Shiv, I feel very happy in letting you know that I cleared my PMP certification exam on February 16th !! I owe you a lot for this success and thanks for all your help and guidance which you gave me on this journey.
How it all began..
It all started in September 2015 and even before becoming a PMP certified Project Manager I did the cost-benefit analysis. At that time I decided to do some certification and performed research on various options like CAPM, PMP, Prince 2, ITIL next level certification and so on.
Finally, I decided to proceed with PMP.
When I started I found the website of Edward Chung to be very useful to understand the prerequisite and syllabus etc. Then I was lucky to find PMESN website and immediately subscribed the daily emails explaining the various concepts. I have to say it was pure Project management explained in clear, plain English!! No ambiguity, no IITO, tedious calculations etc.
Though ITTOs, calculations are necessary for the exam, I feel for a beginner it is more important to just understand the concept in a simple way.
My chosen set of PMP certification exam study material
When it comes to the study-material, I decided it has to be Rita’s PMP book or HeadFirst PMP followed by PMBOK. When I picked Rita and I have to tell you, it was such a wonderful book. Even while reading, you would get a feel of being in the classroom. The concepts were explained clearly and I completed my first run of the concepts by end of March 2016.
By this time I should have proceeded with my PMI membership and contact hours collection but I took a break for personal reasons. 6 months passed by and then I commenced the journey again.
Round about this time I was trying to decide between various online training options that give 35 contacts hours.
From Shiv’s reviews, I got confidence in Cornelius Fichtner’s program and I was very keen on getting his complement bundle having question banks, tips, formulae etc. also so I bought the Prepcast bundle.
It not only gave me a good overview and contacts hours but since I bought it as a combo I got simulator with 1800 PMP certification exam mock questions.
The month of October was very important as I completed all the paper-work and paid the exam fee.
Preparing for the exam
By the end of November, I scheduled my exam and initially, I scheduled for 2nd February 2017. Then I started taking mock exams and by December end I had the option to assess my preparation and see whether I had to re-schedule my exam.
I decided to reschedule (45 days before exam). I didn’t pay any extra money and it turned out to be a good decision to reschedule my exam for 16th February 2017.
Regarding mock exams, I was conscious that I should take from a variety of sources. The following is the list of mock tests that I took.
- Oliver’s 75 questions & 175 questions
- Headfirst 100 questions,
- iZenbridge 100 questions,
- Shiv’s 250 questions,
- Dex Nova 200 questions,
- pmstudy circle’s 100 questions,
- PmZest 100 questions and many online tests of 10-25 questions.
- Regarding full 4 hours tests, I just took 3 (2 from Prepcast including ITTO edition) and one from justpmp.com.
I was able to cover only 1100+ questions out of 1800 questions in Prepcast simulator and I regret this badly! I should have taken more questions and more 4-hr mocks and I would recommend this to the aspirants as well.
On the day of the exam, I just took one bar chocolate and lemon juice before entering the exam hall. It was nerve-racking for me and I settled in slowly.
For the first 1 hour, I did just 35 questions but I was confident that soon I will gain the momentum and can make it up towards the end.
I didn’t take any breaks and when I completed my exam I had less than a minute remaining!
When I finished my survey I saw the “Congratulations” message and that feeling is something that cannot be expressed in words!
Take away for aspirants
- Pick study materials that suits you well, be it Rita, Headfirst or Kim Heldman. But stick to one or two and follow PMBOK later. Too much of material may drag time and make you lose your momentum.
- For each chapter this may work for you:
If you do not understand any concepts please search for Saket Bansal’s videos and it will make things pretty clear and it is a great resource. You can refer to Shiv’s study notes on the blog (given KA-wise from ‘SmartNotes…’ menu option), or PMP concepts Kindle book series here. Fahad Usmani’s website also explains concepts in a very simple manner and can refer if you have any doubts.
- Practice more 4 hours mock tests. That way you can learn to manage your time on the exam well and can avoid last minute surprises. My results had 2P & 3MP, had I practiced more 4 hours mocks maybe I could have scored Proficient in all 5 domains.
The problem with my test was that I marked at least 15-20 questions for review but didn’t review even single question (Tip – even when you mark a question for review, choose one of four options as your answer!).
So practice more and come out with flying colors in your PMP certification exam!
Vignesh Kalyanasundaram, PMP
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