Let me guess. You have a demanding job, tough project, and probably long daily commute. And you wonder how to get PMP certified when you are so busy. Well, Richard’s interview here should at least give you few pointers to master your PMP prep. Richard did it with seemingly impossible circumstances.
“I had talked with many senior and executive managers about what their thoughts were on the certification and frankly, they didn’t put too much into the value of the cert. In contrast to their beliefs though, they always were looking for PMs who hold a PMP!“, said Richard Kayner when I interviewed him after his PMP exam.
If you thought that insight is powerfully true, wait till you learn about his prep journey. I find his strategy of choosing study resources effective, and study strategy near perfect. It had to be – he didn’t have the luxury of time for his PMP study.
Richard is Program Manager at Boeing, and is an experienced project management professional having delivered multiple complex projects successfully.
Richard’s experience is, by far, one of the finest PMP preparations you would read about. I’m sure that in this article you will find at least one or two pointers to use in your own exam preparation.
What made you take up PMP? Did you consider any alternatives?
I have been wanting to get my PMP for a long time – I think since I started my Bachelor’s degree. I had talked with many senior and executive managers about what their thoughts were on the certification and frankly, they didn’t put too much into the value of the cert.
In contrast to their beliefs though, they always were looking for PM’s who hold a PMP. All the job postings I saw for the higher jobs that I wanted, they all required a PMP.
I decided that I’ll figure out how to get PMP certified and get it for my future goals.
I did look into few other certifications available for project management, but discovered that majority of job postings for PM positions require a PMP.
And with a good reason.
It is one of the complete project management certification exams and is regularly updated by PMI to bring in the best practices followed around the world.
What was the core benefit you expected from PMP certification?
One of the core benefits that I expect from getting the PMP is a greater sense of pride for the work that I do.
Second is the subtle recognition from others that I know how to perform as a PM. That may sound a little…. anarchistic, but I believe as a PM, you should know who you are and what you are capable of. And having a PMP certification helps others to understand that you know your way around project management.
Only other thing I hope to attain is job promotion.
How do you see PMP helping you henceforth?
As previously mentioned, I hope that my PMP can help to propel me in my future job prospects of becoming a program manager within where I work in Aerospace.
From those that I have talked to, the PMP is definitely going to help take many years off the minimum experience that is needed.
Which study resources did you consider?
I used a combination of resources, which I considered best – considering the fact that most of us are visual learners. They were –
- Sandra Mitchell’s LinkedIn Learning exam prep (video course)
- Rita McCulley’s exam prep book #ad (book)
- Oliver Lehmann’s 100 mock questions that are tough (mock test) – find more mock tests here.
That’s a good simple strategy. What was your study plan?
I actually had to reschedule my exam because I wasn’t able to get my study time in.
So I pushed it out by a month and buckled down on studying.
I would dedicate the last 2 hours of my night for 3 weeks before the exam to just studying, practicing my brain dump, and doing practice tests.
I’m sure there were few blockers along the way.
Well to start with, I found out that my wife was pregnant when I first started applying for the PMP. Also, I had to juggle my Master’s degree and full-time work that requires me to travel often and I usually have to take over the troubled programs.
Even though I had these issues in place, I would strive to keep to my plans; I mean, that’s what I do for a living right? 🙂
So I prepared a plan to work to.
I would always take the first 15 minutes of my day to plan everything out of what I had to do and how to best go about it, and I also made sure that I always kept my family time sacred. Making sure I put my family first, I would put down my books and study time whenever my daughter would ask me to play with her. Those times helped me to reset my mind and put me at ease.
The week before the exam is crucial. What was your approach to study during this week?
For the week before, I made sure to plan with my wife the support that I would need and we figured out the best plan of action together.
From this, we found that I should dedicate 3 hours a night to study. She would help me with flashcards. And I would commit to writing out my brain dump from memory at least 10 times per night.
How was your exam experience?
You know, the exam was very straight forward and the staff were very helpful in keeping things quiet and helping to get me through the entry process quickly.
I found that I was actually a lot more calm about the exam when I remember to keep a smile on my face. It gives a little extra boost of confidence in the answers I chose and helped me to remember that I really knew the answers to the questions.
The exam was put together really well and I felt that I had actually over prepared for it, which was a relief.
I was happy to have passed it and chose to go out and celebrate with my family by going out to dinner and the park. After all, we were all in the test together because we all sacrificed for it, not just me.
I do appreciate that I got the print out at the end finding out that I should focus some more learning and experience with the Closing domain.
Grab this opportunity today!
Richard, your experience is a tremendous learning experience for PMP aspirants. Any specific study tips?
Just a few I think.
- Give time to your family. No matter how much you feel you need to study, that time with your family will help you the most.
- When it comes to the study, make sure you plan how you will study.
- Take pre-test mock tests to figure out your areas that need the most work and focus on those.
- Using mental tricks like mnemonics are very helpful!
And that is how you get PMP certified. 🙂
I hope that my experience and insights help those finding it hard to study because of multiple responsibilities. Good luck!
Also Read: How to get PMP certified with a scholarship!