“Understanding of the PMP Process Chart is key to passing the PMP exam” says Deepshikha, in this freewheeling conversation while revealing the mindset and the process that helped her achieve PMP success.
Deepshikha Rawat holds a Master’s degree in Finance and has handled projects in the domain of Finance Transformation, Implementation, Revenue Leakage etc. She recently passed her PMP exam on the first attempt.
After years of working in the PM role getting PMP certification was the obvious career advancement decision for me. After a firm decision and four months of rigorous preparation I cleared my exam in first attempt. Yes, I am a proud PMP now. In this post today I want to share my PMP journey and also bust some myths.
I believe that PMP preparation is not just a scientific process. It has elements of both science and arts. There is no one success formula that fits all. But there are flexible guidelines.
Please note that something that worked for others might not for you and vice versa. Personalized approach is the key. Thus, I charted my own plan. Here’s my way through scaling up this mountain.
I consider there are 3 study methods – book, video based course, and personal coaching. I’m more of a book person. You could have your own preference. Identifying our preferred study method – one or a combination of more than one – is the good first step.
1. I went through PMBOK cover to cover.
I understand, most people find PMBOK a dry and boring book. Pages after pages of pure content distilled in official language. I get it.
But the fact is that this is the most important reference guide for the exam. While I enjoyed this book thoroughly and made it my primary study resource, please fee free to choose a study method (book, video based course, or even coaching) that is suitable for you.
Along with the study I devoted considerable time on making my own notes. I have been more of a “writing” person and this helped me.
The act of studying something and writing down in your own words is a rock solid learning method. I highly recommend this approach.
In your notes highlight topics of importance for easy revision. It’s worth the time and the battle is half won.
2. Next, I went through another PMP book.
For me this was a book, for you this could be any other study method.
I can say that both are good resources as I ended up covering both. 🙂
Headfirst covers main concepts and has a different approach to how the authors explain concepts. This book is visual and fun. This is the book for you if you are open to learning in a fun way.
Rita’s is a bit serious book compared to Headfirst, and less so compared to PMBOK. And this covers PMP syllabus more detailed than Headfirst book.
Some people pick up Headfirst first, understand high-level concepts, and then jump to PMBOK. As I mentioned earlier it’s all based on your personal preference and the approach you want to take.
3. Started approaching the syllabus chapter-wise.
I would cover a new topic and also revise the previous topic to maintain grip.
This approach will make remembering things easier and will save you from getting in the trap of regression.
4. Start solving questions for each chapter.
This is a great way to test your understanding as soon as you learned a knowledge area. You may not get all the answers right at the first go, or even may have disastrous results.
Do expect such results, and allow this to tell you which topics you need to go back and study more.
5. Paid special attention to topics like ‘Change Management’ and ‘Process Chart’.
I felt that there will be more questions questions from these topics, and focused more on these.
There is no telling how many questions this assists you in answering. The relationship between the process as you move from knowledge areas (top to bottom) and process groups (left to right) will give you lot of confidence in your preparation.
6. Then started with online tutorials.
I refereed to the videos and other content provided by my online coach. Since I am more of a book person, I spent limited time on the videos. Focused on problem areas to get better clarity and start began solving the online exams.
7. Turned the focus on taking mock tests.
As many as I could.
I want to share a piece of advice upfront on this. When you begin taking mock tests you may not get as many right answers as you may expect. Do not panic.
Some mock test may be extremely easy and some very hard. Based on the quality and quantity of the mock exams you take you may get a different experience in the real exam.
Aim to take at least four, full-length 200-question PMP mock exams.
8. Practiced formula based questions.
There could be as many as 30+ fomulas in all of the PMP syllabus put together. That means you can expect a bunch of variations of application of these formula based questions.
Do not fret! Take as many as you can and trust your brain dump to feed you with formulas during the exam.
All PearsonVUE centers provide online calculators that flash on screen.
9. Understood and practiced Process Chart on a regular basis.
Expect a bunch of questions about ‘what comes before/after’ a particular process. Hence it is important to learn the process chart, the interrelationship between processes, and even how ITTOs flow between processes.
As I suggested earlier, PMP process chart is important from exam stand point. Begin your study with learning this table and see how quickly you will begin to feel confident.
10. Don’t forget to unwind and relax.
Balance hard work with some smart relaxation techniques during your study. Simple stretching and deep breathing works great too.
Include small milestones in your study plan, and celebrate hitting each of them.
Give yourself time-off on accomplishing predefined goals, or treat yourself for hitting important milestones.
Time to bust a couple of PMP myths
Myth#1: Group study is better than self-study
You will hear a lot of debate on this one.
While it’s always good to study in a group, its absence should not deter you from perusing your own goals. I couldn’t find a study buddy so went ahead with self-preparation. With proper planning and guidance you can do it alone too.
Try to make a group of 3-4 max. Any more can be a drag. The idea of study pal or study group is to learn from each other and motivate each other.
Take my #PMPB4NewExam Challenge!
Myth#2: PMP is suitable for people from IT background only.
PMP is suitable for all project professionals.
Your projects could be in any domain/function, like Finance, HR, Manufacturing, or IT. Hence if you think you have been carrying out the project manager’s activities – such as managing schedule, budget, vendors, team, risk, scope and so on – PMP is your thing.
Go for it!
Hope this information would help in fulfilling your PMP dream. Still stuck with some query? Do not hesitate to connect back with me.
And remember, Process chart! 🙂
Thanks for reading, wishing you all the success.
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