Another ‘Woohoo!’ time it was for me last Saturday, as Syed Yaseen, my student of PM Exam Last Mile Prep program sent me a message on Skype that he just passed his online PMP exam.
“What’ your score, Syed?”, I asked excitedly. “Just missed what you told me on our first call – All 5 Above Target – by a whisker”, he said.
4 Above-Target and 1 Target score, that too after he advanced his exam date by whole 2 weeks, was nothing short of incredible.
Let us hear Syed Yaseen’s incredible PMP® journey in his own words..
What made you take up PMP®?
PMP® is the most coveted and globally recognized credential. Most employers seek project managers as highly skilled who are PMP® certified. Above all the learning you get after PMP® is so practical and can be applied to your multiple projects. This is truly worth every second you spend learning this.
Most of the people that I discussed with told me there is mathematics in PMP® and is very difficult etc. All these were proved to be wrong during my learning journey on PMP®.
I did consider other project management certifications over PMP®, although it appeared to be the most difficult one. It was my wife whom I am so thankful for, because she convinced me that there is nothing impossible or difficult. And this is what she helped me understand “sometimes you win, sometimes you learn”. There was no talk or thought of failure.
I am happy that I chose PMP® over others, more than being certified I thoroughly enjoyed the learning process and pushed my own limits.
What benefit you’d expect now that you are PMP certified?
As part of my work I have been partly responsible for some of the knowledge areas (Procurement, for instance), but never had any idea of what happens end to end. PMP® not only taught me all aspects of Procurement, Risk, Quality, and Resource Management but also how you can manage them the right way on a project.
I am 100% positive that being PMP® certified will create great opportunities and also will help me at my work place to apply the knowledge I have gained.
With multiple Cloud Computing certifications, being PMP® certified will help me take on challenging projects in my career.
Which study resources did you use?
PMBOK is the holy grail of PMP® certification. But this itself is a book of knowledge and may not be very easy to understand. Hence, many aspirants choose reference book, and I chose Rita Mulcahy. The exercises at the end of each knowledge area is really important and shouldn’t be skipped. It sets a baseline when you plan your revision and mocks.
Above all, I was so satisfied and lucky to have come across Shiv Shenoy’s PM Exam ‘Last Mile’ prep program. It not only wraps what is needed from exam point of view but will help you reassure your learning.
In conclusion my references were –
- PMBOK (cover to cover once)
- Rita’s book (cover to cover twice)
- PM Exam Last Mile prep program (end to end twice)
- Mock exams (chapter-end exercises and 5 full length mocks from Cornelius and Oliver)
I cannot stress enough the importance of taking as many mock exams as possible.
After taking each mock exam I would spend time to ensure that I understand why I choose the right answers and what went wrong for the questions that I got wrong. I call this ‘postmortem of mock exam’. This is really important to have the right thought process built for this exam.
How did you approach the online PMP® exam and what was your study plan?
For many 2020 is a year to forget/delete, but for me 2020 is the year I will never forget.
The COVID triggered lock down phase for me came as a blessing, and I made use of all the saved commute time and other hassles. I completely utilized this time by dedicating 4 – 5 hrs a day (except for Sundays) for PMP® study for nearly 9 weeks.
For the first pass I went along the Knowledge Areas which is the format of most of the books. But for second pass I chose to go along Process Groups so that I can understand which process group the question belongs to with ease.
This paved path for taking mock tests and then to analyze my answers for the questions.
I decided to take online exam with sufficient care. I had attended your webinar and downloaded the 21-point checklist for online PMP® exam, which came in handy. Took care to ensure undisturbed place and time, back up for power and internet failure etc. This was also a good risk management exercise 🙂
You were part of the PM Exam Last Mile prep program (thank you!). Could you share how it helped?
I did not come across last mile prep program by mistake, I did a lot of research, shortlisted few trainings and then finalized the ‘Last Mile’ program.
There are a lot of tools and techniques that Shiv has used to design this program – such as mnemonics, mind maps and Knowledge capsules. This is quite handy and very helpful to understand the concepts and clarify your understanding. This is the right way to study as PMP® does not test your knowledge, rather it tests how you apply the knowledge you have learnt.
