Anurag Kajra is a seasoned project manager working with Ericsson, and he decided to take up PMP test to grow futher in his career. He aced it with perfect score – Proficient score in ALL 5 domains!

In this post, Anurag spills the beans on what it takes to ace PMP like a pro. No matter where you are in your run up to the PMP exam, you will find something of value in this post.

Read on..


pmp secret 5 proficient score in pmp

Basic Preparation for PMP Test

I primarily focused on Rita Mulcahy’s PMP prep book as I firmly believed that this is the Bible of the PMP Exam. So much so that I studied it 4 times thoroughly!

Anurag Kajra PMPApart from this there was another book I considered important: Head First PMP.

This is a brain-friendly book that gave me excellent examples of application of PMP concepts in real-world. I understood how PMBOK processes can be applied in the context of a real project more from this book than any other PMP study resource.

Also Read: The Complete PMP Exam Prep Guide – Get It Before PMBOK-6 Kicks In 

Additional PMP Study Resources

I realized early during my preparation planning that a good Simulator that mimics the real exam should be an essential part of prep plan.

I used Rita’s PMP exam simulator for almost a month.

During this time I cleared about 4500 PMP mock questions.

I got many of them wrong of course, but the best part was that the simulator helped me strategize how to tackle PMP exam. Each mock test impoved my end-to-end understanding of the exam, the approach to take while selecting the right answer out of 4 available ones.

My main focus was on Human Resource management as it had 4 processes in the Executing Process Group. I expected a large amount of questions from HR Management Knowledge Area in the PMP exam.

For Initiating and Closing Process groups I researched a lot on the Internet, like the templates of the Project Charter, all the documents need for closing a phase or project, and so on. I felt that these two Process Groups can swing the results of my exam either way, and focussing on these will help me get most of the questions right with confidence.

I went through PMP study notes (linked from Study Notes.. menu) and the PMP books from this blog. These undoubtedly gave me a solid understanding of the PMP concepts and gave me the confidence to clear the PMP Exam with all the 5 P’s.

Also Read: 5 Things To Do In Your ‘Golden Week’ Before The PMP Exam To Ace It!

Avoid this Trap!

There is a point I want you to understand here.

Initiating and Closing Process Groups are the ones from which least number of questions appear on the exam.

Now you know that there is a threshold in EACH Process Group to cross, else you will fail the exam. Since the number of questions appearing in these to PGs are less, the passing threshold is smaller as well. Therefore, there is a very small number of questions that you can risk answering incorrectly.

That is the reason you will require a clear understanding of concepts in these two PGs and give additional attention while taking mock tests from these PGs.

Also Read: Failed PMP? My PMP Journey From 3 MP & 2 BP To 4 P & 1 MP : Megan Gamble

Constency & Motivation is Key

I didn’t miss the preparation even for a single day. I made sure that I was in touch everyday for the duration of my preparation time of 4 months.

For me Procurement Knowledge Area was a challenging area, and here’s what I did to generate interest in study.

I start analyzing the concepts practically. I went to my Program Manager to get me all the procurement documents and understand how they relate to Procurement Processes. Studying them helped me relate to the Procurement processes and internalize concepts.

As I did not have first hand procurement experience in my projects, I had few sessions with my Program Manager, to understand how he executes procurement in projects.

I have kept these tips brief and to-the-point. Anyone looking for ‘shortcuts’ to PMP success will do good to consider these above pointers.

My Good Wishes!

Best Regards,

Anurag Karla, PMP


Shiv, I passed my PMP exam! As promised here is my PMP Lessons Learned write-up. I hope this will help PMP aspirants to prepare for their PMP exam better. I have shared every resources and every study tip I used to pass PMP exam on my first attempt.

pmp lessons learned shanthi

PMP Study materials

shanthi PMPMy PMP preparation went for about two and a half months (little over 10 weeks). Here are specific study resources I used –

[click to continue…]

I failed PMP, Now What? My mindset strategies and more to pass the PMP the 2nd time!

