How to prepare for the APM PMQ exam – part 1

By Ben Snell 

Hi, in the third edition of my blog I’ll be covering the APM PMQ exam; how to prepare for the exam, some study tips (my area of expertise being a former teacher) and what the exam looks like.

After I decided to study the APM PMQ, my next task was to look for a training provider. I shopped around for quite a while but came across CUPE on a job recruitment website. I settled on CUPE for a few reasons; they gave excellent value for money as they offered unlimited tutor support while other providers in the same price bracket offered limited or no tutor support. Although I knew I was signing up for a self-taught course, I had hoped to have someone experienced that I could contact if I had questions or needed exam practice (more on this later). After I had looked on CUPE’s website I was really impressed with the layout and the structure of the course, so I decided to bite the bullet and enrol on the course.

I distinctly remember the first time I looked over the course and thought “there is no way I’m going to pass this exam”. As a beginner, it just seemed overwhelming and too dense for me to ever learn by myself. This was at the beginning of the UK’s first lockdown in May 2020, so I pressed on with learning for lack of a better alternative. I read through the modules, made notes and tried to answer the exam style questions at the end of each topic but even after a few weeks I still felt like none of the info was going in.

At this point I emailed my tutor to say I was really struggling and didn’t feel like I would ever feel confident enough to sit the exam. I received a response that told me not to lose heart because I didn’t feel like I was progressing and that the best way to improve was to “practice, practice, practice”. It may sound obvious but there really is no substitute for putting in the hours necessary to learn the material. After all, practice might not make perfect but it certainly makes permanent.

The best piece of support I received was being sent some past papers to harvest questions from and the offer to have my answers marked by my tutor. This really formed the basis of my revision after I had completed all of the topics as I slowly but surely built up my knowledge by working through all of the exam questions I could get my hands on. I would first choose two or three questions at a time and answer them with exam timing but using my notes for help until I had built a good idea of how I would answer most questions I would be likely to encounter in the exam.

In the next blog I will continue my studying journey to prepare for the APM PMQ exam.