In the past few years, I have been involved with hundreds of professionals who would like to have the PMI-RMP certificate, the frequently asked question was: I don’t know from where to begin the journey?
The detailed study plan explained below was created by me relying on my own experience preparing for and passing the PMI-RMP exam, and from the lessons learned I received from the students I guide. The plan below is compromised from 12 steps. With busy professionals who cannot give more than 10 hours a week, the plan below is expected to take 6-8 weeks.
Take less than an hour to read this study plan carefully, this plan will save a lot of your time and efforts!
Step one: Do you want to be a PMI-RMP certified?
First, you should have the serious intent to be PMI-RMP certified, this intent might come from the career path you have in the project or risk management field or from your passion to improve your knowledge in this field. Wherever it’s coming from, the PMI-RMP certification is a great career enhancement for risk managers, project managers, project management team members, or people who would like to build a career in project management. Once you have this intent, and you are willing to invest your time and money, you can be a PMI-RMP certificate holder after two months from this moment. Unless you just passed the PMP certificate, then you can get prepared for the PMI-RMP exam with 6 weeks from today.
Are you eligible for the PMI-RMP exam? As per the PMI standards, you must have a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate degree or the global equivalent), 4,500 hours of project risk management experience, and 40 hours of project risk management education. The second group of eligibility states that you should have a four years degree, 3000 hours of project risk management experience, and 30 hours of project risk management education.
The PMI-RMP exam fess is $520 for members, and $670 for non-members. Therefore, it’s better and money saving to register on the PMI with the fees of $129 and $10 of application fees, especially if you are willing to have more than one certificate from the project management Institute. For more details about the PMI requirements for the PMI-RMP exam and the exam fees, you can check the PMI.org website.
The total cost of this journey will include the exam fees, reference books cost, 30 contact hours course, and miscellaneous costs of supportive documents. If you have the self-learning ability, I will guide you on how to get 100% prepared for the PMI-RMP exam with only $250 including the 30 contact hours, reference book, and high-quality exam simulators. So, the total cost of the PMI-RMP preparation journey will be around 900$ (Including exam fees). If you prefer going to a live classroom in your city to get the educational 30 contact hours, then the cost of the journey might reach $1,200.
Most of the project risk management practitioners can afford the $1,000 to get ready for the exam and apply for it; the real issue is the time investment! Like most of us are having a full-time job and family commitments, you want to find the most effective way to get ready, the step-by-step study plan I prepared based on my experience will save your time. No need to search the web for tons of useless data, 10 hours per week for 6-8 weeks following exactly this plan will guarantee your success from the first attempt.
Step Two: Get your reference books.
Pick your reference book! You will hear from other PMI-RMP aspirants that having the 30 contact hours of education before reading the PMI-RMP reference book is better. In my opinion, reading the reference book you selected for one time at least will be much more effective, this is what I advise my students to do before they attend my workshops. Why? Once you start reading the reference book you will start pointing out the topics where you have weaknesses, you will have a good general knowledge of the content, what are the risk management processes and techniques you want to focus on during the 30 contact hours training, this is the reason why I advise you to read the book. You will be aware of content of the training before you join it, highlight all topics you need to improve your knowledge in then go for the educational training. The first reference you should use is the PMBOK® guide–sixth edition. It organizes the exam syllabus material through the process groups, starting by the project management framework, initiating process groups, planning process group, executing process group, monitoring and controlling process group, and closing process group. As you are using this book to prepare for the PMI-RMP exam, you need to focus on the risk management, communication management, stakeholder management, and procurement management chapters. Expect questions from all these chapters in the real PMI-RMP exam. This book is a must-read for the PMI-RMP exam preparation, and you can have a look at it through the link here. Through amazon, the price of this book starts at $71 which is the best price in the market, or you can download a soft copy for free from the PMI website if you are a PMI member. The second must read book is the standard for risk management in projects, programs, and portfolios. provides practical resources to tackle the project-related issues associated with requirements and business analysis—and addresses a critical need in the industry for more guidance in this area. It describe the fundamentals of risk management and the environment within which it is carried out; define the risk management life cycle; and apply risk management principles to the portfolio, program, and project domains within the context of an enterprise risk management approach. This book is again a must-read reference book for the PMI-RMP exam preparation purposes. You can have a look at it through the link here. Through amazon, the price of this book starts at $70 which is the best price in the market, or you can download a soft copy for free from the PMI website if you are a PMI member.
