Effective PRINCE2 Exam Preparation and Techniques

Juan van Niekerk
Updated on

Guest Blog by Juan van Niekerk at ITonlinelearning

Once you have enrolled for your PRINCE2, whether it is the PRINCE2 Foundation course or Practitioner level course, you will need to buckle down and really get to grips with the material before booking your PRINCE2 exams. Like most exams, this can be stressful and may seem daunting, but with the right preparation and techniques, you will be able to prepare for and sit your PRINCE2 exams with confidence.

Gain a firm understanding

Keep in mind that you will not be able to rely on memory alone. Examiners will expect you to not only understand, but also explain the themes, processes, principles and other PRINCE2 management techniques relating to certain scenarios. Therefore, it is very important to ensure that you understand the inner workings of the PRINCE2 method, such as tailoring projects with differing criterion and the interaction between PRINCE2 management products.

Your PRINCE2 manual

The PRINCE2 manual, Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2, should be well studied and revised during your studies and in preparation for the PRINCE2 exams. Remember that the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam is open-book and you will be able to consult it while sitting the exam.

Preparation of the manual

You will be permitted to highlight important text in the manual in preparation for the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam, but extra pieces of paper, such as post-it notes etc. will not be allowed. You can also add tabs to the manual with colour-coding to designate certain sections that you deem to be helpful, such as the PRINCE2 themes, principles and processes.

Be sure not to add any text to the tabs though. This can save valuable minutes that would otherwise be spent searching for information that could easily be found using this technique.

Don’t skip the glossary and appendices

Since PRINCE2 uses a common language to ensure that miscommunication is avoided, it is a good idea to study the glossary and become comfortable with the terminology that is used throughout the manual. This will not only serve you well during the course and PRINCE2 exams, but during your career as a PRINCE2 Project Manager.

The same applies to the appendices. They will direct you to the information that you are looking for and can save valuable time during the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam. Once you are comfortable with your PRINCE2 manual, you will stand a much better chance at passing your PRINCE2 exams with confidence.


This is of the utmost importance during your studies. Set aside dedicated time for study each day, or on the days that you are able to study and make sure that you stick to that schedule. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you have more time available than there actually is. Set goals to finish studying certain sections of the material by a certain time. If you don’t feel comfortable that you have a complete understanding of a certain section, set aside more time for revision.

Extra reading

Doing research on PRINCE2 material before commencing your studies will give you an added advantage when your studies start in earnest. You will be able to highlight problem areas that can be addressed in the manual or by your tutor before encountering them during the course, saving you time that is better spent on other areas of study. This will also give you the chance to make notes and summarise early, making revision a little easier and faster.

PRINCE2 exam preparation

  • Make use of case studies. This will increase your confidence when you have a thorough understanding of the material they contain and can help identify areas that need to be improved on. It will also help prepare you for situation-based questions.
  • Sit mock PRINCE2 exams. This is a great preparation tool. Not only will you become comfortable with the format of the questions, but it will give you an accurate gauge of whether or not you are fully prepared to sit and pass the actual exam. Grade yourself accurately during mock PRINCE2 exams to identify answers that were incorrect and revise the material that it pertains to.
  • Stay focussed on the PRINCE2 methodology. Stay away from other methods until you have passed your PRINCE2 exam as they will not feature during your exam.
  • Make sure that, when you have answered a question correctly, you understand the reasoning behind the answer. This will especially help during the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam. Ask yourself why this is the answer to the question and run through the entire process that leads to the correct answer.
  • Focus strongly on the PRINCE2 Principles, Themes and Processes. The PRINCE2 methodology relies heavily on those and the PRINCE2 Foundation exam will test your knowledge on these.
  • Don’t neglect the PRINCE2 documentation. Be sure that you can identify who is responsible for which document, when it needs to be updated and what the purpose of that document is.

PRINCE2 exam techniques

It is important to stay focussed on the task at hand and keep a cool head during your exam. Rely on the training that you have done and remember that you worked hard to be prepared to sit the PRINCE2 exam.

  • Be sure that you have the correct equipment with you before starting the PRINCE2 exam, such as pencils and erasers.
  • Read through the examination paper first to get a feel for the tone and type of questions that it contains.
  • If you are confused by the structure of a question, take a breath and read it again slowly or highlight keywords to gain a better understanding of what is being asked.
  • If you know the answer to a question, answer it and move on. Don’t worry that it seems too easy a question. There are certain areas that you will be more comfortable with than others.
  • If you get stuck on a question, move on to the next one and come back to the one you have not answered later. The time that you spent overthinking on one question can be spent answering ones that you can answer easily.
  • Answer every question. Even if you are uncertain after returning to a hard question, give an answer. You will have no chance of gaining a mark if you leave a question blank. Remember that your first instinct is very often the right one.
  • When you have answered all questions, read through the paper one more time to ensure that you are comfortable with the answers that you have given.
  • Don’t forget that, if English is not your first language, you may ask to have extra time allocated in order to finish your PRINCE2 exam. Just be sure to specify this before the exam commences.

Preparing for your PRINCE2 exams using the information given above will give you a fighting chance when the time comes to prove that you have the knowledge needed to gain your certification. Always rely on the work that you have done to get this far and remember that you are only one small step away from earning an internationally recognised certification from a global leader in project management – PRINCE2.

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