My PMP Exam Journey…
As a believer in life long learning and always looking for a way to improve myself, I had taken courses through a local university to earn a certificate in Project Management. I was working for a large corporation and was involved in many IT projects. Through this journey, I learned more about the PMP certification and started exploring what it would take to earn the credentials.
My employer offered a study group that met after work hours beginning in February each year. The study group met for 16 live WebEx training sessions and lessons learned, which were recorded. The presenters were volunteer members of the company’s Project Management Community of Excellence and most were from previous years’ study groups that had successfully passed the PMP exam in prior years.
Working with limited time and budget
My budget and time were limited so I sought out the least expensive, most convenient options at my disposal for study resources. I participated in my employer’s no cost study group, which used Rita Mulcahy’s Exam Prep and the PMBOK Guide as resources.
I’ve also had many colleagues that were successful attending the boot camps if you have the financial resources available and can attend a full week.
In addition to above mentioned resources, I also took free online sample tests.
My study approach was to attend the twice weekly study group sessions and review the slides from the study materials and the Rita Mulcahy’s Exam Prep.
And read the PMBOK Guide.
Rita Mulcahy’s PMP book was most helpful to me, including the sample questions.
During my PMP exam preparation I discovered few things one must avoid.
Also Read: Pratiksha Saxena’s accidentially discovered trick to fast-track PMP preparation
What NOT to do on your exam
1. Avoid studying alone.
Don’t struggle with studying alone. Trying to dedicate time to prepare for the exam was my biggest issue I faced during my PMP journey. Joining the study group certainly helped overcome this issue. The group energy and momentum rubs on to you.
Committing to attend the sessions and then being accountable to review the material also helped me overcome this challenge.
2. Avoid last minute panic.
The week before the exam, I reviewed all material covered in the study group and the Rita Mulcahy’s Exam Prep questions. I sought out free online sample tests. This was a nightmare because two nights before the exam, I decided to try a different free online test.
I failed the test.
Before I let full-blown panic set in, I tried the same test the next day. I failed again.
Panic set in and I realized it was too late to reschedule the test. I just had to show up and do the best that I could. I’m not a good test taker. I’ve always struggled with exams.
So the lesson I learned was that once you are close to your exam date, go with the predefined study plan and don’t go out and try different things.
3. Don’t rush into answering questions.
Yes, you get just 240 minutes to answer 200 questions. Calculating the seconds per question you get on the exam may set you into running through questions by answering the first option that seems right.
This can be the biggest blunder one can commit on the exam.
The quirky thing about PMP exam is that many questions have partially correct answer as one of the 4 options. Based on how much you have understood a concept, or based on how much patience you exhibit with a question you may end up choosing incorrect option as your answer.
Please make sure you mark the most correct answer out of the 4 options.
Also Read: Shamla Rampersad shows how she was able to get the best results by changing her PMP study approach
My PMP exam
The day of the exam, after a good nights sleep, a good breakfast, and leaving early to go to the exam location, I took some deep breaths to relax before entering the exam room and answered the questions as I had practiced.
The exam was by no means easy, and I had to focus on what was the best answer rather that what were the right answers since many times there were more than one right answer and it worked.
I was extremely relieved when I saw the passing score!
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