ensure that your professional life is not hampered. You can continue your work without putting your studies on the sideline. These course providers usually offer tailor-made training programs to the candidates to help them get comprehensive knowledge and skills of PMP; making them ready for the examination.

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5. Keep up-to-date with the latest PMBOK Guide

The Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) is the global standard for project management. The PMBOK evolves over the years and is presented in A Guide to the Project Management Book of Knowledge (or PMBOK Guide).

PMBOK is the bible for Project Management Professional certification aspirants. This book contains all the standard terminologies and guidelines to qualify for the exam. The PMP exam is based on the PMBOK, which updates with each new edition of the Guide. Therefore, you need to keep yourself updated with the latest PMBOK Guide to understand the evolving practices and knowledge. It will help you a lot in the PMP exam.

6. Become a PMI Member & Member of your local PMI Chapter

Getting associated with Project Management Institute by turning into a member of it is probably the best way to get updated about the latest concepts and qualifying the exam. By getting the membership, we get access to the priceless knowledge database. You will gain access to a lot of PMI publications and provide you with an opportunity to network with other members of the community. You also get a free PMBOK Guide.

There are also local PMI Chapters through which you can connect with other people (project managers or aspirants) and get the chance to build a network and share knowledge.

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7. Rita Mulcahy

Rita Mulcahy is a world-renowned project management author, trainer, and speaker. Her publications encompass in intricate detail all the key areas of study in the project management exam. Rita’s books are referred to by most candidates while preparing for the exam.

8. Prepare a study routine and buy good study books

You may feel like a student again, but you should have a well-planned routine for studying and preparing for the exam. If you are currently working, then you need to chalk out a plan so that your study and work do not clash. Make sure that you do not leave any area untouched as offered by the learning course and remember to read the PMBOK very well.

There are many good PMP preparation books available in the market. You can get the help of someone who cracked the test to understand which books will be best suited for you. Here are some essential books that you must read:

  • The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try by Andy Crowe
  • Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide by Kim Heldman

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9. Online and Offline Boot Camps

There are some good boot camps available online as well as offline. Through a boot camp, you get the opportunity to communicate and learn along with other candidates equally dedicated to cracking the PMP exam. You also continue to discover newer resources to supplement your learning and gain a crucial edge in the race to the finish line.

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10. PM Zilla

PM Zilla is a complete package for PMP certification. With forums, input-output tools, notes, lessons, and significant study material, PM Zilla is one of the favorite resources for PMP preparation.

11. Group Study

Joining online groups can be of great value. Groups like PMP Exam Forum, PMP Best, PMP Prep, PMP Student, and PMP Study Circle are some favorites among aspirants.

12. Prepare for the PMP exam with mock tests

Mock tests are a great way to prepare for any examination, as they give you an idea of how much you are ready and if any weak areas need serious last-minute preparations. You will also gain efficiency during the real exam when you practice a lot of PMP mock tests. It will help in getting your time management right. The training courses usually provide various mock tests to help you prepare.

13. Take the exam

Taking the exam is the hardest part of all. Take the day off from your work and do not stress out yourself the day before. Relax and give the exam. Also, you need to check out your center beforehand to understand the traffic and the time it will take for you to reach it. There is a short guideline before the exam starts, which you need to look at carefully and follow all the instructions accordingly.

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14. Above All, Believe in Yourself

Confidence is an important aspect of successful candidates. You will find that a little confidence can do miracles. Always believe in the skills that you have and on the fact that you have prepared for the exam thoroughly for success to be in your grasps. If you have the confidence that you can succeed, you will definitely pass the exam.


PMP examination is a tough nut to crack and it requires a lot of dedication on your part. Now that you have a guide to prepare for the PMP exam, you can start preparing for it accordingly. Take the help of your trainers and those who have cracked the exam to understand the critical areas of learning that you need to cover to be successful.



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