Olamide Adekoya works as a project manager for a global software Consulting company. She is a M.Sc. in Business IT management and has been in project management for about 5 years. Prior to that time, she worked in senior management roles for over 7 years in a multinational financial organization.
It would be an understatement to say that she had one of the busiest time during her exam preparation. If you are wondering at the title of this post, well, wait till you read this completely.
1. What triggered your desire to take up PMP® exam?
After moving into project management from retail management a few years ago, it has always been my big desire to get a reputable PM certification. At a point in time, I was stuck between doing PRINCE2 or PMP®.
The turning point came when a colleague from my previous job encouraged me to take the PMP® due to its complete coverage of project management knowledge and the worldwide recognition, among other benefits.
2. How may PMP® credential impact your work?
The main reason for taking the PMP® is for career progression.
It is my hope that the new certification will enable me to make positive progress in my career.
3. What study resources did you consider, and eventually used for the exam preparation?
Hmmm, before I answer this question, I would like to thank you hugely because you made the process very easy for me.
Believe it or not, the resources I used were purely from your expert recommendations available on your website.
4. How did you approach the exam and what was your study plan?
To be honest, I didn’t have one (you will understand why later). Although I prepared a study plan at the start of my studies, it was dumped as soon as it was created because I realised it wasn’t going to work.
Now let me give a little background story.
I originally applied for the PMP® exam and started studying in Dec 2017 but everything was dumped when I became pregnant and unwell around Feb 2018. PMI gave me an extension due to the extenuating circumstance.
I resumed studies a year after in Jan 2019, after my baby was born and during my maternity leave.
In the beginning, I prepared a study plan and worked out that 3 months would be more than sufficient for me (therefore planned to write the exam at the end of March). However, I soon realised that my studies weren’t going according to plan so ditched the study plan.
Unfortunately I did not factor in the uncertainties from looking after a 3 month old baby and 18 month toddler. Put simply, I was struggling to study at a constant pace or keep a steady momentum.
I tried to study at night when the house was ‘peaceful’ but I was always so exhausted that reading became an almost impossible mission! It quickly occurred to me that the 3 months timeline is highly unrealistic and I needed to adopt a more flexible approach.
Unfortunately it was impossible to set aside a daily study time (babies are unpredictable and I just didn’t have that luxury).
From that point onward, I decided to study when I could and as much as possible but also ensuring that I study at least everyday (even if it’s for 30mins).
My mobile phone became my best friend because 98% of my studies were done via my iPhone. I studied whilst feeding my baby, rocking him to sleep, preparing dinner for my toddler etc.
I just made use of every opportunity I had.
In addition, I completed all simulator exams (over 3000 questions) on my phone. The struggle was real!
5. Can you please tell our readers about some of the issues you faced during your PMP® prep journey, and how did you overcome them.
By now I think you would have realised my challenges. I have to be honest, the PMP® exam content isn’t difficult (as well as the exam) but my biggest challenge was studying for the exam.
I have to admit it was difficult with 3 children (including 2 under 2’s). There were times I wanted to pack it all in but I was very determined to keep going against all odds.
My friends and family thought I was going crazy for considering studying for PMP® after just having a baby.
Also read: How PMI is changing PMP exam this year
6. How did you prepare in the week prior to the exam?
Let me start by saying that I booked my exam just 3 days prior (my exam was on Thursday and I booked on the Monday before).
You may have guessed why, I wasn’t prepared to risk not being ready to write the exam and having to cancel and lose money.
I just didn’t want to add it to my growing list of uncertainties.
I wanted to be ‘ready’ and confident before booking my exam.
In the 2 days before my exam, I went through my notes, took as many practice exams as possible.
The day before exam was horrible, I barely had time for last minute studies during the day and I ended up staying up late into the night (against all advice given).
I managed to get about 4hrs sleep and was quite tired in the morning but my determination kept me going. I wasn’t prepared to fail! In fact failure wasn’t an option.
7. What was your exam experience like?
It wasn’t bad actually – questions were very similar to Cornelius exam simulator (in fact It felt like I was taking one of his practice exams) and sometimes I could almost swear some of the questions were from the simulator!
I guess it was comforting in a way because it felt like I was doing one of the practice exams however I must admit the nerves kicked in the beginning but managed to calm down later.
The actual exam questions were straight forward but the answers were tricky as usual.
I finished the first round in just under 3hrs.
So I had a little over an hour to review my questions (exactly the way I generally performed when taking the Prepcast simulator). I took a short comfort break as well.
8. What are some of the specific study tips, advice, techniques, or strategies you’d like to share with those preparing for their PMP® exam?
Not matter what you feel, tell yourself that you can do this.
- The main thing for me (and I know most people say it too) is to complete as many practice exams as possible.
- Unlike many, I enjoyed reading the PMBOK and I think I must have read it over and over many times!
- Rita’s book is also good but to be honest I found more comfort in reading PMBOK and watching your Last Mile training videos.
- Having a robust study plan is definitely helpful, although I didn’t use one but it resulted in extending my timeline from 3 months to nearly 5 months!
Good luck for a enjoyable PMP® prep journey,