Home Project Management General Training So you want to be a PMP? Part 4
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So you want to be a PMP? Part 4 Print
Last month we discussed resources that you can purchase. This month we will look at the resources that are available with minimal or no outlay.

Free Resources


Well if you download it from the web it certainly is free. But that is not my point here. As a member of PMI, then you get sent a CD copy of the PMBOK. This CD allows you to install a version on your computer that allows moderately complex searches. This is very useful given your need to research topics and look for sections covering a particular subject.

The CD version also has one significant advantage over what is downloaded from the web. You can cut and paste the text from it into a word processor or spreadsheet.

Why is this useful?

Well, here is the Brian D. Simpson patent method for learning the PMBOK processes by process groups, inputs, tools, & techniques, outputs and glossary. It will take some time to set up (around 2 hours), but once you have completed it, you will have a useful basis for all sorts of exercises and games to help you learn the basic framework of the PMBOK.

  1. Cut and paste the Processes, Inputs, Tools and Techniques and Outputs into a MS Word document.

  2. Manipulate the data until you have it in a table, with the process (e.g. Scope Definition) in the first column, the inputs in the second column and so on until you have four columns. This is the fiddly bit - cut and paste the information from the overview diagram (e.g. the Project Quality Management one is on page 84 of the 1996 PMBOK). This is the easiest way of doing it.

  3. From this table, copy the four columns into separate word documents - so you have one full of inputs, one full of outputs, etc. Then sort the separate documents. Now print them out, cut out the inputs, etc, and try and match them back to the processes.

  4. When you get one wrong, read the section on the PMBOK relating to the inputs, etc.

  5. Repeat until you are getting them all right.

You can repeat this game with other parts of the PMBOK - the glossary, and definitions are obvious sections for this.

This helped me enormously understand the PMBOK, and know some parts of it at the level needed.

Note that there are parts of the PMBOK that you can not learn this way (such as the organisation definitions and such like). However, it will help with a good portion of it.

Note also that the PMBOK is provided to you for your own personal use. Do not give these resources away, or you will be in danger of breaking your agreement with PMI.

E-mail lists & Newsgroups

Use these!

There is a PMP preparation group on Yahoo groups (groups.yahoo.com) called PMPExamForum. I am a member of this group and while it can be quiet, any e-mails that are sent on it asking advice, or opinions on a question usually get a response.

You can join at Yahoo groups, or just send an e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Also there are 19 other different groups on Yahoo Groups that come back on a search of PMP.

Also in the Newsgroup alt.projectmng there are many threads on the general topic of project management, and I have seen questions on PMP and example questions (with people looking for advice on answers) posted there, though there are non current at the time of writing this.

One last free resource

There is one web site I found - Richard Yancey has published on his web site a large amount of information that will assist you with passing the exam. The front page is here:
This is a good site well laid out, and covers lots of useful things.

Richard tells me that he is studying for his own PMP, so the information in it is obviously relevant, though I suspect there is a little more than he needs.

I found it quite late in my study, but it gave me the opportunity to use the questions as a means to double check my progress just before the exam.

And that is probably my last piece of advice about your studying and resources - retest with new questions before the exam.
That is, questions that you have never seen before.
If you do well, it will give you confidence for the exam.
If you do not do well, it will give you the chance to review whether you are ready.

It is very easy to memorise your standard sets of questions if you keep revisiting them, and you should have some means of gaining an objective view of your progress, and whether you are ready. All good projects have a control loop, after all.

Training Courses

There are a number of PMP preparation courses available. I did not take one of these, so it is not so easy for me to advise. However, the advice I have seen from those who have taken them is that they are useful, if you can find the time, money and a good course.

If you want to take such a course, my recommendation to you is:


  • Check the objective of the course - if it is not to prepare you for the PMP exam (i.e. does not include make you a better project manager type comments), steer well clear

  • Check who the trainer(s) is (are). They should be PMP qualified - otherwise keep trying.

  • Ask any PMPs you know who and what they used. Personal advice of a course is always a good bet.


Next month we will conclude our look at the process of gaining your PMP certification, specifically the exam itself.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions, please e-mail me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and I will respond to the best questions in a later article.

2001 © Brian Simpson

About the Author:

Brian passed his PMP in February 2001. He is married to Tina and the father of Daniel. Brian has been managing IT projects for over 11 years both in the UK and New Zealand. He is in the process of returning with his family to the UK. Brian can be reached at
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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