I passed my PMP exam with Above-Target score in all 5 domains. And in this post I would like to share my strategies for how to pass PMP exam with the best possible score.
Towards the end of this post you can also download the process mapping sheet I created for ready reference. This, I hope, will help PMP students.
My PMP Exam Result Report
I am a post graduate in Project Management and I always had this urge to get a global certification on project management.
To be very honest, my desire to obtain PMP certification was motivated by my wife, who, after coming to know about my goal, began to movitate and push me to take time out and study for the PMP exam.
Also Read: Planning Guide, how to pass PMP before PMBOK-6 exam kicks-in
My PMP study resources
I realized that there are way too many prep resources, and for a brief period this lead to a sense of overwhelm.
So I decided to keep it simple. I brought down my study resources to just 3 items –
- PMBOK 5th edition
- Rita Mulcahy 8th edition
- PMExamSmartnotes exam notes on each knowledge areas (free version here, advanced version here)
- I also used mock tests to get exam experience, I shall tell you the ones I used in a bit.
If you are in the initial stages of your PMP preparation, I would strongly suggest researching study resources online and locking down to top 2-3 that you would like to use. Trust me, this will save you so much time, avoids confusion, and makes it easier overall.
My PMP study approach & study plan
I allowed myself 6 weeks to study. During this time I read PMBOK and Rita books twice – once in detail and second time as a quick revision.
After finishing my first round, I started taking full-length mock tests during my weekly off days.
This allowed me to note gaps in my understanding and so I kept optimizing my study this way.
I practiced 4 mock tests before the exam. My effort was to maintain continuity in study and understand the PMI’s way of managing the project as far as possible. I maintained my list of topics which I felt should be revisited again.
I strongly believed in ‘understanding’ rather than ‘memorizing’ except for some formulas.
I did face few issues
For me the first major challenge was to take out time for study, as I was fully occupied in office and couldn’t concentrate at home with my adorable daughter around. Again, I’m thankful
Again, I’m thankful to my wife’s suggestion. With that, I stayed little longer after office hours in office and studied for PMP. This approach helped me a lot.
Secondly, I found it hard to understand Risk Management knowledge area and QA/QC processes. The only way was to press harder. I spent little more time on these areas, which made my understanding firm.
The week before the exam
This was a crucial period and I wanted to make good use of this week.
I planned not to do any first-time-study during this week, and keep it aside for revision and grey areas.
I focused more on ‘gaps in understanding’, and I took Rita’s knowledge area-wise tests.
How was your real exam experience
Real exam experience was very exciting.
I was able to complete one round of all 200 questions during mock exams in approx 2 hrs 30 mins. But in real PMP exam it took me 3 hrs and 35 mins!
I was left with only 25 mins to go through ‘marked for review’ questions.
Fortunately, I was able to go through again all ‘marked for review questions’ and knock them off within this remaining time.
So the general advice to all the aspirant is to keep in mind the concept of ‘do it right the first time’.
Take as many mock tests as you can and you will do well.
My specific study tips & downloadable sheet
While there are many, here are my top 3 tips –
- I would say that each and every individual is different and one should try to understand as early as possible the time she/he needs for study.
- Focus on understanding and not rote learning.
- Sleep well the night before your PMP exam.
I have filled this with with key inputs and outputs (spellings are not correct in it, just meant to fit in space). This sheet really helped me to revisit my understanding. You can take a printout and affix at your study space.
Akhilesh Dubey, PMP