Sanat Singh is currently pursuing his master’s in Construction Management from the National Institute of Construction Management and Research (NICMAR), Pune, India. He has received his B. Tech degree in Civil Engineering from Amity, University, Noida, U.P.
In just 3 years Sanat has worked in sectors such as Highways, Water supply & Sanitation. He has also published 3 research papers.
I find his PMP® study tips quite insightful, don’t miss the last section where he shares them.
What made you take up PMP® certification?
I was influenced by my previous organization’s Executive Vice President, who was a PMP. He encouraged me to take up this certification exam when I become eligible.
He also explained to me the benefits and advantages of being PMP – which is the overall knowledge required to manage any project effectively, and thus an excellent opportunity at every project to become a better project manager.
Therefore, I took the exam as I became eligible to sit for the certification exam. I also realized that PMI-PMP certification has global appeal and can help provide the extra edge to project management professionals.
Now that you are a PMP®, how do you think it’ll help you?
Being PMP certified is an amazing feeling. Since PMP is an internationally recognized certification, it carries a lot of weight in the industry.
The knowledge and experience that one gets during the preparation for PMP certification can facilitate more efficient and successful execution of projects, which is something I have been noticing ever since I began preparation.
I hope to get better and challenging job opportunities in Construction Industry in the Infrastructure Advisory role. As we are already facing an economic downturn due to this COVID pandemic, this PMP designation can give me that extra edge.
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Which study resources did you consider and eventually used for the exam preparation?
The 6 study resources that I referred to were –
- PMBOK 6 guide
- Udemy’s Joseph Philip PMP® course
- Rita Mulcahy PMP® Prep book
- Ricardo Vargas’s Process Flow
- PrepCast mock test simulator
- and my self-prepared study notes for review 🙂
How did you approach the exam, and what was your study plan?
My PMP plan was simple. First, I approached my senior Mr. Gaurav Kumar, who has recently passed the exam, and took his guidance.
I began with Udemy’s Joseph Philip PMP course along with a review of PMBOK guide. The course curriculum of the Udemy course was similar to PMBOK.
I used to watch the Udemy course for each knowledge area and prepare handwritten notes. After watching each module of the course, I would to read the same chapter in PMBOK.
After completing the course as well as PMBOK, I skimmed over the entire Rita Mulcahy PMP Prep book.
This book was quite fluid and easy to read, understand, and retain the complex concept compared to PMBOK.
During the preparation, I found Ricardo Vargas’s video on Youtube; and quite liked it. He explained the entire set of processes from PMBOK so beautifully, and it made so much sense. He also provided a soft copy of the diagram of the flow among the 49 Project Management Processes.
In the end the most important part was to prepare for the real exam using a simulator.
I referred to PrepCast for the mock test, and found it to be very similar to the actual questions asked in the exam.
There were eight mock tests, and I scored a minimum of 76% to the highest 88% in those tests.
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Awesome! Can you please tell our readers about any issues you faced along and how you overcame them.
Coming up with a realistic time frame for the preparation was a challenge. I did not want to drag it, neither keep it too short to risk failing the exam.
I researched and gathered some data before starting the PMP exam preparation, and I found that usually PMP aspirants require 6 to 12 weeks of preparation time.
Due to time constraints, I had to complete it in 6 weeks. Therefore, I prepared a detailed 4+2 weeks schedule and followed it diligently.
I used to study for 4 hrs daily on weekdays and 6 hrs on the weekend days, totaling approximately 30+ hrs per week.
Thus I planned for 4 weeks of rigorous study and then 2 weeks of Simulator practice.
With the help of proper planning, and I was able to execute my plan effectively.
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The week before the exam is crucial. What was PMP study plan during this week?
Yes, this is indeed a very crucial time. Sometimes, I used to doubt whether I have done complete preparation that’s necessary or still need more time.
In this case, the mock tests helped me a lot in identifying my weak areas.
After placing my weak points, I’d refer to my self-made notes and PMBOK book to better understand and fill those gaps. I made sure that I don’t repeat the same mistake twice.
Every alternative day, I used to go through my study notes. After every revision, many of my doubts would get cleared, I would understand the concepts more clearly.
In the last 2 days before the exam I did not study anything. I referred to Ricardo Vargas’s process flow chart and believed in myself to do well.
Can you talk about your exam experience please?
I had booked the exam at the test center at 2 pm slot.
The staff at PearsonVUE was quite diligent and helpful as well. They provided me with a notepad and two markers.
I found the questions to be on a higher level of complexity than the mock tests, but of a bit similar nature.
What I learned is that one should mark a question for review only when there is significant doubt about the choice. Else it will take additional time going over all those marked questions again.
Time management is the key in the exam; always be aware of the remaining time and manage your pace accordingly.
Any special study tips?
It is best to treat the PMP exam preparation as a project and follow the same principles we learn in PMP syllabus.
- The planning phase is critical, try to make a PMP plan that outlines every action and sequence of study phases first.
- Avoid investing in too many study materials, more than needed will only waste your time
- Even if you are not in a hurry, have a time frame in mind – anywhere between 6-12 weeks is doable.
- Create a study plan according to the time frame, and have milestones based on Knowledge Area or Process Group (former is easier in my view)
- As it happens with every project, you may not be able to stick to your plan. And this is okay. Like a project manager, refine the plan and move forward.
- Making progress on a daily basis is the most important part. On long days, even small bit of progress helps towards your overall PMP goal.
Remember that you are a project manager first, so start with a PMP plan and you will see that things will fall in place.
I wish you all the best!