Before you attend the 30 contact hours training course, read the PMBOK guide 6th edition, reading it for the first time should not take more than 3 weeks. During the first round of reading, highlight the important topics, have a note of the points you didn’t understand in order to focus on during the training course. Keep in mind that you need to pay attention for the following chapters only: Introduction to project management, project management environment, risk management, communication management, procurement management, and stakeholder management.
Step Three: Attend the 30 educational contact hours (Live class, webinars, or self-learning paced)
Nowadays, getting the 30 contact hours is very easy, it’s your call! Do you prefer attending a live class around? do a simple search in the place you are living in and register for a live class training, usually it costs from $500 to $1,200 depending on the place you are living in, currency, and instructor repetition. The issue of attending such classes that you need to fit your timing to suit the instructor timing, and it’s usually intensive. Instructors are giving the whole material of the PMI-RMP exam within 3 to 7 days, usually students cannot acknowledge this amount of data within such short time, but still, I know students who prefer having a live class/workshop.
The second option is registering for an interactive online workshop, the instructor will do the 30 contact hours of risk management education through online webinars while having 10-15 students, it’s money saving and more flexible, for attending such live interactive webinars you can search the web and use courses like the ones provided by watermark learning solutions, usually prices for such live webinars are from $500 to $700, and at the end of the course you will have a certificate of completion with 30 contact hours of risk management.
In my point of view, if you have the self-learning ability, you can be eligible for the PMI-RMP exam using the course I created few weeks after I passed the PMI-RMP exam from my first trial, at the end of the course you will have 30 contact hours completion certificate which you can use to fill in your exam application. This training should improve your knowledge in the risk management field and prepare you to pass the exam. Have a look at the course structure through the link here. It’s a huge save of money comparing to the upper prices, you have more flexibility attending the course content, and whenever you have a question you can post it on the course Q&A section or directly contact use through the website here. Our course will fully prepare you for the PMI-RMP exam, and it will increase your chances to pass from the first trial. You can enroll in our course for a price of $169 including four high-quality mock exams which are very close to the real exam questions.
Now it’s your decision, you can attend a live class, online interacting class, or a self-paced course provided by Elite Minds. The most important thing is to take the maximum benefits out of the course, understand the exam content and structure, risk management processes, and take a certificate of attending 30 contact hours of risk management education at the end of the course.
Step Four: Read again the PMBOK 6th edition
After attending the 30 contact hours course, it’s the time to read the PMBOK 6th edition again. With more focus on the important topics, you have the clear image of the PMI-RMP exam framework, what are the key 6 risk management processes, how do the project flow from initiating to closing in regards of risk management. Reading the book again will make you 60% ready to pass the PMI-RMP exam, this time with more focus and slow reading.
Step Five: Read the standard for risk management in projects, programs, and portfolios
After completing the PMBOK 6th edition, it is the right time to have a deeper insight into the risk management tools and techniques, and this what you will have after completing this risk management standard. This is a helpful book and many of the real exam questions were from this book! The book is mainly categorizing the most advanced risk management tools and techniques in the context of the project, program, portfolio, and enterprise. If you still didn’t get this book, it is again a must read one, you can have a look at the book through the link here.
Step Six: Be aware of the PMI-RMP exam structure and each domain share in the exam
Knowing the exam structure will help you highlight the important domains and processes. You will know where to focus, and from which domain the biggest share of question will come. The PMI-RMP exam is composed of 115 multiple choice questions which you have to complete in 2 hours 30 minutes. Now to get my point out of this step, below is the list which shows the domains percentage as per the PMI latest exam content outline: Risk strategy and planning (22%), Risk identification (23%), Risk analysis (23%), Risk response (13%), and monitor and close risks (19%). You need to master the 7 risk management processes! Understand deeply each of them, memorize the key inputs, tools, techniques, and outputs. In addition, you need to understand all related terms, give those 7 processes a lot of time, this will increase your probability passing the exam from the first attempt. Advanced tools and techniques of the risk management standard are also very important for the exam.
Step Seven: Highlight your weaknesses and PMI-RMP Exam hot Topics
Now you know how the real PMI-RMP exam will look like, and you have been through the reference books and the 30 contact hours training course. It is normal to have few weakness points which you need to give more attention to. In addition to the points you highlighted, I am listing below the PMI-RMP exam hot topics where the majority of the exam questions come from:
- Risk Response Strategies. Project managers should work to eliminate the threats before they occur. Similarly, the project managers should work to ensure that opportunities occur. Risk response strategies for threats include: Avoid, mitigate, transfer, accept, and escalate. For opportunities, it includes: Exploit, enhance, share, accept, and escalate. Expect 10+ questions in the PMI-RMP exam asking you about the best strategy to use in a specific scenario.
