PMP® Exam Study Guide  

Springhouse presents this exclusive guide to provide Project Management Professional (PMP)® candidates with a suggested timeline for preparing to obtain their PMP® credential.  

This is only a blueprint. Each candidate’s individual preparation, learning style, and availability to study will vary. As a result of years of teaching project management courses, Springhouse has prepared this roadmap for how to study in phases in the weeks after class with no specific timeframes. Each suggested task should be executed in a progressive manner leading up to your exam date. 

Students that use this information should align the phases of the study guide with their availability and proficiency in the material to complete the tasks at a comfortable pace.  

This information aligns with the PMI® Authorized PMP Exam Prep class delivered by Springhouse Education & Consulting Services and the page references in the PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition. 

Before you attend class

The PMI Authorized PMP Exam Prep class, in which you have now enrolled, offers a high amount of material and valuable information that will help prepare you for the PMP exam. You will learn many topics in this class and your active participation is key. However, the class does not teach you everything regarding project management and requires a foundational-to-moderate level of previous experience and knowledge. The class focuses on those items that are either more detailed, deeper topics, or simply those that are most likely to be tested on the exam. The class, therefore, does not address all required topics. As a result, you must attend additional education prior to this class to maximize your understanding and to prepare you for the exam.

First, understand the basics

Obtain a foundational level of project management training at Springhouse prior to attending the PMP Exam Prep class. 

Just prior to class, review the courseware and handouts from any previous classes, so that you are current with the information.

Second, assess your knowledge

Take the PMI Authorized PMP Exam Prep Pre-Class Assessment.

  • Read the instructions you received prior to class, log in to the pmi.lochoice.com platform with your personal credentials and key. 
  • Take the Pre-Class Assessment,” a short 22-question quiz for a knowledge baseline. (When combined with your future Post-Class Assessment, it will identify areas of progress in understanding the material.) 

Third, seek out more resources

If necessary, download and/or print the student courseware. Login to pmi.lochoice.com with your personal credentials and key. As instructed by Springhouse or your trainer, select the tile labeled “Previous Version.” The edition found under “Student Resources” is not currently being used. You may also view the same materials electronically as a PDF.

Important Links

Attribution

“PMI,” “PMP” and “PMI Authorized PMP Exam Prep” are marks of Project Management Institute, Inc. 

About Springhouse

Springhouse Education & Consulting Services is a Premier Authorized Training Partner (ATP) with Project Management Institute® (PMI). We achieved this status because we met rigorous standards for training quality and effectiveness. As such, Springhouse is uniquely approved and qualified to deliver the PMI Authorized PMP Exam Prep class. This class is the only PMI-approved course that meets the 35 hours of formal education mandated by training requirement for the PMP exam application. Solely focused on elevating professional knowledge, Springhouse has more than 30 years of experience in project management training and consulting. 

Step-by-Step Guide: Studying for the PMP Exam

[Click on the images to jump to study phase details.]

START OF CLASS

END OF CLASS

MEMORIZATIONS

STUDY PHASE 1

STUDY PHASE 2

STUDY PHASE 3

STUDY PHASE 4

STUDY PHASE 5

STUDY PHASE 6

STUDY PHASE 7

EXAM DAY

AFTER RESULTS

PMP Exam Study Guide

[Click to return to Study Guide index]

During the first few days of class

Create your study plan

Define the goal you expect to achieve, as you would for any plan or project. In this case, passing the examination is your goal. (Read Words of Wisdom A)

List all the tasks you plan to execute to get ready for the exam. Identify all the material you must read, understand, and, in some cases, memorize. For example:

    • Review Lesson # of the PMI Authorized PMP Exam Prep courseware
    • Read Chapter # of the PMBOK® Guide
    • Complete the PMP exam application
    • Take the “1hr PMI Authorized PMP Exam Prep Exam”
    • Memorize Page # (Figure #.#)

Figure out the time needed to carry out each task listed above. For example, estimate how long it may take you to review the PMBOK® Guide. It may be difficult to do so as a whole, so break this down by chapter using this guide to help you.

Decide the hours you will be able to devote to these tasks in the weeks to come. Be mindful of any work or personal events that may limit your time. Be realistic. Simply reading books and turning pages is not enough. The quality of reading is important.

Add detail to your plan given the tasks and time you can devote per week.

Summary: Your plan should be drafted at this point, with updates likely to be made in the weeks ahead.

Gather study materials

Obtain the following items for your review, some of which Springhouse provides to you directly. Ensure you have access to all of these.

Course Materials

PMI Authorized PMP Exam Prep courseware – These materials are online at pmi.lochoice.com using your personal credentials. The official courseware will be accessible to you for one year after the start date of your class.

