Join Oliver Yarbrough for an in-depth discussion in this video Avoiding common exam pitfalls, part of Exam Tips: Certified Associate of Project Management (CAPM)®.
- Everyone wants to talk about winning, but almost no one wants to talk about failing. Just as you need to know what you should do, you also need to know what you should not do before you take the exam. As the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out. It all starts with making sure you avoid bad study habits and embrace good ones, so let's put things in proper perspective. Maybe you've worked in a job or two where you managed projects, you even took a project management class.
Trust me, I get it. You rock when it comes to planning and delivering projects, there's just one problem. Right now you're not managing a project at your job, you're studying for an exam that requires you to think like PMI wants you to and to answer questions the same way. In this case, relying too much on your work experience can be detrimental. It will be best if you put your work experience on a virtual shelf and only reference it when it's applicable to the exam.
For example, if you're used to working in an organization that lacks formal project documentation and approval, the PMI way of thinking will be foreign to you. Begin the process as if you were a newbie, otherwise, you'll underestimate the exam difficulty, skip reading the PMBOK guide thoroughly, and cheat yourself by placing your past experience above solid study techniques. Consequently, the seeds of failure will be sown. Another common exam pitfall is hoping you don't fail rather than planning to pass.
Ask yourself, am I mentally prepared to sit for the exam? If you're the type of person who gets nervous when you take standardized exams, you need to address this before you take the exam. Nothing is more demotivating than going into an exam you're not mentally prepared for. We fear what we don't understand, so the way to overcome fear is to spend more time understanding the study material than memorizing it. Once you have a thorough understanding, you can hone your confidence by taking as many mock exams as possible.
Okay, it's time for a reality check. Are you the kind of person who waits until the last minute to do everything? Trust be told, a lot of us procrastinate. The inability to set and meet daily and weekly study goals is the root cause of many test-taker failures. If your reasons for passing the exam don't outweigh the distractions, you'll face an uphill battle as you study, but it doesn't have to be this way. Fight distractions by anchoring yourself to why you chose to get certified in the first place.
The last exam pitfall we'll cover is the lack of a quality test-taking strategy. I know, it sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised how many test-takers journey down the CAPM exam path without having a strong strategy or plan to follow. Remember, whatever you don't methodically plan will end up getting randomly done. This might work well in your personal life, but it's certainly no way to prepare for a serious exam. A good study plan should detail what, when, and how you intend on studying.
As you work through your plan, you'll have something to help you benchmark your progress while you're taking the exam.
- What to expect on exam day
- Reviewing the fundamental aspects of project management
- Key success factors
- Navigating the CAPM® exam
- Managing your time on the exam
- Reviewing practice questions
- Establishing a solid study routine
- Reading for understanding