Julian is a highly experienced Project Analyst working with IMF, has over 25 years of experience, and is a passionate learner.
I’m super glad that Julian is one of my students, and she passed the PMP® exam with Above Target scores in all 3 domains!
Let’s discover her strategies and insights. You might be surprised to read her analysis about the new 2021 exam as compared to the old version!
What made you take up PMP®?
I decided to take the PMP certification to help me with my work which is more project-oriented.
Initially, I wanted to take the CPSM since my education background is in Supply Chain Management but decided to do PMP first because it is a universal certification.
The principles of project management can be applied in any industry/vertical.
The main benefit of getting PMP certified for me was the knowledge, ability, and confidence I feel, and the prestige that comes with the credential. And secondly, it would improve my visibility at work and in the end open up more career opportunities for me.
Which study resources did you use for your exam preparation?
In the beginning, I was overwhelmed by the number of resources that are available for the preparation of the exam.
I decided to take just enough resources, based on my research – so that I don’t get confused and feel confident about what I have.
For practicing the mock tests I invested in the PrepCast simulator.
The ‘Last Mile’ program, as I called it, is a very detailed course and uses mind-maps based videos to explain all the concepts. It helped me a lot to internalize the hard PMP concepts.
Not having the right set of resources can stress one out and lead to a lot of wasted time. Thus I’ve been suggesting people that are approaching me for guidance to do some research and limit the number of study resources.
Also read –
- Pete answer the question ‘is the new PMP exam harder than the earlier one?’
- Sandra’s top PMP success tips
- Karuna’s simple PMP success formula
- How troubled pandemic times fueled PMP goal for Manish
- Why Igechi thinks that ‘PMP Simulator exam’ approach was crucial
How did you approach the exam, and what was your study plan?
The foundation step, if I may say, was to create a solid study plan.
Preparing for the PMP exam is nothing short of a project in itself! Just like a project without a plan may never be in control, PMP prep without a study plan could be the same.
Of course, the initial plan hardly stays till the end, and who knows this better than us, the project managers? Life did happen, and I adjusted the plan and moved forward.
The PM Exam Last Mile program helped me in this. I created a study plan for myself and made sure that I followed it.
The second important step was to study every single day.
I read for at least 1 hour every day and also took at least 20 PMP simulator exam questions at the end of each chapter / Knowledge Area. I discovered that the mere act of taking the KA-specific mock test and validating my learning helped me get the concepts clearer.
This approach was a huge help as the exam approached – it gave me the confidence to face the exam.
Awesome! Can you please share some of the issues you faced along the way?
The most critical issue I faced was when I failed the exam on my first attempt in December 2020 and a new exam was scheduled to launch in January 2021.
This threw me off because I had to re-focus so that I could incorporate the new 2021 ECO into my study plan.
The week before the exam is crucial. What was your approach here?
The week before the exam I –
- went back through all my study notes
- went through the PM guide glossary
- went over the Trends and Tailoring sections for each KA
- and Joseph Phillips Agile part of the cram session.
I didn’t take any mock questions this week because I didn’t want to be discouraged by the result.
In addition, I made sure that I had gone through all the important sections of the course.
What was your exam experience like?
I took the online exam, tested my computer and Wifi settings a few days before the exam.
On the day of the exam, I cleared my room and prepared myself to take it with a calm mind.
It went without any hiccups and I ended up passing the PMP exam with all 3 Above-Target scores! 🙂
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Did you expect and found the new exam to be harder than the previous version?
Actually, I found the new exam much simpler than the one I took in December 2020!
Although the new exam is almost 90% Agile (it sure seemed that way although ECO pegs it at 50%), I was able to ace quite comfortably. Because I could interpret the situation questions well to determine whether the PM was working in a Predictive, Agile, or Hybrid project methodology.
If you can determine the difference between these 3, you are able to answer almost all the questions with ease.
I flagged very few questions which I had to review for every 60 questions.
Would you like to share any specific study tips, advice, techniques, or strategies for those preparing for their PMP® exam?
For those preparing to study for the exam,
- make sure you don’t cram but fully understand the concepts.
- make a study plan for yourself and test yourself at every KA you finish.
- I always answered at least 20-30 PMP simulator exam questions daily from the PrepCast simulator.
- Remember to revise your weak areas always. If you feel like you don’t understand well, re-read the chapter again until you are confident.
That’s all I had to share! I hope this will be useful.
My best wishes to PMP students,