How Hard is the PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam?
It could be argued that the amount of contextual material presented in the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam poses a challenge to candidates – particularly those who struggle with spelling and grammar or for whom English is not their first language.
When advising students on Knowledge Train’s PRINCE2 courses about approaches to mock exam questions, I am sometimes reminded of the English comprehension exercises of my schooldays! Despite the volume of material, it should be remembered that the two-and-a-half hours allotted for completion of the exam paper does not include a period of reading time. Whereas it may be tempting to consider the Scenario Booklet (containing the case study on which questions are based) at length, carefully highlighting key words and phrases, candidates must not allow themselves to be sidetracked: a neatly annotated case study is not a substitute for a completed answer sheet.
On average, 73% of students will pass their PRINCE2 Practitioner exam. This is the national average pass rates for all students across the UK. During 2012 however, students studying on Knowledge Train’s 5 day PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner course, achieved a pass rate of 85%. What better reason therefore is there to study with Knowledge Train?
Should candidates be concerned about their language skills?
Mindful of the demands that the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam can make upon candidates’ language skills, the trainers at Knowledge Train make every effort to ensure that everyone feels well prepared to sit the paper, and we are proud of our students’ achievements. Many people hoping to become Registered PRINCE2 Practitioners may be reassured to realise that, since essay-based questions were replaced by the multiple-choice format in 2007, the exam no longer requires candidates to write at length. It should also be remembered that the exam board permits candidates who are not native-speakers of the language in which their exam is written to use a bilingual dictionary. Having a dictionary at hand should help our international students to remove any ambiguity associated with the meaning of questions or terminology.
Good preparation is key when preparing for the PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam
Preparation is the key to doing well in your PRINCE2 exams. At Knowledge Train our exclusive pre-course reading material has been carefully written to introduce you to the key concepts of PRINCE2 before you even set foot in our classroom. This is available online, via our e-Learning platform and you are given access to this as soon as you have registered for a course.
Written in easy-to-understand language, and divided into short sections, our PRINCE2 preparation introduces the method’s essential ideas and terminology. By completing this preparatory reading, students can grasp some of the fundamental aspects of PRINCE2, before their classroom-based training begins; this approach should be particularly helpful for anyone who has not been exposed to PRINCE2 (or project management in general) before.
Given that Knowledge Train delivers PRINCE2 training in the heart of London – a wonderfully diverse city – our students, like our employees, are drawn from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. Furthermore, a significant proportion of the individuals attending our PRINCE2 training courses are non-native English speakers. With these factors in mind, the trainers at Knowledge Train ensure that the interpretation of sample paper questions forms an important part of our training programme. If some of the exam questions are rather wordy, working out the best way to negotiate them can prove invaluable, boosting students’ confidence in relation to the exam itself. We keep our class sizes small, helping to ensure that each person who attends has sufficient opportunity to interact with both the trainer and fellow students. Approachable and friendly, Knowledge Train’s trainers are happy to help and enjoy developing a rapport with students.
How can students maximise their chance of success in the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam?
Careful preparation and good exam technique are both key to passing the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam; approaching the paper with a strategy in mind will help to ensure that vital minutes are not wasted. By the time students have completed their PRINCE2 Practitioner training at Knowledge Train, they will have worked through two sample exam papers in detail, with the opportunity to ask questions and receive advice about any tricky subjects. Comparing the number of marks you receive for each of the eight topics covered in the sample papers should give you a good idea of your strongest areas of understanding in relation to PRINCE2, as well as those requiring improvement. In my experience, students from a corporate background often find that they excel at questions focusing on the Business Case or Organisation topics, for example, while those possessing technical skills may prefer the analysis of Change or Quality. Once you have identified the topics that you find most – and least – challenging, you can formulate an approach to the exam.
One strategy is to tackle the questions based on the three topics you find easiest at the beginning of the exam. If you can work quickly through these, you will boost your confidence and perhaps leave yourself with slightly more time to answer the kind of questions you find more difficult. Consider your three least favourite topics last, rather than risk agonising over questions you find challenging at the expense of gaining easier marks on your stronger topics.
Another, perhaps better approach is developed from the observation that each section of the PRINCE2 exam has a particular style of questioning – some of the questions tend to be accompanied by rather more text than others. By answering the questions that require relatively little reading first, you may be able to gain a number of marks in a relatively short period of time, especially if these questions relate to the topics about which you feel most confident. The time remaining can then be spent unpicking the wordier questions.
Have you taken the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam and if so, what strategies worked for you? Did you feel that your language skills affected your performance and if so, how did you overcome this?
We'd love to hear about your experience. Please leave your comments and suggestions below to help direct future candidates!