How I Passed CAPM Exam: My journey to the CAPM credential was life changing, becoming a project manager was always one of my life goals, yet I procrastinated, some of my procrastination was due to some life events, others was just me being lazy.
In 2016 after walking away from my job, I decided that this is the time for me to put my best foot forward and take this course for ME. I enrolled in a Project Management Exam Prep course with a local institution here in St. Lucia (NRDF) and my journey began.
On the very first day of class, I remember our lecturer (Mrs. Jeanette Hughes, PMP) saying, “Do not underestimate this course; you must ask yourself, DO I HAVE THE DNA TO BE A PROJECT MANAGER?”
I thought to myself, sure I do, I really did not know what was ahead of me, especially being one who had no background in project management or a full managerial role.
Our classes went on, and my studying began from day 1.
My CAPM Exam Study Routine
I studied for 4 hours a day minimum, my maximum was at least 6-7 hours a day with short breaks in between for 7 days a week. This was no easy task at first, I had to get back in the routine of being a student; I was persistent and did not give up even when falling asleep seemed much easier.
I took no days off, until the day before the exam, which I took a half day off from studying.
Not everyone can read a text book for such long hours, it worked for me because 1, I love reading and 2, I did literature at school, so that was my advantage; others can break their study time down to different parts of the day, maybe 2hrs here and there or for those who work during the day, maybe night may be the best time to study, waking up at 2 in the morning, when everyone is asleep and you have no distractions.
I also kept my cell phone turned off during my times of study as I felt it was a distraction.
Practice questions was an integral part of my study routine. The more you can attempt the better. Do not despair if you don’t always perform as well as you would like with the practice questions.
From my experience, the questions that I got wrong were those that helped me with closing my knowledge gaps. Read the explanations, go back to the question and realize why the one you chose was wrong – this helped me immensely.
I also practiced PM Math’s, EVM, EMV etc very often.
I practiced drawing network diagrams and working the forward pass and backward pass, finding float etc.
My Prep Resources
- PMBOK 5th Edition; I read the PMBOK at least 3 times cover to cover
- PMP Exam Prep 8th Edition Rita Mulcahy; read the Rita 3 times
- Shiv Shenoy’s PM Exam Smartnotes and free downloads of simple explanations of the processes
- I also joined his PMESN group on Facebook and answered as many questions posted daily as I could.
- I joined the LinkedIn Group, I want to be a PMP, the daily questions group members post also helped in closing my knowledge gaps, explaining answers to questions I couldn’t understand etc.
- I used lot of practice questions, especially during the last few weeks before the exam, whether it came from my class lecturer, the practice questions from the Rita, Passionate PM, iZenBridge Practice test, PMAspire simulator questions
- I tried to get as much valuable and reliable information as possible, even YouTube was a great help.
My CAPM Exam Advice
My advice to anyone who is remotely interested in getting a project management credential, whether it be the prestigious PMP credential or the CAPM – if you can get the most current version of the PMBOK and start reading before you take on a preparatory course, even though you may not clearly understand what it is defining please do so, you will surely appreciate the value of it when exam time is getting close.
For those who are doing CAPM, although you may not have time learn ALL the ITTO’s before the exam, please place some focus on them. In saying so I do not mean that you forget everything else, studying for the CAPM credential is just as rigorous as the PMP. You MUST believe you can and do not doubt yourself, study hard, teach others within your study group, this will help you grow in your knowledge.
I wish everyone with upcoming exams the best of luck!
Mandalee Mason, CAPM
Also Read: A Short Guide to CAPM Examination
Shiv loves to help start-ups build software products, PMP aspirants ace the exam and shine at work, and help individuals and SMEs get most out of their internet presence (read 'earn massive money' 🙂 ).
Shiv lives on the picturesque suburban Bangalore with his wife and two lovely kids and in his spare time he plays flute and paints.
Reach him at these social networks and say Hi, he'd love to connect with you.