Shiv, I’m glad to share my PMP exam experience with you. I hope people preparing for their exam will find something useful in this to include in their study plan.
I kept it pretty simple. ‘
I didn’t have time to complicate it. 🙂
What made me take up PMP
It was one my my seniors, Mestha-san, that always pestered me to take up PMP exam. He even provided me with PDF files and other study literature for the exam. However, for some unknown reason I kept postponing PMP exam with some excuse or other.
Once or twice I did try to begin the preparation and then gave up mid-way as found the subject too dry, and difficult to concentrate at home with my kids seeking attention. Did you feel something similar?
Early this year though, I decided that enough was enough.
I registered for the exam but since PMI gives your 1 year to attempt the exam, again the lull set in and PMP exam prep was put on the back burner.
Thankfully, things really started moving in September when I finally realized that there is only 3-4 months tops to attempt my PMP exam otherwise I have do register again. And potentially take up the new, more uncertain, PMP exam.
The PMP study resources I used
I used the hard copy of the PMBOK and initially tried reading all the chapters one by one. I gave this up midway as it was too dry for my taste.
Then I found
I found this to be more interesting so continued studying it.
I also read few chapters from Head First PMP, which is also quite descriptive filled with fun stuff.
The most important item was to subscribe to the PMP simulator as that gives you an insight on the difficulty-level of questions you will be facing in the actual PMP exam.
I practiced mock tests as much as I could, throughout my study duration. This helped me learn the concepts better, and understand how that knowledge has to be applied to a scenario given in the question.
My PMP study plan
I had very limited time to take the exam so I relied solely on Rita Mulcahy for the theoretical part and the Simulator for the practice tests.
Also, I made sure I solved the questions given at the end of each chapter.
My suggestion is that once you complete the Rita Mulcahy PMP book, then you can go through PMBOK guide. The book will start to make more sense.
It wasn’t easy
Most important issue for me was lack of motivation. I could not study much at home because of the noise kids made while playing, neither at office due to work.
I had to find a way to carve out some time to study for PMP exam.
I began to studying at night from 11 pm to 1 am for about couple of weeks before the exam. This approach served me very well. This also reminded me of my school days 🙂
The week before the exam
The week before the exam I relied solely on the exam simulator.
I solved as many exams as I could – both free and paid versions I could get online.
Those 4 hours!
To be honest, the exam was a bit scary because they did not allow even handkerchief for my exam. It felt like I am entering a high-security zone with metal detector and what not 🙂
Also, the length of the exam – 4 hours – can be exhausting so I had to ensure that I am not sleepy during exam 🙂 else I might mark few wrong options.
Since I had taken lot of mock tests, the actual exam experience did not feel alien to me. Once I got into a rhythm, I could answer questions with ease.
In the end I’m glad it went well.
My PMP study tips
- Do not underestimate PMP exam. I initially felt that the exam would be easy since it has multiple choice questions (MCQ). How wrong I was. Arriving at the right answer out of 4 given choices is not easy, believe me. Many a times there were partially correct options, and for a under-prepared student, an incorrect option would seem like the right answer.
- Very important to invest in a good Exam simulator, even if you use it for 1 week it can give you sufficient exposure. It can be the difference between PMP success and failure.
- Do not go for full-length mock exams till the week prior to the exam. You won’t find 4 hours to do it every day and then more time to go over the answers. During study period, opt for short quizzes of 20-25 questions which can be completed in max 1 hour.
- Make sure you are not exhausted before exam day. Focusing for 4 hours at a stretch in front of screen can be very tiring. Make sure you have a good night rest before exam day.
I suggest to take the day off so that you can celebrate with your family and friends once you clear the exam. You deserve the celebrations! 🙂
I hope my PMP exam experience will help you.
All the very best guys.. if I can do it…you all can definitely do it.
AkbarAli, PMP (connect with me on LinkedIn)