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3 Steps Foolproof PMP® Study Plan

  • Certification
  • PMP®
Created on :
October 25, 2018
Saket Bansal
Updated on :
October 28, 2022

Before I give you my three steps foolproof PMP® Certification Study Plan, let’s first explore what the PMP exam includes? The PMP Exam Content outline mentions the syllabus of the PMP exam and focuses on skills to lead projects for all three key approaches-

  • Predictive (waterfall)
  • Agile
  • The mix of Predictive & Agile (Hybrid)

To cover these approaches; you need the following skills and learnings –

  • People skills
  • Fundamentals of Agile and Scrum
  • Project Management concepts
  •  Hybrid project management approaches

To know more about the idea of these concepts, I strongly recommend first referring following blog – 7 Tips To Pass The PMP Exam; it will give a good value in creating your Study Plan.

Before creating your Study Plan, it would be best to have a clear study plan goal; I observe that most test takers give exams within six to eight weeks of enrollment in the course. And those who don’t give it within six to eight weeks, it becomes six months, keep procrastinating further. Also, based on my experience, I suggest weekly goals are easy to plan and follow instead of daily goals.

Now, let’s develop the study plan for the PMP Exam Preparation. A Study Plan suitable for one person; doesn’t guarantee that the other can also benefit from the same study plan. You cannot devise your Study Plan based on any other individual’s experience without customizing it per your requirements. Each person’s experience is unique and has different exposure to project management and Agile practices, so it requires a plan accordingly.

Then what is the solution? I am suggesting the following 3 phase approach, which can help in devising a study plan suited to your requirements –

Following are three steps/phases with appropriate phase exit Criteria: 

  • Know
  • Master
  • Practice


The goal for this phase is to familiarize yourself with the PMP content.

Phase End Criteria: It is mandatory to identify your phase end criteria, i.e., how much you need to score. For iZenBridge PMP Course, we recommend that our students score –

  • 50% + in PMPBOK knowledge Area-wise practice tests
  • 60% + in lesson end quizzes in each PMP Exam Prep Guide five modules.

You are free to use quizzes and practice tests from any book or study material available.

Note: – After the change of the PMP exam in January 2021, PMI released a PMP Exam Prep Guide to cover the PMP exam content outline. To get a brief of this PMP Exam Prep Guide, kindly refer to the “3. Get a PMP Exam Prep Book” section in the following blog10 Steps To Begin Your PMP Certification

Activities: this part of your study plan depends on what all materials and resources are available to you, i.e. what activities you can perform to meet your goal.

  • Refer to PMBOK Guide – The PMBOK is now not the primary reference book for the PMP exam, but you still need it. The PMP exam requires an understanding of PMBOK Knowledge Areas. We recommend knowing PMBOK guide concepts first before referring to the PMP Exam Prep Guide; it helps keep the flow of this guide easier whenever it uses any PMBOK concepts. iZenBridge students do not need to read the PMBOK Guide book; watching course videos are enough.

For the PMBOK, the most common confusion I see in PMP participants is – which PMBOK edition should I refer to for the PMP Exam? Please watch the following video to get information on this question – 

  • Explore Agile Practise Guide If you are new to Agile and Scrum ways of working, it will help if you explore Agile and Scrum concepts well. PMP Exam is 50% Agile now, so learning Agile & Scrum fundamentals are essential at this initial stage of preparation. You can refer Agile Practise Guide. But iZenBridge students do not need to read this book. We have added around 10 hours of easy-to-understand videos to our e-learning system.
  • Explore PMP Exam Prep Guide – When you refer to this book after understanding PMBOK concepts and knowing Agile & Scrum fundamentals, it gives maximum value. But it is not mandatory. Alternatively, you can learn to map which module of the PMP Exam Prep Guide takes a reference to which PMBOK, Agile, and Scrum fundamentals? And before referring to a module, you can go through relevant pre-learning material of PMBOK, agile, and Scrum. Your trainer can help you to create this mapping. iZenBridge PMP certification students get pretty clear mapping for their reference. 

Also, while exploring PMP Exam Prep Guide modules, you need to relate all these concepts with all three life cycle approaches (Predictive, Agile, and Hybrid). For example, if you are exploring Project Contracts, you need to explore – how contracting is different in all three approaches. iZenBridge PMP certification course helps you to relate these concepts well.

As an ATP (Authorized Training Partner), iZenBridge shares PMP Exam Prep Guide with each participant. PMP Live classes use the presentation based on this Guide. In general, we recommend to refer PMBOK, Agile, and Scrum fundamentals before Live class, but that’s not compulsory for everyone –

  • Many participants have good Agile and Scrum backgrounds; in that case, they can skip exploring those concepts. 
  • Also, some participants enroll just before Live classes, and referring to PMBOK concepts before the first Live session could be challenging. But it is all fine because I share the mapping of different content and guide what needs to do before the next Live class to get the maximum value. 

