I passed my exam with perfect PMP score of ‘Above Target‘ in all process groups on my very first attempt.
I was quite nervous during the 30-45 seconds while I waited with bated breath for the result to appear on the screen. Lot of thoughts were gushing in my mind and I felt like that I lived an entire life in those 30-45 seconds. Then the result popped up, and I felt that all my hard work had paid off.
My single most objective was to get my PMP before the new syllabus based exam started. I made many sacrifices to get the result I had dreamed of. Let me share my PMP journey experience with you.
The ground work
I thought of taking up PMP certification in March 2017 when I heard from lot of my office colleagues that it would enhance your Project management skills. The fact that it is one of the toughest exam to clear made my resolve to conquer it stronger.
I started looking for all the prerequisites, I found all the information related to PMP in my company intranet, and and by May I got my 35 contact hours’ certificate by enrolling into Lynda’s training course.
My study began with PMBOK guide and after a week I realized that it contained lot of theory and I would not be able to complete the studies in 2 months. I found myself in the same position as I was in month of May and figured I had to do something to increase the pace of my PMP study.
Next, I started looking for websites/blogs that can help me simplify PMP study effort. I came across PM-Exam-SmartNotes and readily subscribed to the 11-day free PMP Study Blueprint email course and PMP exam tips from other PMPs’ lessons learned articles.
From Shiv’s notes I felt that I can do PMP and its not much tough. My resolve to get PMP certificate before 3/26 kept me going even when I faced blockers.
My PMP resources and prep plan
One tip I picked up from other people’s PMP experience is to avoid overwhelm. This I think is a main cause for delayed start to PMP preparation. Google search for PMP study material bring up so many things that it leads to information overwhelm.
To avoid this, do your research and lock down few study materials.
These are the resources I used during my preparation.
- iZenbridge video by Saket Bansal
- Head First PMP book
- PMBOK guide
- Rita Mulcahy’s Book
- PMESN’s 11-day PMP Study Blueprint
I found that reading Head First PMP book was fun to read and brain-friendly way to understand concepts, so I combined that with PMBOK simultaneously. This allowed me to complete all the chapters in 15 days – which gave me a basic idea of all the knowledge areas, process groups and the process.
I used my commute time and free time at office to watch PMP videos and online notes. This helped me make progress on a continuous basis by taking baby-steps. Best use of your time!
The second round of study
Once I was done with first round of PMBOK and Head First PMP study, I took up Rita’s book for 15 days.
Now I was getting clearer in my head about the concepts.
A month passed and I felt for the first time that I could give PMP exam by month of Nov.
I began scouting for free mock tests and attempted Oliver’s 175 free question mock. I was able to score 71% – which gave me some confidence.
Next step for me was creating my own mind maps for all the ITTOs. But I found it hard to remember, so I slightly changed my approach. I pasted a lot of blank papers on my room’s wall and started writing on those blank papers whenever I understood any concept.
I would write down on these blank papers the concepts as though I was explaining to someone.
With this approach made me realize that now I was able to remember the flow of all the process and that I could relate to their ITTOs with more ease.
Finally, in month of Oct, I submitted my PMP application and on 6th Nov I booked my exam for 21st Dec.
Still, with plenty of office work and few personal commitments I thought of postponing the exam, but then something inside me told to get it through no matter what. I’m thankful to that voice – I went ahead with 21st Dec and aced my PMP exam with Above Target score!
My prep during the week before the exam
I was bit relaxed as I had covered all basics, but there was only one fear in my mind.
I had not taken as many mock tests as I had liked.
Overall, I took only 3 full free mock tests and my highest score was 74%.
But I didn’t lose confidence and a day before exam I spent the evening playing with my little daughter, relaxed as much as I could, and slept at 10 pm.
My exam was scheduled for 8 am slot the next day.
The exam day!
The night didn’t go peacefully. I woke up several times and I felt the nervousness of the exam. Finally as the dawn broke I woke up, got ready and reached the center by 7:15 am.
The Prometric exam center is close to my house, so I was familiar with the place. As candidates started to trickle in, I settled at my desk at 7:50 am to take my PMP exam.
I planned to take one break but I don’t know how those 4 hours went by, and I did not get chance to move from my desk. 🙂
The questions were not so lengthy but mostly were situational based. EVM questions were easy but they were limited to 3-4.
One thing that surprised me was that there were lot of questions from Stakeholder and HR. I was not expecting so many questions from these KAs.
I completed 200 questions in about 3 and a half hours and reviewed all the marked question in the remaining 30 minutes. With 3 seconds left, I clicked ‘End Exam’ button.
At the end of exam, I was confident that I will pass but didn’t really expect that I would get ‘Above Target’ in all Process Groups! Thank God for this.
Best of luck for your exam!