How to prepare for PRINCE2 exams

I just got certified as a PRINCE2 Project Management Practitioner last Friday, thanks to my boss who sponsored me ! I took a few notes and gathered some materials during my preparation and I was thinking of sharing these in an article. It may interest a few people, I guess. As for me, I can stop breathing and thinking PRINCE2 intensively for 5 years ..

PRINCE2 or PMP : maybe complementary ?

We can see that question on many forums, it is difficult to make a choice, it depends on the companies you work for, their sector, maybe the area too (PMP seems to be more mainstream in North America). But maybe there is no choice to make since we can often read that these certifications can be complementary : PRINCE2 would be a project management method whereas PMP would be about project management competencies and techniques. Well, if you have to choose, maybe take a look at each reference book and see which one suits you the best.

Learning curve of PRINCE2 methodology

I did prepare for the exam all by myself, using the official book as a reference. Reading the book sequencially can be fastidious, wondering if all along the book, you’ll have to absorb so many things ..But as you progress in the book, you realize that concepts are linked to each other, that what you read 50 pages before is merged in the description you are reading now, connections are made, the structure of your knowledge is getting more accurate and stronger. I felt that way especially when I started the processes chapters (after the reading of the themes chapters).

PRINCE2 Learning Curve : knowledge along the reading, principles, themes, processes

 Of course, the knowledge is getting even better when you practice samples exams as well and with experience.

It is like a puzzle, lots of pieces of information, first you spend more time observing them trying to remember them and as you recreate the original picture, you see the links between these pieces and you are getting faster and faster to learn.

General method of learning PRINCE2 Practitioner

There are not 50 ways of reading a book but I thought it could be efficient to alternate zoom-in zoom-out and ways of getting information, so for example I watched a video about processes (see below) between process chapters. I also used to review the plan of the previous chapter when starting a new one and after reading a chapter, I reviewed its plan again.

Have a look on amazon

Mindmapping says that our brain does not handle information lineary but that it is based on relations between pieces of information. So learning PRINCE2 from a linear source such as a book can be very fastidious and not interesting for the brain. You’ll need to feed it with other kind of information sources such as videos, mindmaps, diagrams so it can enjoy and create easily new relations between notions. Try a search on internet to find more resources for each theme or process to get another way to explain things, to find diagrams and videos that will show  you things in a different manner, providing a different perspective to your knowledge.

You may find interesting stuff on this kind of websites :

  • : for presentations
  • : for presentations
  • : for videos, tutorials
  • : for diagrams, images
  • : for hot resources

You also may consider trying some photo-reading (I wrote an article on peripheral vision but sorry, only in French, you can see the book cover above).

Finally, try to make connections between what you read and your experience, your projects, how you manage them, who does what, what’s different, what’s similar. It is a way of remembering more stuff as well.

Training and exams for PRINCE2

Have a look on Amazon
Have a look on Amazon

You’ll need the book, the real one (with paper you know) for the practitioner exam, no need to find an electronic version somewhere on the dark side of the internet .. If you’re in a hurry, have a look at my Amazon order tracking information for that book :

Date Time Location Event Details
30 Jan 2012 03:36:00 PM Auckland NZ Arrived at destination country
29 Jan 2012 09:19:00 AM CHANGI SG Arrival Scan
29 Jan 2012 01:48:00 AM Shenzhen CN Arrival Scan
28 Jan 2012 04:12:00 PM MUMBAI IN Arrival Scan
28 Jan 2012 12:55:00 AM KOELN (COLOGNE) DE Arrival Scan
27 Jan 2012 09:05:00 PM East Midlands Airpor GB Arrival Scan
27 Jan 2012 06:25:00 PM Swansea GB Departure Scan
27 Jan 2012 04:23:00 PM Auckland NZ Completed customs clearance process
27 Jan 2012 06:07:00 PM Swansea GB Shipment received by carrier
27 Jan 2012 12:32:12 PM GB Order has been handed over to the carrier and is in transit

Even fast when it is sent to the other side of the world .. from Great Britain to New-Zealand in 4 days.

If you think about sitting for the exam without any « official » training, consider the fees for the book and the exams and see whether there is any online course package for almost the same price or not far, you would also get e-learning material that can help for a little more money.

