My PMP certification journey was an eventful one. After an initial unsuccessful attempt, I had to re-plan carefully. I first defined the quest to pass the exam as a Project, listing all the resources I would require as well as working out a schedule to guide me through my study.
I wrote the exam after about 2 months of dedicated preparation. Please note I have been reading and practicing for about 8 months intermittently.
Locked down study resources
I selected a few authors in order to avoid conflicting paradigms as the internet is replete with so many resources. Therefore I stuck with Rita Macaulay, Cornelius Fichtner (Shiv’s review & bonus books here) and Shiv Shenoy.
This helped me focus better as it cut down information overload.
I will always recommend subscribing to PM-Prepcast. Rita Macaulay made PMBOK very understandable.
Specific study strategies
The process chart on page 61 of the PMBOK (5th edition) is a must study. I memorized it and wrote it down every other day, completing it in about 15 minutes.
I did not bother memorizing the ITTOs and after the exam I realized it was the right choice as memorizing ITTOs would not have helped me at all. Rather, I tried to understand it, noting the connections/patterns among different processes. Process mind maps and data flow diagrams of processes in PMBOK helped me greatly in achieving this.
For instance, deliverables are checked and verified during controlling process. Verified deliverables become an output of control quality, that gives an input to validate scope. Change requests are always outputs of executing and monitoring process. Outputs of initiating process become inputs of planning process, and so on.
My exam experience
I noticed that majority of the questions are scenario-based and therefore tests your understanding of the processes, hence much memorization will not be of much help.
I rested well and did not read a day to the examination. About 20 minutes before the time I finished all the questions, thus I had enough time to go through the questions again.
It was exciting to receive the congratulatory message as I had mixed feelings…well I passed. what do I say? I have hit the finish line, I am PMP certified!
Jideofor Ebeogu. PMP