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Tricks of the Trade'for
Studying for This Exam
You are about to embark on a great journey. If you let it, this journey can help you expand yourself and
your abilities. Think of the opportunity you have right now to become a better project manager, not just
to pass an exam. This opportunity to learn is the main reason for taking the exam.
So how can this exam benefit you? Let me quote one of my students.
exam has changed my life.
(Could I be more dramatic?) The process of studying for the exam, taking your class, and passing the
exam has changed how others look at my abilities."
When you achieve your PMP certification, you can say that you have passed an international exam
designed to prove your knowledge of project management. The exam focuses on situations you might
encounter in the reai world, rather than just asking you to repeat data you have learned. Therefore,
passing the exam proves your real-world knowledge and experience in the application of the art and
science of project management. The PMP certification is a way to set yourself apart.
The Project Management Institute's salary survey has found that, in the United States and some other
countries, PMP-certified project managers are paid at least 10 percent more than those without this
certification. I have had many students who received a US $15,000 bonus AND a 15 percent raise when
they passed the exam. Others have said they got a job over 200 others because they were PMP scertified.
In this economic climate, having a PMP certification can be the reason you get a job, keep your job, or
are promoted. These are good incentives to finally get around to taking the exam.
To take this exam, you must meet requirements as outlined by PMI (the Project Management Institute).
The current requirements are described in the following table.
Remember, just because you might quaiify to take the exam does not mean that you will be able to pass
it! You must know project management and have experience applying it.
One Bachelor's
35 contact
4,500 hours Three years
within last six
Two High school
35 contact
7,500 hours Five years
within last
eight years
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Consider taking PMI's CAPM'exam if you do not meet the requirements in the previous table. You can
find the requirements for the CAPM exam at Currently, test takers must document 1,500
hours of experience or 23 hours of project management education to qualify for this exam. RMC offers
CAPM Exam Prep courses (classroom or online training) and a CAPM Exam Prep system of products
to help you prepare for that exam.
In my experience, 50 percent of those who fail the exam do so because they have not had project
management training that uses PMI terminology. Take this seriously! Understanding PMI's approach
to managing projects is not as simple as reading the PMBOK" Guide.T},e PMBOK' Guide helps you
improve your knowledge; it does not teach you project management. And while this exam prep book
will explain the project management process and help you understand it from PMI's perspective, if you
find that many of the concepts and terminology presented in this book are new to you, you probably
need additional project management training before continuing to study.
Another large percentage of the people who fail this exam do not have real-world experience. They may
be managing a help desk or small projects (more on this throughout the book) or might not even work
as a project manager. What some people do not realize is that this exam is designed to identify those
who have not had project management training and who do not have experience. It is not an exam for
a beginning project manager or for one who hopes to become a project manager. The more experience
you have had working on large projects, the better prepared you will be for the exam, as the questions
are written from the perspective of managing large projects.
The following are examples of large projects:
> Designing a new call center (vs. handling small call center projects)
> Designing a new manufacturing process (vs. manufacturing a standard product for a customer)
> Installing a PC desktop operating system and associated software updates (vs. installing
commercial software across the company)
> Designing and constructing a new building (vs. getting an existing building repainted)
So do you know enough about project management to take this exam? Review the following list. You
need to learn more about project management prior to taking the exam if you experience two or more
of the following problems on projects:
> Large cost or schedule overruns
> Unrealistic schedules
> Excessive changes to the scope or schedule
> Poor communications and increased conflict
> Running out of time near the end of the project
> Unsatisfactory quality
> Low morale
> People on the team are unsure of what needs to be done
> Excessive rework and overtime
> Too many project meetings
Have you had enough experience managing large projects to take this exam? Again, review the
following list. You may not have enough experience if you do not understand the following concepts
and apply them to your real-world project:
> A step-by-step process for managing projects, and why each step is necessary
> Roles of the project manager, sponsor, and team
> Historical information from previous projects
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Lessons learned from previous projects
Creating lessons learned on your projects
Project charter
What a work breakdown structure is
a list in a bar chart) and how to create it
How to manually create a network diagram
Critical path-how to find it and what benefits it provides the project manager
Three-point estimating
Monte Carlo analysis
Earned value
Schedule compression, crashing, and fast tracking
Managing float
A realistic schedule (unrealistic schedules are the project manager's fault)
The risk management process (risk management is not just using a checklist)
Expected monetary value
Calculating budget reserves and their relationship to risk management
A realistic and approved project management plan that you are willing to be held accountable to
Controlling the project to the project management plan
Managing the change request process
Controlling change
The professional and social responsibility of the project manager
CHAPTER ONE Tricks for studying for this Exam
lf you don't know or do
many of the items on
this list, you may want
to take RMC Project
Management's 3-day
Project Management
Tricks of the Trade@
course, in addition to
our instructor-led or
e-Learning PMP Exam
Prep course. These
courses will help you
deal with the situational
questions on the exam.
