Category: Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam using A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)

How to Manage your Time for PMP® Exam Prep

How To Budget Your PMP® Exam Study Time

Do you find it difficult to manage your time in preparing for the PMP® exam?

Studying for the PMP exam is going to take a big chunk out of your day and you might be wondering how you’re ever going to find the time to do it. Between work and personal obligations, you might think you don’t have the time to study. Don’t be discouraged.

Here are some guidelines on how to budget your PMP Exam study time:

PMP Exam Study Plan 1: Write it down.

One of the first things you should do is sit down and write out everything you do during the day. This should include meals, work, playing with children or family obligations, personal care, housework, recreation, your job and anything else that you spend your time on. And remember, you’re the only one that sees this list so don’t pad the time you spend on cleaning the house; nobody cares if you spend five minutes or five hours on it. Be realistic and honest as you assess your time and how you spend it.

PMP Exam Study Plan 2: Create structure.

Now that you know how much time you spend on various aspects of your daily life, you might be surprised at how much time you have left over. Your job now is to bring structure so that you have a block of study time every day without compromising your job or personal life. But before you can decide how much of your time that you’ll spend on your PMP exam prep, you must be realistic. If you plan to spend three hours per day on exam preparation but have to give up all your leisure time for it you’re probably going to fail. Realistic time budgeting must allow for down time or you’ll eventually burn out so allow one full day per week to walk away from your work and studies and enjoy yourself.

PMP Exam Study Plan 3: Plan Ahead.

Be sure to look at work projects that might take up extra time and eat into other areas of your life. Are you going to have to sacrifice some study time in order to fulfill your work obligations? Do you have a big project coming up next month? If so, you might have to think about rescheduling your exam and extending your study time. It does no good to have a working time structure if it will be disrupted in a few weeks. When is your vacation scheduled? Don’t even think of using that vacation time for study! Is there a family even such as a wedding or reunion approaching?

PMP Exam Study Plan 4: Choose the best time.

Now that you’ve looked at possible future scheduling issues, work obligations and family plans, you know how much time you can spend studying and preparing for your PMP exam. Go back to your daily schedule and look closely at it. Determine what time of day would be best to hit the books. If you can pinpoint the time of day that’s best for study, you’ve solved half the problem. If you cannot pinpoint a specific time you may want to look into alternative learning methods that enable you to learn throughout the day. For instance with an audio based course on your MP3 player.

Are you exhausted and brain-weary when evening comes? In that case, you might want to consider a quiet time in the morning before work to do your studies. It’s been proven that the brain is at its most receptive in the morning so if you’re too tired at the end of the day, morning might be a better time for you to study. You might want to do it right after work or after dinner. Choose a time that’s the least stressful for you, when you’ll have a minimum of interruptions and stick to the amount of time you’ve blocked out for this task.

Remember, you’re working for your project management certification so consider this your most important project and manage it efficiently! Here's a short video on how to manage your time effectively for your PMP exam prep:

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