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Secrets to preparing and passing the PMI-RMP exam

LogoPMIRMPLilianaPerfilXSPassing the PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP®) credential exam was a great satisfaction to me, and an awesome opportunity to reinforce concepts and continue my project risk management learning, what is more, I managed to achieve maximum grade in some of the exam domains! Many followers asked me how did I prepare for my PMI-RMP exam, and what do I recommend to study and getting ready for it. So here I share about it. I hope you find it useful. You can leave your comments at the end of this blog.

Written by Liliana Buchtik, PMP, PMI-RMP, author of the Project Management Institute (PMI), and of several successful books and simulators on risk management and PMI-RMP. She has worked at PMI headquarters in the United States as a Project Manager, as well as for the PMI Certifications Department. She was also PMI Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean.

PMI-RMP: is it easy or difficult?

The exam wasn’t as easy as I expected, however, with proper preparation and the required experience you can pass it. A good course of project risk management and/or a PMI-RMP preparation course can also help you. Just make sure the course teacher is a PMI-RMP credential holder with real-world risk management experience. If you don’t have experience leading project risk management efforts it may be complicated for you given several questions are about real-world scenarios or situations where you have to think about what would be the best thing to do in each situation. In addition, as you will read later on, having risk management experience is a PMI requirement to apply for this exam.

PMI-RMP: How long does it take to prepare for it?

The time that you need to prepare for the exam depends on your starting point, meaning how much you know about the PMBOK® Guide  and your experience in risk management. You don’t need to be PMP or CAPM credential holder but if you are, you have an advantage given the PMI-RMP exam also includes some project management generic questions (this is because as a project risk manager you also need to know about how to work in projects in general). This means that you will see some questions about project risk management, stakeholders, procurement, communications, etc. Needless to say, the exam focus is on risk management.

I prepared the exam in one month but I am a PMP credential holder, I specialize in risk management, and I wrote the book Secrets to Mastering Risk Management in Real-World Projects, and besides that I have been a facilitator of PMI Mega Certification Events where PMP exam questions are developed; all of this gave me a great expertise in this field, but I know this is not the case of everybody, thus, I suggest that you dedicate yourself for two or three month to study risk management, and one month to focus on answering exam questions.

PMI-RMP: Which are the requirements to apply for it?

In order to apply to the PMI-RMP exam, you must be eligible. This means that you need to meet some certification requirements in regards to your education, project risk management experience, and project risk management education. Below I indicate which these requirements are. Click the tab corresponding to your education, if you have a bachelor’s degree (four-year degree or more) or a secondary degree (less than four years).

  1. A four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or the global equivalent)
  2. Experience of at least 3,000 hours of project risk management experience in the last 5 years
  3. 30 hours of project risk management education

Do you need to be PMP or CAPM to apply for the PMI-RMP?

You don’t need to be a PMP or CAPM credential holder to apply for the PMI-RMP exam. However, given the PMI-RMP exam has questions about project management in general, I recommend that if you are not a PMP/CAPM credential holder, study a PMP/CAPM preparation book to be ready for project management questions. If you are a PMP/CAPM credential holder, then review your PMP/CAPM preparation materials. Make sure that when you study or review those materials, they are aligned to the PMBOK Guide Fifth Edition, not to prior editions.

  1. A secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree, or the global equivalent)
  2. At least 4,500 hours of project risk management experience in the last 5 years
  3. 40 hours of project risk management education

PMI-RMP: What is the exam outline and where can I study it?

The PMI-RMP exam is comprised of 170 multiple-choice questions. Of those questions, 20 are considered pretest questions and do not affect the exam score, they are considered as a way to test future questions. The allotted time to complete the exam is 3.5 hours, and it tests your knowledge and experience on the following DOMAINS and areas:

  • DOMAIN 1: Risk strategy and planning
  • DOMAIN 2: Stakeholder engagement
  • DOMAIN 3: Risk process facilitation
  • DOMAIN 4: Risk monitoring and reporting
  • DOMAIN 5: Perform specialized risk analyses
  • Knowledge and skills in project management in general

