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PMP® Study Tips

Below is a recommended 14 day study plan based on the study material and 54 tests (1,400 questions). Register in the demo PMP Exam Ready course here, to download the excel file and enter in your calendar dates to customize the study plan just for you. This will keep you "on target" to ensure you study on a daily basis.

When doing the practice exams always try to understand the reasoning behind what to do first, when to involve the CCB etc. to be able to understand how to approach the questions in the exam.
Andrea Weeks, PMP 2016-03
Get a contextual understanding of the inputs, outputs and TnTs. Memorizing will not help you to understand the why’s and the what for’s. Use as many of the practice quizzes and exams as you can prior to the real exam. It helps to prepare you for the real thing. Make sure you have a good understanding of the network diagrams, total float, free float, leads and lags. Write out the formulas until you can see them in your sleep and practice your brain dump several times before the exam. This will be key in the first minutes of the exam and will be very important throughout the exam. Get enough rest prior to the exam. It is long and somewhat gruelling and you will need to be at your best. Make sure your are well hydrated. Do the homework that is given. It will help you in the long run even if it means sacrificing family time and personal time. Be sure your family, significant other, etc. are all on-board for this because it will take up a good chunk of your free time. Stay positive and see the goal completed from the beginning. If you don’t believe you will be successful, you will not succeed.
Nigel Henry, PMP 2015-05

Use the study calendar as laid out. Read PMBOK, then condensed notes and follow up with flashcards. Take all the practice tests on chapters and knowledge areas.
Lyn, PMP 2014-05


Don’t memorize ITTOs. Instead, have flash cards that show the name of every single T&T that’s in each knowledge area’s process overview. Know each T&T’s purpose – you will then be able to derive what the input and outputs are and whether it could possibly be used in process X or not. Example: ‘Product Analysis’: understand the stakeholder’s need and turn it into tangible requirements. This would make sense for 5.3 Define Scope.

Richard Guenther; 2013-12 PMP

Think of preparing for the exam as a project unto itself. Develop a detailed study plan a month out and follow it, noting your daily progress along the way and adjusting as needed.Your progress on the practice exams (i.e. earned value J) will be a good indicator of your readiness leading up to the exam date.
Bill, PMP 2013-12
Read the question slowly and carefully. One complicated and long network diagram. At first I got worried; but the question was very simple (float on critical path.)
Sam Jarrah, PMP 2013-06
Overall, I felt well prepared going into he exam... there were a few things that I didn't know 100%, but I was comfortable that I knew the majority of the PMBOK & course content. The things that worked best for me included: completing the practice quizzes exams (eSim) AND then reviewing the questions that I didn't get correct taking the time to review associated section in the PMBOK and the student manual to reinforce my learning I knew the 5 x 9 x 42 grid inside and out and was able to write that down as soon as I got into the I would have liked to feel a bit more comfortable with the ITTO's; if know these cold as well, then it helps with the questions where the exam is looking for you to identify a process based on one of those. On my exam, I saw approx 5-6 network diagrams, and approx 14-15 EV (earned value) questions... I studied hard in the last couple days before the exam on EV, and I was lucky - it paid off... I had the formulas in my head and just blasted them down on my scrap paper before I started Definitely do your brain dump when you get into the exam --- once you start into the questions, you may be prone to second guess yourself -- so get those formulas and tips/tricks in writing before you take on the heavy brain lifting! LOL If you've got it narrowed down to possible answers (even if you're marking it for review) pick one of them... that way, if the clock starts to tick down and you don't get a chance to review everything, you'll have something answered for that question. Above all else - don't kid yourself... you need to study hard to ensure your success... set aside the appropriate amount of time for yourself to study the material in detail.
Benjamin Graham, PMP 2013-06