They willalso provide
the 35 contact hours that
PMI requires you to have
before taking the exam.
for more information.
On large projects, the project manager does not have time to do the wrong proiect maragement
activities. The project can easily get out ofcontrol if the project manager spends time solving problems
rather than preventing them or is babysitting people instead of making sure they know what they need
to do before the project starts.
Anolvino.teleee me Jlam, .
You must submit an application to PMI to take this exam. Applications may be submitted by mail or
online. Submit online if at all possible, since PMI's response time is faster for electronic submissions.
You will receive a notice authorizing you to make an appointment to take the exam. You may be subject
to an audit ofyour application, however. Be aware that an audit will delay your approval to take the
The exam is usually offered on a computer at designated testing sites, but it might be diferent
depending on the country you are in. Your authorization notice will give you specific instructions. PMI
is quickly moying to offer computerized testing around the world in many languages.
ONE YEAR! In some instances, testing centers may not have openings for several weeks.
Be Sure You Have Current Materials for the Exam RMC products are frequently updated
to give you the most current furformation available. This book takes into account the latest changes to
the exam. Previous editions ofthis book are out ofdate and should not be used to try to pass the exam.
To confirm that you are using the correct edition, please go to www,,
@ 2009 RMC Publications, Inc
Tricks for Studying for this Exam cHAeTER oNE
HOW ThiS BOOk lS 0fganiZed Each chapter is organized the same way: an introductory
discussion, a list of
topics (listed in order of importance), Rita's Process Chart, review
materials, and a practice exam. All page references in this book refer to the PMBOK' Guide, Fourth
Edition, unless otherwise stated. T}'e PMP Exam Prepbookcan be used alone, but it is also designed to
be part of an exam prep system with RMC's PM FASTrack'exam simulation software and Hot Topics
Introduction to EaCh Chapter The introductory discussion provides an overview of the chapter.
Make sure you read these introductions, as they contain key information.
QUiCkteSt The list at the beginning of each chapter indicates the topics covered in the chapter and
my impression as to their order of importance. Refer back to this list when you are finished with each
chapter, to test your knowledge of the chapter contents and to review what is most important.
Rita'S PfOCeSS Chaft Created in 1998 for the first edition of this book, this chart has been greatly
expanded to help you understand the process of managing a project. The chart is a major trick for
passing the exam with less study. You will first see this chart in chapter 3, Project Management
Processes. Use the repeated chart at the beginning of each of the following chapters to know where you
are in the project management process as you work though each knowledge area.
RevieW Matefials and EXefCiSeS The review materials contain the latest updates to the PMP exam.
These materials are more than just words. Throughout this book, you will see many exercises. These
have been developed based on accelerated learning theory and an understanding of difficult topics on
the exam. Th.y will be more helpful to you than you might think. It is important to make sure you do
these exercises, rather than jumping right to the answers. Do not skip them, even if their value does not
seem evident to you. The exercises and activities are key benefits of this book, as you will see when you
pass the exam. The answers are listed immediately following the exercises. Although you may wish the
answers were shown later in the book, analysis shows that they are more effective when placed right
after the exercises. Here is a trick: keep a blank piece of paper handy to cover the answers until you have
completed each exercise and are ready to review them.
Also included in the review material are tricks to passing the exam called Tricks of the Trade', a
,.gistered trademark of RMC. Th"y are designated by thls image and will give you some extra
insight on what you need to know about project management. Many of the Tricks of the Trade'first
described or promoted in this book have since become industry standards.
My method of helping you prepare for the exam does NOT focus on rote memorization. The few
things you should memorize are designated by this
finger" image.
PfaCtiCe EXam The practice exam at the end of each chapter allows you to review the material and
test your understanding. On pages 5-6, you will find a score sheet to use as you take the practice exams.
Make a copy of it for each set of sample questions in the book.
