Category: PMI PMP Exam Tips

Getting PMP Certified — My Study Notes, Tips and Lessons Learned

My lessons learned on PMP Certification based on PMP Exam Experience — including FREE Study Notes and Cost Saving Tips to help PMP aspirants to pass the exam in first attempt.


If you are reading this article, it is highly likely that you are considering getting the PMP Certification. Maybe you are doing some researches about how to apply for the PMP Certification and pass the PMP Exam.

edward family with 3 kids Hi, my name is Edward Chung. I passed the PMP certification examination on 7 Nov, 2013 based on the PMBOK Guide 5th Edition (i.e. the most current edition) in the 1st attempt with 'Proficient' (the best grade) in Initiation, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling and 'Moderately Proficient' in Closing. And I can get PMP certified (and PMI-ACP certified, and ITIL Foundation certified ...) while taking care of my daily full-time job and my family with 3 kids.

Early in my PMP Certifiaction journey, I have the following questions in mind:
  • Do you find it is hard to find the time for PMP Bootcamp while you are having a full-time demanding job as a project management professional?
  • Preparing for the PMP Exam is very expensive?
  • People say that the PMP Certification is very difficult and the passing rate is low?
  • Taking a 4 hour exam would be impossible?
  • Will the PMP Exam syllabus be updated (i.e. PMBOK 6) any time soon?

After spending hundreds of hours searching the internet and reading numerous documentations...... fortunately I have found the answers to the above questions to be a resounding NO. Getting PMP Certified is Much Easier Than You Think!

Here, I try to summarize my PMP Exam process with a view to easing the path to PMP Certification for fellow PMP aspirants — as the information provided by PMI nor on the internet is clear enough. Time and cost saving tips will also be included to save you a fortune.

I got selected by PMI for the application audits for both my PMP and PMI-ACP Certification and thus I would be able to offer more insights into the PMP application process. I would be much grateful if my sharing here would be able to offer a little assistance to fellow PMP Aspirants.

Update: PMI has just announced that the PMBOK Guide 6th edition will be published in 3rd quarter of 2017 and the PMP Exam will only be updated in the 1st quarter of 2018. PMP Aspirants still have enough time to prepare their PMP Certification journey!

Update2 for PMP Aspirants in 2017: Perhaps you have been suggested doing "PMP Exam Brain Dump" as one of the top advices for your PMP Exam, sharings from recent PMP Exam takers tell us that doing PMP Exam Brain Dump during tutorial time is NOT ALLOWED now. Read here for details.

Wish you PMP success!

Edward Chung, PMP, PMI-ACP, ITIL Foundation, ZCE


How I Got PMP Certified While Taking Care of My Job and My Family

The following is the process for my PMP Certification, including how to meet the requirements of the PMP Exam:

  1. [Experience requirement] Get Project Management Experience (4500 hours for degree holders / 7500 hours for sub-degree holders)
    - CAPM, which is another entry level project management certification offered by PMI, does not require working experience if you have got at least 23 hours of project management education. However CAPM is not recommended.
  2. [Education requirement] Obtain 35 Contact Hours of Project Management Education to qualify for PMP Exam
    - I achieved the 35 Contact Hours using downloadable PMP Exam prep course PM PrepCast which is reasonably priced but excellent in quality.
    - I also came across another excellent online PMP Exam prep course which will not only give you the 35 Contact Hours but also 3 Simulated Exams — though the lecture videos cannot be downloaded for offline viewing
    - my comparision of these two online PMP Exam training courses
  3. Fill the online PMP Certification application form & schedule the PMP Exam
  4. Study for the PMP Exam... (you may refer to the PMP Exam study resources below)
  5. Take & pass the PMP Exam

Note: You may refer to The PMP Certification Process Overview for a detailed discussion on the PMP Certification requirements, application process & more.

Wonder how much does it cost to get PMP certified? For my case... the PMP Certification cost is around US$700 — including all the courses & study materials. Refer to PMP Certification Cost for details.

In the sections below, I will include all the PMP Exam prep study resources & exam tips that helped me to pass the PMP Exam in first attempt... I will also share my experience at passing the PMI audit for my PMP Certification application.


Recommended Resources for PMP Exam Preparation — To Pass PMP Exam with Minimal Cost

Some of the most useful PMP Certification resources to help me and other PMP Aspirants to fully prepare for the PMP Exam:

  1. My PMP Study Notes — available for FREE
  2. Best PMP Certification Prep Book / PMP Study Guide
  3. PMP Exam Prep Course — for 35 Contact Hours of Project Management Eduation & PMP Exam preparation
  4. Best FREE PMP Sample Exam Questions

PMP Exam Journey — My Experience Sharing

A Little About Myself

I am a full-stack web developer/designer/project manager working in the education sector in Hong Kong. I handle web development projects large & small, including major revamp exercises, one-page landing pages, online applications & systems. I have always wanted some sort of testimonial to my project management skills & PMP is the definite choice.

Below is the complete record of my PMP Certification journey... from the selection of PMP training course, application procedures (including the audit process) to finishing the PMP examination & beyond. I have also included a few cost saving tips on getting the 35 Contact Hours as well as PDUs to renew the PMP certification. Do read them to gain an in-depth knowledge of the PMP certification process.


PMP Training & Application

Perhaps the most obscure part for the PMP Certification require is the "35 Contact Hours". I spent tens of hours to search for the best PMP Exam prep course, & discovered that the best is NOT the most expensive. With online PMP Exam courses, you get both the 35 Contact Hours as well as the preparation for you to pass the PMP Exam in the first attempt!


PMP Examination Prep - Study Notes, Sample Questions & Formula Guide

That's how I passed the PMP Exam: 1) took the PM PrepCast online PMP Exam prep course, 2) read PMP Study Guide by Andy Crowe & 3) practice hundreds of PMP Exam sample questions. I wrote down anything I learned during my PMP Exam journey in the following study notes in the style of "Cliff notes" — i.e. brief and to the point. I have also included many FREE PMP Exam sample questions which are on par with the difficulty of the real PMP Exam. Hope you will find these useful!


Taking the PMP Certification Examination

I confess I was quite nervous while taking the PMP Exam despite I have spent over a hundred hours on the PMP Exam prep study & I got around 80% in my PMP sample exam questions. Below are my experience in taking the PMP Exam:


Earning PMP PDUs with Lowest Cost

Every PMP need to earn 60 PDU every 3 years in order to be able to renew the PMP Certificate. Earning PDU is not expensive if you know the following tips:


The Complete PMP Certification & Study Guide

After receiving thousands of enquiries from PMP Aspirants all over the world, I decided to write a complete PMP Certification and Style Guide in everyday language in order to help PMP Aspirants to understand the PMP Exam Process more thoroughly.


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