- Risk in Contracts. A typical question in the CAMP/PMP/PMI-RMP exams would present a procurement scenario, the scenario would provide some details about the contract the project manager is using, and the question would then ask who has more risk in the described scenario – the buyer or the Seller. You will have to first understand which type of contract is being described in the situation and then answer the question accordingly. PMBOK® guide talks about three basic types of contracts. The Three basic types of contracts are further divided into few sub-types.
- Monte Carlo Simulation. It is a detailed, computer-intensive simulation approach that allows people to account for risk in quantitative analysis and decision making. It is determining the value and probability of possible outcomes of a project objective such as a project schedule or cost estimate. It computes the schedule or cost estimate many times, using inputs drawn at random from ranges specified with probability distribution functions (Triangular distribution, Beta distribution or other) for schedule activity durations or cost line items. For the PMI-RMP exam, expect 3-4 questions asking you to read the results of conducting a Monte Carlo simulation on a specific project.
- Risk Register and Risk Report Updates. The risk register captures details of identified individual project risks. The results of Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis, Plan Risk Responses, Implement Risk Responses, and Monitor Risks are recorded in the risk register as those processes are conducted throughout the project. For the PMI-RMP exam context, it’s important to be aware of the risk register and risk report updates after implementing each risk management process.
- Risk Management Plan. It is risk management plan is a subsidiary plan for how risk management will be done on a project, who should be involved, when risk management activities should be done and how frequently they should be done. It an important plan as it explains how Risk will be managed in the project and memorize that it is the main output of the Plan Risk management process. For the PMI-RMP exam, you need to memorize the major items which a risk management plan must include.
- Advanced tools and techniques in risk management, as per the practice standard for risk management, there are additional tools and techniques used for risk management, like the cause-and-effect diagrams, affinity diagrams, pre-mortem, analytical hierarchy process, and failure mode effect analysis. Expect not less than 20 exam questions about the advanced risk management tools and techniques, specifically from the risk identification process.
- Earned Value Management. Earned Value Management, earned value is used in performance reviews to measure project performance against the scope, schedule and cost baselines. To perform the EVM calculations, you need to first gather the three measurements mentioned earlier: the planned value (PV), actual cost (AC), and earned value (EV). Expect 3-5 questions in the exam about this performance review technique.
- Contingency reserves are money added to the project cost estimates by the project manager for uncertain events / risks that might happen (also known as “known unknowns”). For the PMI-RMP exam, you need to understand the difference between contingency and management reserves, and you need to understand how to determine the required reserves for a project.
- Risk score is a calculated number (score) that reflects the severity of a risk due to some factors. Typically, project risk scores are calculated by multiplying probability and impact though other factors, such as weighting may be also be part of calculation. Expect 2-3 questions in the exam about the risk score definition and calculation.
Step Eight: It’s the time to test your self
At this stage, you are almost ready to go for the real PMI-RMP exam, one step remains before you schedule your exam date, test your readiness for the real PMI-RMP exam. At this stage you are done with the 30 contact hours, read the two reference books needed, highlighted the hot topics of the exam, and familiar with the exam structure. I have created a course that contains five simulated tests each with 115 questions which you need to complete in two hours thirty minutes. Overall, the course contains 575 questions, my practice tests questions are like the real PMI-RMP exam questions as I wrote them few days after I passed the exam. PMI-RMP exam questions are not short and direct to the point! The majority of the 115 questions are situational such as: Which of the following describes the best action? What’s next? What’s first to do? Else than situational questions, you will have long wordy questions, the concept of this step is to check if you are ready to schedule your exam or not. You can enroll in the PMI-RMP exam preparation package through the link here, or you can buy only the four exams set through the link here. Set in your room, open the laptop, have a plain A4 paper, with simple calculator, off your mobile and be away from any possible interruption, you must finish the 115 questions in 2 hours 30 minutes with a passing score of minimum 80%. Go for practice test # 1, you will practice the other exams of the course in later stages. It’s ok if you were not able to complete the 115 questions within exam time frame in the first attempt, what’s important is to get a score of +80%, if you got this result, move to next step, if not, don’t worry, just refer back to step four of this study plan and repeat tell you reach this step again, and this time use practice test # 2. Go forward with this study plan once you get a result of 80% or more.
Step Nine: Schedule your exam 2 weeks ahead
Now it’s the time to schedule your exam date, go for the PMI.org website and follow steps below to fill your application online:
- Visit the website pmi.org, select membership from the home page upper bar. Choose the individual membership type which will cost you 129$ + 10 $. Press on join now, fill in your information and create your account.
