This week Swapna Basana shares how she built a successful PMP® campaign. Swapna lives in the beautiful city of Austin in Texas. With a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering, she have 15 years of experience working in various startups as well as fortune 50 companies. Swapna loves running outdoors and exploring different parks with her kids.
Tell us the reason you took up PMP®
Ever since I started working in the Project management field I wanted to get formal project management education. On researching the certification possibilities the PMI PMP® stood out for me as the gold standard sorts.
I had planned to take this exam couple of years ago, but had to postpone because of new job.
Now that I am certified I hope PMP will help me achieve the dream of being the best project manager that I can be. I got the confidence to believe in myself and handle anything once I saw that Congratulations message.
Which study resources did use in your preparation?
Couple of years ago I used Simplilearn course for a little bit, but then I felt I needed something more when I took up preparation seriously.
Upon researching a lot I selected Shiv Shenoy’s PM Exam Last Mile Prep Program as I felt having a mentor is what I need apart from the course materials. Shiv was a very good mentor who helped me through tough phases of the preparation.
For practicing the tests I used Cornelius’ PrepCast simulator.
Also read: Discover Vijay’s secret to a successful PMP run!
How did you build a successful PMP® campaign?
When I setup my test date I felt like I had a lot of time and did not focus on much my preparation. As the exam date was getting closer though about 3 months before the exam date I started getting very serious.
With all the 3 kids mostly at home because of schools partly closed, I needed some amount of planning to be done in order to carve out time for me to study.
Thankfully I was able to get into a rhythm after some trial and errors. I used Shiv Shenoy’s 12-week plan as my exam study plan which helped me immensely.
At a high level, this is how it worked out as a successful PMP® Campaign –
- I researched and chose the best possible study resource that I am enjoy learning from
- Got a mentor that can help me get past blockers, act as a sounding board, and help me accelerate the study
- Worked a study plan with the mentor and refined it as ‘life happened’
- Practiced my 4hr ‘craft’ with an awesome exam simulator
- Hit the milestones – the final one being the exam!
This was my PMP study approach –
- Initially I read PMBOK first time and did not understand or remember anything. 🙂
- Signed up and went through videos of PM Exam Last Mile prep course, and that helped. I retained good knowledge after doing all the mock tests and couple of free resources.
- Also, the weekly conference calls with Shiv helped give me the push to accelerate.
- I did the first PrepCast exam and got only 72% and was disappointed. Spent 8 hours after the exam analyzing the questions, not just the wrong answers. This was the key for me to improve on my understanding.
- Next I reread the PMBOK and also Shiv Shenoy’s video course at 2X speed and re-did all the mocks.
- Took PrepCast second exam, score was around 74% – slight improvement but a positive sign of improvement.
- Then I realized I need to know all the outputs of the processes. I watched Ailleen’s YouTube video everyday 2 times and learned and understood all the outputs.
- Took the next PrepCast test, and scored around 79%!
- Spent another 2 days analyzing the whole 200 questions.
- I followed the same process till I took all the 7 mock tests from the simulator and ITTO questions. My first attempt PrepCast results averaged 75% in all the 7 mock exams – which is what the simulator advises targeting for.
- I took the PMI mock exam 3 days before my actual exam, got only 65%. Majorly down, went back to some more serious studying.
Finally took the exam and passed with 3 Above Target score! 🙂
Ad: Are you wondering how to study for PMP Exam? Get PMP certified in next 6-8 weeks.
Stop worrying! Take this smart way to pass the new 2021 PMP® exam, using the following combination –
- PM Exam Last Mile prep program – learn the rock solid foundation and the ‘predictive’ part (AND the free strategies course) – with support for PMI application & same-day support for content queries!
- Cornelius’s PMP® booster program – top up your study with the ‘agile-hybrid’ content needed for the new exam
- The 2021 PMP® Simulator – take the dry run, practice time management, use analytics to hit the required threshold!
– OR –
You have been part of PM Exam Last Mile prep program (thank you!). Could you please share how it helped you?
The weekly calls with Shiv really helped me be on track and accelerate. Also the mind map based videos of the course and the 12 week study plan were immensely beneficial.
Any issues along the way?
My main issue was getting a few hours at a stretch on a daily basis for studying.
However as time passed I figured that even 30 mins of focused study works wonders. So whenever I had few minutes of break I just focused on the PMP study and tried to build on it.
The fact that I had a study plan to follow helped me keep moving forward, keep making progress. I believe that having a daily study momentum is crucial part of PMP preparation.
Start-stop kind of study habit creates more friction, even few minutes per day is better rather to keep momentum.
The week before the exam is crucial. What was your approach to study during this week?
I left the 2 weeks before the exam for doing practice exams.
The toughest part was doing the exam and spending 8 hours on each question after the exam and understanding it.
The PrepCast simulator was awesome at this.
What was your exam experience like?
I took the exam at the test center.
The check-in process was pretty smooth.
There was a break at 89th question and I took the 10 min break. Then came back and finished the rest of the questions with 2 minutes to spare.
I did not want to go back and check my answers as I always mess up (not that I could do many in 2 minutes 🙂 ).
Once the time is up, I was praying and was so happy to see the Congratulations message.
What are some of the specific study tips, you’d like to share?
- Having a mentor is very important. Shiv is a very good mentor. The weekly phone calls helped me a lot.
- Having a study plan and striking to it.
- Making sure to do the practice exams for 4 hour exams, at a stretch. At least 2 weeks before the exam.
- Have a dedicated time everyday, PMP is a marathon and not a sprint.
- Just practice, practice and you will succeed.
I wish you all the best. If you tend to procrastinate, simply commit yourself to the study with a mentor and it helps get the ball rolling.
From there, like I mentioned all you need to do is put in some effort on a daily basis, work with the mentor and look to accelerate.
Go build your successful PMP Campaign.
All the best!,