In addition, students can access the Activities and Mastery Builders reference tool with the courseware in the Student Resources section.

Books (Available digitally with your PMI Membership)

  • PMBOK® Guide
  • Agile Practice Guide

PMI.org Resources

Springhouse Intranet

Our Classroom Downloads Site has extra material to support studying. For example:

    • 49 Process Cards (PDF) – Use this to help memorize the order of processes on PMBOK® Guide page 25.
    • PMI ATP PMP Exam Prep Supplemental Content (PDF)
    • PMI ATP PMP Exam Prep – Exam Links (PDF) – These are sample PMP exams you can take to assess your comprehension of the material
    • PMI ATP PMP Exam Prep – Courseware to ECO Mapping (PDF) [Read Words of Wisdom B]

WORDS OF WISDOM (A)

Assess where you are today through your education and experience. Combine this benchmark with the PMI Examination Content Outline (ECO) document. The PMP exam is based on this document. Your assessment and determination of readiness should be through your ability to understand each task listed in it. This should help you define any gaps you have and must fill through education, memorization, and studying. This provides the foundation for the next step. On PMI’s website they suggest, “Envision the finish line,” and “Create a study schedule that integrates work and family obligations.”

WORDS OF WISDOM (B)

The Courseware to ECO Mapping document is a handy reference when studying. It shows where the materials from the Examination Content Outline (ECO) are covered in the PMP Exam Prep courseware. Later in your studying, if you determine that there are topics of the ECO that you are struggling to understand, this document will identify the courseware lessons and topics that may help.

By the end of class

Congratulations! You have completed 35 hours of training, and now you are on your way toward earning the PMP credential. That was a lot of material to review and understand, but with your plan, you can progress through studying with efficiency.
(Read Words of Wisdom C)

Review your in-class, sample-exam results

  • Take the time to review incorrectly answered questions and the accompanying feedback. This was emailed to you after you completed the in-class sample exam on the last day of class. Your trainer instructed you to complete one sample online exam provided by Springhouse.
  • Regardless of your score, you gained valuable insight into the type of questions you will face on the real exam. You also learned of the endurance you will need to face and prepare for a four-hour exam.
  • This sample exam also provided you with the correct and incorrect answers from which you can begin finding your strengths and areas for growth.

Gather your notes

  • Review the notes you took during the class, and evaluate if any or all need to be rewritten or condensed.

Memorize the “Initiating and Planning” Processes

  • It is important to understand how the various processes in the PMBOK® Guide are used on any predictive project. Your projects may not use all of them, but of the ones you do use, those from the “Initiating and Planning” process groups are done in order. Therefore, it is important to memorize those processes in order (top-down, left-to-right).
  • Reference page 25 of the PMBOK® Guide. To help, download and print the Springhouse-offered 49 Process Cards from the Classroom Downloads Site. As a study tactic, cut these up, shuffle or mix them, then see if you can recreate page 25 of the PMBOK® Guide.

WORDS OF WISDOM (C)

Take a break. Relax. Recharge. The next few weeks – or months – will require dedication and focus.

Take your PMP Exam as soon as you are ready, while the material is still fresh in your mind.

PMI tracks when you complete the 35-hour course and access to the courseware login will be unavailable one year after the start date of the class.

PMBOK® Guide Memorization Recommendations

  • Pages 8 and 12 (Figures 1-2 and 1-3) – Understand the fundamental concepts of project processes and project lifecycles.
  • Page 25 – Memorize the Initiating and Planning process groups in order (top-down, left-to-right).
  • Page 47 (Table 2-1) – Understand the second and third columns that relate to the project managers and their authority on the project.
  • Page 57 – Memorize the three sides of the PMI Talent Triangle®.
  • Page 63 – Be comfortable with the various powers of a project.
  • Page 65 – Memorize the six leadership styles.
  • Page 89 (Table 4-1) – Be comfortable with the list of potential subordinate plans that any project may use within the overall project management plan.
  • Page 96 – Understand the assorted reasons for a change request to be given against a project.
  • Page 119 – Memorize the list of decision-making techniques.
  • Page 155 – Understand most of the recommended elements of a Project Charter and Project Scope Statement.
  • Page 161 – Memorize the various elements that make up the scope baseline for a project.
  • Page 190 – Memorize the four types of activity dependencies.
  • Page 211 – Memorize the two examples of resource optimization.
  • Page 215 – Memorize the two examples of schedule compression.
  • Page 245 – Memorize the two formulas for three-point estimating.
  • Page 255 (Figure 7-8) – Memorize the various elements and how they relate to each other in order, right-to-left. Start with Activity Cost Estimates and Activity Contingency Reserves forming the Work Package Cost Estimates, etc.
  • Page 267 (Table 7-1) – Memorize and understand the variables and formulas for earned value calculations. In particular, understand the different variations of estimate at completion (EAC) given the four different statements and formulas. If the exam does not specify one to be used, then use the top-most formula for EAC.
  • Page 283 (Figure 8-5) – Memorize the titles of the two halves and the four bolded sub-sections.
  • Page 317 – Memorize the RACI acronym and the corresponding words charts (responsible, accountable, consulted, informed).
  • Page 338 – Memorize the five stages of team development.
  • Page 349 – Memorize the five general techniques for resolving conflicts.
  • Page 356 – Memorize the six methodical steps to deal with problems.
  • Page 363 – Memorize the 5Cs of written communications.
  • Page 442-443 – Memorize the five risk response strategies for negative risks (threats).
  • Page 444 – Memorize the five risk response strategies for positive risks (opportunities).
  • Page 471 – Memorize the seven contract types in order of low-to-high or high-to-low risk to the project manager (buyer). For example, high-to-low; CPFF, CPIF, CPAF, T&M, FP-EPA, FPIF, FFP.
  • Page 476 – Be comfortable differentiating between the various contract types. Refer to the information within Contract Payment Terms.
  • Page 521 – Understand the stakeholder engagement assessment matrix and memorize the five stages in order.

