Terrel is a 14-year military veteran with experience in the United States Marine Corps and United States Army. He is a huge fan of understanding the content over memorizing and has successfully used this approach to pass his PMP exam recently.
Terrell is currently a Project Manager in practice and a transitioning service member. His hobbies include PC gaming and weightlifting.
Why did you choose PMP® over other certifications?
As everyone who is in any type of business environment knows, processes are what drive results.
I personally was always in search of the next best way to complete the processes within the projects in which I was involved.
That is when I decided to pursue the PMP. I was also aware of the marketability that one would carry once they become certified, so I was all in.
As a matter of fact, I did consider other certifications. I obtained the Professional Scrum Master certification which helps in the long run.
Now that you are certified, how would you see PMP helping you?
The core benefit that I expected was to be able to understand the language of Project Management and to be able to seamlessly run my own projects from beginning to end.
As I began my studies into PM, I could see my mindset changing as I would analyze everything into a process, finding ways to complete things in a more efficient manner.
The PMP instantly increased my marketability and network as soon as I shared my accomplishment, I can only see things getting better from now on.
More veterans share PMP exam insights from their PMP online exam experience –
Which study resources did you consider, and used for your preparation?
I considered many resources, lost money, and gained many lessons learned. The beneficial resource that I utilized was Scott Payne’s 7-day Accelerator from pmmasterprep. I highly recommend it.
I came into the program with the exam date already scheduled, otherwise, the program helps you figure out the best time to take the exam based on level of preparation.
How did you approach the exam, and what was your study plan?
I approached the exam with a “must-pass” attitude.
This was my main goal of the last year and I would stop at nothing to accomplish it. My study plan was to watch videos from the 7-Day Accelerator and create what he called an evaporating data dump.
I would write down anything that I did not fully understand or that I missed on the mini practice exams and read the information again to embed it into my mind for understanding, not memory.
Did you face any issues along the way?
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Some of the issues that I faced were scammers with fake programs and testing sources, family emergencies, and freezing of the testing platform.
I was able to simply relax and understand that some things in life are out of your personal control, so the best thing to do is move on and come up with a plan to continue to conquer your goals.
The week before the exam is crucial. What was your approach to study during this week?
The week before the exam was the review of the processes with a special emphasis on the agile approach.
I did not take any practice exams at this point.
The Agile practice guide is a must-read and it will make a huge difference for anyone testing in 2021.
What was your PMP online exam experience like?
My exam was taken at home.
I chose a 4:30 AM start time, meaning I had to check in at 4:00 AM to run the proper checks and take pictures of the surrounding area in which I was testing.
I took around 5 minutes of each break to get a sip of water and stretch my legs from the long durations of sitting.
The questions were not easy for the most part. They were situational AND knowledge-based which tested if you truly have the mindset of a Project Manager.
You always have to think of both the best-case scenario and what you would actually do as a Project Manager.
There may have been cases in which multiple answers seemed to be right, but a one-word distinction separated the answers which have caused many people issues.
It is best to read the question first, then the body of the question, and then look at the answers-defining where you are in the process, why you like the answer, and why you do not like the answer.
The process of elimination based on acquired knowledge ensured that my time management was on point.
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Can you elaborate on your 6-step approach to answering the PMP question?
I followed this 6-step method to solve the PMP mock test questions, and the same was helpful during the exam as well.
- Align – Each question makes ‘sense’ if you align your thinking as a project manager – a PM that is facing the problem that the scenario in the question is asking for.
- Understand – Understand what is the question truly asking for. Some questions have additional information that is irrelevant, and some questions touch multiple knowledge areas while describing the scenario. Understanding the real ask is half the battle.
- Assert – Assert your understanding of the knowledge area that the question is in, to choose an answer. You could also be removing the incorrect options to choose the right answer.
- Evaluate – Do not mark the option as the answer straight away. Evaluate against the rest of the given options.
- Decide – Be sure about your answer. Else, select the option and then mark the question for later. Sometimes the answer to an earlier question pops up while attempting another question from the same knowledge area.
- Improve – Follow the same cycle with the next question, and improve your ability to answer questions slowly and surely.
Would you like to share any specific study tips, advice, techniques, or strategies for those preparing for their PMP® exam?
My tips for passing the PMP are to remain consistent and focus on understanding the process rather than memorizing.
Your understanding will take you much farther than simply reading and attempting to memorize the information, as it is too much to memorize.
Your PMP online exam experience could be different from mine, and being able to prepare for any type of questions on the exam keeps you in a mental space that is very helpful during the 4 hours of the exam – especially the initial 15-20 minutes when your nerves settle, and you get into a rhythm.
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