First I spent some time to recall Cindy's class teaching and to understand high level PMBOK concepts and get a full picture as much as possible: why it needs those inputs, what part of info we need from EEF, OPA, what outputs we expect and generate.
Making connection with a real project scenario really helped me a lot, like Cindy always used example of "mother's birthday party", starting breakdown from "triple constrains". I started with reading PMBOK chapter by chapter, then Cindy's notes and then chapter unit e-sim test. First thing in the morning at office, I filled 42 processes in the empty templates in different orders based on knowledge area or process group or "process sequence" .I committed at least 2-3hrs a day after work, and 6-8 hrs on weekends for almost 4 consecutive weeks. I always used e-sim to check how I reallyunderstand after finishing each unit study. I completed all e-sim 1320 questions including quiz, mini and 3 full exams, some of them were done more than onceat different times. To be handy, I printed a few copies of materials like fast facts, glossary, ITTo sheet, formulas, and put in my car, on office desk, etc. Read it whenever I got a chance to kill 5-10 minutes.
I scored 68% out of the junior exam (not impressive, but "on target") to start execution of Cindy's 14-day study plan, and then I scored 75% about a week before my exam day (still on target). For the last 3-4 days, I started to tie all knowledge areas together in mind, also spent time to memorize ITTOs as much, as detailed as possible.
If can do it, you guys definitely can do it even better! Best of luck to you!
Xiaoming Guo,PMP 2013-06 Ontario, Canada
Reading the PMBOK during the course, then reading it again for the Pre Quizzes, then reading yet again for the Post Quizzes worked the best for me! Given the amount/type of information the PMBOK has, I doubt that a person can truly understand all the material by passing through it once. Also, the eSim was instrumental in identifying holes in my knowledge and understanding. In short, the study guide is very helpful!
Almomen, Majid, PMP 2013-04; Proctor & Gamble
Know the EV formula's. Not just the basic CV, SV, CPI or SPI. Know TCPI and how to "flip" the formula to get the proper answer. Quality and Risk were the majority of the questions so know these areas. Dump sheet of the 5x9x42 along with the formulas will help at the exam.
Amalia Kartsonas, PMP 2013-05 Ontario, Canada
It really is what you said – keep reviewing the material, take the exam simulator and other quizzes to help you focus on the areas in which you are weaker and need more time and then for the I/T&T/O’s – you have to put in the time to learn them but some level of memorization is required. As a tip – you have to really understand the difference between Quality Assurance and Quality Control.
Andrea Katz, PMP 2011-11 Ontario, Canada
Maybe just me, but Risk was the toughest area I found. Understanding the difference between QA and QC and when they are performed, and how it tied into Verify Scope was tough for me.The one Network diagram question I had was basically just a question about lag on an activity, so it wasn't too bad.
Spencer Neil, PMP
Students need to recognize that memorizing the 5 x 9 x 42, etc, is not sufficient. They must be able to understand how specific project management issues "co-relate" with the PM processes. I found that in knowledge areas in which I did not have previous experience or learning, it was sometimes difficult to differentiate between some of the tools/techniques. I had at least 4 questions around the issue of early "ends" to contracts, due to hurricaine, due to internal problems, etc. asking which would be the most appropriate clause in each circumstance, e.g. indemity, liability, force maj, etc. I honestly do not recall reading about this in the PMBOK.
Anne Marie Lang-Berkowitz, PMP 2011-07


One of your students just completed the Junior 200 question sample exam and scored 66%. He is currently laying in the fetal position on the cold basement floor staring at the cat's litter box. He only has one study day left before his final exam. What should he do next?

A- Quietly sneak out of the house and join the circus.
B- Pull an all-nighter or two and cram like crazy.
C- Take a pill, blow off the next day and cruise into the exam in full confidence.
D- Take a break, calmly review the results and study all his weak areas with scores below 75%

Please complete this question at your earliest convenience.

Wilfred soon to be PMP

The exam was a mixture of questions I had no clue and some straight from the PMBOK. You have to have a pretty good idea about Inputs-TnT-Outputs, area where I struggled a bit since I didn't memorize it. Professional Responsibility seemed to be everywhere so please read the code of conduct very well. Another one that had several questions was EV and 1 network diagram which I didn't have time to resolve.

The biggest advice I will give you is when you go into the exam is don't spend too much time in questions. Pick your answer and move to the next one. I spent more time than necessary at the beginning and ran out of time at the end.

Go for it! Don't wait to "feel" you know everything in and out because that time will never come.
Karina, PMP 2008-10


A lot of earned value Q's. I had a few network diagrams looking for float. Definately know scope verification vs quality conformance. Know the T&T's for quality inside out. I found there were input & output questions. Still more T&T's. Know analogous vs bottom up. Had 1 Order of magnitude question, know the ranges -25 to 75. No PERT or Delphi. A few on resource levelling. Lots of situational conflict Q's. A few on differences between close project vs. contract closure. Lots on schedule compression, when to use crashing vs. fast tracking. Very situational questions. Lots of info in questions you don't need, so don't overthink. Lots of math, lucky for me! Also, I did better on the actual test than I did on the e-sim. I found the first half of the test wordy and discouraging but flew through the second half and had time to review.

