How to become a PMP

The name of this page should be “How I became a PMP”, but then this page would not get the same number of hits!

First of all, PMP is Project Management Professional (PMP®) Certification from Project Management Institute (PMI). This is the most esteemed Project Management Certification.The PMP designation following one’s name demonstrates to employers and other stakeholders that an individual possesses a solid foundation of experience and education in project management.

You can check out more about PMI at

Important: If you want to check if anyone is a PMP, and not a fraud Project Manager then you can check up at the PMP Online Registry. This registry allows verification of PMI's Project Management Professionals (PMPs). If you enter my last name “SALUNKHE” in the text box on the page, you will find my listing as

Mandar Salunkhe, PMP


PMP Certified On 26 Jul 2004

I scored 170 on the exam. Which is a preety good one considering that 137 is the passing score.

Now the actual steps taken by me to become a PMP:

  1. As PMP needs a specific amount of Project Management experience as eligibility criteria, do first check up on the experience required and see if you qualify.
  2. This is a tough exam and will require dedication, focus, determination and money to complete it. See if you can spare the 100 to 150 hours of study required in your busy schedule.
  3. When you want to start your PMP journey, the first thing you need to do is to join PMI. This is not mandatory but no harm done in doing so. Think of it as something more to write in the resume.
  4. Start reading PMP: Project Management Professional Study Guide by Kim Heldman. Finish reading the book.
  5. Join any Yahoo group. The Yahoo groups I joined were PMP-PREP and PMPCERT. Both are filled with knowledgable individuals and well moderated. Keep discussing about the doubts you have on them and share your know-how too. Remember to adhere to PMI guidelines while interacting here.
  6. Read the PMBOK for first time. The first time this will seem like reading a dictionary, but grin and bear it to understand the scope of the PMBOK. Just read it and store some facts in your head. Don’t try to make complete sense of what is written in it yet.
  7. Register in a course for the contact hours required. I went for the lowest cost option and hence went in for . Course for PMP range from $125 to $3000. I personally did not feel any need to go in for any high cost course but maybe my earlier work experience and education helped me in grasping the concepts faster. Do look at the value you will gain from the course and then invest your money in the course. That is why I suggest first reading the Kim Heldman book and the PMBOK before starting any course so that you will understand the gap in your PM knowledge.
  8. Start accumulating the contact hours from the course.
  9. Start reading PMP Exam Prep (4th Edition) by Rita Mulcahy. The importance of this book cannot be stressed enough. I scored 170 on the exam. Which is a preety good score and if I hadnt read Rita’s book; I wouldn’t have scored whatever I did. Understand the book completely; there is no better book available which will guide you towards the PMP. Follow the tips and the tricks she is offering and the way she is advising you to study completely.
  10. Finish accumulating the contact hours, get the contact hours certificate from your course provider and then apply online for the PMP exam.
  11. Once you get the approval letter from PMI, read PMBOK for the second time. Now if you have really read through Rita’s book, you will start understanding the details of the PMBOK. After PMBOK read Rita’s book again. Stress on the LIFE CYCLE game.
  12. If you are assured about your studying upto now, go ahead and register for the exam and fix up a date.
  13. Start the practice exams. Practice exams I finished were the
    1. 4 Full-length Simulated Practice Tests - 200 Questions, 4 hours at as this came as a package deal with my initial course with them. When you do these tests you will understand the gaps in your understanding compared to the PMBOK. Keep revising your knowhow from Rita’s book.
    2. Kim Heldman’s book has a CD which has good practice questions which are mainly scenario based.
  14. Read the PMBOK for the final time. While reading PMBOK for the final time, do take notes (on paper, plastic, napkins, computer, whatever) about the concepts you are still not clear about. Read Rita’s book for the final time and see to it that now you have understood the book and the concepts which Rita is mentioning fully. See that you can score almost perfectly on the questions in her book.
  15. On the exam day, re-read the notes you made and appear for the exam. Focus on the ultimate objective.
  16. Pass the exam and enjoy!

I could not have completed this important exam without the support of my wife and my 1 year old kid. Wish to thank them for their support in addition to everybody associated with me including my parents, collegues, friends, foes, dogs, cats, vermin, and especially the Martians for not invading Earth while I was appearing for my exam. And yes, thank you God! (If this is my rambling after a PMP, think of how I will ramble on if I win an Oscar)

Mail me if you want me to ramble on with you more on PMP and yes, I have already sold off my PMP books.

Doubly important: Please do not mail me and ask me about the content of the questions in the examination. Please note that when a candidate submits an application, he or she agrees to abide by the PMP Code of Professional Conduct and the PMP Certificant and Candidate Agreement and Release which states, “…Furthermore, I agree not to discuss, debrief or disclose, in any manner, the specific content of the certification examination’s questions and answers to any individual.”

Now for my caveat emptor clause -

"Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth." (From “ Everybody's Free To Wear Sunscreen”)

Best of luck on your journey towards the PMP and hope it is filled with fun. Hope my ramblings were of use to you.

Have fun

Mandar Salunkhe, PMP