I used to put in so much efforts to understand complex concepts in PMP®, but it was this program that helped me understand what is smart work and how we can make PMP® concepts simple.
I recommend this course to PMP® aspirants not only for the fun way of learning, but also because you get a mentor who spends time with you to guide you all along till the exam day.
Can you talk about the challenges you faced?
Having failed the exam once already last year it was disheartening to see missing out by a small margin. If not for my wife’s motivation I would have never shown courage to take up this exam again.
When you dedicate yourself to study and practice for PMP® exam it is very important to get all the support from people around you. Behind every success story there is a woman, and in my journey this woman was my wife. She not just stood by me during my preparation but assisted me by taking Rita’s exercises and turning them into a quiz game! Being a dentist herself I can only imagine how difficult this might have been for her.
Emotional support is very important from your family, I am thankful to my wife and parents for showing the confidence that I can pass this exam and is not a big deal. The efforts were immense and I hope I made them proud by achieving 4 Above Target and a Target score.
Third was time management on the exam.
I knew that on 90th question the exam offers a break. I had heard stories about how some people can miss out a chance to review previous questions at this point. So I went till 89th question and reviewed the questions I had marked for review till then. Then moved to the 90th question.
The week before the exam is crucial. What was your approach to study during this week?
This is the most important week of all in your PMP® exam journey. I managed expectations from work well so that I’m not called in for any emergencies.
Ensure that you are not expecting any urgent work during the last week leading up to the exam. If there are any emergencies please postpone your exam where you can give your mind 1 free week before exam.
I concentrated only on rectifying where I went wrong during my mock exams and didn’t practice or learn any new topics or new concepts.
For the last two days before exam, I didn’t even open anything related to PMP®. I was in the mode of talking to myself strengthening and reassuring of what concepts I already knew and concentrate on what I can do right.
Please share your Online PMP® exam experience.
My online exam was very smooth. I had a brand new laptop, uninterrupted power and broadband, no one at home and the door was locked from outside. 🙂
I ensure that,
- The room has sufficient ventilation (air and light).
- No clutter, mobile devices, additional screens are in this room.
- You may run the system requirements test on the machines where you will be taking the exam from, I did this 2 days before the exam day.
- On the exam day appear 45mins before the schedule, have your govt photo identification card (with signature) ready and you will be guided to upload this via a link, you are also required to take picture of yourself (selfie) and also all the sides of the room where you will be taking this exam from.
- There is an online proctor who can continuously watch you from your laptop camera and can also, record audio.
- I had a constant message in the camera where i could see myself that, in case if my face is not visible in that window then my exam results will be revoked.
- In my opinion if you have met the online proctoring criteria then you have nothing to worry and you can concentrate on exam. Just make sure you have backups for power and internet connectivity.
That’s awesome. Any specific suggestions for PMP® exam takers?
Based on my experience I suggest these points –
- Practice as much as possible
- Build an eco-system to understand the concepts and apply in practice
- Try to understand the process the question is pointing to.
- Have a pet project, ( i relocated 3 weeks before my exam to a new house) this was my pet project and it helped me understand a lot of points related to Scope and risk.
We all have heard about scenario based questions, do not be surprised if you come across a few scenario based answers to choose the most true statement about any topic.
From the ‘Last Mile’ program understand the tricks and tips of mnemonics and mind maps. You should be able to get lot more questions right.
About Syed Yaseen
Syed Yaseen is from Mysore but has been working in Bangalore, India for the last 10 years. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering Degree in Electronics stream and a Masters degree in Computer Networks.
He is currently working as a global technology manager for one of leading automobile companies in the world. Where he is responsible for product evaluation, product management and decisions which will impact global implementation in data center services.
He loves traveling, playing sports, and is a big time foodie. He is a level 7 local google guide reviewing the places of his visit, restaurants he eat and helping people choose the best of places and things they want to do.
“The adventure of life is to LEARN” is his mantra, and the proof is in the pudding – Syed has over a dozen certifications to his credit!