Anyway, once you’ve paid for the exams, you’ll get official sample exams for Foundation and Practitioner. It is more than useful to practice these samples exams :

  • you’ll get familiar with the type of questions, especially for the practitioner part
  • you’ll assess yourself before the final exam and identify the themes or processes you still have to work on
  • you’ll learn how to manage time, which is essential (see the videos of Dave below)
  • you’ll see what parts of the book you’ll need to access quickly during the exam and would be able to prepare efficient bookmarks (too many post-its can be counter-productive actually).

My feeling about project management certifications

I have mixed feelings about project management certifications. Assurely it can help manage a project, giving best practices and a methodology but I still consider that experience is necessary to be really successful. You may pass the exam and get certified even if you have not managed any project in your life. The job is too complex too be assessed through a multiple-choice questionnaire, it is simplistic. To my mind, the best way for a person to learn project management is in practical situations, coached by a senior project manager. You can read a hundred books on how to ride a bike, when you get on a bike the first time, I am pretty sure you won’t go far. I think it is the same for project management.

Resources to learn PRINCE2

400 questions explained !

Note : Marks are based on the usefulness of the videos to pass the exam (not the quality of the training company providing the video). It is not complete courses but it helps to zoom out. Please let me know if there is a dead link.

Please have a look at how I manage my time, it may help you as well.

Prince 2 courses video by Knowledge Train

PRINCE2 Project Management Explained – Introduction – 5/5

PRINCE2 Project Management Explained – Principles – 5/5

PRINCE2 Project Management Explained – Themes – 4/5

PRINCE2 Project Management Explained – Processes – 5/5

Prince2 videos by Dave Litten

Note that there is a newsletter too on which can be interesting to keep focus everyday. Website has also resources, a lot of content on PMP Methodology too, be careful not to mix them .. And Dave is quite responsive by mail, thanks !

PRINCE2 Configuration Management – Part ONE – 5/5

Learn PRINCE2 Configuration Management Part TWO – 5/5

The PRINCE2 Process Model – 5/5

PRINCE2 Exam Tips Part ONE – 5/5

PRINCE2 Exam-Passing Tips Part TWO – 5/5

Courses video by ILX Series (more about the changes in 2009 new version of Prince2)

PRINCE2® Foundation – 2/5
Very simple introduction to Prince2 and collaborating organizations promoting Prince2.

There was something like 12 additional videos, but links are down, if someone finds it, I would be grateful for the links.

The Prince2 Training Manual :

Sample Prince2 exams and others : a few links on various ways of practicing exams : 25 questions, Foundation exam type (it’s a must !) : large recap, useful for the overview : lots of resources : interesting to see what kind of questions you’ll have to deal with : lots of resources : another large recap : articles on Prince2 preparation

61 réflexions au sujet de “How to prepare for PRINCE2 exams”

    • John, I’m not sold. And in enquiring of some professional trainers I have time for, they are also adopting a « wait and see what the update, if any, would be ».

  1. Thanks for the tips – Ive got my Practicioner this week. The sample exams are quite hard so I only hope the trainer gets things across in good time.

  2. really usefull information….. i am new to this and planning to do Prince2 foundation …. is it possible to do it by selfstudy? if yes, what should be the starting point? which book do you recommend ?

    • Yes it is possible to do it by selfstudy, I prepared the practitioner by myself.

      There may be a more appropriate book to study only the foundation part but you’ll need the official book anyway (see links in the article). And then practice, practice, practice the sample exams ! 🙂

  3. Thank you for writing so much for the PRINCE2 exam. I passed the foundation exam last week with 66/70 and all that on this webpage is very helpful and informative. I’m preparing for the practitioner now and hope I’ll have the same luck.

      • Me again. Finally I passed the practitioner last week with 82/108. I would say the final real test was obviously harder than three sample papers I wrote before, but the result was similar though (I got 82,82 and 83 for 3 sample papers). Anyway, I came back quite often to this web page, which has helped me a lot. Thank you!

  4. This is an amazing guide! I really am happy I found it before my course next week.
    There’s just so much to learn in a short space of time – but with your informative guide I’ll try my best.

    Thanks again

  5. Jean-Philippe, I just wanted to say thank you for this guide. I took and passed my Prince2 Foundation exam today by using the resources you suggested.

