Binish V Pai has over 10 years of rich experience in handling commercial real estate development projects. Once he decided to take it up, he wasted no time and passed the PMP examination in just 2 months.
And then he did something more. He used the preparation momentum and earned the 60 PDUs needed for CCRS as well.
Read on to know how Binish passed PMP.
What made you take up PMP?
One of my friends had taken up the exam about 5 years ago. I was confused at that point in time about whether to take up my post-graduation or PMP certification. Finally, I opted for PGDBA and completed it in 2017.
Recently I felt strongly that I had to take up PMP as I heard about the change in pattern, and I thought that now is the right time to take it up. Thus began my preparation.
How long did it take you, and what’s next?
It took me less than 2 months to prepare for the exam.
In fact, I went ahead and earned all of the PDUs needed for the next 3 years as well. 🙂
The biggest benefit of PMP for me is that now it focuses on both Predictive and Agile. This means with PMP under my belt, I am able to manage both types of projects. Also, as a project manager, I will be considered for both types of opportunities. This, I think is a good shift that the new PMP exam pattern has brought to the industry.
Having said this, I belong to the construction sector I would be using a more Predictive approach at my work. This has also opened up my eyes for R&D type of opportunities where I can possibly use elements of the Agile approach. The possibilities are exciting!
In short, the preparation experience of PMP has helped me understand the right approach for various challenges in a project.
Which study resources did you use for your exam preparation?
I believe in restricting my choices to avoid information overwhelm. Thus I limited the number of resources I would use.
- I enrolled for the PMP examination preparation course by Joseph Phillips on Udemy.
- In addition to this, I used the PMBOK Guide from PMI.
Whenever I needed more details about any topic, I would go through videos, blog posts, and articles on the internet by different people. This helped me a lot in my preparation.
How did you approach the exam, and what was your study plan?
Well, when I started initially I didn’t have much of an idea as to what to expect. I just had the deadline on the calendar.
From this date, I worked backward to create the study plan.
Since I had the structure of the study material, it was easy to map each chapter/knowledge area to weekly milestones.
This way I had a clear path laid in front of me. I did include a bit of buffer, just in case. Like a project manager does. 🙂
I’m glad it worked out beautifully.
Also read –
- Sangeeth’s 2-stage PMP preparation approach
- My recommended PMP examination study resources (includes Free simulators)
- Limited-time special discount on PM PrepCast
- Julian’s smart use of the simulator to pass PMP exam
Did you face any challenges?
To be honest, the main challenge was to keep the motivation going throughout the preparation phase.
There would be days I would feel exhausted or demotivated and would find it hard to study.
But I kept on reminding myself about the target and let that inspire me to push through these blocks.
The week before the exam is crucial. What was your approach to study during this week?
Yes, the week before the exam is crucial. To think about it, it probably is the last chance to ramp up the preparation.
I had highlighted some portions of the PMBOK guide (some relevant sections) specifically to go over during the last week. These were the areas that I felt the need for revising.
In addition, I went over some of the notes I had prepared on my own. And the glossary and Appendices from the PMBOK guide. These are a nice way of revising the content quickly.
What I have realized to work well is to plan the preparation in such a way that you would not have to study anything new in the last week. Dedicating the week just for revision and then practicing few mock tests would be useful.
What was your actual PMP examination experience?
I opted to take up the exam at an exam center because I felt it would be more convenient considering the uncertainty with the power and internet connection. I wanted to reduce the risk around the exam as much as possible.
PMP exam is almost 4 hours in duration. There are 2 optional breaks – one at the end of 60 questions and another at the end of 120 questions. It is important to understand that after the break we don’t get to access previous questions – whether you opt for the break or not.
I opted for both breaks.
To make sure I don’t feel hungry or thirsty during the exam, I had carried snacks and tea along with me. I had them during the breaks. I would suggest making use of the break time to refresh yourself.
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What was the difficulty level of the exam?
The exam was much easier than I had expected, to be frank.
Managing time on those 4 hours is very important.
180 questions in 230 minutes, so the math works out to 1.27 minutes per question. That’s about 77 seconds per question. The time actually flies faster than you’d imagine when you’re engrossed in a question!
I had to review the last section 60 questions within the 8-9 minutes and it was quite taxing.
I somehow managed to pull things up in the end. However, I feel I could have done better on the time management part.
That’s amazing! Any final study tips for PMP students?
Here’s what I have discovered: the PMP exam is unlike many exams we would have taken in the past.
Let me elaborate. When we study for any exam, we would expect the questions to test what we know, right?
But on the PMP exam, the questions – at least the majority of them – test us on how well do we know how to apply what we have learned.
The scenarios given in the question, whether long or short, make us think a lot like a project manager.
This approach should not come as a surprise, considering the eligibility criteria for the PMP exam!
Thus I’d say that it’s important to understand the concepts to solve the question, rather than just memorizing them. As you learn each concept, think about how would you implement it in your project. This is a great way to tune your mind to PMI’s way of thinking.
Also, from the Agile questions perspective emphasis has to be on servant leadership while answering the questions. Feel like a servant leader on the project and read the questions, you will find answering them much easier.
I wish you all the success,
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