Global Project Management League

How to Choose the Right PMP Review Provider

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The PMP certification is your stepping stone to boost your project management career. This proves that you have the skills and knowledge to lead a team and execute projects within the given time frame and budget.

You need to take your PMP exam preparation seriously to almost guarantee to pass the PMP exam in your first take. Preparing for the examination and creating a study plan can be difficult if you’re doing these alone. So the best way to help you with your preparation is by enrolling yourself in an exam prep course so you can master each area and be familiar with the PMP exam questions that might appear.

With so many PMP exam prep course providers available, you might find it hard to choose what among them perfectly suits you. Read along to learn how you can select the course that best suits your needs.

What should you consider before choosing an exam prep course provider?

When choosing a course provider, it’s important to take note of some factors you should look at. These factors help you determine the best course provider for your needs. 

 Here are some factors you need to consider when choosing an exam prep course provider.

  • What is their pass rate?
  • Does their course fulfill the 35 contact hours you need for the PMP certification?
  • What is the format of the course? In-person, live virtual, or self-paced online training? 
  • Is there a time limit after which the course is no longer available for you?
  • What type of support do they provide?

How to Choose the Right PMP Review Provider

There are so many PMP exam prep course providers available out there. And choosing the best one for you is important. Before investing in a review course, you must consider the following criteria:

Time Investment

Everyone’s life situation is different. Assess yourself how much time you have to study. If you are working, you might not have the flexibility to study for four straight days so bootcamp might not be suitable for you.

However, if you’re not working, you might have the flexibility to attend an in-person or live virtual training. Whatever your availability is, it’s important to make sure you choose a course provider that fits your schedule.

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Learning Style

Once you know how much time you can allot for your PMP exam prep, it’s now time to assess which learning style is effective for you.

Learning style refers to a person’s preference in which they absorb, process, comprehend and retain information better. This is essential so you can determine what types of study materials you will need to effectively study for the PMP exam.

It comes in different forms. And there are three main learning styles–visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Here’s how you can determine where you belong among these categories.

Visual Learner

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A visual learner is someone who prefers seeing and observing things through videos, graphics and charts. For them, seeing is learning and the different visual presentations can help them to easily understand and absorb information.

If you’re a visual learner, you might need an exam prep course provider that mainly offers video lectures. From there, you can easily take your own notes and write down the concepts while envisioning the processes.

Auditory Learner

An auditory learner, on the other hand, absorbs information through hearing. They easily remember conversations and tend to read the lectures aloud or even record it.

While textbooks are also good for auditory learners, you might need a course provider which can give you audio lectures, audio books or podcasts. These study materials can help you to easily digest every area of the PMP exam and familiarize yourself better with key terms as well as possible PMP exam questions through listening.

Kinesthetic Learner

A kinesthetic learner absorbs information by moving, doing and touching. Your energy and focus are maximized through hands-on activities. You prefer to use your hands to touch and handle things to understand and absorb new concepts.

In this case, you might want to choose a PMP exam prep course provider that offers different study materials like flashcards. From there, you can familiarize yourself with the PMP exam questions by flipping through the cards and quizzing yourself.

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Course Components

Once you already have an idea on how much time you have to study and what kind of resources suit your learning style, review what each of the course providers offers in terms of course materials/components.

Study Materials Offered

Different course providers offer different sets of study materials. Depending on your learning style, you might need a specific material that suits your study routine.

study-materials

Here are some study materials you might want to look for when choosing a course provider.

  • Textbooks or ebooks
  • Test banks – largest test banks and scenario-based questions
  • Video lectures
  • Audio lectures
  • Flashcards
  • Study Planner
  • Mobile App

Group Study

Some PMP exam prep course providers offer group study for those who prefer a classroom setup than one-on-one review. If you think studying with other students will be more effective for you, you might want to consider this factor when choosing a PMP exam prep course provider. This is good since you’ll study together with other PMP aspirants and you’ll be able to share your thoughts and ideas with one another.

Course Format

Different PMP exam prep course providers offer different means on how you can take their course. Some might only have in-person review or online review alone, but there are also some providers who offer both.

Before choosing a PMP exam prep course provider, decide whether you want to take an in-person, live virtual, or self-paced online course.

What to expect in in-person course

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An in-person course gives you an opportunity for a live interaction. You’ll have a teacher, who should be an expert and PMP certified, and there are also other students who will study with you.

But compared to the other course formats, in person courses or bootcamps are less convenient and have limited schedules and openings. If you’re working, you might need to take a time off so you can attend your training schedule and it’s inconvenient. 

Most project managers with home and work commitments usually prefer courses which allow them to fulfill their other responsibilities while preparing for the PMP exam.

What to expect in Live Virtual course

In this type of course, you will also have a teacher and you’ll be able to study with other PMP aspirants as well. The only difference of live virtual course to the in-person boot camp style is that it’s a virtual instructor-led training.

On the other hand, consistent presence is needed in a live virtual exam prep course. You can’t leave the training session for any reason since the training continues without pause except for break times. Some learners prefer to have short breaks in between modules and this training setup might not be ideal for them.

What to expect in self-paced course

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Online courses, on the other hand, are more convenient compared to in-person workshops. This allows you to study for the PMP exam at the comfort of your home. You will also be given access to different study materials and modules any time of the day.

However, this might require you to have good time management skills since you’ll work on your exam prep by yourself. In this setup, it’s easier to procrastinate so it’s important to be disciplined if you choose this course format.

