Shiv, I passed my PMP exam! As promised here is my PMP Lessons Learned write-up. I hope this will help PMP aspirants to prepare for their PMP exam better. I have shared every resources and every study tip I used to pass PMP exam on my first attempt.
PMP Study materials
My PMP preparation went for about two and a half months (little over 10 weeks). Here are specific study resources I used –
- PMBOK – I highly recommend this book. Also a bit difficult to read, this is where most of the exam questions come from.
- Head First PMP – very easy on brains, as the name suggests. 🙂 I used this book to understand some of the difficult concepts such as EVM.
- Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep Eight Edition-Updated – this is a good read as well. Covers PMP syllabus in good details. The quiz at the end of chapters are very helpful to test your understanding of the concepts given in the chapter.
- Rita Mulcahy’s Hot Topics Flashcards
- 300 practice questions by Roji Abraham – Kindle book
- The Complete ‘Ace Your PMP® Exam’ Series: Essential PMP® Concepts Simplified (includes PMP Cheat Sheet)
- PMESN Free PMP Study Blueprint 11-day email course
- Shiv Shenoy’s PMP study notes on the blog (linked from “Study Notes..” menu above)
- Boot camp materials like videos, guides, ITTO summary and simulator exams.
Although these seem too many, some of these are complementary, and cover different aspects of PMP study landscape.
For instance, 11-day PMP Study Blueprint gave me 10000ft bird’s eye view of PMP content. PMBOK, Rita’s book and Shiv’s study notes covered PMP content in detail. Kindle books gave me study tips and strategies you can use to plan your PMP preparation and how to pace it. Cheat sheet acted like a memory aid. Bootcamp gave me a classroom environment to go over the entire PMP content over few days, like a crash course.
I skimmed through each resource (apart from the mock questions) first, to get a high level understanding of PMP content, and then deep dived into each.
Priming my PMP study
I commenced with reading PMBOK a month before taking the boot camp. I wanted to make sure I am able to keep pace with the bootcamp classes.
By then, I also subscribed for Shiv’s 11 day free email course and other Kindle books (now available as this single book of entire series). I began pursuing his day by day ebooks from email course and the Kindle book in parallel.
The 4 day boot camp in April 2017 was extremely helpful and I was able to access additional materials like videos, guides, ITTO summary and simulator exams.
My application was selected at random for audit and this allowed me to schedule the exam a month later than planned. This gave me extra time to prepare better.
After the successful audit, I scheduled the exam for the first week of June 2017 and passed my PMP exam on the first attempt!
My detailed PMP prep plan
- Every day I studied for 2 to 3 hours, practiced end of chapter tests in Rita’s PMP Exam Prep & Head first books.
- I also practiced writing the formulas and the process chart. For obtaining the fundamental comprehension of the ITTOs, I read the ITTO summary provided by boot camp course every day.
- Creating brain dump was helpful for remembering the processes and the knowledge areas.
- I used Shiv’s brain dump and also created my own.
- I additionally began taking simulator exams PM Exam Simulator, PM Aspire, Oliver’s 175 questions pdf, Oliver’s 75 questions and Roji’s book.
Please do not expect good score in mock tests initially, and use initial mock tests to understand concepts better. As you take more tests your scores are bound to improve.
Things that worked / or not!
Daily study, attending boot camp and practicing simulator exams worked very well for me. Albeit the questions are generally from PMBOK, initially utilizing only PMBOK as preparation material did not help much.
To get the grasp of PMBOK I had to read other books from my above mentioned study resources. When I went back and read PMBOK after reading those books, I was able to understand concepts better.
Few more study tips
- Consistent learning is the key for success in PMP exam. Allow at least 2 hours a day for reading and practicing few questions. Spending time on simulation tests pays off for sure.
- The answer section in most of the simulation tests provide the reference back to PMBOK page where the question is taken from. Use this to assimilate concepts better.
- Going over incorrect questions and corresponding PMBOK page will help tremendously, so do not skip this practice even if it appears tedious.
- Constant improvement through practice tests increases the confidence.
Good luck and best wishes for all PMP aspirants.
Shanthi Ramakrishnan, PMP (LinkedIn)