    Thanks again and all the best,


  6. Thanks JP for all the info provided!
    I’m preparing the PRICE2 Foundation and straight after the Practitioner’s exams.
    I was looking for your comments of the book above pictured « PRINCE2 Study Guide » but I don’t seem to find them.
    Did you use it?
    Was it useful for you?
    I did buy it, but I am also very aware of not-wasting time, so if the book is not much of a help I will not use it.
    What do you think?
    Thanks and best regards.
    from Spain

    • Thanks for your comment Michelle!
      Unfortunately I’ve only heard of that book after I passed the exam, but feedback was positive.
      So it’s more a suggestion than a recommendation until someone tells me in the comment that they find it genuinely useful.
      Good luck with the preparation!

      • Thanks for your answer JP,
        I have one last question regarding the time to prepare these exams.
        I read that people participate in a one-week course and they leave the premises having performed both exams.
        Am I missing something here?
        Can someone learn the method and perform both exams from scratch in 5 days?
        How long would you estimate the preparation would/should last?
        I might be missing definitely something here! 🙂
        Thanks and regards, Michelle

        • Honestly, I think it’s ambitious to say : « Study for 4 days and pass the exam on the 5th ».

          One advantage I see is that you don’t procrastinate, it’s immersion for 5 days and you’re done … if you pass …

          One disadvantage I think is that it is only short term memory and you’ll probably forget quickly after the exam ..

          The duration of the preparation really depends on the person, I know I need time to absorb information for example so studying all day long is not what I like.

          As an example, it took me 3 weeks, half time during week days, sometimes in the evening when I was brave :-).

          Hope it helps !

  7. Hi JP,

    How I wish I saw your web site before I took the Prince 2 Practioner (which unfortunately I failed after 4 days of intensive course and exam on the the 5 day!). I can only blame myself, as I went there underestimating the course, silly me.
    Anyway just wanted to say that this is a very informative guide so I thank you inadvance for all the information provided and I am hoping to re take the exam in 2 weeks time. Any tips for a re take will be apreciated
    Many Thanks

    • If no one told you the course was demanding, you could not have known, don’t blame yourself too much :-).

      Don’t wait too much for the re take, you’re right, to keep fresh what you already have in mind. And now you know what it’s like to sit for the exam in terms of questions, difficulty, time management, focus, energy, … So that’s a good advantage.

      If your score was not a total catastrophe, it should be ok to reach the expected level. If it was, I suggest you start over the learning. Having gone through all the material once, it will be faster than the first time and you’ll remember more things.

      Good luck and let us know 🙂

  8. I want to give practitioner exam with the online option ( give exam from my home ) as there is no exam center in my country.

    I have a soft copy of the original manual that i have printed as book and it is in a book binder.

    Can i keep this book in the exam ? I have read that only official manual is allowed in the exam. I have the official manual but in my own version.

    I am afraid they might disallow me for illegal copy of the Prince 2 manual.

    Second option is that , i will not use the manual in the Practitioner exam .. Is it required to consult the manual as time is a big issue in this exam. Has anyone tried to give the Practitioner exam without having the official manual with them ?

    Third option is a painful option of buying the official manual just for the exam and this will be a wastage of resources as i will never use it in my life. I have a beautiful PDF in my iPAD that is so easy to read and access, compared to turning physical bulky book.

    Please reply me soon as i have very less time to decide ..

    • Well, with the online option, I guess there’s no way for them to check the material you have during the exam anyway … Just in case, you’ll probably want to check the conditions for the online exam though.

      Forget the second option, unless you have a (very) very good memory, you won’t be able to check some details for certain questions. Time is a big issue indeed, but as long as you know where to look and find it quickly, it’s preferable to have the manual.

      Having the soft copy is really an advantage, as the « Find » feature works a lot faster than in the hard copy :-).

      Good luck!

      • Thanks JP for the reply.
        I kept thinking for sometime and then i decided that why to risk the heavy exam fees for something that is doubtful.
        So i took the bitter sip and ordered the book via Amazon just few minutes back.

        Later i will keep it in my office and it might impress others portraying the certified Project manager is always consulting PM best practices at work 🙂

        Hope the book version will not change and i will consult the book later to refresh the practitioner title in few years … too forward thinking .. i have yet to pass the practitioner 🙁

  9. I followed your article to prepare for the exam and I found it very useful, so thank you for the tips! I actually think I overprepared!

    I decided to do the same thing and publish my advice and material I used to prepare, for colleagues who ask me.

