The best way to get started on the PMP®… Is to get started

By Michael Humphrys posted 07-08-2019 02:09 PM


Okay, I admit it.  I have been procrastinating on getting my Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI).  It’s been on my mind for a while, but there’s always something going on to distract me from submitting an application, studying, and taking the test.


A few weeks ago, I bit the bullet and bought a copy of the Project Management Book of Knowledge – Sixth Edition (PMBOK).  The PMBOK, which is 756 pages long, is the basis of the PMP test.  Tip:  If you join the PMI, you are entitled to an electronic copy as part of your membership.

I also began looking at other study guides: The All-in-One PMP Exam Prep Kit comes highly rated on Amazon.  Also, since my school has subscriptions to both ITProTV and, I decided to check out project management resources on these sites.

  • ITProTV has an extensive video course that goes through each section of the PMBOK. The course includes over 41 hours of video and provides sample test questions.
  • While Lynda has a number of courses focused on project management, I only found a few focused on PMP exam prep.

Submitting the Application

So, with PMBOK and other resources in hand, my next step was to apply to take the PMP.  Here’s what I learned during the process.

The steps and requirements are outlined in the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Handbook posted on the PMI website.  To be able to take the PMP, an applicant must meet the educational, experience, and formal project management training requirements summarized below.  If you have questions on whether you meet any of these items, check out the PMI Application Tips page for some very helpful information.

  • Educational Background and Project Management Experience
    • Have a bachelor’s degree or global equivalent with a minimum of 3 years of project management experience OR
    • Have a high school diploma or associate’s degree or global equivalent with a minimum of 5 years of project management experience
    • Note that your project management experience must have been accrued within the past 8 years.
  • Project Management Education: 35 contact hours of formal education

Plan on spending a couple hours getting your application together.  For each of your projects, be prepared to provide the following information

  • Project name,
  • Client contact info,
  • Start and end dates,
  • Project objective(s), outcome(s), your role, and your responsibilities, and
  • Hours spent within the five foundational process groups: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling and Monitoring, and Closing the Project.

For your project management education, you will need to include the following details for each course you list:

  • Course title,
  • Institution that offered the course,
  • Course date(s), and
  • Number of contact hours related to project management topics.

Next Steps

Once you submit your application, PMI will review your information. If all looks good, you will get an email indicating your application is complete. From there, you can pay the test fee and schedule the exam within the next year. 

I hope you found this helpful.  Wish me luck as I start studying for the PMP® Certification Exam!



09-28-2019 12:21 PM

Education Contact Hours

In response to Emily's great question, I did not use the ITProTV videos as part of my education contact hours.  I ended up using training sessions related to Agile (in general), Scrum (CSM), and general project management.

08-01-2019 03:33 PM


Hi Michael, thanks for this post. I am curious: did you use the 41 hours of ITProTV videos to count for your required "35 contact hours of formal education," or did you take a separate PMI prep course?

07-08-2019 05:47 PM

How I Passed the PMP Exam

Dear Michael:

Congratulations on your decision to take the PMP exam!  I passed the exam in December 2015 (1st attempt) and found the following resources helpful:

  • PMBOK (I read this book twice)
  • PMP EXAM | How to Pass on your First Try (Andy Crowe)
  • Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep (she has published several books

Please feel free to contact me if I can be of assistance.  All the best!!


07-08-2019 05:24 PM

Good Luck and a recommendation

Hi Michael, A friend of mine had recommended The PMP Exam Prep a study guide by Rita Mulcahy and I personally found that super useful for when I took the exam. I used the PMBOK as a supplement to the Exam Prep book as I (this is just me) found it very dry on its own :). Good Luck!