Last week you read the PMP exam experience of Jackie Gibbs, who prepared herself without PMBOK (except for the glossary). This week Sunil shares how he used primarily PMBOK and supplemental books to pass his PMP exam, in this brief post.

Bottomline, there is no cookie-cutter approach when it comes to PMP prep. What works best is look at what works best for most people, study various successful PMP students’ experiences, find out the approaches that have worked for the most and fine-tune your prep plan. Make your own path and embrace glory.


pmbok pmp pmesn sunil narula

Hi Shiv, I cleared my PMP Exam last week with your support. Thank you, particularly for sharing the lessons learned and your books. I would like to briefly share few exam study pointers that I have learned, hoping these will help PMP students.

My study sources

My main sources besides PMBOK were: [click to continue…]

One grouse that majority of students of PMP certification have is that they need to study PMBOK guide. I too didn’t enjoy reading pages and pages of tedious text, nevertheless I stuck with PMBOK as it is the source of majority of questions on the exam. Even now I recommend PMP aspirants to keep PMBOK as one of their study resources.

It is not everyday that you find someone that did NOT use PMBOK and passed the exam. So far I have come across very few people (almost single digit) that have done this. Jackie is one of them.

Read through her exam prep strategy and tips to plan your own PMP prep, and decide for yourself whether you want to give PMBOK guide a miss. 🙂


pmp certification without pmbok jackie

In April 2016, I began earnestly studying for the PMP certification – with the goal of passing on the first attempt! On October 3, 2016, I earned this prestigious credential and here is how I did it!

My PMP Study Books

pmp-without-pmbok-jackieThe two resources I used were the Head First Book, and the infamous Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep – Fifth Edition. I read the Head First book first to gain a basic understanding of the PMP concepts and then I tackled Rita’s book. (Learn Rita’s process chart).

I did not read the PMBOK Guide – Fifth Edition, I only read the glossary. In my opinion, above two resources form the perfect knowledge base for preparing to pass the examination. After all, that is the goal, right?

After devouring these books, in July, 2016, I began to focus on my study notes and learning to write the 47 process grid as well as the EVM formulas. A great tip I discovered is that the best way to learn the 47 processes chart is left to right – up and down. That one tip proved to be invaluable as I began to learn to think the PMI way. I practiced writing my brain dump on a daily basis. [click to continue…]

pmp success formula sriram manianYay, finally I cleared my PMP! It was long and stressful journey. But during this I figured a better path and followed it to my PMP success. Let me share what I learned in this post.

I enrolled into PMP without even actually doing any homework.  My suggestion is to study to whatever extent you can to before taking up the after the 35 contact hours contact study course, which is a requirement by PMI to appear for the PMP exam.

3-step-pmp-success-formula-sriram-manianPMP Success step 1: Must do’s

  1. Create a PMP charter. Clearing PMP itself is a project. Ensure your charter has objectives, the purpose, milestones, risks, budget and stakeholders (For ex: in my case the stakeholders are my parents, wife, kid, relatives and friends.) & create study plan (planned v/s actual).
  2. Join “I want to be a PMP” in LinkedIn group for nuances of PMP discussions. It is really motivating as every day there will be at least one person who would post their success story.
  3. Visit by Mr. Fahad Usmani. The concepts are in simple English and understanding is easy.
  4. Enroll with Shiv Shenoy. He will email you easy notes after enrolling. He motivates and guides us well to crack the exam with ease. He disciplines your approach to PMP by asking you to make a study plan, arrange your study space, gather materials etc.
  5. Now the video part. If you want PMP concepts at your fingertips, watch videos by Mr. Saket Bansal from Izenbridge. I enrolled with Izenbridge and obtained 35 contact hours. The videos are still in my heart and mind. I enjoyed reading PMBOK after watching his videos. PMP is simplified by Mr. Bansal. The white board and marker is just the best. Moreover, the amount of practice tests in the package will make you thorough with PMBOK. Every alternate week there is a discussion in their blog and you can post queries on their forum. After watching his videos, ITTOs became very easy and there was no need to memorize.  Just understand why and how it is used.
  6. Mind map the concepts with your profession. PMBOK has concepts, terms and definitions that are used in most of the organizations but if you can relate them with your organization and your day-to-day work then it becomes easy to understand.