Candy,PMP 2008-02


Finally, I had nothing on the statistical distributions at all. I did have one on probability calculation that said something like probability of this was 60% and probability of that was 25%, what was the probability of the combination of both. But you already have a few of those on the e-SIM – pretty simple stuff. I created a few EV questions where you need to derive the EV given the performance indicator and the Planned Value or Actual Cost. I also have EV question where the old term for the value was used in the question. I had at 4-6 of these on the real exam and had never seen anything like it before, so thought I’d include it.

I’d say about 100 or more questions had the words FIRST, BEST, NOT, EXCEPT, MOST in bold and caps so you couldn’t miss it.
I didn’t have any PTA questions – but I did hear of others who took the test in Jan did had some PTA questions. And there were only a few questions on contract types and they were very simple. Things like: “A purchase order is what type of contract: 1. Fixed Price; 2. Cost reimbursable; 3. time and materials; 3. invitation for bid.

Russ, PMP 2007-07

Most of the questions (I can say 70 %) were very hard. I believe PMI is making PMP exam harder, harder and harder. Six or seven questions were calculations. Only one network diagram, 2 or 3 cost performance calculation, 3 were contract related calculation questions and one risk probability question. The contract questions were complex questions and remaining calculation were simple and straight forward. I was expecting a lot of mathematical calculation and network and other analysis questions; I only had 7 or 8 questions on the exam.
There were 150 to 160 were scenario questions and remaining questions were from all kinds of categories like Input, Output, TNT, and Calculation questions.

Tom, PMP 2007-09


Dear Director, I want to thank the e-sim team. The support was also very-very good. Excellent response. I found the e-Sim quizzes and exams very helpful both to understand the PMBOK concepts, as well as to examine my self-study progress. Following the quizzes by process area and knowledge helped me to identify which areas required more time and effort. Although this alone may not be enough, but it helped in identifying the areas of further reading. I re-read the concept in PMBOK with different prospective after every e-Sim test. I recommend the PMP e-SIM eLearning provides value for money. I will surely recommend this for other prospective PMPs.

Satender Singh Nirval, PMP 2005-01

I used the study tools you provided within the PMP e-SIM Training Center, and passed my PMP exam on December 2, 2004 with a very respectable score! The e-SIM Training Center was my primary study aid during my test preparation, and the place where I spent the majority of my preparation time. I found the e-SIM system to be comprehensive and demanding, just the tool I needed to prepare for the PMP examination. In fact, I found the e-SIM test questions to be more difficult than the actual test. Thank you for making this excellent study guide available to those interested in earning the PMP certification. Without it, I can honestly say that I would have not passed the PMP exam.
Joel Kmetz, PMP, 2004-12
The e-SIM was instrumental in building my confidence to write the PMP exam. The questions are very similar in nature and they ensure you understand the context of what you are reading in PMBOK. I followed the 14 day study plan and passed with flying colours. I took the time to complete every eSIM test available....some more than once! It takes time but the dedication pays off. It's important to understand why you chose incorrect answers and the eSIM highlights the importance of reading the questions carefully.
My PMP exam had a lot of Network diagrams, it took some to adjust as they look very different than the eSIM. I also had a lot of questions on SV, SPI, CV, CPI, & SD calculations. I was glad I was very familiar with the formulas.

For future PMP hopefuls, I would recommend the eSIM learning tool without a doubt. It would have been much more difficult without it.

Cindy Trask, PMP; Manager Canadian Standards Association (CSA), 2004-12


Dear Director:
This is to share the happy news that I have passed the PMP certification in a very short duration. I have seriously thought of going for PMP certification only in the month of October and with in 45 days, I have become a certified PMP. The total credit goes to the PMP e-simulators of 1320 questions and it's presentation techniques.

The handy condensed notes and tips and the brainstorming 14 day study plan helped to achieve the objective. The self supported forum helped every one to share, understand the questions and view the answers provided by experienced professionals. The brain dump was extremely helpful to revise and recall the important terms and calculations.