In this article Megan Gamble reflects on her first time PMP exam experience to analyze what went wrong, and then lays out the strategy she used to come up trumps the second time around. If you missed the PMP goal first time, this article may just help you recognize the areas to gun for, and strategies you can use to ace your PMP exam in the next attempt.

Read on..

failed pmp to success megan gamble

Think back on the day of the exam.

Once you completed the challenging 200 questions, took the survey to then press submit (after saying a prayer), only to get the disappointing news of “Unfortunately, we regret to inform you that you did not pass the Project Management Professional exam”.

pmp megan gambleAfter much studying and rigorous training, you do not understand how you did not pass the exam and you may be wondering if all hope is lost.

I can completely relate because I was one of the people that did not pass the PMP on my first attempt.

After I received the devastating results (3MPS and 2 BPs) I wanted to throw in the towel and say ‘forget it, maybe PMP is not the right thing for me’.

However, I realized that as Project Managers and evolving experts in our respective fields, we have to learn and accept to take the good with the bad and know when to change our approach to go back and tackle the task or project again.

After revising my strategy and my mindset, I sat for the exam the second time I passed (4Ps and 1 MPs) with some simple, yet effective modifications.

To give you some insight, here was my study strategy when I sat for the exam the FIRST TIME –

  • I read the PMBOK 5th edition,
  • Skimmed through Rita 8th Edition book,
  • Bounced back and forth between multiple resources (multiple meaning anything that says PMP),
  • Took any and EVERY mock practice exam that said “PMP”
  • Studied 2 hours a day 4 days a week and took a practice test once every two weeks (I did not allot proper time to review ALL test/quizzes, etc)
  • I always studied late at night (9pm EST) after work

[click to continue…]

This is the second and concluding article about ‘PMP digital badge’ – the icing on PMP cake that PMI introduced last month.

pmp digital badge professional traits

In the part-1 of this series we saw why PMI has teamed up with to provide digital badge to PMI certification holders. And also how it helps you spy on crucial job-market data and apply for a profile that suits your needs and pays you more!

In this post we will look at,

  • The step-by-step process to claim your badge and showcase it on your LinkedIn profile and other important places
  • How to discover your hidden professional traits and how to use it to get an edge over other candidates! I was pleasantly surprised to discover mine (you can see later in this article).

Let’s jump right in.

If you have already got your PMP (or any other PMI certification) in the past you would have received an email informing you about the digital badge, some of you might have received it as well at this point of time.

We saw how useful this seemingly simple digital badge, in that you can access to job market insider data which was hard to access in the past. With the digital badge you can not only ‘market’ your value well, but you can find out specific job profiles in are interested in and apply to them directly.

I received my digital badge recently. In this article I will show exactly how you can claim it and then use it to subtly market the value you can bring to any organization.

As I mentioned in part-1 of this series this is the best possible third-party endorsement for you.

Step 1: You will receive an email from

You’ll receive an email with Subject “Project Management Institute issued you a new badge”.

This happens indepedent of the communication you receive from PMI.

Accalaim has to get new PMP information and then they will send you the email asking to claim your badge.

Acclaim email

Figure 1: the email you will receive from Acclaim to claim your PMP digital badge

If you don’t receive this email even after about 4 weeks of passing your PMP exam, you can write to their support team from here >>

Step 2: Create an account

If this happens to be your very first instance of claiming a badge from Acclaim then you’ll be asked to create a badge. Then onwards you’ll be able to claim (automatically, if you configure that way) from any professional certification agency that has tied up with Acclaim.

create Acclaim account

Figure 2: create Acclaim account

Step 3: Claim your PMP digital badge

claim pmp digital badge

Figure 3: flaunt your badge!

Simply click the Accept button on the badge page and you’ll see the above screen.

As you can see, you’ll be able to connect add add your badge to your LinkedIn profile, share on your Twitter and Facebook account, send it as an email to people you wish to, get the URL of badge page to embed in your email.

You can download the code to embed in your blog or website (off topic, I highly recommend you start a blog – it has innumerable benefits in the short and long run).