I had read that at the exam, many people fail in questions regarding communications and/or soft skills, so when I prepared for my exam, I focused on reinforcing those topics. In my Secrets to Mastering Risk Management in Real-World Projects book I wrote two entire chapters dedicated to risk communications. Other sources of information to reinforce those topics are the chapters corresponding to Human Resources, Stakeholders, and Communications at the PMBOK Guide and in PMP/CAPM preparation books. The exam dynamic is similar to other PMI credential exams. It includes questions where you need memorization, scenario-based questions to test your experience and reasoning, questions with formulas or computations, as well as questions to test your knowledge of concepts and theory. I recommend that you memorize the inputs, outputs, and tools and techniques from risk management and communications management chapters of the PMBOK Guide. You will need to know a series of risk management formulas. All the rest can be studied and reasoned without the need to memorize. My Secrets to Passing the PMI-RMP book has all the formulas, tips, key terms list, etc. that you  need to know and/or memorize for the exam. Below I indicate where you can study each exam domain:

  • DOMAIN 1 Risk strategy and planning: Secrets to Mastering Risk Management in Real World Projects Chapter 2 + PMBOK Guide Chapter 11 + (*)
  • DOMAIN 2Stakeholder engagement: Secrets to Mastering Risk Management in Real World Projects Chapters 11 and 16 + PMBOK Guide Chapter 13 + (*)
  • DOMAIN 3Risk process facilitation: Secrets to Mastering Risk Management in Real World Projects Chapters 1 to 8 and 17 + PMBOK Guide Chapter 11 + (*)
  • DOMAIN 4Risk monitoring and reporting: Secrets to Mastering Risk Management in Real World Projects Chapters 7 and 15 + PMBOK Guide Chapter 11 + (*)
  • DOMAIN 5Perform specialized risk analyses: Secrets to Mastering Risk Management in Real World Projects Chapters 5 and 18 + PMBOK Guide Chapter 11 + (*)
  • KNOWLEDGE OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT IN GENERAL:  Secrets to Mastering Risk Management in Real World Projects Chapters 9 to 20 + PMBOK Guide Chapters 1 to 13
  • EXPERIENTIAL QUESTIONS: Secrets to Mastering Risk Management in Real World Projects Chapters 9 to 14 + (*)

(*) Exam questions at: Secrets to Passing the PMI-RMP book or PMI-RMP Online Simulator. NOTESecrets to Mastering Risk Management in Real World Projects must be in its SECOND or THIRD edition to be valid for this exam, FIRST edition is not applicable. PMBOK Guide applicable edition is the FIFTH edition only.


At the end of the online exam, you will know if you passed it or not. Based on your performance, you will be assigned one of the following three levels of proficiency for each domain:

  1. Proficient: your performance was above the average level of knowledge in this domain.
  2. Moderately proficient: your performance was at the average level of knowledge in this domain.
  3. Below proficient: your performance was below the average level of knowledge in this domain.

Do you need a PMI-RMP preparation course?

PMI requires a project risk management education of 30-hours (if you have a bachelor’s degree) or 40-hours (if you have a secondary degree). You can meet this requirement either with a project risk management course and/or with a PMI-RMP preparation course. For example, if you have a bachelor’s degree and you have two project risk management courses that in total add to 30 hours, then you meet the requirement and you don’t need to attend a PMI-RMP preparation course. PMI doesn’t require that you attend a PMI-RMP prep course, it requires that you attend a course in the specialty area of project risk management. Thus, a PMI-RMP prep course is valid to meet this requirement but it isn’t the only way to meet it. You can also have risk management training via several courses and thus you sum up all of their durations. For example, you have a bachelor’s degree and a certificate from my 16-hour Secrets to Mastering Risk Management in Real-World Projects workshop + a certificate from my 8-hour Secrets to Passing the PMI-RMP workshop + 6 hours of a risk management course at your university. This adds to 30 hours of risk management education and is valid to meet this requirement. It is NOT a PMI requirement that the courses that you attend are from R.E.P.s (Registered Education Provider of PMI). They must be delivered by a PMI-RMP credential holder teacher but they don’t need to be from a training company that is R.E.P. Feel free to contact me if you desire to organize a PMI-RMP prep course in your company anywhere in the world in English or Spanish, either face-to-face or virtually. You can also consult my calendar to see if I have scheduled training close to your location. My two training offerings regarding this preparation are Secrets to Mastering Risk Management in Real-World Projects workshop, and Secrets to Passing the PMI-RMP workshop.

