Published 11.10.2016 by Nicolas de Teilmann

Becoming a Project Management Professional (PMP)

I passed my PMP certification 5th October 2016,  yay!  And I want to share a guide/tips for anyone else who wants to do this certification.

I have to admit that this certification was a challenge, especially with a full-time project allocation and having two kids - Just to find the time required - But I still managed to squeeze 10 hours in every week and completed this within 3 months.
In total; I read the PMBOK, two study guides (PMBOK® Fifth Edition based - IBM Study Notes Version 6.0 and Achieve PMP Exam Success - A Concise Guide for the Busy Project Manager), and did around 1200 PMP test questions. You can do it faster and with less effort by following this guide.

During the whole process, I documented what I found was the best approach and all the information that I wished I had before I started the PMP journey - I think this will make it easier and more efficient for anyone else who plan to do this certification. I also led a study group of two, who both passed on the first attempt so this guide is tried and proven albeit on a smaller scale.

I am truly happy I completed the certification and all the learning I got from the process. I highly recommend this certification for anyone else 🙂 -Hopefully, this will be of help for others. Good luck!

PMI-PMPPMBOK 5 Study Guide

This guide contains a lot of practical information on how to obtain the PMP-certification, from the beginning where you apply for your PMI membership, to the end on how you maintain your PMP credentials.



  • 35 hours of PM education and 4500 hours “leading and directing” project management tasks over 36 months, in the last 8 years
  • Do not need to be “PM” on project – if you “lead” as “Team Lead” that counts


PMI-PMPSteps to Exam

  1. Join PMI, pay the $129, and you can download your PMBoK in a pdf ($119 in successive years, but optional to continue membership)
  1. Submit your PMP application, and wait 5 days
      1. You will receive “Authorization to Test” letter saying your application was reviewed and you are now eligible to pay
      2. I recommend getting your eligibility letter in hand before expending too much time or money – you will then have 1 year to take the test
  1. Pay the test fee of $345, and schedule your test date
    1. After payment, you will be notified of any audit (5% of people)
    2. After payment, you can then access the schedule and open slots
    1. Gather materials to help you study
      1. Buy the PMBOK hard copy even though it's $50 – it’s worth the pain of not having to print it out (also available in audiobook format)
      2. The PMBoK only contains 80% of the material on the test so read other supplemental materials in addition
      3. Download ‘Achieve PMP Exam Success A Concise Guide for the Busy Project Manager’on 24x7 books
    2. Read the PMBOK all the way through once, reading for concepts, similarities, and how it all fits together
      1. The important concepts will be referenced over and over
      2. After each chapter, read the corresponding chapter in the book ‘Achieve PMP Exam Success A Concise Guide for the Busy Project Manager’ and take the test for each chapter.
      3. Once you've read all the way through you will get a MUCH better idea of how it all fits together and can now make educated decisions on where to focus your time (e.g., in Initiating and Closing)
      4. Draw parallels, such as all processes in Monitoring and Controlling are called "* Control", and that deliverables are only updated in Integrated Change Control
      5. Know the differences between Scope Control and Quality Assurance, between Close Project and Contract Close, and other similar definitions
      6. The Definition section is your friend (pages 526-565 in PMBoK)
    3. Take a lot of prep exams
      1. You may be surprised at how much you have retained, so no need to overstudy - this is pass/fail


PMI-PMPTest Exams

This is my recommended tests (these are all similar in difficulty as the real exam, however the experience of sitting for 4 hours with minimal breaks, will most likely make the real exam seem more difficult)



PMI-PMPSteps to Exam 

  1. Set aside several hours of dedicated study prior to test day
  2. Every morning the last week, take 15 minutes and practice making your cheat sheet that you will recreate once inside the testing room
    1. Take the final exam.
      1. Pass/Fail (Passing score matched to the difficulty of the exam (about 70%)
      2. Measure of Proficiency in the 6 areas:
        • Proficient
        • Moderately Proficient
        • Below Proficiency
      1. Your pass/fail score is based on your overall performance, not on how many questions you answered right or wrong in a particular domain/chapter.
  1. Keep your membership current (PMI $119 p.a./PMP renewal $90 every 3 years)
    1. You will receive a reminder from PMI a month before your payment is due
    2. Make a plan for how you will earn your 60 PDUs needed over each three-year cycle (~60 hours of PM related education)


PMI-PMPCheat Sheet

Memorize all formulas if possible, otherwise, focus on the critical and most used (marked with stars)

PMBOK 5 Study Guide Cheatsheet



You are not allowed to bring anything into the exam room; no water, no snacks, calculator or anything. Any breaks you take are in your overall 4 hours’ test time.

You should be doing 25 questions each 30min to finish on time. If you are ahead on time I suggest you take a small break, check out, take some water, go to the toilet, check in and continue when you hit 75 questions (after 1,5 hour), 150 questions (after 3 hours).


The exam structure is based on below: (200 questions)

  • Initiating process – 11% (22 questions)
  • Planning process – 23% (46 questions)
  • Executing process – 27% (54 questions)
  • Monitoring and Controlling process – 21% (42 questions)
  • Closing process – 9% (18 questions)
  • Professional responsibility – 9% (18 questions)


Based on the exam structure. There will be 22 questions on Initiation process (chapter 4.1 and 13.1). 18 questions on Closing process (chapter 4.6 and 12.4). So 20% of the exam will be based on only these 4 chapters (see below). Make sure to understand these very well.


PMI-PMP PMBOK 47 Process Game


This is a good game if you want to learn all the 47 processes and their sequence by memory. However, it is not required to pass the exam. When I did the exam I only had 4 questions (2%), related to the specific sequencing of tasks.


  1. Print Game board (page 2)
  2. Print and cut the 47 PMBOK-Processes (page 3)
  3. Exercise: Correctly place all 47 processes on the board in the correct sequence

PMI-PMP 47 Processses Board Game

Remember to celebrate your success once you pass the exam with your team members and clients 🙂