Step 4: Showcase it on your LinkedIn profile

Since LinkedIn if the professional network of choice for many and is the place where recruiters hang around, let us see how to connect your badge to your LinkedIn profile.

Click on the Connect button you see in the previous step and you’ll see this screen. ‘Share to my newsfeed’ is not a good option because over time it will be buried under other stories. Go ahead and choose ‘Add to my profile’ option.

acclaim linkedin

Figure 4: steps to add your PMP digital badge to LinkedIn profile

The next step was a wee bit confusing. In the above image, the form you see on the right side is not a real form – it’s just an image of what you will see on LinkedIn page.

You can update your badge details to LinkedIn profile in one of the two ways –

First way, copy Certification name, Certification authority and Certification URL using their respective Copy buttons on to a notepad and click the Next button which will bring out the LinkedIn’s ‘New certification’ entry form.

Second way, open your LinkedIn profile page in a new browser window and click on Certifications option as shown in the image below.

showcase badge on linkedin

Figure 5: alternate way, add PMP ditigal badge details using LinkedIn ‘new certification’ form

Now copy-paste Certification name, Certification authority and Certification URL information and Submit.

Your PMP ditigal badge details will be shown on your LinkedIn profile as below.

PMP digital badge on linkedinFigure 6: this is how a visitor to your LinkedIn profile sees your badge

Clicking on the ‘See certificate’ will take you to your PMP badge page on Acclaim platform.

Step 5: Use code to showcase your badge on your blog

This is another thing you can do to flaunt your credential. Simply copy the code from the 5th tab in Step 3 above and paste into your blog’s HTML editor.

This is how a badge integrated into your blog or website will look like. Again, clicking on it will take the user to your badge details page.

Flaunting is just one aspect of your badge.

You can now discover your strong professional traits under 15 minutes! Plus, if you wish you can even showcase them in your LinkedIn profile. Remember, many recruiters look at leadership and other soft-skills while looking for a good fit to their job profile.

How to discover your strong traits and showcase them

Acclaim helps you discover your strong professional traits, and optionally showcase them on your LinkedIn profile. This is a free service offered by (called ClearFit survey) and integrated into Acclaim dashboard.

First, log into your Acclaim account > and go to the dashboard.

You’ll see something like this.

clearfit survey

Figure 7: Take the survey to discover your strong personality traits

This 15-minute survey helps you to –
– Compare yourself with jobs
– See your top career personality traits
– Get a career feedback report
– Apply to jobs

They of course understand people’s apprehension about sharing information and show a notice that your information is never sold to advertisers.

It took me about 15-20 minutes to answer a bunch of questions divided into 2 groups –

  1. Work related questions
  2. Non-work, life-skill questions (“would you like to coach a young group on a sport?”)

There are few repetitive questions – mostly to cross-verify answers, I suppose. When you submit the survey, after few moments of analysis you will get a 13-page detailed Career Feedback Report about your strong personality traits!

complete survey

Figure 8: either review answers (your first answer tends to be right), and then submit survey

I found this report to be very useful because it explains in detail why you got the rating that you got.

But there is more..guess what..

some more badges!

You will receive emails, one for each of your personality traits that you go ahead and claim (in case you have set up automatic badge claim option on Acclaim dashboard, they should appear directly on your dashboard).

survey complete mail

Figure 9: You’ll receive emails to claim new badges

And the steps to connect them to your LinkedIn profile, share on Twitter and Facebook, send it via email, download the code to embed in your site, or get the URL to add to your email signature – same as that of your PMP badge.

If you just want to know your professional strengths and don’t want to showcase for them on your LI profile, you can stop at the point of claiming them. Then they only appear on your Acclaim badge dashboard.

final badges

Figure 10: all of your badges are shown in the Acclaim dashboard

Each of the personality trait has a bunch of skills. For instance, Stress-Tolerant has the following skills – Confidence, Focus and Resilience.

claim personality badge

Figure 11: each personality trait shows your specific skills

In Summary

You know now why digital badge is the icing on PMP cake.