- Now once you are done with the PMI log in and membership process, go back to the home page and select certifications from the home page upper bar and choose Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP) ®then press on apply now.
- Fill in your address and work address, then fill your contact information (Email address and phone number).
- Fill in your attained education information (bachelor’s degree or diploma).
5. Start with the requirements overview then save and continue.
6. Press on the project experience link and fill in your projects experience with the following:
- Start and end date of each project
- You’re role (Job Title) and the industry field.
- Your organization name and address.
- Your reporting manager/colleague and his/her contact information (Email and address)
- Your experience divided into 5 parts,
Note: The description of each project shall not exceed 500 characters!
Keep doing and mention all the projects you want to until you have the sum of all projects as the required hours of the exam.
7. Fill in your risk management educational hours, title of the course, institute name, start and end dates of the course, and the number of hours.
8. Mention your name as how you want it to appear on the certificate.
9. Read the agreement then click the box “I agree “.
10. Review your application then submit.
11. Pay the Exam Fees.
Wait for the notice authorizing you either to schedule your exam or to inform you that your application will be subjected to an audit before it’s approved. Once your application is approved, you can schedule your exam date two weeks ahead by checking parametric centers available in your location and their availability. Note that once you receive your authorization notice; you must pass the exam within one year.
In case your application was selected for the audit, relax, they will send you an experience audit form- verification form - for each experience you mentioned, you should sign it from your supervisor or colleague, and send a copy of your bachelor’s degree certificate and your 30 contact hours training certificate. If you took one of the above courses, print the softcopy you will have at the end of the course and send it, It will be accepted for sure (As I did it myself). You should send a hardcopy of all these documents to the address mentioned on the PMI website and wait for the results. It’s very rare to fail in the audit process, the only reasons of failure are having false information “Fraud “, candidates choose not to attempt audit – one year suspension period or not being able to verify the experience or the educational hours.
Step Ten: Practice, practice, practice
From my experience helping students pass the PMI-RMP exam, one of the core reasons why people fail in their first trial is the shortage of time, solving 115 questions (Most of them are situational and long) within 2 hours and 30 minutes time frame isn’t easy! The best practice to come over the timing challenge is to practice as much as you can. Practicing the exam questions will get you closer to the real exam environment, you can have an idea about the exam questions through the free resources I include in this blog. The next stage shall be practicing timely tested simulation exams, practice the real exam environment, through the course you enrolled into in step eight! Have a plain A4 paper, with simple calculator, off your mobile and be away from any possible interruption. You have to finish the 115 questions in 2 hours and 30 minutes with a passing score of minimum 80%. Practice the second, third, and fourth exams of the course and be ready with the real exam circumstances. If you didn’t enroll for the 5 simulates tests in step eight, here is the link where you can do with $49 only.
Step Eleven: Go and Pass
One night before the exam, relax and have a good sleep. In the morning, have a good breakfast, and be at the testing center 1 hour before the exam. Once you enter the examination room, you will have your own desktop with a simple calculator, few white papers, and a pencil. Read the exam tutorial which will appear automatically on the screen, It will explain for you that the exam includes 170 multiple choice questions and that exam timing is 3 hours and 30 minutes. Start your exam, you will be able to mark the question you are not sure of its answer in order to review later on, do not keep your eyes on the timer, take a look each 50 questions only. A lot of the exam questions will be a case description followed by a question asking what the best is to do, in this type of questions you cannot guarantee 100% that you picked the right answer, but trust me, just follow the knowledge you learned in the preparation journey and for sure you will pick the right answer. Don’t get confused during the exam, just highlight questions you are not sure of their answers and go for the next question. Once you are done, click finish, they will ask you to do a short survey about the testing center; once you are done you will have your exam result with a short report of each domain score.
Step Twelve: What’s next? Maintain your certificate gaining PDU’s
Once you get the PMI-RMP certificate, your journey to maintain your certificate each three years will begin, you need to gain 30 PDU’s within three years of time to renew your PMI-RMP status. In this article am listing all key points you need to know about the PDU’s. PDU refers to professional development unit. There are two types of professional development units (PDUs) that you can claim towards renewal —Education and Giving Back to the Profession. Under each of these categories there are numerous options and, once you’ve satisfied certain educational requirements, the rest is up to you.
PMI PDU requirements for the PMI-RMP certification is a quality assurance mechanism to ensure PMI-RMP certificate holders are up to date with latest project management and risk management concepts, best practices and trends; simply, the PDU is a system which will encourage PMI-RMP certificate holders for continues education.
In general, 1 PMI-RMP® PDU equals 1 hour of participation in the PDU activity, PMI accepts PDUs to be recorded in quarterly increment (in the multiple of 0.25 PDU) for educational activities, for the rest PMI-RMP® PDUs must be submitted in multiples of 1 PDU.
