PRINCE2 Practitioner Step By Step Guide
PRINCE2 (an acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments), it’s a process- based method used for effective project management, widely used in the UK, Europe countries in general and recently in the middle east. Certificate is delivered by AXELOS with two levels: Foundation and Practitioner, this study plan will review the Practitioner level exam preparation journey in detail, it’s suitable for professionals managing projects. I have passed the exam on October,16th, 2018, and according to my personal experience i have prepared this study plan.
Step one: Do you want to be a PRINCE2 Practitioner Certified?
First of all you should have the serious intent to be a PRINCE2 Practitioner certified, this intent might come from the career path you have in the project management field, especially if you are working in the UK or one of Europe countries, it might come from your passion to improve your knowledge in this field. Wherever it’s coming from, the PRINCE2 Practitioner certificate is a great career enhancement for professional project managers 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 PRINCE2 Practitioner certificate holder after 10 -14 weeks from this moment.
Are you eligible for the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam?
As per the AXELOS standards you need to provide proof you have passed one of the following:
- PMP – Project Management Professional
- CAPM – Certified Associate in Project Management.
- PRINCE2 Foundation
- IPMA ( Levels A/B/C/D ) – International Project Management Association
If the PRINCE2 Practitioner will boost your career, you have passed one of the exams mentioned above, and you want to get certified, continue reading this detailed study plan to pass the exam from the first trial as i did. The Study plan am explaining here shall take from you 10-14 weeks, and it might vary depending on the time you can spare from your day, it took from me around 8 weeks studying at weekends only (full two days of study) with reviewing questions on the week days. When it comes to the expenses of this exam preparation journey, the resources (Books and online preparation course) you will use will cost you around $150, the exam registration fees is around $480. You need to look for the accredited testing centers around you using AXELOS and Peoplecert websites. So the most cost effective plan was $150 for books and online training in addition to $480 for the exam fees! As a conclusion, the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam preparation journey shall cost you around $630 and around 12 weeks for preparation.
Most of us are committed with a full time job and with our families, so you want to find the most effective way to get ready for the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam, the step by step study plan I prepared based on my experience will save your time, no need to search the web for tons of useless data, 10 hours per week for 10-14 weeks following exactly this plan will guarantee your success from the first attempt.
Step two: Attend the exam preparation course (Live Class, Webinar or Udemy)
Nowadays getting the PRINCE2 practitioner exam preparation course is very easy, it’s your call! Do you prefer attending a live class around your place? If the answer is yes, you just need to do a simple search in the place you are living in and register for a live class training, usually it costs from 800$ to 1,500$ depending on the place you are living in (currency and instructor’s reputation). Actually, the issue of attending such classes is that you need to fit your timing to suit the instructor’s timing, also such classes are usually intensive, which means that the instructor will be teaching the whole exam material within 3 to 7 days and sometimes students will not be able to acknowledge this amount of data within such short time, but still I personally know some students who prefer having a live class/workshop. The second option is registering for an interactive online workshops, the instructor will cover the whole PRINCE2 exam content through online webinars, it saves money and it’s more flexible. The most famous program is the PRINCE2® Practitioner certification training by Master of Project Academy, it will cost you around $87 per month of access to get 30 hours of instructor led training and access to two simulation test papers, it’s a good program with money back guarantee and 99.6% success rate. For more details about this program, you can refer to the recommended PRINCE2 online courses page on this blog.
In my point of view, there is no need to pay for any of the above if you have the self-learning ability, you can prepare for the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam with a $11.99 online course on Udemy, this training should improve your knowledge in the project management field and prepare you to pass the exam from your first attempt, here is one of the best courses on Udemy that is accredited by Peoplecert and provided by Grey Campus, you can enroll through the link here for only 11.99$. It’s a huge money saver comparing to the other options, you have more flexibility in attending the course content, and whenever you have a question you can post it on the course Q&A or directly contact the instructor.
