5 Tips For Passing Your PRINCE2® Practitioner Exam

Insights | 04 March 2014

The PRINCE2 Practitioner accreditation is a highly sought after and recognised certification by the international project management community.

Are you considering sitting the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam?

Don’t just assume because you have passed the PRINCE2 Foundation exam with flying colours that the Practitioner exam is a given.

The 2013 global pass rate for Practitioner exams was 79% as opposed to 97% for Foundation.

The significant difference between these pass rates reflect the level of difficulty of the Practitioner exam, and that by definition the Practitioner is an accreditation for PRINCE2 project managers of the highest calibre.

Consider attending the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam preparation course

5 tips for a successful PRINCE2 Practitioner exam

1. Tab your manual

The Practitioner exam is an open book examination – you can reference your tabbed, annotated and highlighted textbook but no other notes. Be conscious that you want to be referencing your manual NOT reading your manual during the exam. Eight questions (each with parts) in 2.5 hours means you cannot afford to waste valuable time on casually browsing for the answers in the text. Know where to go (hence the tabs) in the text if you need to check something.

Avoid being over-zealous with your tabs (avoid tabbing everything and anything so that you end up with a book tabbed at the top, side and bottom!). At a minimum know how to reference:

  • Appendix A – Management products
  • The 7 Themes
  • The 7 Processes
  • Appendix C – Roles

Getting to these sections quickly will enable you to manoeuvre around the text and check any finer points!

2. Complete the practice questions

Like all examinations, PRINCE2 requires the candidate to have a clear understanding of the topic and syllabus. The practice questions are there for exactly that – to help you practice applying PRINCE2 to a scenario. Practitioner requires you not only to know the base theory of PRINCE2 but how it can be applied and tailored in different circumstances. Watch out that you are applying PRINCE2 to a given case study – work out what is in the scope of the project or stage and what is not, otherwise you may answer incorrectly.

3. Manage your time during the exam

Be aware that your aim is to adequately complete all 8 questions, including all parts – a total of 80 line items in 2.5 hours. Consider applying the 15 minute ruling to a question; this allows you tolerance overall of 25 minutes – typically time needed to review the additional information or spend a few more moments on that tricky part C question! Those candidates who pass typically have attempted ALL questions – don’t just do your favourite topics.

4. Read the question, read the answers, answer the question

Watch out for absolute answers such as ALL, ALWAYS, NEVER, MUST and ONLY. PRINCE2 is a methodology that needs to be applied appropriately given the circumstances – avoid any absolute answers (unless it is a negative question), and select answers that can be interpreted as generally/typically. Remember the exam technique of process of elimination – you should be able to eliminate the “non-PRINCE2” answers and concentrate on looking for the best PRINCE2 answer(s) given the scenario.

5. Remember it is a PRINCE2 exam

Answer in accordance to PRINCE2 – not what your current workplace project management approach may recommend. Recognise that you may be currently practising project management outside of the exam room, but what you would normally do is not necessarily the PRINCE2 way. As such, remember for a REASON to be true in an assertion/reason question, it must be a PRINCE2 reason – not a common sense reason.

Give yourself the best chance at passing.

Seriously consider attending one of the PRINCE2 Practitioner courses. There is no better way to prepare, assuring that you’ve covered all of the necessary material – and understood it!

PRINCE2® is a registered trademark of AXELOS Limited.

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