Also read: How to get your PMP certification for Free!

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pmp success old school project manager tom harveyHi Shiv: I’ve been a manager in the healthcare industry for over 25 years and managing projects in layman fashion as most overworked functional managers do.

pmp success tom harveyThat all changed in 2014 when my employer initiated a multi-million dollar project where 9 full-time PMs (6 from the seller, 3 PM SMEs hired specifically to ensure internal interests were being met) were assigned to compress a 24-month project into 10 months.

Tempers were high, patience was short and my staff and I were introduced to the language and processes of formal project management: “that’s out of scope, you’ll have to present that to the Change Control Board, that sounds like gold plating to me, looks like we need an Ishikawa Diagram pronto!” and other foreign terminology could be heard emanating from the war room on a daily basis. I felt a bit out of my league. [click to continue…]

 pmp study tips 2 month pmp blueprintAfter a focused effort of 2 months I passed the PMP exam with 4 Proficient rating, on my first attempt. Following is a brief account of how I achieved it, and some of my PMP study tips that I hope will help those preparing for their PMP exam.

PMP study resources I used

pmp plan vishal guptaI chose a limited number of study material so as to avoid a sense of overwhelming.

My Study plan

I discussed with some of my friends and those that have passed PMP exam already and come up with a basic study plan. However, I had to refine this as I went along and this is what I ended up doing –

  1. First studied HeadFirst PMP book thoroughly (I targeted 1 chapter every day), completed exercise from each chapter as soon as I studied the chapter. I highly recommend this approach.
  2. Next, I took classroom training at Cognitel, which was very useful in understanding PMP concepts.
  3. Studied appendix from PMBOK to go through Acronyms. Basically to revise definitions of all important terms in PMBOK. This helped me understand concepts based on the PMP jargon.
  4. Then I moved to solving questions from different sources, free PMP mock tests which were helpful in identifying gap in my preparation/knowledge.
  5. I practiced 5 full length PMP practice/mock test (one each day):
    • One from Head first PMP book
    • One from Exam central website
    • One from PMStudy website
    • Two from Cognitel mock tests (earned my 35 PDUs by attending Cognitel training and they provided 6 full length mock tests)
  6. I read PMBOK and RMC’s book (few chapters) for the clarification of my doubts on those areas.
  7. In last week before exam, I revised from Shiv’s notes to quickly go through entire syllabus, and practiced formula based questions.

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Earning PMP cert wasn’t easy for Jeff, don’t let the title mislead you. 🙂 In this article Jeff explains the unique strategies he used and the lessons he learned along the way, and finally how his preparedness enabled him to take a decision to appear for the exam on the spur of a moment while on vacation with his family, and nail it! I trust his experience will help you improve your study plan.


pmp cert jeff verdon

Hi Shiv,

I am so happy to inform you that I successfully passed my exam and earned my PMP cert. Lot of this success is due to the approach that I took. I brought on board two other friends with me in order to share the common goal of obtaining our PMP certification.

pmp certification exam jeff verdonThis in itself was part of the effective formula in obtaining the PMP certification. For instance, each team member motivated one another and each of us had strengths that complimented the other while being fully committed to achieving our desired PMP outcome. Many a times team members’ insights about a circumstance helped other team members to grasp PMP concepts.

“I was about to go on a vacation for a week when my boss suggested to try and take the PMP exam while I was in a relaxed state of mind on my vacation. At first I laughed it off, but 3 days into my vacation, that thought still resonated in my head. It got to the point where I ran the idea by my family, and they agreed that I should go and take it while on vacation and in a relaxed state of mind.”

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