On the other hand, if you are not able to accumulate 30 PMI-RMP® PDU during your 3-year cycle, the PMI-RMP® credential will be suspended. PMI gives you 1 extra year to earn the required PDU. But be reminded that the next 3-year re-certification cycle will still be counted from your original credential end date.
Once you collect the 30 PDU’s, you can apply for the credential renewal for $60 if you are a PMI member and $150 if you are not. Below I am listing the best ways to earn to PDU’s for the PMI-RMP exam
Your day job, Earn 8 PDU’s for FREE. If you work as a project manager/business analyst this is probably the easiest way to tick off up to 4 PDU’s per three-year period. For the details on this and the other PDU categories mentioned below please refer to the link here.
Learn deeply practical project management on Udemy, earn 15 PDU’s @$10. A course created by William Stewart, applying the project management processes into practical life. Highly recommended for project management and risk management practitioners, and you can earn 15 PDU’s for the PMI RMP renewal process, the course contains 9 hours of video, you can register here for $10.
Learn MS project beginner to expert on Udemy, earn 9 PDU’s @ $10. Microsoft project is the most commonly used scheduling software in project management; even you are not a planner! you should be aware of using MS project, Srikanth Shirodkar created the best seller MS project course on Udemy, which you make use of to learn MS project and earn 9 PDU’s for your PMI-RMP renewal process, the course is 9 hours videos, and you can register through the link here for $10.
Learn Microsoft Excel for Project Managers on Udemy, earn 5 PDU’s @$10. Microsoft Excel can help you with so much of that! In this course you’re going to explore lots of things that Microsoft Excel can do for project management. You’ll dive into formatting, charting, conditional formatting, and building a custom dashboard and report. If you don’t have a more advanced project management software, that’s okay, you can do much of that business right in Microsoft Excel, this course is worth five (5) Professional Development Units with the Project Management Institute, the course is 5 hours videos, and you can register through the link here for $10.
PMP seminar on Udemy, Earn 35 PDU’s @ $10. Formal academic educational courses related to Project Management is one of the easier categories, Joseph Philips created a course on Udemy which includes 35 PDU’s with 20 Hours of Technical project management, 9 hours of business skills, and 6 hours of leadership skills. At the end of the course, you will have a certificate of completion which you can submit for the PMI renewal process, this seminar is considered as a great tool to refresh your knowledge in the PMBOK material. The course is 24 hours video, and you can register through the link here for $10.
Volunteer Service. Become a volunteer of your local project management association like PMI Saudi chapter or PMI Jordan chapter and earn 1 PDU for each hour of service. A letter or certificate from the organization acknowledging the participation is required for confirmation.
Create new Project Management Knowledge. There is a lot you can do in this category to earn PDUs. You could be authoring or co-authoring articles, books or newsletters, present a webinar or podcast, or create and present a project management course. Each will earn you PDUs. The rule is that every hour spent in preparing and delivering these activities is equal to one PDU. The PDUs claimed in this category count toward the 12 PDU’s maximum.
Self-Study. Do you consume a lot of materials like reading articles or books, watching videos? If you participated in any of these activities and the topic at hand was relevant to project management, had a specified purpose and used knowledgeable resources then you can claim 1 PDU for each hour spent on this as “self-study”.
How to Submit PDU?
PMI supplies you with an online “Continuing Certification Requirements System” to record your PDU. After you have attended PDU activities, you can submit the PDU activity details through the Continuing Credential Requirements System (CCRS). If you participate in a webinar by PMI or projectmanagement.com, your PDU will be automatically recorded and there is no need to enter it manually.
After you have submitted the PDU request, PMI will review and approve the PDUs. You will receive an email and the PDU will be added to your account once PMI approve your request. PMI may require you to submit supporting documents with reference to the particular categories of PDU you are claiming within 5 days in order to evaluate your claim, after you have collected enough PDUs in your PMI-RMP® renewal cycle, PMI will send you an email asking you to complete the form and pay for credential renewal. The PMI-RMP® renewal fee is US$60 for PMI members and US$150 for non-members as I mentioned earlier, the renewal application and payment process must be completed in 90 days after your credential end date for you to keep your PMI-RMP® status. PMI will send the new PMI-RMP® certificate to you within 6 to 8 weeks. Your PDU application might be selected for audit randomly before you are approved for PMI-RMP® renewal. You will need to present proof/documentation for all the PDU claimed during the 3-year cycle to PMI for verification.
Good Luck in your Journey!