WARNING: The questions in this book are tests on the chapter content. Th.y do not simulate the complete
range and depth of the PMP exam questions. You can find such a simulation in RMC's PM FASTrack'
PMP exam simulation software.
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cHAprER oNE Tricks for Studying for this Exam
SCOfe Sheet Use this score sheet to test your understanding. Make a copy of it for each chapter's
practice exam. Take the practice exams before you start reading the book, and then take them again at
the end of your study process to see how much you have learned.
5 @ 2009 RMC Publications,Inc. 952.846.4484.
Tricks for Studying for this Exam cHAprER oNE
When you are done: How will you improve how you take the exam next time?
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cHAprER oNE Tricks for Studying for this Exam
0ther Materials to Use to Studv for the PMP Exam
Keep in mind that you do not need, and you should not use, any other prep book to help you get ready
for the exam. You will only confuse yourself. This book can be used as a stand-alone prep tool, or it can
be combined with the following products for a comprehensive exam prep experience.
PMB0IP Guide, Fourth Edition
PfOjeCt Management Tfaining Many of those who fail the exam did not have adequate project
management training. Don't make this mistake. Try our:
> PM Crash Course'" book
> Project Management Tricks of the Trade'course
> PMP Exam Prep course (online or classroom-based)
PM FASTraclP Exam Simulation Software
RMC's best-selling PMP exam simulation software, offering over 1,400 questions-
including tricky situational questions with more than one right answer-is the most
important product for passing the exam, after this book. The software allows you to
sort sample exams by Knowledge Area, Process Group, Keyword, PMP Simulation,
and even Super PMP Simulation. It also saves you a huge amount of time, since the software will
automatically score and keep records of your exams with its comprehensive grading and reporting
capability. All questions are cross-referenced with this book or the PMBOK" Guide, making it easy to
go back and study your weak areas. Students say these questions are harder than the ones on the actual
exam and that practicing in this simulated testing environment was a huge factor in their passing the
exam! Dont lose out.
Hot Topics Flashcards (HnnD copy 0R AUDIo cD), By RtrA MULcAHY
Are you looking for a way to prepare for the PMP exam that fits into your busy
schedule? Now you can study at the offi.ce, on a plane, or even in your car with RMC's
portable and extremely valuable Hot Topics flashcards-in hard copy or audio CD
format! Over 600 pages of the most important and difficult to recall PMP exam-
related terms and definitions are now available for study as you drive, fly, or take
your lunch break. Our Hot Topics flashcards will enhance your ability to define and
understand PMP exam-related terms, as well as improve your recall of the information you will need to
answer those dreaded situational questions. Add instant mobility to your study routine.
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Tricks for Studying for this Exam cHAnTER oNE
Keep in mind three very important things about this exam. First, THE PMP EXAM IS NOT A TEST
OF THE INFORMATION IN THE PMBOK' GuidelSecond, you cannot rely only on real-world
experience. Third, training in professional project management that is aligned with the PMBOK' Guide
is critical! However, do not let any organization fool you into thinking you need weeks of training or a
master's certificate in project management to take the exam.
The PMP exam includes 200 multiple-choice questions with four answer choices per question.
The exam must be completed in four hours. Twenty-five of the 200 exam questions are
questionsl' meaning they are not included in your score for the exam. These questions will be randomly
placed throughout the exam. You will not know which ones are which. Th.y will be used by PMI to
validate the questions for future inclusion in the master database. Your score will be calculated based
on your response to the remaining 175 questions. The passing score on the exam is now 106 out of 175,
approximately 6 1 percent.
The questions are randomly generated from a database containing hundreds of questions. The questions
may jump from topic to topic and cover multiple topics in a single question. You get one point for each
correct answer. There is no penalty for wrong answers.
The following table breaks out the percentage of scored questions currently on the exam in each process
PMI occasionally makes changes to many aspects of the exam, including qualification requirements,
the application process, the passing score, and the breakdown of questions in each process group.
For the latest information, please visit and read your
authorization notice carefully.
Any differences between what is listed here and what is communicated by PMI should be resolved
in favor of PMI's information.
The following diagram indicates the different knowledge areas tested on the exam and their level
of difficulty. For many people, the toughest knowledge areas are project management processes,
procurement management, risk management, and integration management. The next diagram indicates
the level of difficulty of the process groups. Many people find monitoring and controlling, initiating,
and executing to be the most difficult. Make sure you study these carefully.
