How I Got My PMP for the Price of a Good Burger

TL;DR: The typical cost of getting a PMP is around $2,500 including exam fees. I got mine for exactly $12.99 using a combo of online courses, free resources, and corporate reimbursement for test fees

In many cases, the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential is a ticket to a Senior Project Manager position. To get the PMP, you must demonstrates experience in (and knowledge of) industry standard project management practices, and it is usually a pre-requisite to advancing beyond your first associate PM role.

Whether you are climbing the project management ladder or simply wanting to learn project management best practices, getting a PMP is a great idea. But the prerequisites can be pretty steep for junior project managers. To apply to take the exam as a four-year college graduate, you must have:

  • 36 months of leading projects
  • 35 hours of project management education/training or a CAPM® Certification

The 36 months of PM experience must be as the project lead; project coordinator time doesn’t count if you were reporting to a project manager who was actually leading the project. Once you’ve gotten the requisite amount of time as a project lead, you’ve got to come up with a way to get 35 hours of training provided by a Project Management Institute – Registered Education Provider (PMI-REP).

When I started to look at REPs that could provide me the required training, I had serious sticker shock. Google’s magic search algorithms brought me to many websites advertising in-person 1-week PMP bootcamps for $1,500 – $3,000. I don’t know about you, but after about 2-hours in a classroom, my mind starts to wander, and I couldn’t imagine 40-hours straight of process-and-acronym-heavy instruction. (Nothing quite like seeing how your EV BCWS and BCWP relates to EAC, BAC, and TCPI amiright?)

So I kicked my frugal feelers into high gear to search for a better option, and I came across a gold-mine.

Enter the Udemy course taught by PMI-REP Joseph Phillips called, “PMP Exam Prep Seminar – PMBOK Guide 6” This course is (1) listed as a “Best Seller”, (2) has 24.5 hours of video instruction, (3) counts for 35 contact hours from a PMI-REP, (4) and at the time of this writing has over 48,000 positive reviews. I was skeptical, but I was sold! The price of the course retails for $109, but as is common on Udemy, it was available for a limited time for a cool $12.99. The course includes lifetime, on-demand access to the training as well as access to a helpful Facebook group to discuss tricky concepts with your fellow classmates. Talk about outsized value!

Note: I know that PMI is switching to tests based off of the new PMBOK Guide 7 sometime in 2020, but I'm sure Joseph will be coming out with a training that incorporates those changes very soon.

Here is my exact and repeatable approach to get “Above Target” grades on all Knowledge Areas on the PMP exam:

(1) Sign up for the PMP Exam Prep Seminar – PMBOK Guide 6 by Joseph Phillips on UdemyWait for a sale or buy it full price. Either way, it’s worth the money.

(2) Take the course all the way throughI did this mostly during my commutes to and from work, but there are quizzes, tests and assignments you’ll have to complete along the way to get full credit.

(3) Sign up to PASS the exam, and set the dateSince my boss and I decided to make getting a PMP one of my 2019 goals, he agreed to reimburse my test fees and one year of PMI membership.

(4) Study, study, studyI listened to the lectures on 2x one more time through and re-took all quizzes and practice exams. If something is not clear to you, watch that particular section again, and reach out to the Facebook group if needed.

(5) Two more practice examsThe week of the exam, I took two more practice exams. I read the question, answered as best I could, then checked the answer and explanation in the back. Anywhere I was confused, I rewatched the lecture about that topic. (I got the practice exams for free with my Kindle Unlimited subscription.)

(6) Have a healthy test mentalityEach questions is its own exam. Don’t let the confusion of the last question affect the next question. I’m convinced this approach helped me significantly because I could think clearly during each question. I feel like I missed half of the first 30 questions, and that could have derailed me without this mindset.

You can do it. If you want that PMP, start today and commit the next several months to making it happen one step at a time. I wish you all the best as you prepare to pass the PMP exam!

Share this article with anyone you know who is looking to get a PMP; this is information I wish I had when I set out to pass the exam, and I know it will add a lot of value! If you’ve got any questions for me, or just need someone to bounce ideas off of, reach out to me on Twitter @Josh_M_Newman

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