Coming up with PMP exam study plan is a tough task for many, considering the investment as well. What’s the solution? Refer to that of successful PMP students!
After getting enamored by the Project Management subject in his bachelor degree in Science, Hamza Madany decided to pursue a career in Information Technology. During his study days itself most of his lecturers suggested to take up PMP certification after getting relevant experience.
And he reached his PMP goal earlier this month when he successfully passed his exam.
In this article Hamza shares the ups and downs of his PMP prep journey, and some of the crucial insights he gained along the way. His meticulous and smart prep strategy is worth emulating. Hope this would help in your own preparation as well.
The PMP trigger!
After successful completion my degree in started my career in a bank in Colombo, Sri Lanka. While the suggestions of my professors was on the back of my mind, suggestions from my colleagues only went to support my decision to take up PMP Exam.
Now that I have PMP under my belt, I hope it will be a highlight in my project manager career, and help me advance it.
I had to prepare a comfortable PMP exam study plan. First thing I did was to google for PMP exam study resources.
It threw up so many results that soon I began feeling a sense of overwhelm. I didn’t know where to stand.
I figured that some thorough research was in order, and decided to take up time figuring out the study resources that support my way of studying.
It was a foregone conclusion that I needed something that helps me study while I’m traveling or commuting, and study during short breaks. This would help me manage most out of my time and help make small steps of progress on a daily basis.
Here are the resources I ended up choosing for myself. My suggestion is for you to take time to research and choose the study resources that suit your unique circumstances and needs.
Yes, it was primarily just PMBOK.
- PMBOK guide You can get soft copy free by signing up for PMI membership (more info here in PMP Guide)
- iOS Mobile App – PMP Exam Mentor (Android ver). This app helped me recall and be thorough with the theoretical knowledge.
- iOS Mobile App – PMP Test Prep (Android ver). This app helped me with the practical questions.
My PMP preparation
D minus 15 months – fulfill mandatory requirements
My real preparation started last year itself. By the end of first quarter I took up my mandatory 35 hours of contact education.
I took a classroom session from PMS institute here in Colombo.
D minus 8 months – begin study
I read PMBOK thoroughly. Yes, this can feel like a dry read, and by applying the concepts to our own projects we can make it relevant to us. This approach is useful in understanding the information easily.
While reading PMBOK guide I would use the mobile apps to attempt relevant mock questions.
After completing 5 knowledge areas I took 4 complete exams (200 questions, 4 hrs) to assess myself. I was able to score around 60% in these tests.
5 months ago I ended up pushing my exam date once as I did not feel I was prepared 100%.
D minus 3 months – accelerated prep
- Went through the remaining theory and completed theory (made short notes for all the Knowledge Areas)
- Took more random question using the app and online free tools (more than 1500 questions)
- Did 2 complete exams to assess myself (averaged ~70%)
- Read the PMBOK Summary in the last week of the exam
- Only memorized the cost formulas
- Didn’t memorize any ITTO, understood the logic behind by doing more questions
Trouble in paradise!
It wasn’t all smooth for me, few areas were of concern, honestly.
Remembering Inputs, tools and techniques, outputs
This was an area of concern for me.
I took the straight forward way. First understand the ITTOs thoroughly from PMBOK, and then used the mobile app to recall that knowledge.
I decided to remember only Cost management formulas.
So I wrote down all cost formulas and added to my brain dump.
Then I practiced this until the last week before the exam.
Realizing that I had to prepare myself for the real exam experience, I took as many mock tests as I could.
Overall, I did more than 3500 questions during my preparation phase.
Taking mock tests prepared me for the exam in more ways than one.
I could identify gaps in my study and focus on those grey areas only.
Also, I learned how to use the 4 hours in a way to answer more questions than going sequentially.
I will mention few points in the next section to help with your own PMP exam study – especially to answer as many questions as you can on the exam. These were insights I gained by taking tons of mock tests.
It was an interesting day for me. I wore casual and comfortable clothing.
- At the start of the exam I spent demo period of 15 mins to recall important formulas
- ‘Marked for later ‘all the question related to calculations – I attacked these in the end
- Completed all 200 questions within 3 hours and 45 mins
- Reviewed ‘Marked for review’ questions in the last 15 mins – since I had answered majority of questions by this time I didn’t feel any anxiety.
That’s all I did, and was happy to come up with overall Target score!