Project Management background
I am a Project Manager for 10 yrs in Telecommunications industry. I have worked in small scaled projects which lasted for a month and big projects for MNCs where the project lasted for over an year. While working on projects I felt the need for a structured learning of project management, and began my search for various project management certification exams and courses.
Back in 2012, my organization encouraged all project managers to take up PMP and get certified. That is how my PMP journey started. I took the exam in 2013 but I failed then because of extreme tight schedule of my project that left very less time for PMP study.
PMP study strategy
After that, I procrastinated the idea of studying again for the PMP exam until last year December. That happened as I realized that the PMP eligibility period is expiring on 18 Jan and also the exam is changing in March. So, in the 1st week of Jan, I booked my exam slot for a day before my eligibility window closed. 🙂
If someone had told me that one day I would take just 2 weeks to prepare and pass the exam I would have laughed.
But then it became possible because I had studied for my earlier attempt.
Therefore, I took a risk and only planned to read through notes available online, instead of reading through PMBOK guide or other PMP exam preparation books.
I read the PMP glossary flash cards available online while commuting to my office and listened to Cornelius Fichtner PM PrepCast based on PMBOK guide 4th Ed.
I studied for 3 hrs everyday on weekdays in the evenings and about 8hrs on weekends.
Also Read: “I wanted to get PMP before I Turned 50 and PMBOK-6 kicked in” – Jorge Goncalo, PMP
Primarily, I chose a bunch of reading material and a bunch of mock exams.
Study materials –
- 10-day PMP Study Blueprint email course from PMESN blog
- Study Notes found in pmstudycircle.com
- PMP PodCast/YouTube videos
- Process Group Data flow videos from: Praizion Media – this helped me to understand the KAs and PGs and the ITTOs without memorising (another resource).
- PM PrepCast by Cornelius Fichtner.
Mock Exams –
- Daily PMP exam questions in Facebook from PM Exam Smart Notes
- I did the 3 mock exams available as trial from Cornelius Fichtner’s PM Exam Simulator
- PM Training exam simulator and practiced during the last 4 days prior to the my exam. I did 6 tests; 2 full mock exam with 200 questions and 4 tests consist of 50 questions in 1hr. I obtained average score of 70% in the exams.
- When I started my revision, I did both the Free Sample Questions sets (set 1 | set 2) by Oliver Lehmann and scored average of 50 – 55% (more materials here).
Problems and workarounds
I had very short time of only 2 weeks left to prepare for the exam.
I had to juggle between work and personal responsibilities amid the PMP exam revision. Since I really wanted to obtain PMP certification before the PMBOK-6 exam turned in, so it was a do or die thing for me.
Hence, it also motivated me to stay focused in my mission. My husband helped to take care of the household chores and so I had time to devote my full attention in the evening to my PMP study.
Preparation during the week prior to the exam
It was very stressful as I had failed before and the feeling of failing engulfed me. I spent more time doing mock exams and then filling up the knowledge gaps from the mistakes I made in the mock exams.
As my scores in the mock exams improved, so did my confidence too! 🙂
I took a day off from work 2 days before the exam and spent full day to wrap up my revision.
I read plenty of of ‘lessons learned articles’ throughout the week too to learn from others’ experience. It encouraged me a lot.
Also Read: “My Paper-Wall Approach to Perfect PMP Score” – by Ankur Bansal, PMP
Exam day experience
I ensured I slept for 6 hrs the day before and I was fresh in the morning.
My exam was scheduled for 11 am slot. Hence I had hearty breakfast, so I wouldn’t be hungry during the exam.
I was quite nervous as soon as I stepped into the Exam center. I had arrived early, so I went to a quiet place to meditate for a short while to calm me.
Above target for Initiating and Planning.
Target for Executing, Monitoring and Control Process and Closing.
I would encourage and recommend those who are sitting for the PMP exam to view Process data flow diagrams (below process description in PMBOK guide). This will aid in understanding the concept of the processes and the ITTOs.
I did not refer to PMBOK guide extensively during my revision and relied heavily on study notes. Although I passed the exam, I will not recommend anyone to follow that. I solely did that as this time, I only had 2 weeks to prepare for the PMP exam. I had read through PMBOK guide couple of times earlier and familiarized myself with the “PMI-isms”.
My parting Lesson Learned
Practice, Practice and Practice mock exams as part of your PMP preparation.
It trained me to think and analyze the questions and answers as options to select the best answer. It helped me a lot during the actual PMP exam.
I would like to thank,
- Cornelius Fichtner for the PM PrepCast video course,
- Phill Akinwale from Praizion Media for the YouTube videos,
- Shiv Shenoy for the 10 days Study Blueprint email course, and for his advice to take as many mock as exams as possible due to the short time I had for the exam. He suggested to go for paid mock exams, as they are well-prepared and maintained and I am glad I heeded his advice! 😊
- I would take this opportunity to thank my dear husband, who had been very supportive during my PMP journey.
My best wishes to you,