“Benefits of PMP certification go beyond the exam. PMP is already helping me with networking, … I see that my colleagues have trust in me and value my opinion”, said Dayana Rangelova as she shared how she prepared for her exam and what insights she discovered along the way.
Dayana lives in Sofia, Bulgaria, and works as an Operations Project Manager in the IT sector, mainly focused on digital transformation. She loves renovations and is very interested in home design.
What made you choose PMP?
I believe that I should keep learning new skills and adjust to the business environment, which changes with every passing day. In order to keep up with the fast pace you must invest in the better version of yourself.
In my former role I was working as a Technical team lead engaged with Quality Assurance in different projects and initiatives for product improvement. Then I worked as a Business Analyst and again my day to day duties were interconnected with project work and performance.
Two years ago, I developed a plan to renovate my house. Then I realized that my activities can have a more structured approach and form. I started searching for information which can help me to organize more.
And then I came across PMP content, began studying for the PMP and thus my journey begun.
I picked PMP because it is acknowledged by different industries as the most useful certification for Project managers with demonstrated experience. PMI updates the syllabus to bring in best practices from the real life to the exam, and maintains high standards of this certification.
Benefits of PMP certification are immense. Although I did consider PSPO and PSM because my working environment is flexible and with agile approach you can be more adaptable to changes, then I decided to proceed with PMP certification exam.
What was the core benefit you expected from PMP?
I wanted to understand best practices and from the mistakes people have done. The core benefit is knowledge and implementation of what you have learned.
PMP is already helping me with networking – I have met many people with interests in my area of expertise. At my workplace I am engaged with more complex projects and I see that my colleagues have trust in me and value my opinion.
What did you use for the exam preparation?
Some of the study material I used are –
- Project management professional (PMP) Exam preparation (a face2 face course by projecta.bg) – to obtain 35 lecture hours.
- Rita Mulcahy (ad) – PMP exam prep 9th edition, PMBOK guide 6th edition only to cross check information from Rita’s book,
- Skillsoft preparation course – PMP Bootcamp with Expert Live and Encore course – training organized by my employer which I attended.
I consider the below mentioned tests as the most relevant to the experience I had –
- Tests after each chapter of Rita Mulcahy’s book
- Udemy test (600 questions) from here
- 200 questions from pmppracticeexam.org
- Oliver Lehmann (200 questions) here and online (100 questions) here
Just keep in mind what you will see on the exam has nothing to do with what you have seen.
You may be interested in: more hand-picked study resource and mock test recommendations here.
How did you approach the exam and what was your study plan?
Every Project Manager knows that “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail…” so I treated the preparation very seriously.
And then again it was a simple plan – I didn’t want to read everything available on the internet – I wanted to understand the logic and stick to the materials I had.
I read Rita Mulcahy’s book 2 times + did the tests and exercises there.
Then I learned how each process relates to others + all formulas. I attended 2 courses for preparation, but it’s not necessary for you to go that extra mile. I just got that opportunity to attend – so I seized it.
You really need to understand the material and then engage into solving at least 1000 questions, so you get familiar with the tempo.
In my view achieving more than 70% on the mock exams is also considered good to be successful on the real exam.
Awesome. Did you face any issues during your studies?
Time is essential. Managing time is very important. The longer you spend on preparation, the harder the end goal appears.
I would say by the time you are done with your exam you would be good at managing your time. 🙂 That’s one of the benefits of PMP certification process.
The biggest challenge is to plan your preparation and commit to the plan you have developed without any excuses. During holidays I was reading books.
I put a lot of focus on reading daily plus putting additional notes for everything that was unclear for me.
The week before the exam is crucial. How did you spend it?
I took 10 days of paid leave before the exam just to go through all the material and answer questions.
During this time I took many mock tests. I imagined I was in the testing center and that I have only 4 hours to complete 200 questions.
I trained myself by getting used to the same conditions as I will have on the day of my exam.
A day before the exam I went through my notes and tried to relax but I couldn’t sleep all night. I am usually not a nervous test taker, but I guess I took it very seriously.
Wow. What was your exam experience like?
I planned my time – got up on time although I couldn’t sleep all night, had breakfast in the morning. I was at the testing center 1 hour before the start time.
As soon as I reached I walked around a bit and tried to calm myself down. The staff was nice, the exam hall was very small security measures were ensured and overall it was a nice experience.
Some of the questions were long and and few were short.
I had to read some of them 2-3 times to really understand what they were asking me.
Don’t loose hope even if you think the questions are hard, don’t panic, just mark them and go to the next ones if you are not sure. Or choose the option you believe is the right one, mark it for review and move on.
I prepared with the mindset that the questions may appear as if I’m reading them for the first time – so that tough questions don’t bother me.
Plus, I didn’t leave any question without marking an answer,which turned out to be good thing. I had time to review only 5 from the 15 questions I had marked.
That’s why I think it is a good strategy to choose one of the options of every question you mark to take later.
When the time is over and you press “Ok” you see “Congratulations…”on the screen in front you -t hat is the moment when you just want to scream but you couldn’t at the testing center! ?
That’s amazing, Dayana. Any advice for PMP aspirants?
I would recommend taking notes of the areas you don’t understand well or where you do mistakes on the mock tests. That would help you memorize the correct approach.
Most importantly –
- Develop a study plan – it depends on what approach is successful for you, everyone is different. But have some plan.
- I love taking notes, but you may have stronger visual memory. Think in that direction. You may love to learn by watching videos. Check what helps you.
- Also test yourself as you were in the testing center – familiarize with the rules of it in advance.
- Book a date in advance of 2 months – only when you have the date as a fact you will start putting extra efforts in learning and practicing.
Finally, you can expect many benefits of PMP certification, including recognition, better profile, and even better compensation package. Identify what is important for you, and let it drive you towards your goal.
That’s all I have to share! I wish you all the best.
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