“Best way to get PMP certified is simply to plan to study every day, even it is for 30 minutes”, summarizes Karuna Kul.
This week Karuna shares her unique approach based on strong understanding of what it takes to get PMP certified. Karuna has an M. Tech. in Civil Engineering and works as a Project Engineer at Doha. In her free time Karun loves reading and traveling.
Let us hear from her.
What’s been your overall experience with PMP®?
I wanted to enhance my knowledge in project management, and hence I decided to get PMP certified.
I did not choose this over any other certification at that time. Now that I am certified, I can clearly see that the PMP study journey itself has made me the better Project Manager that I was before.
During the preparation phase I got the opportunity to learn all the aspects of project management. This itself gives me the pure confidence that I can manage the projects more effectively now.
Awesome! Which study resources did you use?
For exam preparation I used the following –
- Rita Mulcahy’s “PMP Exam Prep” book
- PMBOK guide from Project Management Institute
- Few simulators for mock exams [get a list here]
- For concept clarification, the PMESN blog
One word of advice for those preparing for the exam: not everyone studies the same way, so do the research and identify which study resources you like to use.
And then stick with them.
Also read –
How did you approach the exam and what was your study plan to get PMP® certified?
I passed the exam with 4 months of dedicated study (and no social media for these 4 months).
I used “The Magic Three” formula as suggested in Rita’s book, which essential means that one needs to study the material 3 times to get a good grip.
In the first 7 weeks I read Rita’s book in depth twice. In the second reading many concepts got clearer and I understood the topic thoroughly and I could correlate each Knowledge Area and process with the rest of the Knowledge Areas and processes.
After I finished reading the book, I solved the practice test given in Rita’s book at the end of each chapter.
This gave me a baseline of how much I have learned and on which topic I need to focus more. While reading Rita’s book I used the PMBOK guide when in doubt about any topic.
Only then I began with the PMP mock tests.
I had given four mock tests sources –
Rather than just taking more mock tests, I emphasized on analysis of each mock test.
I spent 3-4 days analyzing each mock test and understanding my strengths and weaknesses.
This allowed me to focus my study time on the weak topics.
What’s the best way to get PMP® certified in your opinion?
It has to be a combination of multiple factors – choice of study resources, study plan, commitment and so on. In my case though the single most factor has been the practice of studying every day.
This may seem simple, but I cannot overstate the benefits.
If you don’t study for even a week it becomes harder to recall previously learned concepts. Such experience can lower our morale, and make us second guess our choices and decisions.
Thus studying every single day is the best approach to get PMP certified, is my opinion.
Since I did not know how many hours I will get each day, I did not have daily study goals and focused on making the most of the study time I got.
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Thanks for being part of our PMP® community. Could you please share how it helped you?
I referred PMExamSmartNotes blog articles throughout my study for the topics which I was unclear about.
The notes are very clear and concise and it helped me to strengthen my knowledge in weak areas.
I am thankful to Shiv for sharing all PMP notes on the blog for the benefit of all those that are studying to get PMP certified.
Did you face any issues along the way?
My PMP journey was a roller coaster ride as I need to give attention to my 1 year old kid, in addition to managing work demands and taking care of the family.
I realized early into my studying that PMP is not an easy certification to prepare, and that studying every day is key.
My family was a big support throughout. My husband was making sure I would get a minimum two hours daily in the evening to study. And this gave me a way to consistently keep the learning efforts going.
And finally I passed with above target in all domains! I did experience the truth that to pass the PMP exam one needs to have 100% dedication and put in hard work.
What was your approach to study during during last week?
The last week was crucial.
In the last week, I skimmed through all the topics in Rita’s book for the third time. With this, I understood each topic thoroughly and from all angles.
Again, I referred to the PMExamSmartnotes blog to revise the complex topics.
What was your exam experience like?
I opted for the online exam mode. The exam was conducted very professionally by the PearsonVUE proctor.
There were no technical hurdles in my exam. It started on time.
The first set of questions were very tricky and I felt as if many of them had two right answers.
Then it began getting better, or maybe I got into the rhythm of understanding and answering much better. More questions were on change control, schedule management, cost, and risk management. All these three were my favorite topics so I enjoyed the exam experience thoroughly.
I finished my exam 9 mins ahead of time and spent time reviewing the answers.
And finally, I was super happy to see the ‘Congratulations’ message and pass with an Above Target score in all the domains.
Would you like to share study tips?
To pass the PMP exam one needs dedicated study and hard work.
- Start by choosing good study resources, because time is more valuable than money.
- Once you choose the study resources, don’t fish around for more or free materials – this will save lot of unnecessary waste of time and confusion. Simply make a study plan and get down to the business.
- Of course, things may not go as per the plan (who knows this better than us, the project managers!) but the fun is to keep going by refining the plan when we get off track.
- Avoid distractions – social media, news sites, etc. A hobby would be a great relaxation between the study slots though.
I believe that daily undisturbed study should be for at least 2 hrs during weekdays and 4 hrs on weekends is essential.
This approach is much simpler to get PMP certified in 2-3 months’ time, all the while managing work and family commitments.
Finally, no matter what you read or hear, what works for one may not work just the same way for another. Please try out what resonates with you and find your own best way to get PMP certified.
All the best!
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