pmp prep lessons muhammad shahidI started my PMP prep in mid-2015 by studying PMBOK 5 but actual preparation started in Mid-2016 when I enrolled myself in PMP Preparation class for 35 contact hours.

How I began my PMP prep

pmp tips muhammad shahid

  1. I read PMBOK once during mid-2015 and found it to be very dry book, so decided to use it for reference only in future.
  2. I read Rita’s Book thrice as suggested by my trainer. I highlighted important things during first two readings and read all those highlighted material twice during last week of my study.
  3. I searched and found some tips for remembering Process Group & Knowledge Area Mapping Table and Formulas but later I realized that there is no need for these, because if you read Rita thrice you will automatically memorize these things.
  4. I attempted Rita’s, Andy Crowe‘s and HeadFirst‘s chapter end questions 5 times and kept a record of the result for comparison. The results gradually improved and I was able to secure 85% to 100% in 4th and 5th attempt. Also attempted HeadFirst’s and Andy Crowe’s Mock Exam 5 times and able to secure 90%+.
  5. Attempted all 1000 questions given in “PMP Prep – Question & Answers 2013 Christopher Scordo“.

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CAPM students usually find it difficult to get training material specific to CAPM. The reason is that PMI defines CAPM syllabus to be same as PMP. Hence, there are very few prep courses that aim for CAPM. A reasonable differentiation can be found in Simulator (here’s a free CAPM simulator for you). Also, very few test prep experience are written online by people that passed their CAPM exam.

When I came to know that Elizabeth passed her CAPM exam, I asked her if she could share her preparation experience and lessons learned. I’m thankful she obliged. Here it is, hope you will find it useful.


capm lessons learned elizabeth coleman

The beginning

My journey for the CAPM certification started about 7 months ago.

I started with the Essential of Project Management course from, while reading the PMBOK 5th edition. IIt was at this time, that I discovered SHIV’s blog and downloaded his high-level material.

Since the Project Integration Management knowledge area interacted with all the other knowledge area, I spent about 2 weeks alone just going over this material until the light bulb finally came on.

Also read: CAPM Prep: Focusing on Concepts Helped Answer 30-35 ITTO Questions – Srikant Deverajan, CAPM

Scheduling the exam

I finished “reading” all of the other 9 knowledge areas in the PMBOK in about two months. Since I had not scheduled a date for the exam, it seemed like 3 months passed by. Once I finally scheduled a date, I started taking some “mock” exams, it was then I realized that I only read the material and never really studied it.

I also discovered that it’s a good idea to read the entire PMBOK from cover to cover.

My CAPM Prep ‘Core’ Lessons

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pmp journey qa test engineer nihar

Shiv, I have 11 years of experience in testing and currently I am a Test Manager. I have worked in the capacity of Program Test Manager and also have had experience with Project Management, but PMP tests you on a different level.


I got my certification before the new exam came into force, but the format and prep steps remain just the same. I will try here to put down my preparation in specific points.

At the beginning of 2015 I gave myself a year to pass PMP exam, but professional and personal commitment delayed the process. And when I realized I was in October and left with exactly 3 months to clear the PMP. Jan 2016 would bring new PMP exam format and I didn’t want to wait till then. So I went ahead, filled the form (step-by-step instructions here) and locked my exam slot on Dec 26th.

October prep

I did a word-by-word reading of “Rita Mulcahy – PMP® Exam Prep 8th Edition” (RMC) without forcing myself to understand anything more than I already know. The best part of RMC is that it explains you how to go through the book, and trust me it’s the best.

I also tried the questions at the end of the chapters, didn’t score more than 60% though. [click to continue…]

pmp no pmbok lot mock tests exams pratimMy PMP journey started about year and a half ago when I attended a PMP classroom session for the 35 PDUs. After the training, I was excited and planned to study hard and pass the exam asap. But in an IT professional’s life things keep changing and planned things take a backseat when priority tasks step in unexpectedly.

Things didn’t work well on the study front and my PMP plan slowly faded out for almost a year. Even though PMP took a lion’s share of my 2016 resolution list, it was not until July 2016 that I planned again to sit for the exam.

PMP Preparation

pmp lessons learned pratim ghoshalThis time I planned in a more methodical way and was determined to get my PMP certification in a 3-month time period.

I started off with Rita Mulcahy and Head First PMP books from August and studied end-to-end twice. I decided to focus more on the Initiation and Closing domains as I wanted to get the 20% of questions correct at first go. Moreover, these are simpler process groups and with their individual thresholds for passing the exam I could not risk being less prepared. [click to continue…]

pmp prep tips sita sharmaBackground

I wanted to take PMP exam some 10 years back but somehow could not do so. Then I finally decided to take the plunge journey last year. In 10 years, I had gathered good project management experience and had become passionate about project management. This helped me appreciate PMBOK.


pmp lessons learned sita sharmaI enrolled in a boot camp training where the overview of the Knowledge areas & process groups were covered. My application, luckily, was not selected for an audit. 🙂

I then studied the PMBOK and Rita’s books, however, could not keep up a study plan continuously due to family & work pressures. Finally, I did complete my study and took few mock tests. I was scoring 80%, so decided to take the PMP exam.

My first attempt

I took PMP exam in Feb 2016 – just after the updated syllabus came into force. Unfortunately, at the end of the exam the Screen Showed “Failed”. I was very upset and was not sure where things had gone wrong. The positive aspect of that failure was that I became accustomed to the new format (Shiv made me aware of this – Thanks Shiv).

I decided not to give up and to try again. [click to continue…]

pmp exam strategy mukeshHello Shiv, I Passed PMP and would like to thank you for your smart notes. Thanks for your good work and contribution to PM Community and here is my PMP Exam Strategy and Lesson Learned [trust me while writing it I am feeling very proud :-)]

I came to know about your blog just 3 weeks before my exam day but still found it very useful. Though I missed subscribing to PM PrepCast through your blog I recommended because it helps saving exam prep cost & additional exam material.

pmp mukesh singhI planned PMP study in 2 Phases.

Phase 1: Prepare yourself and Apply to PMI (2-3 months)

Find out a mentor or Join PMP Forums like PMzilla/ PMHUB/LinkedIn forums and go through lessons learned to understand basics of PMP.

Subscribe to Study Blueprint for your daily study notes and guides. Also, use the offers to get video lessons of PM PrepCast & Exam Simulator bundle together as it is cost effective.

Register to PMI to get yourself a PDF copy of PMBOK & guidebook for EVM for free.

Complete pre-test and chapter end tests of PM PrepCast (must). [click to continue…]