Setting aside the proper amount of time for studying for the PMP Certification Exam is extremely important. Knowing how many hours you should be devoting to your studies will allow you to better focus your efforts and to be less likely to waste your valuable time. If you work full-time and have family obligations you have a limited number of hours, so maximize the most out of them. Keeping that in mind, let’s tackle the first question everybody asks when they start thinking about a PMP Certification: How many hours are required for preparing for the PMP Exam?
With a project management mindset, let’s start by identifying the minimum content that you have to cover during your study. We will base this on the training packages offered at PMCHAMPION.COM but the same can be applied to other online PMP Prep programs.
As a minimum, your prep time needs to cover the following:
- PMP Video Trainings (review of the PMBOK Guide concepts)
- Chapter Tests (12 Chapters + Code of Ethics)
- Formula-Based Questions (at least do 200 tests)
- Exam Simulations (do a minimum of 5 complete exam simulations)
- Final Review before your PMP Exam
Based on this breakdown, we can then estimate how many hours each section would take:
PMP Video Trainings = 38 hours
The videos cover the various concepts, tools and techniques taken from material in the latest PMBOK Guide as well as some models, theories and formulas that are not covered in enough detail in the guide. You will find these videos to be quite interesting and engaging. They are specifically designed to help you understand the concepts; not to just memorize them. Each lesson averages 26 minutes and focuses on one PMP concept or process. You can watch them as often as you like to enhance your understanding. Each episode has a number that allows for easy sorting on your laptop or tablet, and the episodes in which the PMBOK Knowledge Areas are discussed are numbered following the PMBOK Guide’s chapter numbers, making your interaction with the PMBOK Guide a lot easier.
Chapter Tests = 8 hours
After watching the video trainings related to each chapter of the PMBOK Guide, a selection of 20-35 multiple-choice questions are provided along with detailed explanations and references, to help test your understanding and comprehension of the material covered in the chapter. As a result, you will spend several hours answering more than 300 questions before moving on to the complete PMP Exam simulations.
PMP Formulas & Formula-Based Questions = 6 hours
Unless you have an engineering education and know your way around formulas and calculations, this is not something you can forfeit. This section will provide you with a deeper understanding of the mathematical concepts and formulas of the PMP Exam. There are several formula guides to review and over 200 questions covering the 47 formulas, 19 numerical values and 27 important acronyms to know on the exam day.
PMP Exam Simulations = 24 hours
You need to take at least 5 exam simulations (4h exam duration plus some review time after each exam) designed to help you prepare and practice in a very realistic test environment prior to the big exam day. These simulations not only help in testing the material but also assisting in learning to apply and develop effective test taking strategies.
Final Review = 4 hours
It is important to spend this amount of time after completing all the videos, chapter tests and exam simulations and review your weak areas thoroughly making sure you understand the concepts and highlight any trouble areas that require extra focus prior to the exam.
Total Required = 80 hours
These 80 hours are the minimum amount of time we recommend you spend to ensure a passing score on your first trial. Strategically focusing your efforts and following this format will not only help you to study and cover the material more effectively but also will help maximize your time wisely with regards to your other daily obligations.
Remember, this is for a self-paced study program. Most people cover the 80 hours in about 3 months (much like a 3-credit college course) but depending on how many hours you study every week you can do the same in 2 months, or in 4 months,… it’s really up to you !
And remember one thing: all the hard work and time you put into the PMP Exam will pay off for you in the end.