“Limit PMP exam resources, else you may be hit with Information Overwhelm”, said Ravi, after acing PMP with Above Target in all 3 domains.
Ravi Vamanamurthy has an MBA in Finance, and for the past 5 years he has been managing projects in Information Technology domain.
Thankfully he found a way around each, and shared them in this interview.
I hope, just like he found inspirations from successful PMPs, you too will find something from Ravi’s experience.
What made you take up PMP?
I have a background in finance. About 5 years ago, I got an opportunity to graduate into project management.
As soon as I became a project manager, I wanted to have the best of the project management education. Also, I needed to establish my credibility fast.
Upon researching, I came across Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from PMI. It felt like the best way to hit both my goals.
Although I came across other certifications, none of them seemed as comprehensive and well-received in the industry as PMP.
Now that I am PMP certified, I have been able to steadily expand my network. PMI’s membership is a great opportunity to learn from the best and network with the best.
I feel confident that PMP will help me manage complex projects, establishing myself as an effective project manager.
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According to you, what is that ONE thing every PMP aspirant must have?
A deep desire to acquire PMP certification.
Tell you what, PMP is not a simple certification exam to pass. You can’t spend few weekends of study and hope to pass the exam.
For one, there are no strict boundaries around what exactly constitutes PMP content (aligned with PMP syllabus – that is the Examination Content Outline document).
Thus, you are never sure that you are 100% ready.
Secondly, with the inclusion of Agile and Hybrid content, AND PMBOK-7 to the mix now, there is a lot of content to study for PMP.
Then again, there is a strong financial commitment. A failure to pass the test will set you back by few hundred dollars and few weeks (if not months) at one go.
Lastly, when you aim for PMP you are typically managing multiple projects and already swarmed with work that doesn’t leave much of a time for the study.
We need to make PMP happen.
Thus, a DEEP desire to get PMP is essential to get over any hurdle life may throw on the path.
Once you have this resolve, everything else will fall in place with regard to your preparation.
Here’s the secret to make this easier.
Find a way to enjoy your studies!
Once you bring in the fun element into study, you will look forward to studying the bits and the journey gets easier.
I did this by applying PMP concepts to every conceivable “project” – from my current project scenarios, to planning a vacation, to visualizing my dream projects.
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Which PMP exam resources did you use?
- First, I studied Rita Mulcahy book to understand the basics. The concepts are well explained in the book.
- I then referred to PMBOK and Agile Practice Guide for overall study.
- Also, I took up Joseph Phillips Udemy course for initial 35 contact hrs and then the Cram session.
- I went through cram session after I completed my preparation. This helped me in revising all the key concepts.
- Finally, I took mock exams online. The mock test papers were very useful as it gave me a perspective of how the actual PMP exam would be.
What was your approach and study plan?
My study plan was for 5 months, end to end.
First objective was to acquire the 35 contact hrs for eligibility, while getting an overall understanding of the content landscape.
Then I started in-depth preparation for the exam.
I could not study much on week days due to office work, and compensated for it by studying for additional hours over the weekends.
Procrastination was the key blocker.
This does happen if there is no study routine in place. And tends to happen if we are not working against a exam deadline.
I overcame this by looking over many PMP success stories to draw inspiration.
Then there was information overwhelm.
Initially, as I started preparing, I used to read about different PMP sources for preparation. That really got me crazy.
I then realized not to refer to different PMP exam resources/materials/videos. I planned to choose the material I am comfortable with for studying, and I stuck to my study plan.
There are too many resources/material for PMP on the internet. It is very important to do the research and choose the options that work best for you. And then stick to them.
The week before the exam is crucial. How did you spend this week?
This is the time when anxiety kicks in.
I tried to avoid this by diverting my mind from anxiety and by focusing on the benefit of doing this well.
I did not spend too much time studying in this week, and rather decided to revise essential points I’d made note of.
It is better to avoid any new study resource during this period. Keep revising the material you’ve studied thoroughly.
Preferred not to take any any mock tests as well during this period.
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What was your exam experience?
I took the online exam option and wrote from home.
I had to check in 30 minutes before the scheduled start time to complete all the formalities.
The exam experience was good.
Opting for both the breaks, I took the first break for 5 minutes and the second break for 10 minutes.
It felt that we can answer the questions without much anxiety if the preparation is good.
Secondly, I avoided looking at the timer on the screen too much, I felt it made me tense and lose focus.
It is best to think in terms of blocks. Let’s say 30 questions every 40 minutes or so. Have a glance at the timer once in a while to see where you stand with regard to the number of questions left and the time remaining.
Would you like to share any study tips for PMP students?
- First, complete the 35 contact hours by research & choose study material for PMP exam and then dive in-depth study with a plan.
- Also, become member of PMI and keep checking the website once in a while for any updates on PMP.
What I have explained in this conversation are things and approaches that worked for me. I am aware that not everything might resonate with those preparing for PMP exam.
That’s why I’m for a research-and-development approach. Research the PMP exam resources that work for you, a study plan that suits your timelines, and techniques that you find useful.
Experiment and stick with those that produce results for you.
All the best,