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..
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.
I 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.
Did you read the Complete PMP Study Plan and Guide?
PMP Study Resources Used
A simple Google search will bring about a plethora of PMP materials, which can be quite overwhelming. And I didn’t want that to block my study progress. Hence I decided to stick with few chosen study resources.
- PMBOK guide
- Rita Mulcahy PMP guide
- LinkedIn study groups (IWTAP is one of the good ones)
- Multiple online (free) tests (few here)
My PMP Study Plan
Here’s the way I went about studying for my PMP exam. The same may not work for you, but knowing how it helped me may give you some insight into what you can do.
- I Read each chapter on PMBOK and Rita Mulcahy Exam Prep one after the other
- Then I went back to answer the chapter end questions from Rita Exam Prep and took notes and made flash cards wherever I discovered holes in my understanding
- In the last one month prior to the exam, I took one mock test every day.
- After each mock test I went through the answer keys/ explanations
- Then I read one chapter each from Rita Exam Prep and answered the chapter-end questions again making sure all gaps are covered
The week prior to the exam
In the last one week, I went through few more question sources suggsted by fellow members on my study groups, read my own notes from Rita’s chapters and the PMBOK.
I also tried answering as many free mock tests that were available online.
Scores for initial tests were as low as 50-60%, however, they improved over weeks. Each test is of different difficulty level and I was scoring in the range of 70-90%. I think this helped me score well in my PMP exam.
Couple of tips I’d like to share
You may want to include these two approaches in your PMP prep plan. Or give it a shot for a while and see if it helps. I fould these to be of immense help.
- I maintained an Excel sheet to track my progress. I would enter my scores from chapter-end tests and the mock tests. Whenever I scored less than 70-75 in any test I tried to re-take the test after few other tests. I kept taking the chapter end tests untill I could score above 80-85 in all chapters. Practice is definitely the best confidence booster.
- One thing I learnt over multiple mock tests is to read the question twice or thrice. In my initial mock tests, I used to get many answers wrong just because I was in a hurry to choose an option. I used to realise this mistake when I reviewed the answers. Hence I started reading each question twice or thrice to make sure I understand the question and this helped to get more answers right.
The exam day
The real exam was easier than many of the mock tests. But I feel it this way only because I was preparing with tougher mock tests.
I took 3 swipes through exam questions.
First round, I went through all questions and answered all that I was sure, marked some for review and left some incomplete.
In the 2nd round, I answered the unanswered questions.
And in the 3rd round, I reviewed all marked questions.
I finished my exam in 2 hours.
Overall, it took plenty of effort and pushing myself to get in the flow, but all the hard work made the accomplishment feel much better.
If you are yet to start your preparation, I would suggest starting with a basic simple PMP study plan and refine it along the way.
I wish success to all PMP aspirants,
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.