    Here is the link in case it can help anyone: PRINCE2 advice

  10. Thank you for this wonderful article.

    I found these Prince 2 hints very useful and this will definitely assist me with my exam preparations.

    Thanks again 🙂
    New Zealand.

  11. if anybody is interested, I passed yesterday the Prince2 Practitioner exam online after self studying. this was my experience. Feel free to ask me any questions

    I prepared the Prince2 Practitioner exam on my own. I had taken a 3 day course in my office for the Foundation plus the exam in early December 2014. My strategy for the exam was
    1. On December 29th 2014 I ordered the “Managing Successful Projects with Prince2” manual online in Amazon.
    2. Sign up for MPlaza PRINCE2 Practitioner Self-Study plus the exam. The total is 395€. I wouldn’t say the material they offer is amazing, but it is good help. You can definitely find some of their material posted on other sites for free and only buy the exam on their site and still pass it. I think there prices to buy just the exam online are the cheapest on the,
    3. I read “An Introduction to PRINCE2” by Frank Turley at MPlaza PRINCE2 Practitioner Self-Study site. It was a good reminder of what I had seen during the PRINCE2 Foundation course.
    4. I read “The PRINCE2® Training” at Manual MPlaza PRINCE2 Practitioner Self-Study site. It is a simplified version of the “Managing Successful Projects with Prince2”.
    5. I read for the first time “Managing Successful Projects with Prince2”. This is the only help you will have during the exam, so feel free to write, underline and put references between the pages. What I did was in some header put the number of the page where I could find information related to it (for example, in the products described in Appendix A, I would write next to their entry the pages where I could find additional info in the manual).
    6. I tabbed the Managing Successful Projects with Prince2 with the tabs found at after printing them in sticker paper.
    7. I read about the different question at Passing the Prince2 practitioner exam ebook (
    8. I did 3 practice exams, the 2 official ones and 1 of the 2 offered by MPlaza. If you don’t want to pay for the 2 official ones, you can find them at
    9. In that link there is also 2 re-registration exams, with additional 2 questions that are not in the full exam
    10. The 2 practice exams from the MPlaza are a bit rubbish, but I still took one of them.
    11. In the 3 practice exams I scored between 64 and 66. So I felt confident about taking the exam the weekend after.
    12. I went online and with the voucher I got from Mplaza I booked my exam at Peoplecert. I had already taken the ITIL Foundation exam at Peoplecert and I believe they have an amazing service. You can book an exam until 4 hours before you take it! I gave myself 6 days between the booking and the exam. During this time, I reread “Managing Successful Projects with Prince2” and I felt ready for the exam.
    13. After taking the exam, it is clear that the some of the most important parts of the book are the Appendix A and the Appendix C. In my exam there were a lot of question of Project Assurance.
    14. On the day of the exam, I did it at home, with a clear table, with my passport, blank papers, a laptop, the “Managing Successful Projects with Prince2” manual, lots of pens and pencils and a glass of water. After the proctor examined my room, my passport, my blank papers and my official manual through the webcam, the exam started. The book can have tabs and written notes, but you can’t have information in additional printed pages.
    15. The Prince2 exam is supposed to be 2:30h, but maybe because I was Spanish, I believe I was given more time?
    16. At the beginning of the exam you can print the Project Scenario and the Additional information. The exam practices I had done were all through the computer without a printed copy so I was OK with continuing on the computer (besides I didn’t have a printer at home). The only problem I found was that if you were in the middle of a question, such as the ones where you have to analyze the content of a plan or a product description or a business case, and you have to spot the errors, it may be very useful to have it printed! If you don’t have it printed, in the user interface below you see there are two places to go to additional information and the project scenario. If you click in the link on the upper right corner, a popup window appears. If you click on the link at the center bottom, the project scenario and additional information rolls out. None of the options allow you to see the information and the question answers at the same time. The user interface for the exam looked like

    17. After clicking finish exam, you get the results within few seconds. The proctor has been on mute for a couple of hours, and in my case, after scoring 66/80, he congratulated me. He told me I could take a photo with my cellphone. I went for it, turned it on, took a pic, finished the exam and went out to celebrate!

    • Thank you very much Xavier for that comprehensive feedback, I’m sure it will help a lot of people pass their exam!

      And congrats for your certification of course 🙂

    • Is it really allowed in the online exam toprint out the scenario and to use blank writing paper. I was not able to find so far anything in the Terms. Has anyone experience about this. Thanks for an answer.