PMI-RMP: how do you study to pass on your first try?

Diploma obtenido PMI-RMPBelow I share how I studied and what I believe led me to pass with proficiency levels in most domains. I also recommend the study materials (some of those I developed them when I was preparing for my exam). My PMI-RMP certification prep pack is described below and if you have this pack plus the PMBOK Guide, you DO NOT NEED ANYTHING ELSE to be successful in your exam.

Click each of the three tabs below to read about each material:

1) Secrets to Mastering Risk Management in Real-World Projects - 3rd Ed. book

libroriesgoespSecrets to Mastering Risk Management in Real-World Projects–3rd Ed. book: I recommend it as MANDATORY in your prep pack given it is the only book in the market that has all the risk management topics specified by PMI in its latest exam content outline. All the exam questions I had belonged to topics covered in this book. There is no other risk management book in the market that in only one textbook contains all these topics. However, this is not a questions and answers book, this is the book you need to learn about risk management and to apply it in practice. It is not a recipes book like “memorize this” or “do that” but it gets deeper into risk management and shows real-world examples, and this is where the book made the difference in passing with the highest levels of proficiency because that helps you understand deeply each concept so questions seem easier to you given you will be able to reason them and to pass more experiential questions, as the book shares real cases and experiences.In addition, this book covers tools that are asked in the exam but they aren’t covered neither in the PMBOK Guide nor in the PMI risk management standard. Standards only define things but don’t explain them and PMI-RMP prep books covered some of those tools but not all of them, and covered them superficially. To pass an exam you really need to know the topics, superficial treatment is not enough to increase your success chances. So this book not only describes in detail what you need to know about each tool, but also provides examples of them, with their advantages and disadvantages. This book also includes how to use some tools using software, this will help you answer more questions. At the exam you’ll see questions asking which risk response strategy was used, and this book will help you a lot with that given it has the most comprehensive coverage of positive risks and their responses. All risk management formulas that you need to know are in it.

The book is available in print in Spanish and English. Kindle edition was discontinued. The only place where you can purchase this book is in this website. We ship to all countries.

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2) PMBOK Guide - 5th Ed. book

PMBOKGuidesmlThe PMBOK Guide Fifth Edition is PMI’s project management standard aligned to the latest edition of the PMI-RMP exam. It is MANDATORY in your prep pack. If you hold a PMI credential, you are already familiar with it. If you don’t, you need to study it at least once, given the PMI-RMP exam has questions about any of the knowledge areas contained in it. To avoid reading it in its entirety and given I am PMP certified, I just reviewed my PMP exam prep notes to refresh key concepts from all project management knowledge areas.

Despite being or not a PMP/CAPM, I advise you to read once the chapters of risk, communications, and stakeholder management. In addition, memorize the chart listing ALL inputs, outputs, and tools and techniques from these three areas of knowledge. Procurement is also an important chapter in the context of risk management.

Be aware that PMI-RMP exam questions go beyond the PMBOK Guide content, this is why I also recommend my risk management book, because it is not enough to study only the PMBOK Guide to prepare for your exam.

Many people fail in the exam because they only focus on risk management topics and don’t study other project areas. You must refresh your knowledge on all project management areas. E.g. I had questions about WBS, types of contracts, earned value management, etc. These questions test if despite knowing about risk management, you also know about project management.

This standard is not sold by Liliana Buchtik. Visit PMI.org Store to purchase it. If you are a PMI member you have free access to its digital version.

3) Secrets to Passing the PMI-RMP book or PMI-RMP Online Simulator

After you are familiar with all the theory needed, you just need to practice with exam questions. To do that you have two options, either you buy a book with exam questions, or you buy an exam simulator. One of these two elements is MANDATORY to test yourself and to pass successfully your exam.


