Shiv, I have 11 years of experience in testing and currently I am a Test Manager. I have worked in the capacity of Program Test Manager and also have had experience with Project Management, but PMP tests you on a different level.
I got my certification before the new exam came into force, but the format and prep steps remain just the same. I will try here to put down my preparation in specific points.
At the beginning of 2015 I gave myself a year to pass PMP exam, but professional and personal commitment delayed the process. And when I realized I was in October and left with exactly 3 months to clear the PMP. Jan 2016 would bring new PMP exam format and I didn’t want to wait till then. So I went ahead, filled the form (step-by-step instructions here) and locked my exam slot on Dec 26th.
I did a word-by-word reading of “Rita Mulcahy – PMP® Exam Prep 8th Edition” (RMC) without forcing myself to understand anything more than I already know. The best part of RMC is that it explains you how to go through the book, and trust me it’s the best.
I also tried the questions at the end of the chapters, didn’t score more than 60% though.
Phase 1 – I started the second sweep of RMC and this time I worked on filling the gap in understanding, searched the internet to understand more on the confusing topics/terms.
Phase 2 – Started the first sweep of PMBOK. Now it made more sense to me. Now I understood the
Now it made more sense to me. Now I understood the PM process group and Knowledge Areas in table 3.1 of PMBOK. This table is the key to everything that any book for PMP talks about.
Phase 3 – I started with mock exams. First, 100 questions exams to understand how I am performing. I took the exams and reviewed the correct as well as wrong answers. For me,
First, 100 questions exams to understand how I am performing. I took the exams and reviewed the correct as well as wrong answers. For me, this was the ‘success mantra’, as it helped me find out my weak areas and also learn the content in the process.
Phase 1 – started with the 3rd sweep of RMC and 2nd sweep of PMBOK.
Now it started to make more sense and I started making brain dumps, chapter wise. This part is crucial. Here I got introduced to Shiv’s website and it made wonders for me. PMP Blueprint email course helped me bridging the last minute gaps. Shiv’s material uses to-the-point explanation and the diagrams presented in a raw format helps a lot. The ebooks can be used as getting-started material as well as revision material before the exam. It’s like you are reading your own hand written notes. Thank you, Shiv.
Phase 2 – Paid mock tests. By this time I also enrolled into PM Prepcast by Cornelius Fichtner and the daily questions and tips kept coming. Internet has a plethora of questions.
Phase 3 – cover the gaps. the crucial phase (1 week to the exam) – don’t force yourself to read more or you may end up over-reading. I followed this advice and took full-length exams, reviewed the correct as well incorrect answers. I went over my study resources and made sure I did not miss any process or concept. I also prepared my brain-dump.
By this time I was consistently scoring 70%+ and I was getting confident as well. I will specifically highlight this in bold : solve questions from trusted source, I came across questions where the answer didn’t match my understanding or PMBOK. So make sure the questions you solve are from a good resource.
PMP Exam Day
I took the 8am slot. Without worrying too much about anything I appeared and tried to give my best shot. I had my experience, 3 months of study and about 2000 practice questions.
I took 2 breaks in 4 hrs exam and Yes! Yes! Yes!- the congratulations screen appeared. Cleared in the first attempt.
Success mantra from my PMP journey
Here are few that I think will help PMP students –
- Trust yourself and your experience
- prepare a study plan and follow it
- Understand table 3.1 PMBOK
- Do solve a lot of PMP questions
- Take full-length exams (at least 5) else the real exam will drain your brain out 🙂
- Clear the exam!
All the best,
Nihar Mishra, PMP