Now it’s your decision, you can attend a live class, online interacting class or a recorded course on Udemy, the most important thing is to take the maximum benefit out of the course, understand the exam content, processes, themes, and principles. Getting a short online training was the most time and cost effective option for me, I couldn’t attend a live class around due to the busy schedule of my daily life routine, I passed the exam using the PRINCE2 Practitioner course provided by Zindiak limited on Udemy platform, it’s AXELOS accredited organization and you can get the course with $11.99 only from here, four hours 20 minutes videos will cover the exam content, seven principles, seven themes, and seven processes. The course also includes two PRINCE2 Practitioner exam papers in addition to six case studies applying the PRINCE2 integrated elements in real life, you can check out the course description here.
Step three: Get the PRINCE2 Study Guide 2nd edition by David Hinde.
This book will cover 100% of the PRINCE2 exam objectives and will test your knowledge at the end of each chapter, suitable for both foundation and practitioner levels, it will highlight the topics you need to focus on for the practitioner exam, it will cover the principles, themes and processes in detail, highly recommended to start with, available on amazon market place from $29.39, check it through the link here, it was the book I used to prepare for the exam, and if you would like to know more about the best resources to use while preparing for the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam, refer to my reference book section of this blog.
Step four: Get the Managing Successful projects with PRINCE2 manual.
PRINCE2 Practitioner exam is an open book exam, you can use the Managing Successful projects with PRINCE2 manual during your exam, unlike the book i used and mentioned in the previous step, this manual is not a study guide, it shall be your reference while you are applying PRINCE2 methods and concepts while managing projects in your real life, as it’s the only manual you are allowed to use at the exam time, it’s very important to read and understand the manual structure dividing the principles, themes and processes. During the exam you don’t need to waste your time searching in the manual to reach what you are looking for, i even used colorful sticky notes in between the chapters for easy access during the exam, this manual is also available on the amazon market for around $95, you can check it through the link here. This manual is a must for the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam! and for a more detailed review of this manual, refer to the article here.
Step five: Understand the Exam Structure and Practice.
Unlike the other project management certificates exams, the PRINCE2 practitioner exam is objective, you will have a project scenario written on few pages and you need to read before you start reading the exam questions, the 68 exam questions are based on this project scenario which you need to finish in 2 hours 30 minutes (Time is tight, manage it carefully during the exam), you need to score 55% to pass, 38 questions out of the 68. In my exam there was a project scenario of five A4 papers, then 15 exam sections, first section was about PRINCE2 principles (12 marks), then 14 sections for the seven themes and seven processes (4 marks each), the questions types were:
- Multiple choice questions
- Sequence questions (two columns, column one with activities and column 2 with order of sequence)
- Matching questions (two columns)
Step six: It’s the time to test your-self.
At this stage you are almost ready to go for the real PRINCE2 Practitioner exam, one step remains before you schedule your exam date, you need to test your readiness for the exam, at this stage you are done with the exam preparation course, done with the reference book, and familiar with the exam structure mentioned in previous step. PRINCE2 Practitioner exam questions are not short and direct to the point! The majority of the questions are situational. Sit in your room, open the laptop, have a plain A4 paper, turn off your mobile and be away from any possible interruption. You have to finish the exam questions in two hours and half. There are no special courses to advise you with in order to test yourself. However, i have listed few PRINCE2 preparation programs that include test papers, you can use them as an exam simulator, you can find this list here.
Its okay if you were not able to complete the exam questions within two hours and half in the first attempt, what’s important is to get a score 55% and more. If you got this result, move to the following step, if not, don’t worry, just refer back to the reference book again and read it again. Go forward with this study plan once you get a result of 55% or more.
Step seven: Practice, practice, practice
By performing a simple search on google, you can find out few updated test papers for the PRINCE2 practitioner exam, in addition to the ones you will find in the PRINCE2 study guide 2nd edition by David Hinde, practicing is very important before you go for the real exam. I know students who were not able to complete the exam questions in two hours and half, and in order to overcome this challenge, I advise you to practice as much as possible.
Step eight: Go and pass.
One night before the exam, relax and have a good sleep. In the morning have a good breakfast, be at the testing center one hour before the exam, once you enter the examination room, you will have your own desktop, or you will have a paper based exam, this will be as per your choice -when you register for the exam. Read the exam tutorial which will appear automatically on the screen. Begin with 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 4 sections of the exam. Take your time reading the project scenario given in the exam, understanding this article will help you get the majority of the questions right in the exam. Most of the questions will be situation, 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 the questions you are not sure of their answers and go for the next question.
