Shambhavi Mishra is a student of my PMP® study course, and passed her PMP® exam on the last day of earlier version of PMP® exam! Shambhavi is an IT project manager working at Astellas Pharmaceuticals handling global projects. She has 11+yrs of rich experience, loves cooking, and lives with her lovely family on the suburbs of Chicago, USA.
In this article Shambhavi explains exactly how she passed her PMP® exam.
What made you take up PMP®?
Being an IT project manager managing global projects I had heard about PMI and PMP certification through my co-workers and all PMPs that I have known, said that this has changed their perspective for projects, communications and stakeholders.
I discussed the opportunity with my manager, and he suggested I should try for PMP. I did not consider any other certifications.
Now that you are certified, how would you think this will help you going forward?
My core expectation was to learn how to handle projects better and efficiently.
Studying through the various knowledge areas, I learnt so much that I could apply on my current projects. For me, communication with stakeholders is very critical as I have a global stakeholder base. I am looking to understand the cultural differences and how-to tailor project needs to fit the project objectives.
Before being PMP, I used to struggle with Risks and how to handle them but with PMP, I am confident I will be able to manage project risks in a better way going forward.
Which study resources did you consider, and eventually used for the exam preparation?
I had a few different resources, I used PMBOK for initial reading and understanding.
Next, I bought another online resource to help with the 35-hour training and question bank for each knowledge area. A month before my test, I got to know about Shiv and his PMP study resources.
I signed up for his PM Exam Last Mile videos & mind maps and I owe my certification to Shiv’s mind maps for each knowledge area. I wish I had known sooner about Shiv’s training courses.
How did you approach the exam and what was your study plan?
I am always the planner, whether its work, social life, or household chores. I like to have an excel with dates and plan laid out. Thus for PMP study my first task was to create a study planner.
It took me 2 full months to prepare for the test.
I allocated 2 hours each weeknight for studying and going through questions. Weekends, I tried to cover more topics or if I missed anything, I would take the time to catch up.
For the last 2 weeks, I just used PM Exam Last Mile videos and the mind maps for review.
I took a lot of mock tests and analyzed every question, whether I answered it correctly or incorrectly. This helped me think whether I have a good understanding of the concept.
Last 2 weeks, I gave myself 7-8 hours per day for the preparation.
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You have been a student of our PMP® preparation course (thank you!). Could you please share how it helped you?
The videos are super easy to understand and I liked the pace at which Shiv talks. It does make you feel like he is in the room talking to you.
Mind maps made study as well as revision very simple. I would recommend the course to all PMP aspirants.
You took about 8 weeks for preparation. Did you face any challenges along the way?
I started to prepare with the PMBOK initially and I thought it was super tough.
With few colleagues I have taken few tests, so it did help with the preparation.
I began to prepare on my own during COVID lockdown and didn’t reach out to any study groups for any brainstorming sessions. Towards the end of my preparation journey, I started to discuss my daily progress with my husband (he is a PMP as well) and he would guide me and help me understand any topic that I was struggling with.
I would encourage PMP aspirants to consider study group in the first place. I am the kind who learns from listening to people and what worked for them. So a study group is super helpful.
The week before the exam is crucial. What was your approach to study during this week?
Basically I reviewed my progress and revised using mind maps and took mock tests.
I was taking mock tests every single day at the same time of the day as my scheduled exam. After every test, I spent a good amount of time to do the exam analysis.
Later in the day I would revise the concepts/formulas which I had gotten incorrect. I used the template shared by Shiv, I liked the MS Excel template to track and analyze the mock tests, which helped me focus on the areas that I needed to focus.
I tried to cover 3 mind maps everyday for revision so that I could revise all knowledge areas before exam. There were a few areas where I needed to focus more and I revised those more on the day before my exam.
The last mock test I took was 2 days before the exam. I felt that the last day I should focus on my weak areas and brush up the formula and did just that.
What was your exam experience like?
I took the online exam. The proctor was nice and asked me to give a view of my room and allowed me to keep a water bottle. Please make sure to have a quiet space.
I had to focus hard on a few questions and I was reading out loud and was asked by the proctor not to do so.
Exam was very similar to the mock tests that I took. I liked Cornelius the most, as it was very close to the actual questions.
I would say, 15% of the questions were complex and it did take me longer than a minute to do them.
4 hours is a long time but it goes by fast. I will recommend to opt for the break after 89 questions. Walk around and give yourself a break.
I used ”flag question” but I also kept in mind not to flag too many questions. On an average I spent 1 minute on each question, keeping in mind Shiv’s recommendation of not to exceed a minute per question.
Any specific study tips for PMP® aspirants?
- Having a study plan is very important. PMP preparation is a long term game and you need a thread to keep your study efforts running. Study plan helps you with this.
- Stick to the plan as much as possible. If and when things fall apart, rework the plan and continue. That’s what the PMs do.
- Know yourself and your learning style – how do you learn the best, and which time of the day you study the best.
- Practice mock tests as much as you can and understand ‘why’ behind the wrong answers, they are life-savers.
All the best!
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