Three top tips when sitting the PRINCE2 exam

This is a guest article from Simon, a PRINCE2 trainer who will give you 3 tips to be as efficient as possible during the exam.

NB : this article is translated in French here

Sitting any exam is a nerve-wracking experience. That feeling of dread when waking up in the morning doesn’t really dissipate until the exam is over. You then have to wait another week or two until you get your result which means you walk out of the exam room either feeling elated if you think you did well, or utterly dejected if you think you made a mess of it.

You must, of course, prepare well for your PRINCE2 exam which often means sitting a 5 day classroom course or studying yourself online, doing all the homework and practising lots of sample exams. Apart from these obvious things, what are some top tips to help you once you set foot in the exam room?

My top 3 tips to help you during the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam are based upon my experience of being a PRINCE2 trainer since 2006, since when I’ve trained and invigilated hundreds of students through their PRINCE2 exams. Both PRINCE2 exams are objective tests meaning they contain a range of multiple-choice style questions.

Top tip 1: read the question carefully

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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 ..

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Time management : yet another todo-list alternative

I explained the limitations of the todo-list system in the previous article about time management introduction and todo-list limitations . You are not about to discover a brand new way of managing your time but maybe another way of dealing with all your tasks.

Using your calendar as your todo-list

The calendar is usually used by people to write appointments with other people like meetings, business lunches, workshops and so on. A common representation of the calendar is based on columns, one for each day of the week :


There are many softwares which provide a calendar tool : Microsoft Outlook, KOrganizer, Evolution, Google Agenda, … As long as they are easy to use for you, with drag’n’drop to move tasks, it’s ok.

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Time management : introduction and todo-list limitations

« The best way to save time is about not losing time. » That was one of the first sentence during the time management training I used to lead. You cannot do anything to have more time in your life, but you can do something about how you spend it. And especially how many times you are doing the same task or micro-task. We’ll tackle with that in the next practices.

Everybody usually has a few tasks to achieve to reach an objective and the way you’re managing them can be a source of painful stress. Let’s see if a todo-list can be a solution.

Simple todo-list to manage your time

At first, there is a list of tasks, also called a todo-list, organized with a series of bullets and the description of the tasks :

- Find an expert for project A
- Calling client B
- Reread the specification document for project C

Simple, quick, relatively efficient. Todo-listing is the number one tool to get things done, on real paper or using a software (text editor, dedicated software, ..). You can quickly clear your head by putting down all the things you have to do and update the list regularly.

Limitations : you will not be able to distinguish the urgent matter of your boss and the search of gift ideas for next christmas (and you are in June). Ok, maybe if you have 3 items in your list, you will but with 10 items, the answer to « What do I have to do next ? » should be more difficult (if not try it with 30 items …).

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