Project Initiating
Project Planning
Project Executing
Project Monitoring and Controlling
Project Closing
Professional and Social Responsibility
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cHAeTER oNE Tricks for Studying for this Exam
Proj ect Management Processes
More Difficult
Procurement Management
Risk Management
Integration Management
Time Management
Cost Management
Project Management Framework
Scope Management
Human Resource Manasement
Communications Management
Monitoring and Controlling
More Difficult
Less Difficult
Professional and Social Responsibility
Be aware of the following for the examl
> The PMP exam tests knowledge, application, and analysis. This makes the PMP exam more
than a test of memory. You must know how to apply the information in this book and be able to
analyze situations invoiving this information. Do not expect the exam to have all straightforward,
defi nition-type questions.
> It is important to realize that the PMP exam deais with real-world use of project management.
It has included up to about 150
would you do in this situation?" questions (situational
questions). These questions are extremely difficult if you have not used project management tools
in the real world or if your project management efforts include common errors. You have to have
been there to pass the exam.
> There may be instances where the same data is used for multiple questions, such as with network
diagram questions.
> It always feels like more for the test taker, but only a few questions require you to MEMORIZE
the step-by-step PMBOK' Guide processes. Historically, there have been only 10 to 12 questions
requiring you to MEMORIZEthe inputs or outputs from the PMBOK' Guide. These are discussed
in later chapters.
> Expect 10 to 12 earned-value questions on the exam. Not all of these require calculations using the
> Most acronyms will be spelled out (e.g., the exam will use the full term
"work breakdown
structure" rather than
> The correct answers should not include direct quotations from the PMBOK' Guide.
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> Most people feel uncertain of only 40 or fewer of the 200 questions on the PMP exam.
> Many people need only about two and a half hours to finish the PMP exam and then take the rest
of the time to review their answers.
The questions are mostly situational, many are ambiguous and very wordy and some even seem like
they have two right answers. Be prepared for the following types of questions so you will not waste time
or be caught offguard when you are taking the exam.
1. Situational questions These questions require you to have experience applying project
management in situations in the real world.
You receive notification that a major item you are purchasingfor a project will be
delayed. What is the BEST thing to do?
A. Ignore it; it will go away.
B. Notify your boss.
C. Let the customer know about it, and talk over options.
D. Meet with the team and identify alternatives.
Answer D
with two or more right answers
that appear to have two, three, or even
four right answers are a major complaint from many test takers. Many questions will list choices
that all could reasonably be done, or that less experienced or less qualified project managers
are likely to choose. Experienced project managers have less trouble with this than people with
limited experience and knowledge of project management.
As you go through questions and review the answers in this book and in PM FASTrack",look for
instances where you think there are more than one right answer and try to figure out why you
think so. I have intentionally put questions like these into my products for PMP exam preparation.
The explanations provided for each question will help you understand why your right answer may
not be the right answer.
Let's look again at the previous question. Couldnt we really do all of the choices? The right answer
is certainly D, but isnt it also correct to tell the customer? Yes, but that is not the first thing to do.
Essentially this question is really saying,
is the BEST thing to do next?"
with extraneous information It is very important to realize that not all information
included in a question will be relevant. In the following question, the numbers are extraneous.
Experience shows that each time you double the production of doors, unit costs
decrease by 10 percent. Based on this, the company determines that production of 3,000 doors
should cost $21,000. This case illustrates:
A. Learning cycle.
B. Law of diminishing returns.
C. 80/20 rule.
D. Parametric cost estimating.
Answer D
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cHAeTER oNE Tricks for Studying for this Exam
Many questions will be much longer than this one, possibly many paragraphs long. But not all the
information presented will be required to answer the question. For example, imagine I changed
the question above to be wordier. It might read as follows:
Your company is a major manufacturer of doors, and has received numerous awards
As the head of the manufacturing department, you have 230 people reporting to you on 2i
dffirent projects. Experience shows that each time you double the production of doors, unit costs
decrease by 10 percent. Based on this, the company determines that production of 3,000 doors
should cost $21,000. This case illustrates...
Can you see how the additional data does not add any value to the question? The data is a
distracter. On the exam, you may see whole paragraphs of data that are not needed to answer the
question. The trick is to look at each question to determine "What is this question asking about?"
rather than getting lost in all the information provided. Do not get upset if you have difficulty with
these long, wordy questions.
mark them and come back to them later. If you know what to
expect, you will not be upset or lose confidence when you see these questions.
using made-up terms Many people taking the exam expect that all the terms used as
choices should mean something. Th.y do not! There are often made-up terms used on the exam.