We have learning guidelines based on participants’ experience and when the person enrolls for the course before live classes.


The goal of this phase is to master the PMP Exam Domains (People, Process, and Business Environment)

Phase End Criteria: Score 80% + in each PMP exam domain test; if you score less, attempt again and discuss your confusion with your trainer or study group peers if you have any.

You are free to use practice tests from any book or study material available.

The Master phase mostly starts after completing Live classes, but it is not mandatory. We have many experiences where many participants cracked the PMP exam within a week of Live class completion as they could cover the content during the gap between Live classes. So, it all depends on your work, life obligations, and experience in leading project management activities and Agile & Scrum Practices.

After the KNOW phase, you have developed a good understanding of the PMP exam preparation content; you can connect the dots between the content of different Guides. So, it is time to Master three domains of the PMP exam; the following shows the proportion of questions from each domain that will appear on the examination –

Domain Exam Weight
People 42%
Process 50%
Business Environment 8%

Activities: some of the possible activities (completely dependent on the availability of resources to the learner) for this goal include – 

Watching or reading Domain wise videos with more focus is a Good Idea. Let’s discuss the step-by-step plan here –

  • Module 1 (Creating a High Performing Team) and module 4 (Keeping the team on track) of the exam Prep Guide covers the People domain. You may choose to revisit the recording of these Live classes. Rereading module 1 and module 4 is a good idea. iZenBridge e-learning system also includes short videos of these concepts. We recommend our students take People Domain practice tests available in the e-learning system. 
  • Module 2 (Starting the Project) and module 3 (Doing the Work) of the PMP exam prep guide cover the Process domain. It will help if you understand these concepts well for all three project life cycle approaches. – Predictive, Agile, and Hybrid. I help my students relate these concepts to different approaches and motivate them to practice questions related to Agile and Hybrid-based project management scenarios. You have already practiced predictive Life cycle questions for the process domain in the KNOW phase. Our PMBOK Knowledge Area tests belong to the same. Also, if you feel like watching the recording of these modules, you can. Apart from recordings, if your trainer provides videos of these concepts, you can watch them. iZenBridge PMP course e-learning system has added videos and clarifies these topics in more detail. If you feel, you can also read modules 2 and module 3 of the Exam Prep guide.
  • Module 5 (Keeping the Business in Mind) of the PMP exam prep guide covers the Business Environment domain. Again revisit the recording if you feel to do; read module 5 of the PMP exam prep guide and watch videos related to this module. Afterwards, practice Business Environment domain questions with the target of 80%+


This phase aims to develop endurance and get comfortable with the 230 minutes 180 questions PMP exam.

Phase End Criteria: Score 70% + in expert full length simulation exams. Be cautious since this part is tricky and tends to confuse candidates and delay the certification too.

Activities: Pick some reliable and good question bank resources, practice 2 to 3 full length or 400 to 600 questions. It is crucial to practice as many as questions possible but what is more important here is what you learn from one test with full concentration. I have seen many people taking umpteen tests to ensure they have prepared well. Learning can be possible even with fewer tests too. 

Take the full-length mock test in one sitting and work on each question after the test gets over, analyze their solution, and discuss your doubts with the trainer or peers of the study group if you have any. Fixing the gap before moving to the next test is vital. Then, repeat the process for the next test.

Some final tips while practicing questions –

  • When you see many suitable options in a question, select the first thing you might do in a given situation.
  • As a project manager, you don’t rush to the solution; you first Acknowledge that issue is there, then Analyze, and finally Act. So follow the sequence Acknowledge, Analyze, and Act.
  • Instead of worrying about calculations-based questions, learn the intent and usgaes of various calculation questions. PMP exam is not testing complex calculation questions. 
  • Learn to take an integrated approach to project management situations, don’t just see one question as one knowledge area question but see what different areas might be interacting in the given situation.
  •  Learn to manage time for the Final Exam; you can do this by taking full-length practice tests and targetting finishing them in less time than the real Exam.

Last but not least:

At any point, if something is not clear, come to the iZenBridge forum. With 5000+ active threads, this can also be treated as a learning source. Almost all possible questions have been discussed here. You can search for your doubts, and if needed, you can post your questions as well. Interaction and participation in our forum are available to all PMP® Certification aspirants, irrespective of whether you enrolled in our course or not.

Also, live interactive doubt clarification session support on Zoom is available to our clients. Apart from that, I usually do weekly clubhouse events because I understand the need for continuous interactive discussion till you get certified.

I would suggest going through the following blog to get high-level clarity on the steps to pass the PMP Exam – 10 Steps To Begin Your PMP Certification

I hope this blog helped you in getting a goal-based study plan. Still, if you have more questions in mind? Contact us; I will be happy to assist.

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