If you’re preparing for the APM Project Professional Qualification (PPQ) 2nd edition assessment, this blog post aims to offer a streamlined guide that includes essential tips, insights, and a simplified process for analysing the case studies. This guide should be read alongside the Professional Qualification 2nd edition Candidate notes available from the APM.
Important Note: Closed-Book Assessment
The APM PPQ assessment is a closed-book exam. While you may bring lightly annotated copies of the case studies, you won’t have access to external materials. Therefore, your in-depth understanding of the case studies is crucial for success.
Understand the Case Studies
Company and Project Case Studies
- Company Case Study: Available on the APM website, offering an overview of a fictional company and its associated programme.
- Project Case Study: Provided four weeks before your assessment, detailing a specific project within the programme.
Your Role and Preparation
You will assume the role of Project Manager for the specific project in the case study. Given the closed-book nature of the exam, a rigorous analysis of the case studies is essential.
A Simplified Guide to Analysing the Case Study
Step 1: Initial Reading and Identification of Key Elements
- Objective: Familiarise yourself with the overall context and identify essential components like risks, issues, and problems.
- Action: Read through the case study once, highlighting or underlining key elements for future reference.
Step 2: Apply the STAR Method
- Objective: Assess key elements against each assessment criterion using the STAR method.
- Action: For each key element:
- Situation: What is the context or problem?
- Task/Theory: What relevant task or theory is applicable?
- Action: What actions could be taken?
- Recommendation: Which action would you recommend and why?
Step 3: Ensure Realism and Relevance
- Objective: Make sure your analysis and proposed actions are realistic and relevant to the case study.
- Action: Cross-reference your proposed actions with the case study to ensure they are both practical and pertinent.
Example Learning Outcome
Consider the learning outcome: “Critically evaluate ways to capture, record, and review proposed options for change to determine the impact on a project’s scope and objectives.”
Answer questions like:
- How are options for change currently captured?
- What process could be implemented for capturing and recording these options?
- Who should be involved in the review process?
- How can governance processes be adhered to?
These questions align with the APM competence framework and help you tailor your response effectively.
- Critically Evaluate: Provide a well-backed judgement and offer a contextual recommendation.
- Critically Analyse: Dissect the details, highlighting pros and cons within the case study context.
- Demonstrate: Showcase your practical skills and knowledge.
Before the Exam
- Practice with sample papers available on the APM website.
- Ensure you’re comfortable with the operational and technical aspects of the exam.
Tip: Save system emails with assessment links and login details for easy access on the exam day.
During the Exam
- Listen carefully to fully understand each question.
- Align your answers with the case study and established project management theories.
- Use your prior experience but keep the focus on the case study and appropriate terminology.
Tip: Utilise the 15-minute reading time at the start of the written assignment to fully comprehend the question and formulate your approach.
By adhering to this streamlined guide, you’ll be well-prepared to succeed in the APM Project Professional Qualification assessment. Good luck!