Definitely It would have been not possible to become certified PMP without your kind co-operation and helpful attitude. In simple words "You have provided every help that a student required to become a certified PMP." My Hats Off for the wonderful service at a very reasonable cost.
I suggest and recommend all the aspiring PMP® professionals to take PMP e-Simulators that will surely help them to reach their objectives.
Thanks a million.Yours truly,
Balaji Thangavel P.Eng., PMP; Mississauga, ON, Canada 2004-11

Just a note to thank you for your support and encouragement as I prepared to take the PMP Exam. I found your sample questions to be quite similar in nature to the actual exam. I encourage students to try taking these samples in preparation for the exam as it helps ensure the material is understood and not merely memorized.
Donna Warrender, PMP; Manager Business Process Delivery Scotia Bank 2004-09

I would like to thank everyone at PMP e-Sim for my success in the PMP exam. The e-Sim closely simulates the real exam and I found the PMP series of final exams are a very good preparation tool for the real exam. The degree of difficulty of the final series of tests is close to the real PMP exam. The practice of using timers even for short tests like the pre and post tests greatly helped me in dealing with time pressure. The questions forum is a very good idea and it is nice to have an experienced PMP like Cindy Bell at the other end to answer the questions in a timely manner. I would like to encourage everyone to spend considerable time with the e-simulators and definitely exploit the questions forum. Last but not the least, the helpful and accommodating attitude and honesty of the staff at PMP® e-Sim has been exemplary.
Kris Jayakrishnan, PMP 2004-09

I am happy to say I am now a PMP, but part of the credit goes to the courseware provided with the PMP e-SIM Training Center. As prospective test takers discover, the information in the PMBOK is not all inclusive, but rather a "guide" to find and understand project management's theories and methodologies. When you look at all the books available on project management and the wide range of topics that are encompassed, it can bring your ambitions to a stop.

The PMP e-SIM Training Center courseware helps you overcome this by breaking down the mass of knowledge into definitive steps. As you think you have acquired mastery of each step, progressively longer testing is conducted to either confirm or provide feedback on areas needing further study.
The PMP e-SIM Training Center staff is responsive to questions and also open to suggested changes/corrections. The evolving depth of the material is housed in a stable shareware foundation for course delivery. The presentation style is unique compared to similar online offerings: colorful and original, so less dry. Rather than just feeding back the information in the PMBOK, the emphasis was on making you think beyond the principles provided and on a wide range of outside sources. While a suggested study guide was provided for the ambitious, the courseware provided can be molded to fit your own study pattern.

If you are looking for training that provides you value for your money, I recommend the PMP e-SIM eLearning site to any prospective PMPs.
Ed Tobias, PMP 2004-09

All the information available in the e-Sim was crucial for me to benchmark myself in a very practical environment that exactly simulates the Exam. Thank you. I just can't believe that I passed. For me the e-Sim is the best thing that prepared me for the exam for number a of reasons:

1) It is as close as you can get to the real practical environment, especially for individuals who get nervous, exam phobians.
2) The questions are excellent as they very closely mirror the type and contents of the exam. The only way to pass the exam is to practice as many questions as you can.
3) All the condensed notes and tips saved me so much time as I would have to read and grasp the PMBOK, then make my own notes and then practice questions which would have been so much time consuming. Also, during the last one- two days the notes and tips come real handy as they summarize the PMBOK very effectively.
Sanjeev Sharma, PMP Rogers Communications 2004-08
e-Sims and study material from Cindy contain all the necessary information to excel in writing the PMP exam. The study guide and plan crystallize the essence of the PMBOK material. The format of 1,320 questions helped prepare me for the actual exam as the formats were very similar. Many of the questions brought additional insight as this material was not covered in PMBOK.

The three exam simulators are a must for anyone as writing a four hour exam requires both mental and physical stamina. Thought I needed more than 14 days for the final preparation, the study plan was a great help.
Karim Premji, CFP, PMP Allstate Canada 2004-07

The e-sim is a great tool. It helped to minimize any anxiety I had
around taking an on-line test (something I had never done before). I
learned a lot in reviewing the questions I had answered incorrectly and I used the summary page, that indicated the topic areas I needed to spend more time reviewing, to focus my study efforts. I feel that the e-sim tool prepared me well for the overall PMP examination experience. Score 79%
Laura Parks, PMP Sunlife/Clarica 2004-07
Indeed, I scheduled a date in July to write the exam, this morning to be precise. I am delighted to inform you that as of 12pm July 22, 2004, I am a certified PMP professional ;-) I scored 85%, which I am very satisfied with.

For your information, the study schedule I followed was fully based on your materials (and the PMBOK), but did not span the 2 weeks as recommended by yourself. For reference, I spent 2 weekends and 1 day dedicated to studying for the exam. The first weekend was rather low key, I managed to do the initial test (junior) and day 1 and day 2 of your scheme. The second weekend covered day 3, 4, 5 and 6 of your scheme. The remaining day was the day before the exam (hence, yesterday), in which I did the intermediate exam and re-studied the most important of the process groups including the mini-exams (I was fairly solid on the knowledge areas from the first week of studies, so I did not plan too much time for reviewing those). Then, finally, at 10pm yesterday night, I did the advanced exam simulator (took me 2 hours, I did not go back and review answers). I did review all incorrect answers at all tests I took and also tried to recall and memorize questions that I saw I answered properly (as they didn't show up in reviewing the incorrect ones) but I knew I was hesitant/unsure about.

