“My online PMP exam experience is quite memorable, as I took it in spite of few butterflies in stomach, considering it was introduced recently” said Vinay Mishra as we began chatting after his PMP exam success.
Vinay is the founder and CEO of RoboTECH Worldwide Inc, and also works as a Sr. IT Project Manager (Consultant) for a leading bank in the US. Vinay is a BE, MBA and likes to travel and spend time with family and friends. Vinay lives in Canton, Michigan with his parents, wife and two little boys. In his free time he can be found bungee jumping, skydiving, or paragliding!
Vinay is a student of PM Exam Last Mile Prep program and passed his PMP exam on the first attempt, taking it online. I know! There is so much of hesitancy in people with online test, with so much of murmur going around.
The myths we busted and 3-part checklist shared on the webinar last week had inputs from Vinay’s experience as well. You will enjoy this ‘PMP Lessons Learned’ interview of Vinay, and hopefully, take a gem or two to incorporate in your own exam preparation – be it online or in the test-center.
What made you take up PMP, Vinay?
I wanted to get PMP certification for quite some time as I’ve been a project for quite some time.
Last year I completed Product Owner certification from Scrum Alliance considering the dynamic trends in the Information Technology industry. And PMP was a natural next step for me to take.
When PMP online exam was announced I decided to take it as I could avoid going out, and cut the tense exam hall experience altogether.
What was the benefit you expected from PMP certification?
I feel learning should never stop – especially for a project manager, as there are many newer methodologies and practices being used as the challenges of the businesses grow.
Getting certified and maintaining PMP is a great way to consistently learn and grow with Project Management Institution. One of the key benefits is the overall PMBOK guidelines which acts as a baseline for the exam and helps you succeed in the longer run.
Last but not the least getting PMP certified adds a lot of value to career growth. It also opens up lot of possibilities for networking as well as landing opportunities that test one’s mettle as a project manager.
Which study resources did you consider, and eventually used for the exam preparation?
I shortlisted few after some research and finally invested in the following. Let me also share how I used them in my preparation.
- Shiv Shenoy’s PM Exam Last Mile Prep Program & one-on-one weekly coaching. I went over the video modules + other supporting easy-on-brain modules – it is phenomenal.
- PMBOK Guide 6th Edition – I referenced this in 3 rounds
- PMP Exam Prep by Rita Mulcahy 9th edition (ad) – again, referred thrice
- Head First PMP (ad) – occasional reference
- 1000 Challenge PMP Questions 100 Questions per Knowledge Area – Mohit Arora
- Challenge Mock PMP Tests 1000 Questions to Challenge for your PMP- Mohit Arora
- Other sample mock exams (you can find few recommendations here)
What was your study plan?
My Study Plan was simple, and created together with Shiv. It took me close to 4 months total duration.
PM Exam Last Mile prep program has video modules with a unique mind-map based teaching. The mind maps from the KAs is a neat tool for revision, saving me ton of time and giving 100% coverage before the exam.
Along with the video modules it has fun ways of learning such as crosswords, mini-mocks, flashcards, and knowledge capsules to cement the understanding quickly and permanently.
The best practices for studying as well as preparing for the exam by Shiv (initial PMP Secret Strategies session) are very helpful. The program anticipated and removed any blockers along my study path.
Then the weekly coaching calls with Shiv kept me going, as he would quickly help me resolve any issues and keep going as per the study plan we created.
I dedicated two weeks before the exam for the mock tests.
How about any blockers?
Scoring more than 70% in the first few mock exams was very challenging for me. I began attempting a few after each round of study, and gradually gained confidence in my ability to manage time on the exam and answer questions quickly in succession.
This would be a challenge for any PMP student, I think – and the only way is to take mock tests using specific time management strategies.
I feel it helps tremendously to review 3 times minimum. After I completed first round of study, I began revising my notes and formulae daily. This kept me feel confident about entire syllabus.
The week before the exam is crucial. What was your approach to study during this week?
I used to maintain my study schedule consistent daily and make sure I give mock exams at the same time-of-the-day as my scheduled exam timeslot.
It is very critical to have Exam Focus strategy, make sure you have the bandwidth of not getting distracted by your work or any other family matters as you get closer to the exam.
What was your PMP online exam experience?
Exam experience was good as I took it from the comforts of my home.
Level of complexity was similar in anywhere from medium to high.
I feel that online test has its own pros and cons, as I was very much concerned by the potential internet bandwidth issues or outage etc.
I am glad it worked out well as they run the tests to make sure your system complies to the speed and such.
Any specific study tips or advice?
First of all, I would say try to give the exam with a well thought out but short plan, don’t procrastinate. Not now especially, in view of the impending new exam which I hear is going to be much harder.
Last year I had to cancel my exam once as I was not scoring much in mock exams and didn’t felt I was ready. This year when I discovered Shiv’s PMP Last Mile program it turned out to be instrumental for my success.
Secondly, please make sure you learn and revise the important topics and learning guides (including formula and checklists) multiple times.
Also since the new exam will not change till Jan 2021, I feel this is a perfect time to clear the exam before exam changes.
Lastly, PMP online exam might seem a bit unnerving, I understand. But if you can make sure you have a plan-B for all eventualities, you will not just enjoy the experience but pass it sitting in your bedroom even. 🙂
I hope my experience helps you pass your exam.
Best of luck,