Rajasekar Rajendran always had a penchant for learning. Working for an IT major for about 9 years specializing in Quality Assurance and Agile-Scrum practices, he felt the need to get PMP trained.
He is one of the active PMESN community members and it wasn’t surprising that he aced his PMP certification with ‘Above Target’ overall score.
If you had time to read just one ‘PMP Lessons Learned’ article ever, I would recommend it to be this one. Because Rajasekar’s PMP journey and his study tips based on insights are sure to give you the motivation and support you may need.
What triggered your desire to take up PMP exam?
I earned my Professional Scrum Master (PSM-I) certification last August. After that I was contemplating of getting comprehensive knowledge about all the aspects of project management.
A casual talk with one of my colleagues kindled my interest in taking up PMP exam.
Now that you PMP trained, what changes would you foresee in near future?
It would definitely create some profound impact personally and professionally.
I am going to perceive and deal with things differently and can manage everything in a better way. It will help me perform as a better project manager.
Achieving PMP certification has created some positive vibes around me in the workplace and is going to bring in some better opportunities.
I always have had desire to learn relentlessly and would try to help others by sharing the knowledge that I’ve acquired. So, there are plenty of opportunities coming my way to share with others and reap collective benefits.
What study resources did you consider, and eventually used for the exam preparation?
Here is the list of the books I referred to:
- Completed Online training from SimpliLearn (review here)
- PMBOK (you can get free by becoming PMI member)
- Kim Heldman Study Guide & practice questions book
- Joseph Phillips Study Guide
- Subscribed to Shiv’s PMP tips and regularly practiced sample questions from his Facebook page, and LinkedIn study group downloaded free resources and study guides.
- Dan Ryan webinars
- Christopher Scordo
- Oliver Lehmann’s mock questions
How did you approach the exam and what was your study plan?
When I started my preparation in October last year, there were many distractions.
Busy work schedule, commitments on personal front, social commitments, and even unexpected sickness. I made up my mind to get PMP trained by first quarter no matter what challenges I face.
It sure was difficult, bur gradually I was able to curb distractions them and began instilling new study habits to keep pace with my preparation.
Time management was key and I didn’t get sufficient time to consistently on weekdays. However, I could spend more time on weekends to catch up with my learning targets.
Setting up target date is crucial. I set target dates for each of the chapter in the books I referred to and for beginning/concluding any other task.
Also Read: How I used a simple simulator strategy to study for my PMP exam – by Carole Swift, PMP
Can you please tell our readers about some of the issues you faced during your PMP journey, and how did you overcome them?
Whenever I felt stumbled with any concepts or any practice questions, I would stop it right there and do another round of study. This approach gave me a succinct view of the concepts and make my study simpler.
One of the major challenges I faced was fear of failing.
If you are feeling something similar, please know that you are not alone.
I could get over this fear by focusing more on studies and by staying on track and avoiding distractions. It gave myself a shot in the arm by reading through many success stories of PMP certification holders.
You can not just find motivation by understanding others PMP journey, you can use many study techniques and tips from them. I would like to thank Shiv for the tremendous job of gleaning lessons learnt from people across the world and this approach really created triggers for me to keep moving ahead whenever I was slowing down.
How did you prepare in the week prior to the exam?
To be honest, I was bit nervous about the exam in the week prior to my exam. Because I was diagnosed with Chickenpox and was not completely recovered from the sickness.
However, I decided to be resolute and I decided to not procrastinate my exam any further. I also didn’t want any schedule slippage to occur as my initial commitment to myself was to get PMP trained before end of first quarter.
Also Read: An US army veteran’s amazing approach to get PMP trained – by Mark Brock, PMP
What was your exam experience like?
Travelling to the exam center was like a herculean task for me as this is the bit long travel after I recovered from sickness.
I didn’t lose the momentum after entering the center and kept saying to myself:
“You are here to succeed, nothing can stop you”
“When the going gets tough, the tough gets going”
I felt like the exam was of moderate difficulty and I didn’t want to take any break.
I had marked around 35-40 questions for review. With only 40 mins left to review, I did a quick check on those questions and changed answers for only a few of them.
Despite all the difficulties, I managed to pass with the “Above Target” performance rating.
What was your PMP exam result?
- My overall result: Above Target
- My results by PG wise:
- Initiating: Above Target
- Planning: Above Target
- Executing: Target
- Monitoring & Controlling: Above Target
- Closing: Below Target
You might have noticed that I scored Below Target in Closing domain, and still scored Above Target overall. Yes, that is possible!
What are some of the specific study tips you’d like to share for PMP prep?
I know I should have done better in the Closing process group in the exam, nevertheless, I messed up few questions, because I had marked a lot of questions for review and I should have done some scrutiny on those.
My sincere advice is to keep practicing.
Practice more mock questions, until you develop the grit and confidence in you.
As the famous saying goes, SWEAT MORE IN TRAINING — BLEED LESS IN BATTLE!
I would also advise the aspirants to follow Shiv’s tips often to make your journey an easy and enjoyable one…
Thank you, Shiv, for your unwavering support to the aspirants in the learning journey. I subscribed to your PMP study tip emails by end of September and never missed any of your emails. I loved each of them and learnt a lot from them with the additional tips for personal growth apart from the study tips. You are a special mentor, author and a life coach too…
My best wishes for every PMP aspirant,