Perhaps the question writer needed another choice, or perhaps the made-up terms are added to
trick those who do not know the answer. If you consider yourself well trained and see a term you
do not know on the exam, chances are it is not the right answer. For example:
of project organization where power is evenly shared between the
manager and the project manager is called:
A. A tight matrix.
B. A weak matrix.
C. A balanced matrix.
D. A strong matrix.
Answer C
In this question, choice A, tight matrix, is not a real project management term.
where understanding is important First look at the following question.
The process of decomposing deliverables into smaller more manageable components is
complete when:
A. Project justification has been established.
B. Change requests haye occurred.
C. Cost and duration estimates can be developed
each work element at this detail.
D. Each work element is found in the WBS dictionary.
Answer C
In order to answer this question, you must understand all the terms. Memorization is not enough!
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with a new approach to known topic There will be many instances where you
understand the topic, but have never thought about it in the way the question describes. Some
people say that most of the questions on the exam test them in this way. For example:
In a matrix organization, information dissemination is MOST likely to be efective
A. Information
both horizontally and vertically.
B. The communications
are kept simple.
C. There is an inherent logic in the type of matrix chosen.
D. Project managers and
managers socialize.
Answer A
with more than one item in each choice See the following example.
The seller on the project has presented the project manager with a
that the seller has been damaged by the buyer's activities. The seller claims that the buyer's
slow response to sending the seller approvals has delayed the project, and has caused the seller
unexpected expense. The FIRST things the project manager should do are:
A. Collect all relevant data, send the data to the company attorney, and consult with the attorney
about legal actions.
B. Review the contract
specific agreed-upon terms that relate to the issue, see if there is a clear
response, and consult an attorney if needed.
C. Review the statement of work
requirements, send a receipt of claim response, and meet to
resolve the issue without resorting to legal action if possible.
D. Hold a meeting with the team to review why the acceptances have been late, make a list of the
specific reasons, and resolve those reasons.
Answer B
These questions can seem hard until you learn a secret: use the process of elimination on one item
at a time. Consider the first item listed in each choice and eliminate the choices that contain an
implausible first item. Then look at the second item in each choice and eliminate any implausible
choices. Keep going until you have only one choice remaining.
Watch out, sometimes the items in each choice show a flow or process. See the example below:
When managing a project, which of the
is the BEST order to deal with
problems that arise?
A. Go to the team, go to management, go to resource managers
B. Go to resource manager5 go to manogement, go to the customer
C. Handle it yourself, go to the customer, go to management
D. Resolve problems with resources you control, go to the resource manager, go to the customer
Answer D
In this case, you would need to look at each choice independently to see if the process is correct.
8. Excessively wordy questions Instead of saying "the project is behind schedulel' the exam might
use wordier phrasing, such as
"the project float was zero and has recently gone to negative 2."
Instead of saying
team is not reporting properly,'the exam could say
team has lost
sight of the communications management plan." The first step in answering many questions is
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cHAeTER oNE Tricks for Studying for this Exam
to determine what the question is asking, and then to translate the wordy phrasing. If you are a
non-English speaker, this becomes a huge problem, but it remains difficult for even native English
take your time, and practice reading wordy questions before you take the exam.
See chapter 14 of this book for more information on the exam, and additional help in assimilating the
information provided throughout this book.
How to Studv for the PMP Exam
There are three serious mistakes you can make in preparing for this exam. The first is reading every
book you can find. The second is studying too long. The third is not listening to the advice given in this
The MagiC Thfge Studies have shown that if you visit a topic three times, you will remember it.
Therefore, you should read this book once and skim through it two more times, in addition to using our
other exam preparation products, before you take the exam.
Bg in TeSt-Taking MOde Get used to jumping from one topic to another, and practice taking an
exam for four hours. Do not underestimate the physical aspects of taking an exam lasting that long.
YOur Step-by-Step StUdy Plan I recommend that you use one of the following study plans.
Follow Plan A if you own RMC's complete PMP Exam Prep System. Follow Plan B if you do not own
the entire system.
Plan A: Using This Book with the PMP Exam Prep System
1. Before you read this book, test yourself on 20 questions in each process group and each knowledge
area using PM FASTrack'. This will help you determine how much study time you need and which
chapters to read more carefully. This step will also give you a baseline from which to track your
progress as you study.
