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Tips and Tricks for Passing the Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)® Exam

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Tips and Tricks for Passing the Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)® Exam

January 15, 2014
Photo of a student studying for the PMI-RMP exam.

The Project Management Institute Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)® certification is geared toward project risk managers. Attaining this certification shows that you can describe and apply the principles and tools of risk management. You will need to study Chapter 11 of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), and other sources to prepare for the exam.

For more on risk management, as well as other critical areas of project management, please visit our customized training page.

Following are five tips to help you study for and pass the PMI-RMP® exam:

1. Know the five domains of risk management.

The PMI-RMP has 170 questions; 150 are scored and the others are pretest questions. The exam is split among PMI’s Five Domains of Risk Management, which are:

  • Risk Strategy and Planning: 19-20 percent. Concerns tasks and processes for selecting and developing risk management procedures and tools, producing the risk management plan, and setting procedures for evaluating risks and updating the risk management plan. Be familiar with the parts of the risk management plan, especially its inputs.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: 19-20 percent. Activities related to getting stakeholders and project team members on board with risk management. These tasks are important to develop a team-wide, and even organization-wide, commitment to risk management. Be familiar with risk communication procedures, enterprise environmental factors and organizational process assets, and risk tolerance evaluation.
  • Risk Process Facilitation: 25-28 percent. Activities related to executing the risk management strategy. Be familiar with qualitative and quantitative risk analysis tools and techniques, estimating probability and impact, and developing contingency reserves.
  • Risk Monitoring and Reporting: 19-20 percent. Activities related to evaluating risk response against data gathered, updating stakeholders and the project team on risks, and continuously improving risk management. Be familiar with data gathering and management techniques and communications management.
  • Perform Specialized Risk Analyses: 14-16 percent. Activities related to advanced risk identification, analysis, and tools and techniques. Be familiar with statistics, especially concerning interpreting quantitative and qualitative data, and with building representative risk models.

2. Be familiar with both quantitative and qualitative risk techniques.

Quantitative risk techniques to study include sensitivity analysis, expected monetary value (EMV), and Monte Carlo simulation. integrated cost/schedule, multi-factor regression analysis, and bowtie analysis. Qualitative risk techniques include probability-impact analysis and scenario planning. Don’t forget to perform analysis for both threats and opportunities. Responding to threats can decrease the chance of project failure, but being able to respond to opportunities can help increase the project’s value.

3. Start with the PMBOK® Guide but be prepared to move beyond it.

Chapter 11 of the PMBOK® Guide deals with Project Risk Management and is an excellent resource for each of the items that is on the exam. It will not be enough just to read Chapter 11, though; you will need to understand and be very familiar with each of the processes and its inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. Additional chapters from the PMBOK® Guide that will be helpful in your study include Stakeholder Management (Chapter 13), Communication Management (Chapter 9) Human Resource Management (Chapter 10) Quality Management (Chapter 8) and Procurement Management (Chapter 12).

Likewise, be prepared to read additional sources to supplement the PMBOK® Guide. Other supplemental texts include:

  • Practice Standard for Project Risk Management (PMI) which goes further into risk management processes.
  • Study Guide for the PMI Risk Management Professional (RMP)® Exam, Second Edition by Abdulla J. Alkuwaiti (Amazon)
  • Risk Management Tricks of the Trade for Project Managers plus PMI-RMP Exam Prep Guide by Rita Mulcahy (Amazon)
  • PMI-RMP Exam Prep Success Series: Flashcards by Tony Johnson (Amazon)

4. Be familiar with stakeholder analysis as it relates to risk management

This includes developing a sense of each stakeholder’s risk attitude. Remember that a risk attitude is composed of three parts:

  • Risk attitude, or how much risk one is willing to take to get a certain reward
  • Risk tolerance, or how much risk one is willing to withstand
  • Risk threshold, or the point above which further risk is unacceptable.

Knowing how each stakeholder approaches risk, along with studying historical information to gauge the organization’s risk approach, are both key inputs to establishing an appropriate risk threshold for the project.

5. Be familiar with communication procedures related to risk management

The key points to remember here are to consider both communication to involve stakeholders in defining the risk management strategy and communications to update stakeholders on risks. Both are important. Stakeholders who help define project risks are likely to be more engaged on the project and will be more eager to hear updates. Make sure that stakeholders and the project team receive regular updates in consistent format on how project risks are progressing.

6. Apply the test-taking approach of taking the exam in rounds.

Like many other certification exams, it can be useful to approach the PMI-RMP® exam in several rounds. First, identify and answer the questions with which you are most confident and mark the rest for review. Second, take about a minute or two per question to analyze each remaining question and answer the ones you can after this time. Then, mark the remaining questions for review again for a third round in which you approach them in-depth, taking between three to five minutes per question. If any are left after this process, take a guess based on your instinct. The purpose of this approach is to identify the questions that need more of your time before being answered. It is important that you do not leave any questions unanswered because a blank response is 100 percent likely to be wrong and you are not further penalized for wrong answers.

For more tips on passing PMI certification exams, as well as general study and test-taking tips, refer to our previous blogs in this series, such as 11 Tips and Tricks for Passing the PMP® Exam and Tips and Tricks for Passing the PMI-ACP® Exam. Or one of our later blogs in this series, 7 Tips for Passing the CAPM® Exam.

RefineM’s project management consulting services are built around the greatest needs of organizations. With our services you can take your organization’s project management processes to the highest level of maturity where almost every project is delivered in a predictable manner with no surprises. We offer outsourced PMO, project management planning, project recovery, earned value management, risk management, and many more consulting services.

PMP, CAPM, PMI-ACP, PMI-RMP, and PMBOK are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
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