From the Project Management Institute Eastern Idaho Chapter
The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification exam is rigorous and is designed to fairly determine whether the applicant has adequate project management experience and comprehensive knowledge of project management to be accorded the prestigious PMP credential.
In order to provide a thorough coverage of all aspects of project management, the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) has organized project management by five major process groups, nine knowledge areas, and 44 project management processes. The defined relationships between these subgroups are quite specific. Terms used in the PMBOK have specific meanings, which are often different from meanings that many experienced project managers have encountered in their working careers. To successfully pass the test, the applicants must have achieved a complete comprehension of the PMBOK materials and will have been able to resolve their previous experience and knowledge with the detailed processes described in the PMBOK. Knowledge of the PMBOK alone will not be enough because over ½ of the questions on the test will be situations that require the best resolution or assessment of how a project reached that situation. There are some questions that require calculations such as critical path or earned value.
The optimal way to prepare for the certification exam is to first read the PMBOK chapter and the supporting study materials, and then answer a series of test questions for that chapter. You will understand the types of questions for that topic and also be able to identify the areas that you need to strengthen. Second, thoroughly study the chapter and relate your experiences to what is being taught. Ask questions during the exam preparation classes to get feedback from the instructor and your classmates. During the class the instructors will go through example test questions at each session. Finally, review the PMBOK and your study materials one last time before the exam to confirm that you do understand the relationships, and to pick up on anything you might have missed in your earlier preparations. Students are strongly encouraged to form study groups with other students in the class.