PMP Lessons Learned

PMP lessons learned









Learning from the experience of people who have passed PMP will help you refine/change your study plan. This will increase your chances of success. Please note that these are experiences of individuals who have written them and you are free to accept or reject any of the ideas or advice offered.

My special thanks to all these noble people for selflessly sharing their exam prep tips for the benefits of PMP students.

If you’d like to share your experience, please write to me here or if you are already on my mailing list please shoot me a mail.

Note: There are way too many posts to fit into one page, hence I’ve paginated the whole set. Please use the next/previous page links to learn from experiences of those that have passed their PMP exam.

Good luck!

pmesn, pmp lessons learned


Here we go!

PMP Prep Plan: Pick the Practical Path – Plato Pathrose, PMP

Shiv, here is something that I would like to share few tips with your readers for their PMP prep plan. I hope they will find this article useful.

My PMP Prep Plan

I planned to write PMP examination about 6 months ago. First, I bought PMBOK in order to go through the theory and concepts. Yes, it is a bit boring read, that is what I understood at first. 🙂

pmp  plato pathrose As I visited the PMI website, I understood the advantages and disadvantages of having a PMI membership. My intention of getting a membership in the first place was to get a reduced exam fee. That was the primary reason why I enrolled myself for the PMI membership at that time.

Meanwhile, I subscribed to the Online training for PMP, PM PrepCast from Cornelius (this is only one which I used, there are many others available in the market)

I started watching the videos daily spending at least 2 hours a day.

I was not comfortable watching the videos always on a computer, hence I used to stream those lessons to my Television set and then sit and prepare exam notes. Self-made notes are the ones I would rate as best reference material to go through before the day of examination.

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Learn From PMP Students To Ease Your PMP Prep Efforts – Imran Khan, PMP

My PMP journey started 3 months back, when I decided I need to get certified and also learn how I can use PMI’s best practices in my daily work.

The first thing I realized while starting the PMP preparation was how each project is managed differently and how guidelines set out by PMP can be of enormous help in managing the project efficiently.

I passed my PMP exam and would like to share what I learned along the way.

My PMP study approach & tips

pmp imran1. I decided that I was going to study not only to get certified but also to use PMI’s project management guidelines to better manage the projects I work on. This mindset helped me investigate many concepts in detail and the long-term benefits of this approach kept me motivated to study when chips were down.

2. I enrolled for a 4-day PMP training. It helped me get an overall view about how to plan for my certification. I would recommend an online course which you can pace as per your need, rather than the classroom training that forces to cramp too much information in 4 days. (few reviews here and here). [click to continue…]

How I Passed CAPM Exam: Mandalee Daria Mason, CAPM

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.

capm prep tips mandeeIn 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.

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How I Got 5 Proficient in PMP Exam With 2-Month Study Plan: Saravanan Baskaran, PMP

“5 Proficient grade (5Ps) in PMP exam with only 8 weeks of preparation”, is how Saravanan Baskaran describes his PMP prep journey. Saravanan is the owner and Principal SAP Consultant & Architect at Universal Technology Solutions, LLC. In this article he reveals the strategies and techniques he used to ace his PMP exam.


Taking several mock exams and reviewing sample questions helped me in clearing the exam successfully. More importantly, reviewing all the incorrect answers by going through the relevant chapters one more time helped me in clarifying my doubts, and understanding the core concepts well. There are numerous materials available in the market. However, I would strongly recommend to just pick and stick with few sources that you feel comfortable with.

Primary PMP prep material

pmp prep plan I took the remote training offered by MPROI for 2 weeks. I took the exam 6 weeks after I completed the training.

I figured that reviewing MPROI material and taking several mock exams would sufficient to prepare well for the exam.

After reviewing MPROI material, I was able to understand the PMBOK well. My rough estimate was 4 to 6 weeks of preparation time.

I spent around 2 to 3 hours during the weekdays, and 6 hours on weekends to prepare for the exam. So you could say, overall I spent about 150+ hours of prep time.

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My PMP Prep Journey of 4 Months – By Muhammad Shahid, PMP

I 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 Exam Lessons Learned – Elizabeth Coleman, CAPM

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.

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.

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3-Month PMP Journey of a Test Manager – Nihar Mishra, PMP

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

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My PMP Secret? No PMBOK, and Plenty of Mock Tests – Pratim Ghoshal, PMP

My 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 lessons learned pratim ghoshalPMP Preparation

This 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.

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PMP: Once Bitten, Second Time Successful – By Sita Sharma, PMP

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.

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PMBOK + PMESN + Prep Tests = PMP : Sunil Narula, PMP

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:

sunilI used to read PMBOK & other topics from the Internet since April/May but due to circumstances, my preparation was neither consistent nor well-planned.

It was only for past few weeks that I could commit to regular study hours with a complete focus on my PMP preparation.

My Family, particularly my father played a very important role in encouraging me & achieving PMP certification. A big thanks to him.

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My 2-Phase PMP Exam Strategy: Mukesh Singh, PMP

Hello 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 pmp mukesh singhmissed subscribing to PM PrepCast through your blog I recommended because it helps saving exam prep cost & additional exam material.

I 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.

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PMP Certification: How I Earned It Without PMBOK – Jackie W. Gibbs

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, these 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…]

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