Acclaim’s badge platform lets you,

  • Claim and showcase your PMP badge on various social profiles and professional communication channels
  • Spy on job market data and understand exactly which company has a job opening that perfectly fits your profile. Moreover, you can filter them based on attributes such as compensation, location, and so on. Wouldn’t it be nice to look at all opportunities and know which company offers you more for the same competency?
  • Understand your unique professional strengths, and tweak your resume to highlight them with the help of specific incidents or accomplishments!
  • Showcase your strengths on LinkedIn and give yourself higher chances to get selected by recruiters

Hope this 2-post series on PMP digital badges has given you enough fillip to go get your PMP and take your career to the next level.

Here’s the first part, in case you missed.

And if you think this article can help someone in your network, please share using social buttons on the left.

I wish you all the success.

Go ace that exam!

pmesn, pmp lessons learned






Swaroop started his PMP preparation in the month of October and obtained certificate on 3rd February with 3Ps and 2 MPs on his first attempt. He had a unique approach – he paired up with his friend for PMP exam. They seemed to have had a huge leverage of each other’s time and efforts. In this article, Swaroop lays out the exact step-by-step process they followed to pass PMP exam, along with few PMP exam tips.

Read on..

pmp exam tips swaroop

When you are in college, you may have enjoyed preparing for exams. You may have even pioneered the art of sitting at length and optimizing the exam time and come up triumphant every time. But once you join a job that ‘skill’ starts waning. After close to a decade now if you have to appear for a full-fledged 4-hour-200-question-exam, well, you certainly remember your college days.

Preparing for PMP exam is one such experience.

What does it take to appear for PMP exam

pmp examClearing exams wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. PMI lays down conditions – in terms of educational qualification and in terms of number of hours of project management experience – to even to be eligible for PMP exam.

Assuming you pass that hurdle, there are 47 processes to understand and related project management concepts, and each process has several Inputs, Tools & techniques, and Outputs. And then depending on how much of project management experience you have, reading PMBOK book could be a pleasant experience or a tough nut to crack.

At times it feels like not having project management experience is a boon while understanding PMBOK guide.

That is because PMI expects you to answer a question based on the ideal strategies as given in PMBOK and not based on how you may have acted in the real world scenario. Therefore, not basing answers purely on your experience would be a favour you would do to yourself.

PMP exam success will depend on your understanding of Project Management guidelines defined in PMBOK, end to end.

The exam is of 4 hours duration, in which you’ll answer 200 questions. Sitting in the exam hall for 4 hours in itself may seem like a big deal answering mostly situational questions.

You will be thrown questions after questions where, to use cricketing analogy, you’ll have to bat plenty of curve balls, bouncers, yorkers, googlies to get certified as a PMP. This is where the mock exams will help you to practice sitting continuously for four hours optimizing the time to answer questions and to really get the grip on different patterns to solve the questions.

Here’s a quick & short guide about PMP exam that you may like to go through first. [click to continue…]

Jerly Thomas used a simple, yet effective PMP study plan to prepare for her exam. She did have a false start like many of us, but having the advantage of planning PMP early in her career, she managed her exam prep with just enough study resources, and with some smart planning. In fact, Jerly completed her exam in just half the allotted time!

In this post she reveals all the techniques she used to ease the difficulty associated with PMP prep. Read on..

pmp study plan

Early Beginning

My PMP journey started in the very first year of my career, when my manager suggested that I attend the 35 hour PMP boot camp organized by the company for its project managers.

pmp jerly thomasI attended the training inspite of not being eligible (I was just few months into my career) just to understand more about PMP exam. The course gave me first insights into what PMP/PMI is and how the certification can help me in my career. I liked the content and realized that it can help me grow as an effective project manager.

As soon as I was eligible for the test I began my PMP preparation. I submitted my application for PMP certification in May 2016. However, my serious preparation for the test began in Jan 2017.

I submitted my application for PMP certification in May 2016. However, my serious preparation for the test began in Jan 2017.

It took 2.5 to 3 months of preparations, wherein the last one month I dedicated to answering mock tests.

I took my PMP test in April 2017 and passed with 3MPs and 2Ps.

Here is how I went about reading the course material. [click to continue…]