Study Phase 1

  • Read Lesson 1 from the PMP Exam Prep courseware.
  • Update your plan accordingly.
  • Evaluate yourself against the tasks of each domain of the PMP Examination Content Outline (ECO).
  • Review the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. (Read Words of Wisdom 1.0)
  • Complete the “Post-Class Assessment” accessible on the pmi.lochoice.com platform. Compare it to your “Pre-Class Assessment” to see the progress you are making.
  • Take the “1hr PMI Authorized PMP Exam Prep Exam” and/or the “Immediate Answer” version exam, both accessible from the Springhouse document titled PMI Authorized PMP Exam Prep – Exam Links in the Classroom Downloads Site. Review the results and update your study plan as needed.
l

WORDS OF WISDOM (1.0)

Expect about 10 questions on how to conduct yourself professionally as a PMP credential holder and how to act and make decisions in an ethical manner.

Plan to submit your application

Decide when you want to apply for your PMP credential examination.

Applying as early as one week after class allows you to focus on studying while your application is being evaluated by PMI. Approval from PMI can take one week or longer.

Complete the required application online, available at PMI.org. Refer to the PMI Certifications Handbook for guidance. (Read Words of Wisdom 1.1)

Once approved, you have up to one year and three tries to take and pass your exam. You do not need to schedule an exam date at this time.

WORDS OF WISDOM (1.1)

Apply when you feel confident with the material. There is no exact date to submit your application. But remember, you will only have access to digital courseware for one year, so definitely submit your application well before that.

Study Phase 2

  • Read Lesson 2 from the PMP Exam Prep courseware.
  • Review the Supplemental Content document in the Classroom Downloads Site.
  • Take the “1hr PMI Authorized PMP Exam Prep Exam” and/or the “Immediate Answer” version exam, both accessible from the Exam Links document in the Classroom Downloads Site. Review the results and update your study plan as needed.
  • Study the “Glossary of Terms” in the back of your PMP Exam Prep courseware. Be comfortable with all terms.
  • Update your plan accordingly.

Join PMI as a paid member

The PMI membership price is approximately $150 per year. The price of the PMP exam is such that you are paying for the first year of membership one way or the other. Why not join and enjoy the benefits? There are many valuable examples, figures, and lessons from which to benefit. (Read Words of Wisdom 2.0)

WORDS OF WISDOM (2.0)

Consider joining your local PMI chapter, such as PMI-DVC (Delaware Valley Chapter) for an added $25 per year. (Prices may vary).

Study Phase 3

  • Read Lesson 3 from the PMP Exam Prep courseware.
  • Watch the online videos provided by PMI and Logical Operations. Visit pmi.lochoice.com and access the tile named “Spotlight Videos.”
  • Read Chapters 1-3 in the PMBOK® Guide.
  • Take the “1hr PMI Authorized PMP Exam Prep Exam” and/or the “Immediate Answer” version exam, both accessible from the Exam Links document in the Classroom Downloads Site.
  • Update your plan accordingly.

STUDY TIP

Refer to the ECO as you study, since the exam focuses on this document.

