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How I passed my PRINCE2 Exams

PRINCE2 Foundation Exam and PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam Success Tips

Published on 17.03.2014

I don’t like exams. Who does? But sometimes you must take exams, as is the case with PRINCE2 certification. Over the years I learned a few tips and tricks that helped me cope with exams and pass them with great marks. In this post I will share these tips with you, so that you can benefit from this experience, and pass your PRINCE2 Foundation exam and PRINCE2 Practitioner exam.
Passing the PRINCE2 Foundation exam is a prerequisite to taking the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam. Furthermore, each exam incurs a fee, so there are good reasons to make everything you can in order to pass the PRINCE2 exam on first attempt.

The PRINCE2 Foundation Exam – is it so hard?

The PRINCE2 Foundation exam has 70 multiple-choice questions. You get 60 minutes to complete it, and must answer at least 35 correctly in order to achieve the 50% pass grade. This means you have about 1 minute for each question, leaving a few minutes in the end to review your answers. There are actually 75 questions, but 5 of them are practice questions that do not count in the score.
As for required knowledge for the PRINCE foundation exam, you will need to know the principles and the terminology of this methodology. This exam is meant to assess how well you can work as a project management team member using PRINCE2. You will need to demonstrate that you understand the different roles and their purpose. You will also be asked about the 7 themes,  processes and principles, and the PRINCE2 techniques. Some questions will be on the relationships between the different processes, their deliverables, the different roles, and the managerial aspects of a projects pertaining to PRINCE2.

To be fair, if you study hard and prepare well, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t pass the PRINCE2 Foundation exam. This is not to say it is easy, but retrospectively, and compared to the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam, it wasn’t that difficult for me, and I’ll explain later on what can help you to pass it first time.

The PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam is quite different, and a more difficult exam. While you may use your personal annotated PRINCE2 manual, it is a longer and more complex test that requires deeper understanding of the PRINCE2 methodology. You will be given 2½ hours to answer 8 questions in an objective test format. The questions can be about processes and themes, and include examples on which you will be asked to comment and explain. You will need to know when and how to use each PRINCE2 product and apply the methodology under different circumstances with proper reasoning.
Many people who have taken the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam would agree that it is not an easy exam.

So how to pass the exams?

Firstly, let me set your expectations – there are no magic tricks here or shortcuts. You will need to work hard in order to pass the exams first time. What I tried to give here is a framework for your studies in a way that will focus you on exam success.

1. Prepare early

Whether you come into our classroom PRINCE2 training or study on your own using our PRINCE2 online learning platform, it is good practice to get yourself familiarised with the exam questions as soon as possible. You might not know the answer before you actually spend some time studying PRINCE2, but this will at least help you focus your mind on the type of questions you may be asked. When you study something new, think about the questions that can be asked based on the existing sample exams.

2. Practice PRINCE2 exam questions

You should not sit an exam without trying some PRINCE2 sample exams questions first. Both the PRINCE2 Foundation exam and PRINCE2 Practitioner exam are hard enough, and if you are new to this material you must be prepared to the types of questions you might face.
Always aim to get 100% right in a mock exam, and time yourself in the same way the real exam is timed. Do this regularly, and not just at the last moment. Do not cut corners here, and you will stand a much better chance of passing.

3. Learn to deal with stress

Different people react differently to stress during exams. I will not go into the reasons, this is not the right place. However, one technique that is encouraged by many experts is not to start immediately answering the first question you encounter. Instead, read the entire test first. Then, when you read each question, underline the key words. Only then answer the question. Under stress you can easily make those unnecessary silly mistakes. Reading carefully as I explained above will help you avoid silly mistakes and ensure that you are answering the right answer to the right questions. You may also want to answer the questions which are easier first. Most importantly – review your entire exam at the end, to make sure you didn’t miss anything. If you are not sure about something – don’t worry about it! Keep calm, and carry on to the next question.

4. Know the PRINCE2 Manual sections inside out

This is most important for the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam. There will not be enough time to start looking for answers in the PRINCE2 manual during the exam. You must know what is in each section, and be able to flip through it as quickly as possible. This will save you valuable time during the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam, and also improve your success chances for the PRINCE2 Foundation exam. You should also be able to mark the chapters in a way that will be effective for finding  specific subject. Consult your instructor on the best way to do that.

5. Interact with fellow students

Focussing on the PRINCE2 Manual alone is not enough sometime. When you interact with fellow students or professional colleagues, in conversation about PRINCE2 examples, you open your mind to other aspects of this methodology, beyond the official course material. Ask your trainer questions in class, or by email, follow professional blogs and forums about project management, join LinkedIn groups, or Twitter. This will help you a lot in preparation for the PRINCE2 Foundation Exam, and the PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam.

We have on offer PRINCE2 courses in class and PRINCE2 online training that can prepare you to take the PRINCE2 Foundation exam and PRINCE2 Practitioner exam and pass them first time if you study well.

Good Luck!



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