      • Dear Michael,
        i did the exam online. i didnt have a printer at home, but they offered printing the scenario. Also, I was allowed to have blank paper, which they checked through the webcam. Good luck!

    • at your points are very will valid.. But i noticed this only one day before the exam. But BCS does not allow most of the things I have booked a retake with PEOPLECERT i will also write a details finding once after my exam next week, Hope this way we can help other exam takers too.

    • Hello Xavier,
      How do you manage to print the page tab from the pdf, i have tried but its size is coming very small in the paper. Do you create your won or used the same pdf. Also i have not able to find the full A4 sticker paper. Kindly advice.


      • Hello Xavier,
        Your Tabbing sheet help me all. I have copy that and reformatted to fit my sticker paper, finally went well for the exam, today i have cleared its my third attempt.

  12. i have booked for Prince2 foundation course with theknowledgeacademy twice. Some how they canceled the course both the times. So now iam thinking to do myself.
    and the take the exam in the prometric center.
    I find the Foundation is listed but not the next level. But iam fine let me finish the foundation 1st.
    for this i plan to buy Passing the PRINCE2 examinations Paperback – 31 Jul 2009 is this fine or as you mentioned i need go though Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2: 2009 Edition.

    Kindly calrify.

      • ok.. Thanks for a quick reply ..
        as you have mentioned iam planning for online course with theknowledgeacademy itself. They said exam with be online, is that certificate is valid.
        and in prometric iam able to see only foundation alone.

  13. hello JP,
    I have done with the foundation today scuessfully but I was not able to and nearly 15 questions. Now my concern that I need to avoid this in practicener. any tips for me.



  14. OK..
    Iam able to understand the concept now but not able manage the Time. as per your advice in this post iam doing this with a online instructor course only. I thought I will at least will be able to answer all but it turnaround. Now iam more concern, I have the next exam on next wednesday. Do you this is this is sufficient enough.


  15. Hello JP,
    I have lost in Practitioner but plan to retake next Wednesday. This time in PEOPLECERT because they offer taking print out scenario booklet during exam. Due you have suggestion.


  16. Hello Jp,
    Last week in resit i have failed by 2 points, today i have cleared the exam,
    Thanks for your article, initially i planned to do only foundation later planned for Practitioner. Thats where you article guide me take a online course which help me a lot to this success.

    Printing the scenario is the best way to clear the exam, but BCS doesn’t allow this. This way people cert it good.


  17. Hey JP,
    First thing first, your comment section is very helpful to give direction of my research.

    But i want to ask i orderded « Prince2 for bigginers » and i am going to order « Passing Prince2 official book ».
    So what do u think this two books and free online videos r enough to pass both exam or lecture course is nessesary to pass. And do i have to prepare £64 one Managing project official prince2 book.

    Thank you,

  18. I plan to take up the practitoner test in a weeks time. I have read about the different views of using the official manual “Managing Successful Projects with Prince2” during the test.

    Since I am planning to take the test online, through Peoplecert I am exploring the option of using a computer based version of the official manual as a PDF open on my system.

    My logic is, since the pdf file will be open on the same computer I take the online test, it becomes easier for the procter to monitor. Needless to say a PDF is much easier to search. Anyone here has any experience taking the online Peoplecert P2 Practitioner test with the softcopy or PDF version of the “Managing Successful Projects with Prince2”??

    • I don’t think that with the online test you can change the window you’re on, which means that you cannot have a PDF file open on the same system. As far as I’ve understood, the screen is locked on the exam and that’s all you can do.

      I agree though, looking through a PDF is far easier than a hardcopy ..

      Have a check with Peoplecert and let us know 🙂

      • Thanks for reply,

        I was out of track for last 2 months but i am back with more confidence to pass Prince 2. i have read through Prince 2 bigginers and i started to read the Passing Prince 2 official book and and watching free videos and resources and after that i will give foundation exam.

        so I want to ask that would it be enough to pass foundation exam?? or i have to go through Managing projrct official Prince2 book.

        • I would be you, I’ll go through the official book. Foundation is quite easy compared to practitioner but that doesn’t mean you can skip reading the book.

          Good luck!

  19. Thanks for providing this page of helpful advice, I passed the foundation exam yesterday using the information provided and studying the text ( plus many hours of work(


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