Practice Exams

The purpose of looking for a PMP exam prep course provider is not just for the course itself. It’s also important that they offer you different ways to test your readiness through their materials.

Answering practice questions is essential when preparing for your PMP exam. This will build your confidence and familiarity with the PMP exam questions.

When choosing a course provider, you need to look for a large bank of practice questions with detailed explanation of the answers. While it’s good to practice as many questions as you can, you also have to make sure you understand each concept through the explanations, and not just memorizing the correct answers.

You should also look for a course provider who offers full-length practice exams or a PMP exam simulator–200 questions to be answered within 4 hours. In this way, you can familiarize yourself with the real exam environment and avoid time pressure.

35 Contact Hours

You’ll need to complete 35 contact hours when applying for the PMP certification. This proves you have enough project management education. To earn contact hours, you have to engage yourself in course work such as live classes, bootcamps, workshops or webinars.

When looking for a PMP exam prep course provider, it’s important to make sure you’ll receive the 35 contact hours you need for the PMP application. During the end of the course, you must receive a certificate of completion certifying the contact hours you earned.

Course Content

The PMBOK Guide is the foundation of the PMP exam. It’s a collection of processes, practices, terminologies and guidelines that are accepted to the project management industry. You need to master this guide so you can familiarize yourself with different areas of the PMP exam.

Ensure that the course you’ll choose is based on the updated PMBOK Guide and latest Exam Content Outline (ECO). But since the ECO changes after three to five years, you also have to know if they provide free content upgrades whenever a new PMBOK or ECO is released.

Qualification/Credentials of the Instructor

If you’re planning to take your PMP certification soon, you want to make sure you get high quality and accredited training from the best, qualified trainers or teachers possible. These criteria can help you identify which among your prospective course providers has the best trainer available.

PMP Certified. A PMP trainer should be PMP certified to maintain his or her credibility. His or her PMP credential proves he or she has fundamental project management processes, tools, methodologies and techniques.

Choosing a PMP exam prep course provider with a PMP certified trainer can help you make sure you’ll get exposed to the best practices and current trends in project management. Also, a PMP certified trainer knows all the terms and definitions, insider knowledge, and all the skills and assets of a PMP certified project manager.

PMI Member. The PMP exam undergoes changes from time to time. PMI announces some of these changes publicly, but there are also some that are discussed and communicated exclusively for PMI members only.

Trainers who are PMI members have access to the PMBOK Guide, which is the foundation of the PMP exam as well as various research papers that can be greatly beneficial for you as a trainee. With all these materials, you can ensure you’ll get a high quality training experience.

Experience as an educator. Having the knowledge about PMI and the PMP certification is important, and having the proficiency to transfer that knowledge to his or her trainees is another thing.

Most companies require bachelor’s degrees and some work experience related to training and classroom management.

Excellent Verbal Communication Skills. An effective trainer uses an interactive language so his or her students can effectively absorb information. See to it that the trainer of your prospect course provider allows his or her students to ask questions for clarification and invites them to give feedback to the lessons.

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Duration of access to the course

Some companies think their roles end on your last day in the exam prep course and cut your access monthly or quarterly. You must look for course providers who don’t consider their job done until you pass the exam.

This might also include customized personal readiness assessment to know if you’re equipped enough to sit for the PMP exam confidently. GPML offers its unique guarantee–you can have unlimited access to the exam prep course until you get PMP certified.

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Pass or money back guarantees

Pass guarantees don’t mean you’ll surely pass the PMP exam once you take the exam prep course--no one can make that promise.

But some PMP exam prep course providers offer pass guarantees which allow attendees who didn’t pass the PMP exam in their first take to retain their access to the course until they pass the exam. Some also offer one-on-one coaching so you can focus on the area which you had trouble with.

GPML offers its students unlimited access to the PMP exam prep course until they pass the exam. Through this, you will have enough time to work on your improvements without having to pay for the course again.

Customer Service

Before choosing a PMP exam prep course provider, you must see to it that they offer support aside from the training itself.

You can ask the course provider if they offer support to help you complete your PMP application. If your training provider has gone through the application process before, they can give you valuable insights on how to prepare for the application.

Also, your course provider must be available by email or over the phone if you have questions or concerns about the course or course materials.

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Reviews and testimonials

There’s no bigger recommendation than good reviews from previous students.

Read reviews and testimonials from their previous students so you’ll have an idea how they execute the exam prep course. These testimonials are a big help for you to choose the right exam prep course provider.

Good reviews mean good experience. This will also prove their credibility. Do your research first, or you can ask the course provider itself for testimonials. You can also ask your friends and acquaintances who have taken a PMP exam prep course.

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Value

Compare prices and see if it fits your budget. There are many factors contributing to the pricing such as duration, instructions and materials.

Compare prices and see if it fits your budget. There are many factors contributing to the pricing such as duration, instructions and materials.

Also, in-person training courses have a higher cost compared to online training courses. But the price doesn’t reflect the quality of the course. Whatever you choose, it’s important to make sure you’re comfortable with the review setup.

You can also get in touch with your local PMI chapter to see if there are reduced rates for members on the courses the chapter offers.

Choosing the right PMP exam prep course provider can give your money’s worth and help you become a better project manager by learning better. With the best course provider, you can also get the most out of your time, and make sure you’re fully-equipped to ace the PMP exam.

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