Study Phase 4

  • Read Lesson 4 from the PMP Exam Prep courseware.
  • Continue viewing the online videos provided by PMI and Logical Operations. Visit pmi.lochoice.com and access the tile named “Spotlight Videos.”
  • Read Chapters 4-6 in the PMBOK® Guide.
  • Take the “1hr PMI Authorized PMP Exam Prep Exam” and/or the “Immediate Answer” version exam, both accessible from the Exam Links document in the Classroom Downloads Site.
  • Update your plan accordingly.

STUDY TIP

Concentrate on what you are reading; do not simply scan the pages.

Study Phase 5

  • Read Lesson 5 from the PMP Exam Prep courseware.
  • Continue viewing the online videos provided by PMI and Logical Operations. Visit pmi.lochoice.com and access the tile named “Spotlight Videos.”
  • Read Chapters 7-9 of the PMBOK® Guide.
  • Take the “1hr PMI Authorized PMP Exam Prep Exam” and/or the “Immediate Answer” version exam, both accessible from the Exam Links document in the Classroom Downloads Site.
  • Update your plan accordingly.

STUDY TIP

Make notes of areas you may need to study in greater detail.

Study Phase 6

  • Read Chapters 10-12 in the PMBOK® Guide.
  • Take domain-specific practice exams for People, Process, and Business Environment, which are accessible in the Exam Links document in the Classroom Downloads Site. (Read Words of Wisdom 6.0)
  • Take a longer-length practice exam accessible in the Exam Links document in the Classroom Downloads Site.
    • Preparing for your exam requires knowledge and understanding of the material, plus familiarity with the endurance needed to sit for the exam. Springhouse offers a lengthier exam of four hours. Consider taking this exam at least once towards the end of your preparation to appreciate the endurance the exam requires.

Decide on the exam date and delivery option

If/when you are approved by PMI, find a timeframe to take your exam. Decide first if you will take the exam virtually (monitored by an online proctor) or onsite at an approved Pearson VUE Testing Center. When ready, schedule your exam. Reference the PMI Certifications Handbook for guidance.

WORDS OF WISDOM (6.0)

At this point, you should have a feel for the ECO domains that you know well and any that need more studying. Identify those requiring more time and take the specific exam tailored for that domain. Examine your results and adjust your study plan as a result.

Study Phase 7

  • Read Chapter 13 and the “Standard for Project Management” in the PMBOK® Guide.
  • Read and understand the Agile Practice Guide, the book that goes with the PMBOK® Guide.
  • If you have bought other prep books, such as those featured on the PMP Exam Reference List on PMI.org, begin reading and understanding them. While most will reiterate the content you have already learned, some will convey it differently, which could be helpful to you.
  • Take more online exams accessible from the Classroom Downloads Site.
  • If needed, request help from Springhouse on your progress, your challenges, or your questions about topics and content. Contact us at info@springhouse.com or 610-321-3500.

STUDY TIP

Use the quizzes and practices exams to test your knowledge of the ECO, which is the best assessment of readiness. Review your answers to determine what areas need additional studying.

Taking the exam

The PMP exam is based on several thousand questions randomly selected, narrowed down, and presented to you. Exam questions are comprised of these different styles:

  • Multiple-choice questions where only one of the four possible answers is valid.
  • Multiple-response questions where you select more than one answer from a list.
  • Matching questions where you match items to other information.
  • Hotspot questions where you review an image and answer the question by clicking a particular area.
  • Limited fill-in-the-blank questions.

You have completed your intensive studying, and here are our ideas for maximizing your chance of passing. (Read Words of Wisdom D) Consider the following:

  • Try to answer the question in your head before reading the answer options.
  • Understand the question (and question type) and then read all answer options before answering.
  • Eliminate any wrong answers. You will increase your chances from 1:4 to 1:3, etc.
  • Do not over-think the questions. Only answer it based on the information provided.

WORDS OF WISDOM (D)

Think “What would PMI say?” (WWPS) Some test takers struggle with the exam because they reflect solely on their own experience to answer the question. Often, those experiences are not good examples of the best practices determined by PMI. So, when in doubt, WWPS? Answer the question as if PMI were taking the test.

After the exam results

Stay in touch

Let us know the outcome of your exam. Email info@springhouse.com with feedback.

  • Was the exam what you thought it would be? How so?
  • Was our education sufficient in preparing you for the exam?
  • Did you find your study plan to be valuable?
  • Were there any subjects or topics tested more or less than others?
  • Any surprises?

When you pass…

  • Add your new credential to your resume and on LinkedIn. PMI can give instructions on how to properly display and list your PMP achievement. (Read Words of Wisdom E)
  • Springhouse would be grateful for a positive review on Google.

If you need to try again…

  • Contact us to talk about the next steps to help you before your next attempt.

WORDS OF WISDOM (E)

Share your success on your social profiles.  Tag us on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, and use the hashtag #SpringhouseTraining.

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