I progressed from a disappointing 64% in the junior test (but hey, hardly looked at the study materials for 1.5 months) to 69% on the intermediate to 79% on the advanced. The 85% on the real exam is of course the icing on the cake ;-)

By the way, in my opinion the exam I got was significantly easier than the questions in your advance test. I concur with that approach ;-)

Thank you very much for your help. Philip Bierhoff, M.Sc., PMP Procter& Gamble 2004-07 ;-)

I did find the e-Sim very helpful. I actually thought the e-Sim was harder than the actual test! I definitely think without the e-Sim I would have had a much harder time. Scott Garner, PMP®
Scott Garner, PMP; Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Co 2004-07
I used most of the e-Sim Baseline, Mini-Exam and all three full Exam Simulators to prepare for the real exam and found that the Advanced Simulator exam was more difficult than the real exam. The e-Sim exams allowed me to focus my studies on the areas that I needed to improve my understanding and the full exams acted as a review of all the material.
John George, PMP; Woodbine Entertainment Group 2004-05
I found it VERY useful. The e-sim immediately allowed me to apply my readings from PMBOK and your study material to practice. It also prepared me with the types of questions that would be asked on the exam, the language used, and also helped put me in the right frame of mind when answering questions. The e-sim also had a similar format in look and feel to the PMP® exam, so when I wrote the actual exam, I didn't have to adjust to the look and feel, and more important to the language and format of the questions. I could focus directly on answering the questions in the right way.
Neleesh Shariff, PMP; Procter and Gamble 2004-05

I found the e-sim helped significantly with respect to real life exam simulation specifically in the areas of exam format, question make-up and time management. The junior, intermediate and advanced e-sim concept helped build self confidence which contributed to my success.
George Garner, PMP; Bell Canada 2004-05
I found the e-Sim quizzes and exams very helpful both to understand the PMBoK mindset, as well as to gauge my self-study progress. The fact that the quizzes were done by process group and knowledge area also helped me to fine-tune my studying. I could easily identify areas that required more time and effort and I delayed writing my exam twice as my e-Sim exam results were not good enough. As a result, I did not write the exam too soon, so I did not waste time or frustrate myself unduly.

I would recommend the e-Sim exams to those that are taking the PMP crash prep course, especially for those experienced project managers that have spent a lot of time in the field but minimal time in the classroom.
Barb Loma, PMP; CIBC 2004-05
The e-Sim was key to me passing the exam. I spent approx 150 hours studying for the exam over and above the courses I took. About 75% of my time was spent in the e-Sim. I am also so grateful to you Cindy for your continued support throughout the study period. One note, I found the 14 day study plan very aggressive.
Kelly Huis, PMP TD/CT 2004-03

The E-Sim questions where a very important factor in successfully passing (82%) the PMP® examination. The E-Sim questions where very similar to the actual examination questions and even the screen layout was a very good representation of the actual exam. Even though the E-Sim questions are not exactly the same as the PMP® exam questions, it is the thought process required in answering the question correctly. Another great feature is the explanation of why the answer was chosen for that particular question. Overall, the E-Sim is an excellent tool in preparation of passing the PMP® examination.
Gary Caryn, PMP; 2004-03

Thanks to the PMP® e-Sim professional approach and excellent toolkit, especially the condensed PMBok notes and e-PMP simulator questions, I was able to follow the recommended 14 day study plan and pretest myself to ensure I was ready to write the PMP exam and pass on the first try!
I did use your site and found it very helpful. I used the exam simulators as a way to familiarize myself with a computer based exam and having a clock running in the corner of the screen. I have advised anyone who listened to try your site as it was very helpful. I would definitely suggest anyone who is about to write the exam use your site, it is well worth it.
Alan DeVillaer, PMP; Municipality of Chatham-Kent 2003-12
Copyright 1998-2009 - ESim 2.0 Copyright 1998 -2010 PM Star. All rights reserved. PMI Registered Education Provider logo "PMP," "PMBOK," "CAPM," and "PMI" are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. As a PMI PMP Certification Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.) #2023, PM Star Inc. has been approved by PMI to issue professional development units (PDUs) for its training courses. PM Star has agreed to adhere to all PMI established quality assurance criteria.
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