In a previous blog post, we discussed the basic strategies for passing the PRINCE2 Foundation Level Exam. This exam was relatively straightforward in terms of question format and level of complexity, the same cannot be said of the Practitioner Exam. The PRINCE2 Practitioner Level Exam will have you on your toes from the time you start the exam, until the end of the exam. It consists of 80 questions, with a 2.5 hour time limit, and is an open book exam. There are many differences between the Foundation and Practitioner Level Exam, the first of which is the structuring of questions. The Foundation Exam consisted of straight multiple choice questions, most of which were gauging a basic understanding of the methodology. The Practitioner Level Exam consisted of five question types, two of which can be extremely difficult to answer, these include: Choosing Two Correct Answers from Five Choices, and Assertion & Reason questions.
The structure of the exam, level of complexity, and question types also differ. The PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam is based on a Project Case Study, which provides the foundation for which all 80 questions revolve around. All questions are situational, and require the candidate to demonstrate an intimate knowledge of the PRINCE2 method, this makes the exam much more difficult in my opinion. At no point during my mock exams, or even during my real exam was I comfortable with achieving a passing score. It’s not for a lack of studying or being prepared, to me it was because of the nature of this exam. The PRINCE2 Practitioner Level Exam is open book, which counts for little in terms of passing. From my experience, it can be a hindrance, as there is an enormous amount of temptation to start looking for answers in the official manual. This usually ends up wasting a lot of precious time to find an answer which may or may not be readily apparent when reviewing the manual. To me, the key to passing this exam is based on an ingrained knowledge of PRINCE2 and how it applies to every question.
In addition to knowing the methodology cold, time management is probably the most important skill to apply in successfully passing this exam. There is a lot of reading required on the test, and every question and answer must be read carefully. This is especially true on the most difficult questions and ones with complex question structures. There will likely be some questions where you will have to simply guess and hope you get it right. On these questions, attempting to identify obviously wrong answers is the best approach. However, this technique isn’t foolproof, as it can be extremely difficult identifying incorrect responses. For the most difficult questions, it’s best to answer using your gut feeling, and mark the question for later review. Once you have completed the exam on your first pass, you should have about 30 minutes left to make a second pass. This is the best time to utilize the official PRINCE2 Manual. Personally, I made use of Appendix A, the glossary, and index to find relevant information. If you were lucky, you could indirectly find answers to questions which you have marked for review. As far as level of difficulty, I would rate this exam as being slightly more difficult than the PMP exam, mainly because of the complex question structures and application of knowledge required on all 80 questions. I remember my PMP exam being more exhausting due to the length, but slightly less challenging. In the next two blog posts, I will tackle the two most difficult question types: Assertion & Reason, and Choosing Two Correct Answers from Five Choices. There are a few good strategies which can be employed to answer these question types.