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TOPIC: Situational Questions

Situational Questions 9 months 1 week ago #20105

  • Riaz Hassan
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I'm still very early in my exam prep. I'm starting to look at review questions and I am realizing that I am usually at a loss for how/where to find the PMBOK-sanctioned answer for situational type questions.

ie. "What should you do"?

Does anyone have advice on how to prepare / study for this type of question? What I WOULD do is always clear to me. But I recognize that the CORRECT answer may have nothing to do with
my experience in project management. But for this type of question I usually have no idea where to look or even what to look for in the PMBOK. Any comments are appreciated.

Situational Questions 9 months 1 week ago #20106

  • Zara Rizwan
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Hi Riaz,

Situational questions are there to test your understanding. When you go through the prep material, try to understand things instead of trying to memorize. When you understand things, you'll be able to answer the why, how and when questions. Also, practice as many questions as you can as this will help you understand how to interpret a question and how to think and remember, PMBOK is just a guide. So you might want to use other guides as well to get a better understanding e.g. Rita Mulcahy's book.
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Situational Questions 9 months 1 week ago #20107

  • Riaz Hassan
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Thanks Zara.... doing some further reading and lots of other folks mentioning that PMBOK is not good at preparing you for situational questions but Rita's book is. Will add that one to my prep!

Situational Questions 9 months 1 week ago #20110

  • Lisa Sweeney PMP
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Hi Riaz,

I’d say the majority of my exam questions were situational, around 2/3.

You asked how to answer situational questions like, “What should you do?”.

The SHORT ANSWER is:
Choose the next, best thing to do (of the 4 choices you’re provided), according to the PMBOK.

The LONG ANSWER is:
Practice, practice, practice! I found the best way to answer situational questions was to answer a lot of them and learn what words to emphasize. I began by reading them aloud and putting extra emphasis on the words that I believed were important. After awhile, I could emphasize words in my head. It's also important to answer different questions each time and not repeat the same questions. Learning comes from answering new, different questions, not memorizing answers from the tests.

The PrepCast Exam Simulator made a big difference to me. The questions were mostly situational and each answer choice (A,B,C, and D) was described in great detail, why it was right or wrong. Also, at the bottom of each question, there’s a page reference to find the subject matter in the PMBOK. I gained a great deal of learning with PrepCast’s simulator.

With lengthy, situational questions, I read last sentence first (the actual question) and then pored over the question in its entirety. For instance, a long one will give many unnecessary details about a problem that happened, but the actual query only wants to know how to best illustrate the problem after-the-fact to your team or vendor or sponsor. Nailing down what they’re looking for is essential and can be difficult on the real exam.

If you’re really at loss, differentiating the answers helped me. For example, what’s the point of the
Communications Management Plan vs. Resources Management Plan vs. Risk Register?

If you join PMI, you receive a free downloadable pdf copy of the PMBOK Guide’s 6th edition that’s searchable. I used Adobe Reader’s search function over and over again on the pdf copy to find specific terms or topics in the PMBOK Guide.

Circling back, the best way I found to answer situational questions is practice, and then learning from my mistakes. And for the exam, remember to stay in the “PMBOK world”. Setting aside how you would handle a situation and thinking about what the PMBOK Guide says will get you started on your way to correct answers.

I wish you the best in your journey, Riaz!
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