Step nine: What’s next? Maintain your PRINCE2 certificate.
Once you passed the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam, you have to renew your certification in each three years. Otherwise, your PRINCE2 certification will expire and you will have to re-take the PRINCE2 Exam. There are two methods for PRINCE2 renewal. Either you can sit for the re-registration exam or you can renew through AXELOS membership.
Now am going to examine the both ways of PRINCE2 renewal and we will try to help you in your PRINCE2 certification renewal process.
- Prince2 Renewal through Re-registration Exam
First way for PRINCE 2 renewal is, at the end of third year after you got the PRINCE2 Practitioner certification, you can re-sit for the PRINCE2 re-registration exam. The PRINCE2 re-registration exam is similar to the PRINCE2 practitioner exam; however, there are less number of questions and duration of the exam is shorter. You can see the comparison of PRINCE2 Practitioner and PRINCE2 re-registration exam in the following table.
|Practitioner Exam:||Re-Registration Exam:|
|Objective testing||Objective testing|
|8 questions – 10 question items per question, each worth one mark||3 questions – 10 question items per question.|
|44 out of 80 marks to pass – 55%||17 out of 30 marks to pass – 55%|
|2.5 hours (150 minutes) duration||1 hour (60 minute) duration|
|Open book (official PRINCE2 manual only)||Open book (official PRINCE2 manual only)|
Note that, in this PRINCE2 renewal method, since you will have to re-sit for the exam, it will be stressful and you have to get ready for the exam. Since three year is a long time, it will be tough to remember the PRINCE2 exam topics. You might need to attend a PRINCE2 Online Training; to refresh your knowledge and this will cause additional costs for you to renew your PRINCE2 certification. Especially, if you are a working professional, we do not recommend you to opt for this PRINCE2 renewal method. It will require a significant time to get ready for the re-registration exam.
2. Prince2 Renewal through Axelos Membership
The most affordable and convenient way for renewing your PRINCE2 certification is through AXELOS membership. In this method, after you passed the PRINCE2 exam, you join for AXELOS membership. Then, you keep your AXELOS membership for the following three years.
In each year of your membership, you have to submit 20 CPDs and at the end of third year, you must have completed 60 CPDs. Then, you apply for PRINCE2 certification renewal. CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development. AXELOS requires that, PRINCE2 certified professionals must keep their project management knowledge up-to-date. There are four categories for earning PRINCE2 CPD points. These are as following:
a- ) Professional Experience
Each PRINCE2 certified professional must earn five CPD points from this category and this is mandatory. If you are working in a project management position or if you are doing project management activities, these will count for this category and you can earn five CPD points each year from this category.
b- ) Training
For the remaining 15 CPD points of a year’s CPD requirement, you can attend training. Attending a project management related training will help bring you PRINCE2 CPD points. Note that, there is a CPD limit here. You can earn maximum 15 CPD points each year from this category.
c- ) Community Participation
There are several project management activities, seminars, conferences, webinars etc. Attending these project management activities is another source for earning PRINCE2 CPD points. You can collect CPD points from these activities. Generally, one-hour activity corresponds to one CPD point.
Maximum CPD limit for this category is 15 CPD points in a year. Note that, just by attending these events as a passive audience (just attending as audience), you can earn maximum five CPD points each year. On the other hand, if you organize an event, give a presentation etc. (active), you can submit up to 15 CPD points each year from this category.
d- ) Self-Study
Last Prince2 renewal method is self-study. There are several resources of project management available offline and online. Reading books, articles, blogs, researching a topic, listening podcasts, etc. are examples of self-study category. You can earn maximum five CPD points from this category each year.
This is all for the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam preparation study plan, i wrote this detailed plan based on my experience passing the exam from the first trial, and i do recommend you go through it step by step, and if you need any additional support while preparing for the exam, do not hesitate to reach me out on firstname.lastname@example.org, or post your question in the comments section below.
Wish you all the success!