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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 :

  • http://www.slideshare.net : for presentations
  • http://prezi.com : for presentations
  • http://youtube.com : for videos, tutorials
  • http://www.google.fr/imghp : for diagrams, images
  • http://www.twitter.com : 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 http://www.davelitten.com/ 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 :

or http://www.mgmtplaza.com/elearn/dirBooks/P2FPM42.pdf

Sample Prince2 exams and others

http://www.itskeptic.org/free-prince2-practice-exams : a few links on various ways of practicing exams

http://www.bluecays.com/prince2quick.asp : 25 questions, Foundation exam type (it’s a must !)

http://www.prince2.com/downloads/prince2-2009-process-model.pdf : large recap, useful for the overview

http://www.prince2.com/prince2-downloads.asp : lots of resources

http://www.hilogic.com.my/PRINCE2-Practitioner-Exam-Questions.html : interesting to see what kind of questions you’ll have to deal with

http://www.ilxgroup.com/prince2-2009-resources.asp : lots of resources

http://www.knowledgetrain.co.uk/prince2-process-model-activities.php : another large recap

http://prince2.healthcheck-online.com/category/prince2/exam-preparation/ : articles on Prince2 preparation

Cet article a été posté dans English, PRINCE2, Project management.

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