2. Read the material in this book for the first time, focusing on the chapters where you had the most
errors in Step 1. Refer to Rita's Process Chart for each chapter, and at the same time, skim through
the corresponding chapter in the PMBOK' Guide to get an understanding of the flow of the
3. As you finish each chapter, review the
terms listed on the first page of the chapter, and
use the Hot Topics flashcards to improve recall and test your understanding of that chapter. Then
take an exam on the chapter in PM FASTrack You are doing well if you score over 70 percent on
this PM FASTrqck' exam.
4. If it is at all possible, form a study group any time after you have read the book for the first time
on your own. This will actually make your study time shorter and more effective! You will be able
to ask someone questions, and the studying (and celebrating afterward) will be more fun. A study
group should consist of only three or four people. (See the
to Use This Book in a Study
Group' discussion.)
5. Spend more time reviewing any topics you scored poorly on before moving to Step 6.
6. Make sure you really know the material, and then take a PMP simulation on PM FASTrack'.
WARNING: You should need to take only two PMP exam simulations before you take the actual
exam, or you may lose some of the value of PM FASTrack'.
WARNING: If you do not score over 70 percent the first time you take a full PMP simulation
just a knowledge area or process group test), you do not know project management well enough,
and you should review the materials you received from your basic project management class. If
you did not have a basic project management class, you need one!
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7. Review the questions you got wrong on the PM FASTrack'simulation. Make sure you identify in
writing the specific, not general, reason you got each question wrong on the simulation. This is
very important!
8. Use your list of whyyou got each question wrong (from Step 7) to study some material further.
Make sure you are thinking
project" and how proper project management should be done,
whether or not you use it correctly in your real world!
9. Take your final PMP simulation exam. You must score over 75 percent before you take the real
exam. YOU ARE OVERSTUDYING if you see many of the questions repeated in PM FASTrack't
10. Use the Hot Topics flashcards to retain the information you have learned until you take the exam.
Plan B: Using This Book as a Stand-Alone
1. Before you review the book, take the practice exams at the end of each chapter in one sitting. This
will give you a baseline to tell you how much you have learned after using the book. It will also
help you determine how much study time you need and which chapters to read more carefully. Do
not analyze your right and wrong answers at this point; just note the chapters where you have the
most and least difficulty. If you are too excited to get started, skip this step and go to Step 2.
2. Read the material in this book for the first time (focusing on the chapters where you had the
most errors in Step 1). Refer to Rita's Process Chart for each chapter, and at the same time, skim
through the corresponding chapter in the PMBOK" Guide to get an understanding of the flow of
the processes.
3. As you finish each chapter, review the
terms listed on the first page of the chapter.
4. If it is at all possible, form a study group any time after you have read the book for the first time
on your own. This will actually make your study time shorter and more effective! You will be able
to ask someone questions, and the studying (and celebrating afterward) will be more fun. A study
group should consist of only three or four people. (See the
to Use This Book in a Study
Group' discussion.)
5. Spend more time reviewing any topics you score poorly on before moving to Step 6.
6. Make sure you really know the material, and then retake the practice exams in the book. Identify
in writing the specific, not general, reason you got each question wrong.
7. Use your list of why you got each question wrong (from step 6) to study some material further.
Make sure you are thinking
project" and how proper project management should be done,
whether or not you use it correctly in your real world!
How to Use This Book in a Study Group I am honored that you have chosen my book for your
group. To get started, pick someone to lead the discussion of each chapter (preferably someone who
is not comfortable with the chapter). Each time you meet, go over questions about topics you do not
understand and review the hot topics on the exam using the Hot Topics flashcards, if you have them.
Most groups meet for one hour per chapter. Either independently or with your study group, do further
research on questions you do not understand or answered incorrectly.
Each member of the study group will need his or her own copy of the book. Notice that you do not have
to create exercises, homework, or even class activities; they are already provided for you. Make sure you
are not violating international copyright laws by creating any derivative works from this copyrighted
book. The best thing is to follow the book content.
If you are leading or teaching a structured PMP exam preparation course using RMC products, I
encourage you to contact RMC for information on our Corporate Partnership program, which may
give you the right to create slides or other materials using content from this book. I also encourage you
to contact RMC about other tools we offer to study groups and independent instructors, or to receive
quantity discounts on this book, PM FASTrack" exam simulation software, or Hot Topics flashcards.
