Staying focused and directing your concentration during your PMP Certification Exam preparation can be extremely challenging, even for the most organized. It is hard to always maintain the level of dedication that is required to get the most out of your training. Your time is extremely valuable; not only your personal time but also your professional. Between work commitments, family time, chores, social aspects and personal time, it is extremely hard to find the time to devote to studying. Then, when you do sit down to study, not getting sidetracked or interrupted is another set of challenges.
To help assist you in this concentration challenge, below are few tips to help keep you focused.
Establish good study habits and put into practice. Make a study strategy and plan for how you are going to attack the material, determine how much time you estimate you need to devote to each section and the amount of time you have to devote to it. Also, build in the objectives you want to achieve for each section. This will not only help you plan but also help keep you motivated and on track. This is the key to good time management. Sticking to a set routine and taking breaks will help not only keep you organized, but will allow you important mental breaks as well, which are necessary so you don’t get too drained and to keep you energized.
Finding the best location that works for you is key. Everyone is different and different surroundings or set-ups might not work for others but it works for you, and vice versa. Some like white noise distractions and some don’t. Some like to work at home, some need to totally escape to a library or setting outside the home. Others like to study in a group, and some find that they prefer to go it alone. Find what works for you and stick to it. Regardless of the location you choose, make sure you have a dedicated space to store your material, a comfortable chair, and table, and bright lighting. Remove any distractions, especially electronics – such as a television, and turn off the smartphone. Placing a sign up as a reminder to not disturb you can also be a good reminder to others to avoid unnecessary interruptions.
If you are having a rough patch and are finding it really hard to get through it, create some incentives that will help keep you focused and motivated to continue. Build in some personal rewards for achieving a certain level of accomplishment or completing a certain particular task. Incentives can be anything small such as 30 minute TV break, having a special snack, or checking your messages, etc.
Make sure you add variety to your studying. Vary the subject you are focusing on every hour or so. This will create boredom, which you want to avoid. Try different activities or exercises with each section you cover. Create study questions or sets of reviews are great for personally testing yourself. They can really help you gauge how you are processing and retaining the information.
When you undertake the practice exams and simulations and don’t do as well as you thought you would, avoid discouragement by focusing on the positive. Take this disappointment and view it as a learning experience. Find out what areas you were weak in and try to determine why that is. Are you having trouble understanding the material, did you not cover the material in your preparation, did you lose focus? Carefully examine the situation and your study habits. Find any holes and determine ways to make changes to improve the outcome on the next simulation.
This is the whole point of taking several practice exams. They help you in your preparation. Going through the process helps you ‘iron out the kinks’ so to say. They are great opportunities to monitor how successful your studying is going and how prepared you actually are. Definitely take advantage of as many as possible as you proceed through your preparation.