Every once in a while people ask us if taking a PMP Exam Bootcamp is a good option to prepare for the PMP Exam. While boot camps are designed to deliver noticeable results with a high-output of effort in a short period of time, the drawbacks of choosing this path often outweigh the benefits. That’s why most professionals do not recommend a Bootcamp for several reasons:
Reason #1: Boot camps are expensive.
Designed to be the ideal all-in-one exam preparation experience, thesheer cost of boot camps make them less-than-ideal for those of us on a budget. An intensive 4-day course can cost you several thousand dollars, depending on your location, time of year, and the included amenities. Essentially a pay-to-pass program, boot camps pump a large amount of students through a short-term, high-yield course. Boot camps may only be a viable option if time is more valuable to you than money. Otherwise you can find other ways to enjoy spending your cash. For example, if your PMP Boot camp is going to cost you $2700, here’s what you can get with the same amount of money (including an Online Training for the PMP exam):
Online PMP Course $300
iPad 2 $500
iPad Apps $100
Mini Laptop $700
HD TV 50″ $1100
Reason #2: Boot camps are inconvenient.
Unless you live in a large urban area where a course is offered, the 4-day boot camp will usually require travel and hotel accommodations. For most project managers with jobs and families, dropping their responsibilities for four days is not only inconvenient, it’s impossible. Work and life does not stand still (or even slow down!) just because you have an important exam to pass. Most project managers require – and work best with – a study schedule that fits with their lifestyle instead of interrupting it.
Reason #3: Boot camps focus on memorization.
As you are already aware, the PMP Exam is based on concepts from the PMBOK® Guide. Specific principles include communication, cost management, human resources, integration, procurement, quality, risk, scope, and time management. The material is broad and the data is often in-depth. So, how do boot camps ensure you thoroughly internalize and understand these concepts in just 4 days? Well, they just don’t
Reason #4: Boot camps have limited schedules and openings.
Most boot camps have limited space and are only able to offer sessions at certain times of the year. If you thought taking time off from work and your family would be difficult, try doing it around their schedule instead of your own. The only available times may be during a busy work crunch or stressful family situation. At best, this may be inconvenient, often it is impossible. Project managers with home and work commitments will usually have better success with an online study schedule that still allows them to fulfill their home and work responsibilities.
Reason #5: Boot camps focus on passing the exam rather than teaching concepts.
One of the secret ingredients to doing well on the PMP exam is understanding of project management principles, both individually and how they work together. While bootcamps may result in good pass rates, they do not ensure that project managers have gained any new skills that will help their career beyond exam day. Boot camps do not offer an education that will guide or assist you through your career. There is absolutely not enough time in 4 days to extensively cover in-depth concepts. Boot camps cannot offer an “Education” that will help you with project management beyond the exam.
If your goal is to simply pass the PMP exam without learning new project management techniques to improve your skills, then a boot camp may be just what you’re looking for. However beware that companies hire you for a set of skills in managing projects effectively, not because you passed the exam. If you are genuinely interested in becoming a better project manager on the road to passing the PMP exam, then a more in-depth study approach is what you want. Successfully passing the PMP Exam and achieving lasting and positive effects on your project management skills involves regular study time for 8 to 16 weeks. If you still prefer the structure of a classroom schedule, try to select a training class that spans over several weeks (not just 4 consecutive days). These classes are also expensive but at least your self-study at home will complement the in-class lectures and further solidify the information. At the end, if you are unemployed, if you are single with no family obligations, and if you or your company have more money than you know what to do with, then a 4-day PMP boot camp will probably serve you well.