14 @ 2009 RMC Publications, Inc
cHAeTER oNE Tricks for Studying for this Exam
To pass the PMP exam' you will need to understand what you know and do not know in each process
group (initiating'
planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, closing, and professional and social
and knowledge area (scope
management, time
cost management, etc.).
Mind maps are a quick way to organize data. You might want to use this method to org"urrize what you
do not know while studying for this exam. Mind
cannot be created for you, as th"ey will not be the
same for each person. A mind map is your own way to organizewhat you do not know.
Let's look at two ways that a student has used mind maps to organize what he needed to know for scope
In this version, the student made general notes of what he did not know about scope management.
I never realized that
the project scope
should be
determined before
the project starts
I did not realize
that a WBS can
help improve the
quality ofa project
In the following version, the student made more specific notes, by topic, on what he did not know about
scope management.
I am measured
on meeting the
scope baseline
The scope management
plan-determines in
advance how I will
manage scope
What it is used for
after it is completed
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Tricks for Studying for this Exam cHAprER oNE
Here is an example for a process group:
Manage progress to
the plan-In my real
world, I do not have a
realistic project
management plan to
work with, but I
should imagine I do
for the real exam.
Send and receive
information-there is a lot
of information to be sent
and received on a project
that I have never thought
about. I will make a list of
the information mentioned
in Rita's book that I might
not use on my real-world
projects so that I do not slip
up on the exam.
Reward systems-I
have never
formally done this,
and I should think
it through before
taking the exam.
WARNING: These are samples created by one student, and they are not complete. You should only use
them as examples of how to create a mind map, if you choose to do so, rather than examples of what
should be on your mind map. They should not be used to study from.
HOw tO Greate a Mind Map Simply start drawing on paper. Do not worry about making it
look pretty, or about using software. Over time, your mind maps will contain less data as you gain
understanding. You can learn more about this tool by reading one of Tony Buzan's books about mind
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cHAeTER oNE Tricks for Studying for this Exam
I have helped people pass the exam and become better project managers for 18 years. In this time, I
have put together a long list of things that are emphasized on the exam that many project managers do
not know. Would you like to see it? I suggest you read it now and then remember to reread it before you
take the actual exam. I coined the term
to refer to these things uniquely emphasized on the
exam. Understanding PMI-isms will help you pick the best answer from what seems like more than one
correct answer. Some of the topics are listed only here, and others are summarized here and described
more fully later in the book. For the exam, assume that you have or do all of the following and that
these items are true for your projects.
General PMI-isms:
1. Project managers can save the universe, are "wonderful" and'great]'and must be very skilled (A
Rah! for project management" topic).
2. the project manager puts the best interests of the project first, not his or her own interests.
3. The exam tests from the perspective of a large project. So the project manager is working on a
large project that involves 200 people from many countries, takes at least one year, has never been
done before in the organization, and has a budget of US $100 million dollars or more.
4. Project managers have all the power and perform all the activities in the real world as described in
the PMBOK' Guide.
5. The project manager is assigned during project initiating, not later in the life of the project.
6. The project manager understands the process of project managemen! e.9., what to do first,
second, etc., and why! (See Rita's Process Chart and Rita's Process Game in the Project
Management Processes chapter.
7. The project manager always knows why his or her project was selected by management to be
done, and makes sure those objectives are met while planning and managing the project.
8. The project manager spends time planning, managing, assessing, and controlling scope, time, cost,
quality, risk, resources, and customer satisfaction.
9. Organizations have a project management office, and that office has important, clearly defined
authority over projects.
10. Organizations have project management policies, which the project manager adapts for use on his
or her project. These policies may include project management methodologies, risk procedures,
and quality procedures.
11. Organizations have records (historical information) for all previous projects that include what
the work packages were, how much each work package cost, and what risks were uncovered (now
referred to in the PMBOK' Guide as part of organizational process assets). The project manager
uses this past history from other projects to plan the current project.
12.Tll.e project manager works within the existing systems and culture of a company (enterprise
environmental factors), and one of a project's results is to provide input to improve those systems.
13. A work breakdown structure (WBS) is used on every project.
14. A project management plan is not a bar chart, but a series of management plans. The project
manager knows what is involved in creating a real project management plan.
15. The project manager creates other documents (project documents) in addition to the project
management plan to help plan, manage, and control a project.
16. Stakeholders are involved throughout the project. Their needs are taken into account while
planning the project and creating the communications management plan. Th.y may also help
identify and manage risks.
17. People must be compensated for their work. (I am serious; a question about this has appeared on
the exam.)