PMIRMPcoverENGmedSecrets to Passing the PMI-RMP book has 300 exam questions and answers with explanations as needed and bibliographical references. It has tips, the description of each exam domain, the list of terms that you need to know, formulas requested, and the indication of what you need to memorize. There are no other PMI-RMP books in the market with as many questions as this one. 300 questions is more than enough, you don’t need to look for more questions than these ones. This book is like having a simulator in a book. It is available in paperback format and only sold in this site. It is an inexpensive option to practice questions without using a simulator. It is also great for those who like to mark and take notes while practicing questions, and those who want to study when they are offline, or when they are tired of being in a computer with a simulator.

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My PMI-RMP Online Simulator has 400 exam questions and answers and is chosen by those who like to simulate the online exam with questions and answers that replicate the real computer based exam scenario, and they also like to answer questions under the time pressure. It indicates the time left to end the exam. At the end of your simulation you’ll your exam results and will be able to review your wrong answers.

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WARNING: there are outdated PMI-RMP books and simulators in the market. Their questions are old (were published some years ago) or follow the prior exam structure and content. DO NOT run the risk of preparing yourself using old questions! All questions in this book and simulator are up-to-date with the current format and content of the PMI-RMP exam.

Do you need a PMI-RMP simulator?

Despite knowing all the theory or having attended a risk management course, you’ll need to practice with many up-to-date exam questions. So you either need a book or a simulator with exam questions. Questions are the same either in print or in an online software. The difference lays in the investment. It is cheaper to buy a book than it is to buy a simulator. However, the simulator in addition offers you a replica of the computer based exam scenario and allows you to practice under time pressure. It also give you the percentage of right and wrong questions, etc. If you will take a paper base exam you may practice with a book, but if you will take a computer base exam, then you may practice with a simulator. The other difference between study from a book or a simulator is that when you purchase a paperback book, you need to wait for the shipping time. When you buy a simulator you can access the questions faster as it only takes up to 48 hours at a maximum to receive access to your online simulator. My PMI-RMP simulator has more questions than my PMI-RMP book has.

For offer options to prepare your exam for both, those who like to study with books and those who prefer simulators. You can check out my Secrets to Passing the PMI-RMP book, and my PMI-RMP Online Simulator. The quality of questions is the same in either product. It is up to your budget and your urgency to start practicing.

Do you need to study PMI's Practice Standard for Risk Management?

The Practice Standard for Risk Management is PMI’s standard for project risk management. You don’t need to read it for the exam if you use my PMI-RMP prep pack because it is in an initial (first) edition and only addresses tools rather superficially. E.g. analytic hierarchy process tool is mentioned at a high-level but not explained, so if you are not familiar with it, you’ll need to look for more information elsewhere. Furthermore, the PMI-RMP exam has questions about tools that are not mentioned in this standard. What is more, there is content in this standard that isn’t in sync with the PMBOK Guide. So don’t worry about reading this standard, all the content that you need for the exam is in my Secrets to Mastering Risk Management in Real-World Projects book. If for other reasons you want to check it out, this standard is accessible for free to PMI members in its digital edition.

I hope you have now a better idea of the PMI-RMP and hope my Secrets to Mastering Risk Management in Real-World Projects book, Secrets to Passing the PMI-RMP book, and/or my PMI-RMP Online Simulator make a positive impact in your exam preparation so you can pass it on your first try! I wish you all success in your exam and contact me if you need training.

6 comments

  • Dear Madam,

    Your inputs are of really great importance and valuable. It has made clear to me that which way I have to adopt to get RMP. Congratulation and Thanks for your guidance.
    I am certified PMP and have about 22 years of experience in civil engineering construction projects. I passed my PMP in 2014 and now I have decided to take RMP as well.
    May I have answer of one question from you? Am I eligible to give training to new candidates for PMP as I am not a R.E.Ps? I need to share my experience and knowledge to youth.

    • Hello Qurban, PMP prep training can be delivered by any company and individual as long as the person delivering the training is a PMP credential holder, a company doesn´t need to be an R.E.P. to be able to offer PMP prep training. Regards.

  • Dear Liliana,

    Greetings !
    I found your web page very nice. Great site! Congratulations!!!
    Actually I’m trying to purchase “Secrets to Passing the PMI-RMP” in English Language but when I clicked “Add to Cart” it gives error “Page not Found”. Can you please guide me???

    Thanks,
    Asim

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