This week, Kelly Rodriguez reveals the process she used and passed PMP exam with Above Target score.
Kelly is a Petroleum Engineer and lives in Houston, Texas.
Kelly’s preparation was simple and effective, a perfect remedy if you are feeling the enormity of study content (rightly so!).
She narrated an interesting development, that tells you how effective her simple process was.
All she got was 3 days lead time for the exam, and she took it. And passed with AT in all 3 domains.
I highly recommend you follow her easy study strategy for at least 2-3 weeks and see the results you are getting.
I was pleasantly surprised with some of her insights and advice, and I think these will help you.
Let’s get started!
What made you take up PMP?
Ever since I started working in Projects in the Energy Industry, I felt that I had to get certified in a good project management certification exam.
PMP opens doors for many opportunities out there.
According to you, what is the one thing a PMP aspirant should have to prepare well?
First of all, focus.
Without focus, it is hard to make study progress. Especially for PMP.
The important thing to understand with PMP preparation is that it is a long-term game.
With so much of content to study—Predictive (50%), Agile & Hybrid (other 50% syllabus), and now PMBOK7 (few questions at least)—one has a lot to study.
Which means, it is quite easy to feel overwhelmed.
The challenge is to avoid the overwhelm and make regular progress.
And being focussed on one’s study makes it much easier.
The other aspect that helped me was setting up a daily study schedule.
Being able to dedicate an hour of study, every day, preferably at the same time of the day, is key to turn your prep effort into a routine.
Once it becomes a routine, it would not hurt as much.
Anything you set as a daily routine will assist to make quick progress. The compounding effect will kick in about 3 weeks, and you will see yourself growing in confidence.
Thus, I’d recommend to set up a fixed time to study. I studied for an hour or so daily. And on the weekends, for about 3-5 hours.
There is no need to study for 4-8hrs at a stretch and all that, in my experience just an hour of study per day also works just great.
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What was your approach and study plan?
I signed up for in-person classes for the 35 hrs course.
Afterwards, I studied for an hour or so daily. On weekends, I would study for 3-5 hours.
Which study resources did you use for your exam preparation?
Like I said earlier, I took an in-person course for main study.
Then I took, and recommend, Andrew Ramdayal’s PMP Prep videos on YouTube.
There are a lot of mock exams on internet, but I recommend TIA Mock Exams. I did all 6 mock exams and reviewed the questions I got wrong.
Watched Ricardo Varga’s video to understand the concept of PM. I think he breaks this down very well.
Did you face any difficulty along the way?
One of the difficulties I had at first was time.
While I was preparing for the PMP exam, I started working on a new project that really needed my time and attention.
What I did to overcome this, was to set up times to study with ZERO distractions: no phones, no people around, no emails, no social media.
The other challenge, I would not call difficulty, was setting up the exam date.
The best time to schedule the exam is the stage when you feel reasonably confident, with just enough time for another round of study/revision. Usually this could be a 2-3 weeks of time. If you schedule the exam too far, you may feel like you are forgetting what you’ve studied, and that is not a good feeling.
Actually, it is very funny the way I scheduled my exam.
I felt that I had studied and done too many mock exams, but I wasn’t sure I was ready to take the real exam. My scores in the mock exams were around 65%—75%, maximum was 84%.
It was a Wednesday when I decided to take a look at the PM website to check on available dates to take the exam (in person).
No dates were available dates 3 months later, and the only day of the month available was Saturday.
Can you imagine? Only 3 days left!!
Guess what I did?
Took a deep breath and scheduled my exam.
I passed PMP with 3 AT score, so I don’t regret it!
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How did you study in those 3 days?
I spent revising, BUT it is very important to not overwhelm myself.
I recommend going out for a walk, go to the gym, watch a movie.
Relax yourself a bit!
What was your actual exam experience?
I didn’t want to take online exam, due to the uncertainty of power/internet fluctuation. So I took the exam at a test center.
I took both the breaks, I feel it is necessary, so you can stretch, breath, drink water, go to the restroom.
Breaks are available after the first 60 questions of the exam and after 120 questions.
Type of questions: good mix of Agile, Hybrid, Traditional (Predictive).
I had ALL situational questions! (you may have a different combination, it depends on the test engine algorithm, I guess).
Know beyond just the definitions. Some choices will have correct answers from agile AND traditional, you will need to know what applies to which methodology.
Use common sense that a project manager will use and not particularly what you will use at work. Think from PMI’s perspective!
Don’t let anxiety keep you from setting a date and taking the exam. Breath. You’ve got this.
I passed PMP with a strategy that was least disruptive for my work, and I hope this will help those preparing for their exam.