Brilliant! You’ve made the decision to study and achieve a qualification in PRINCE®. There are many reasons why you might want to take a qualification – and that’s a subject for another blog article (let me know if you’d like to see that one!). But having made the decision, here are five top tips for you:
If you want Practitioner – do Practitioner
There are two qualifications in PRINCE®. Foundation allows you to demonstrate that you understand the structures and the framework that you get in PRINCE®, you need that qualification before you can do the further Practitioner qualification. The Practitioner qualification demonstrates that you can interpret a project scenario and advise what PRINCE® says in that scenario; it builds on the knowledge that you get on Foundation to application.
You can do them as separate qualifications (Foundation first and then return to do Practitioner); this is appealing to people who perceive themselves to need time to consolidate learning. However, my advice would be to run straight through – get the Foundation first and then study for and take the Practitioner, without a gap. The Foundation knowledge really helps with Practitioner and it is best to do Practitioner while the knowledge is fresh; too big a gap gives the chance of forgetting what you have learnt.
Take a course
I know what you are thinking, “Brian’s a professional trainer – of course he would say that”, and you would expect me to believe in what I do. But it is more than that. Books are fabulous tools, I’m a big fan, but they only take a subject so far; particularly when the main book is a reference book. To bring a subject to life requires someone who understands the subject and is experienced in taking people through the material – in short, a trainer.
I’ve had people on courses I have run who have tried to self-study and found that they struggled to understand it. I know a course lead by a live trainer is invaluable.
Now some people will then select their course on price. Their logic is “a PRINCE® course is a commodity”. If you were buying a particular book or a particular brand of coffee, then maybe. But there are many factors that go into a successful course. How many delegates, what are you provided, how good is the instructor, etc. My advice would be to talk to your colleagues and mates, find someone who has done PRINCE® recently and ask them what they thought. Get a recommendation. OR – just trust me and book me through Quanta ;)
Sign up to any professional training course and you are sent pre-reading before the course. You don’t have to read this – in my classes I start from zero. However, people who do the required level of pre-reading do have an advantage. People often don’t take information on board until they have heard or read it several times. The more times you see or hear something, the more chance it has of sticking – that’s obvious, right? That’s because people often don’t take information on board until they have heard or read it several times (sorry!)
Ultimately, this is why engaging with the pre-reading is so valuable.
Ok, so you have done your research, booked on a course, and then spent a good chunk of time doing the pre-reading. Before you go on the course, approach it as a vacation from work. Put an out of office on and handover any commitments. And if you can’t do that, consider strongly postponing the course.
A delegate on one of my courses had a go-live a couple of days before the exam day. The go-live itself went well, but the next day there was a major failure. This individual was in and out of the course trying to get the project back on track. Needless to say, the individual failed; but they also distracted the other delegates in the course.
I don’t know if that individual could have passed the responsibility over to another person or had the option to move the course dates – but either would have been preferable.
Focus on the course is my suggestion.
That focus should extend to the evenings. Most trainers will provide homework for you to do over the evenings while you are on the course. This is an important part of the course, and I’d encourage you to engage with it fully. When I set homework, it is with the group in mind – and more than once I’ve changed what I’ve asked a group to do, so to better align the tasks to where the group is.
There are no trick questions
When you are practicing or going through the exam questions, remember that there are no “trick” questions. Delegates tend to think there are, however the questions are there to test your understanding of the material. Where people think it’s a trick question is usually because they didn’t understand one aspect of the material. What that means is that a trick question is an opportunity to learn, and why most courses involve going through and engaging with sample exam papers.
There you have it. My five tips to help you with your PRINCE® studying. I trust they are of some help to you. If you have any questions, ping me in the comments below – or message me directly.
PRINCE® is a (registered) Trade Mark of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.