How to pass PRINCE2 exams and obtain PRINCE2 certification
A complete short guide on how to pass PRINCE2 exams and obtain PRINCE2 certification in 2023
My name is Alexei Kuvshinnikov and I am a seasoned project manager and PRINCE2® trainer. I ´ve written this guide on how to pass PRINCE2 exams with a view to obtaining PRINCE2 certification on the basis of my own experience. It clearly describes the sequence of required steps, the shortcuts to take advantage of and the common traps to avoid.
My aim was to make it a short but complete one.
Putting it in a nutshell, getting the PRINCE2® certification involves passing two PRINCE2 exams – Foundation and Practitioner.
You can achieve it by taking
- The fast track
- The other track or
As the latter is clearly not my favourite, let’s deal with it first.
E-learning involves self-study. I´ve chosen it myself to obtain my Practitioner certification. And there is one thing I can tell you from own experience. It’s suited only for hard-willed people with an iron inner discipline.
Look at me – I had a pressing need for obtaining the certification. And I considered myself to be result-orientated and resonably well organised. But it still took me close to four months to pop out at the other end. Never underestimate the power of procrastination.
Taking the fast track, you can be through in about 10 days. Here is how it works.
Decide whether you opt for face-to-face or virtual instructor-led training. Here are some arguments for and against.
To find your training provider, first check the listings of accredited training organisations maintained by AXELOS and PeopleCert (classroom training; virtual training). It will liberate you from the time-consuming chore of separating wheat from chaff in Google rankings.
Make sure you you sign up for the course and receive the official guidance “Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2®” well ahead of its start . If you can give the guidance a first pass before joining the course, you are likely to achieve a better learning result.
How to prepare for PRINCE2 exams
A course programme should place big emphasis on reviewing the mock exams. This is how candidates can best learn and hone exam passing techniques.
Most delegates become Foundation exam-ready after some 20 hours of training. Every candidate will need to schedule the exam individually. Do not procrastinate. Reserve a slot not more than couple of days after you finish the Founation course. It’s unlikely that taking more time to study will grow your odds of passing the Foundation exam.
The next and last barrier on your way to PRINCE2 certification is the Practitioner exam.
To sail through, you´ll need to become a confident user of eliminative induction. AND study the official guidance carefully. AND have the Take² exam safety.
A quality training provider will send you the guidance ahead of the course to give you enough time to study it. It will teach you the use of eliminative induction. And it will include the Take² exam safety in your training package.
With Take², the worst that can happen is you´ll need to resit the exam at no additional cost. Having an exam safety effectively takes the sting out of the exam. In your mind, it becomes just another training opportunity, another mock. This comforting feeling reduces stress levels. And with your mind not clouded by stress, you will be able to think more clearly. And as a consequence, grow your chances of passing the exam on the first try.
Once again, candidates will need to schedule the exam individually. And once again, avoid procrastination. Reserve a slot within some five days after you finish the Practitioner training. Spend the time studying the guidance. After all, it has answers to all exam questions.
The fast track (including an occasional free resit) will work for a good majority of delegates. But not for everyone.
If you are not successful at the Practitioner exam, switch to the other track.
How to pass PRINCE2 exams – the other track
Book a Practitioner resit about two weeks down the line. It is important to set yourself a target date.
If you didn´t have an exam safety from the start, you´ll have to pay for the resit out of your own pocket. And yes, it will be expensive. But the PRINCE2 Practitioner certification is worth it anyway.
Focus your preparation on the study of the guidance. Now you need to really dig into it. Read and re-read it. Slowly. This is not the fast track anymore.
Study the guidance with gusto. Treat it like a detective novel. Maintain your concentration. Look for small clues.
If you are not successful on the second try, shrug it off and move on. As Sir Winston Churchill said once, “success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”. Now you’ll have to buy a new exam, which will be expensive, but the long-term benefit outweigh the short-term costs by far. Make sure to include the Take² safety. Focus your preparation on the guidance. Read it time and again until you’ve memorised as much of it as you could.
If you are not successful on your third try, do not despair. I´ve taught hundreds of candidates and there was none among them who needed more than four attempts.
Just go through the guidance a few more times. I find it a great read and anything but boring. Over the past years I´ve read it easily a hundred times. And on each new pass I still found an angle that was new to me.
PRINCE2 is not rocket science. But it can still take you to a higher orbit.