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Tricks for Studying for this Exam cHAnTER oNE
18. PMI does not approve of gold plating (adding extra functionality).
19. Since most projects are managed in a matrix environment, such seemingly easy topics as
motivation theories and powers of the project manager become quite serious on the exam.
Planning the project:
20. Planning is very important, and all projects must be planned.
21. A project manager plans the project with input from the team and stakeholders, not on his or her
22. Part of planning involves deciding which processes in the PMBOK' Guide should be used on each
23. There are plans for how every knowledge area except project management framework, project
management processes, and integration management will be planned, managed, and controlled.
These are called management plans, and every project has one for each knowledge area.
24.If at all possible, all the required work and all the stakeholders are identified before the project
work actually begins.
25. The project manager determines metrics to be used to measure quality.
26.Tllre project manager has a plan for continually improving processes.
27. The project manager creates a system to reward team members and stakeholders.
28. All roles and responsibilities are CLEARLY documented and assigned to specific individuals
on the project. These may include things like reporting responsibilities, risk management
assignments, and meeting attendance, as well as project work.
29. Since the project has never been done before in the organization, the project manager focuses
extensively on identifying risks.
30. The stakeholders, as well as team members, are assigned risk identification and risk management
31. The project manager realizes that managing risks saves the project time and money.
32. Project cost and schedule cannot be finalized without completing risk management.
33. The project manager assesses whether the project can meet the end date and other project
constraints and objectives. He or she then meets with management to resolve any differences
BEFORE the project work starts. The project manager knows unrealistic schedules are his or her
34. The project manager plans when and how to measure performance against the performance
measurement baseline, as documented in the project management plan, but he or she also has
other measurements to use to determine how the project is performing while the work is being
35. The project management plan is approved by all parties, is realistic, and everyone believes it can be
36. The exam defines a kickoffmeeting in a way that may be different from your understanding of a
kickoffmeeting (see the Integration Management chapter).
During the
37.The project is managed to the project management plan.
38. A project manager measures against the project management plan to help determine the project
status throughout the life of the project.
39. Projects are reestimated throughout the life of the project to make sure the end date or cost
objectives will be met. Therefore, the project manager almost always knows if the project can meet
the agreed-to end date and budget.
40. Delays must be made up by adjusting future work, rather than asking for more time.
41. The project manager has authority and power. He or she can say
and work to control the
project for the benefit of the customer.
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42.1he project manager lets others know they cannot get something for nothing. A change in scope
MUST be evaluated for its impacts to time, cost, quality, risk, resources, and customer satisfaction.
The project manager has enough data about the project to do this analysis.
43. The project manager realizes that, over time, not everyone associated with the project will have
the same understanding of what the project is and what could occur during the life of the project.
Therefore, the project manager is continually looking to ensure everyone knows what is going on
and has appropriate expectations.
44.The project manager knows about and takes seriously human resource responsibilities on a
45. The project manager spends time on such activities as team building and ensuring team
46. The project manager is proactive and finds problems early, looks for changes, and prevents
47.The project manager spends more time focusing on preventing problems than dealing with
48. Most problems that occur have a risk management plan already created to deal with them.
49. Risks are a major topic at every team meeting.
50. Team meetings do not focus on status (that can be collected by other means).
51. All changes to the project management plan flow through the change management process and
integrated change control.
52.The project manager ensures that organizational policies are followed on the project.
53. The project manager recommends improvements to the performing organization's standards,
policies, and processes. Such recommendations are expected and welcomed by management.
should be considered whenever there is a change to any component of the project.
should be checked before an activity or work package is completed.
56. The project manager works closely with the quality assurance/quality control department in
performing some of the quality activities discussed in the PMBOK^ Guide.
57. The project manager is actively involved with the procurement process and assists in managing
58. The project manager understands contract language.
59. The project manager makes sure all the terms of the contract are met, including those that do not
seem important to him or her.
Closing the project:
60. The project manager archives all project records.
61. No project is complete unless there has been final acceptance from the customer.
62. AII projects produce a final report that gives the project team a chance to announce that the
project objectives have been met.
Reread this list when you think you are finished studying. Which ones seem different from the way you
manage your real-world projects? Which of these items do you not understand? Are there any items you
need to think about more to make sure you will remember them when you take the exam? Knowing
these PMI-isms can make a significant difference on the exam.
OHAPTER ONE Tricks for studying for this Exam
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