PMP certification: How to ace the Project Management Professional exam

Approximately two out of five people fail their first attempt at the PMP exam. The following overview of the PMP certification will help you ace the exam on your first try.

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First, be sure to get a full nights sleep. Proper sleep helps your body and mind to be in optimal shape for your exam. Avoid any stress the day before and go to sleep early to allow your mind to be fresh for the next day.

You should also take the whole exam day off. To ensure you are ready for the exam it is essential that no other activities, stressors, or appointments be looming in your mind before or during the exam. Make sure to clear your calendar for exam day to help you stay fully focused on the exam only.

Eat a full and balanced breakfast to properly fuel your mind and body for this taxing day. The last thing you want to be focusing on is hunger or feeling weak and out of energy during your exam.

Dress for success. Set out comfortable clothes the night before that allow you to feel at ease and ready for success.

Just before the exam and just after, avoid talking about the exam with anyone. Trust you have prepared sufficiently. Discussing the exam only creates confusion and doubt. When writing the exam breathe and use common sense. Sometimes what can trip you up are your own nerves. Try to stay calm and again trust that you are prepared.

Allow yourself to feel confident about all of your hard work and efforts, knowing that you are ready for the exam. Remember to breath and relax when heading into your exam.

Maintaining your PMP credentials

Qualifying for the PMP and preparing for the exam can be a time-consuming and overwhelming endeavor, but well worth it due to the rewarding career path. But passing the exam is just the beginning. PMI requires certification holders to follow PMI’s “Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) program and earn professional development units (PDUs).” This amounts to paying the annual membership renewal fee, and earning and reporting 60 PDUs every three years.

There are many ways to earn free PDUs and hundreds of resources that offer them. One of the most rewarding ways to earn free PDUs is by volunteering at your local PMI chapter. Another great way to earn free PDUs is by listening to project management-related podcasts.

Make sure that you read about the five categories of PDUs as outlined in the PMP Credential Handbook. There are some limits on the number of PDUs you can claim from each category.

Documenting your PDUs

You can document your PDUs online using PMI’s Continuing Credential Requirements System (CCRS).

PMI offers a PMP Credentials Handbook as well as additional information on how to maintain your certification and how to earn and report PDUs to help you remain in good standing.

Three years may seem like a long time, but it will pass in the blink of an eye. Don't wait until year three to start accumulating PDUs. Once you've earned your PMP certification, set out a three-year plan to accumulate your PDUs consistently over the next 36 months.

This story, "PMP certification: How to ace the Project Management Professional exam" was originally published by CIO.

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