This article is the third instalment in our guide to passing the PRINCE2 Foundation exam. The guide is ideal for both individuals studying our PRINCE2 eLearning courses and anyone else who is interested in the PRINCE2 project management method and its associated qualifications.
Our experience of providing PRINCE2 training strengthens our belief that a robust approach to tackling the Foundation questions plays a major role in exam success. We have therefore written the following article to offer you advice about approaching the exam questions and improving your exam performance.
How to answer the exam questions
Completing the sample PRINCE2 Foundation exams several times will give you the opportunity to refine your technique, as well as help you to predict how well you are likely to perform during the real exam.
Because we all think and learn in different ways, it would be impossible to develop a ‘one-size-fits-all’ technique for answering the exam questions. Nevertheless, there are some tried-and-tested approaches to dealing with them, as described below, which can considerably improve Foundation candidates’ exam technique.
1. When faced with 75 multiple-choice questions, the temptation is to tackle them in the order they appear in the question booklet. What happens, though, if the first question you see is particularly difficult to answer? Or the second? You risk damaging your confidence levels – and perhaps even missing out on easy marks – if you answer the questions in numerical order.
Unless you are particularly confident about your PRINCE2 knowledge, perhaps try the ‘predator/prey’ approach to answering Foundation exam questions instead. Just like a predator attacking the weakest members of its prey first, you could answer the questions you find easiest first of all, regardless of where they appear in the question booklet. By answering those questions straight away, you give yourself the best chance of obtaining the easy marks. If you run out of time in the exam and leave easy questions unanswered, you are less likely to achieve the pass mark.
If answering the questions in a different order to that in which they appear in the question booklet, an important point to bear in mind is that you need to make sure that each answer you fill in on the answer sheet corresponds to the correct question number. If you answer question 15 before question 14, for example, don’t put your answer in the wrong place by mistake on the answer sheet.
2. When answering the exam questions you find difficult, don’t panic! Sometimes you can find the correct answer by first eliminating possible answers that you know are incorrect. If you see a question you truly don’t know how to answer, instead of wasting precious time, make a guess and move on! If inspiration strikes later in the exam, you can always go back and change your answer. Don’t fall into the trap of getting stuck on one particular question, and then finding you haven’t got enough time left for the others.
3. You should aim to fill in the answer sheet as you go, rather than noting down your answers in the question booklet and waiting until towards the end of the exam to transfer them to the answer sheet. If you leave the task of filling in the answer sheet until the last minute, the danger is that you will not have recorded all of your answers on it by the time the exam ends. No extra time is granted for filling in answers; only the answers you have recorded on the answer sheet will be marked.
4. Good time management is crucial to exam success. You need to answer 75 questions within an hour, which means spending only 48 seconds on each question. When answering sample exam questions in preparation for the real exam, you should try and work to this time-frame. Establishing a rhythm when completing the sample exams should improve your ability to answer the real exam questions in the allotted time.
5. Perhaps the best exam tip of all: trust your instincts! We recommend that you try to avoid changing an answer, because your initial response is often the correct one.
Preparing effectively for the exam
Learning all about PRINCE2 by studying a PRINCE2 CBT course can be a highly effective way of preparing for the Foundation exam.
See the next article in the series: ‘Passing the PRINCE2 Foundation exam – Part 4’, which covers important practical considerations about the exam.