My PMP journey started 3 months back, when I decided I need to get certified and also learn how I can use PMI’s best practices in my daily work.
The first thing I realized while starting the PMP preparation was how each project is managed differently and how guidelines set out by PMP can be of enormous help in managing the project efficiently.
I passed my PMP exam and would like to share what I learned along the way.
My PMP study approach & tips
1. I decided that I was going to study not only to get certified but also to use PMI’s project management guidelines to better manage the projects I work on. This mindset helped me investigate many concepts in detail and the long-term benefits of this approach kept me motivated to study when chips were down.
2. I enrolled for a 4-day PMP training. It helped me get an overall view about how to plan for my certification. I would recommend an online course which you can pace as per your need, rather than the classroom training that forces to cramp too much information in 4 days. (few reviews here and here).
4. Mock tests: At home, I was able to answer consistently 140+ questions under two hours, but on the actual exam I took over 3 hours 40 min to answer 200 questions! Therefore I suggest practicing as many mock tests are you can, and for best assessment take a fresh test each time so you will not be answering previously answered questions. This approach is a good validation of your progress. Also, each time you take a mock test, go over the answers to understand the logic behind answers. This is one of the best ways to utilize exam simulators to prepare for your PMP exam.
5. I spent more than 25 minutes in writing down the brain dump (which was quite helpful). Practice writing down your brain dump under 10-12 mins. Even if your exam center does not allow to write down brain dump (as it is reported by few people) this practice will help you remember necessary information rather quickly.
6. I used the entire 5 sheets of paper provided to me and I was short of space for last few question. Manage your sheets well – if you ask for more papers the exam staff will take back the previously issued sheets.
7. I was able to review around 10 (out of 15) questions that I had marked to answer in the end. I guess I changed answers for at least 5 of them. Even if you are not sure of the answers to toughest questions mark one of the options as answer (as last resort) – you’ll still have 25% probability of getting it right. Remember, there is no negative marks for answering incorrectly.
8. My strategy was to answer most of the question in my first attempt and not leave to much for reviewing at later stage (I ended up marking just 15 questions out of 200 for review).
9. I also attribute my success to the PMP lesson learned section at PMExamSmarNotes.com, which helped me plan my study and also helped me understand what to expect during the actual exam, and how to come up with a suitable strategy. Learning from the experience of other successful PMP students can help us avoid many pitfalls.
Thanks Shiv for having a forum which has helped me a lot during my preparation.
Imran Khan, PMP