Along with limiting the study resources, Stefan suggests another important ingredient to succeed with PMP exam.
The ‘PMP mindset’.
And he goes on to explain how to develop one during the preparation.
Stefan Bezuidenhout is from South Africa, the Gauteng Province.
He studied law at university and “kind of fell into construction projects” in his own words. He got himself involved from the procurement and contracting perspective, and never left.
Stefan just completed 18 years later in the field.
He was pretty chuffed that he scored Above Target on all the 3 domains, although just 2 days before the exam an event occurred, putting the exam in jeopardy.
What made you take up PMP?
For the past few years, it started to become necessary within our business to obtain a formal project management qualification / certification.
Because we’re in construction mainly and many of our clients take a predictive approach to project management, PMP seemed like a logical choice.
I checked out a couple of the agile and scrum certifications, but they were not the right fit. I would definitely attempt some of these in the future.
Now that I am certified, I see an increase in the marketability of my profile. Not only outside, but also inside the company. I have the opportunity to move between regions within the company.
According to you, what is the one thing that contributes to PMP success?
In my opinion, it’s mindset.
Simply studying and taking PMP exam, without being able to be in the mindset of a project manager, isn’t smart.
PMP wants you to apply a specific mindset, whether executing projects on a predictive or agile basis. It takes effort to master the mindset, but once grasped, it’s really not that difficult.
One can develop this mindset by constantly thinking about “application” of concepts as one studies them.
Which study resources did you use for your preparation?
- PMBOK 6th Edition and Agile Practice Guide
- Tips and notes from projectprep
- PMP Exam Simulator from PM PrepCast
By limiting my resources to these, I was able to avoid getting information-overwhelmed.
You may be interested in –
- Best offers on top PMP study resources available this week
- Tons of free recommended PMP resources
- The most exhaustive hands-on review of PM PrepCast (psst.. with actual training videos)
What was your approach and study plan?
My PMP study plan was 2 months long.
I divided this into 3 parts.
Week 1 – 5: STUDY
The first 5 weeks I spent working through PMBOK and the Agile Practice Guide.
Not learning, but also more than just reading. Reading with the intent of understanding the concepts.
Because I’m from a construction background, I was very unfamiliar with agile, thus I had to put in additional effort.
While learning each concept, I wrote down my understanding in my own words.
Week 6: REVISE
I spent on going through study notes and important sections I identified during the first 5 weeks.
Weeks 7 & 8: PRACTICE
I devoted these 2 weeks for taking mock tests from the simulator.
On completion of every mock test, I would work through the answers (both correct and incorrect).
This helped me really nail my PMP mindset, that I mentioned earlier.
Did you face any trouble along the way?
Everything was a blocker in my case – tight work schedule, family and friends – life in general. I could not give much time for many, and make PMP study a priority.
I realized this was necessary and was for a limited time, so I was okay with it.
You need to be focused and disciplined or PMP is going to be a long journey.
There was another unexpected turn of events.
Just 2 days before my scheduled exam I got pretty ill.
So much so, the doctor had to prescribe pain medication just to get me through the exam. It was not an enjoyable experience, but the outcome was!
I passed with Above Target score in all the domains.
You may like to:
Read the secrets of over 321+ PMPs: some topped the exam, some passed on the second try, some on the 3rd attempt. Each one discovered a few strategies, techniques, or even tactics, and now you can literally steal them here.
How did study the week before the exam?
The first couple of days I did the last of my mock tests from the simulator.
As I mentioned, 2 days prior to the exam I was quite ill so didn’t do much studying.
Nevertheless, I do think you should take the day or two prior to the exam off – and make sure you’re fresh for your exam.
What was your exam experience?
I opted for the exam at test center, the proctored exam just looked like too much of a hassle.
Support from the staff was excellent.
I opted for both the breaks, just to take a sip of water and refocus.
It’s difficult to explain, but the exam questions are presented and asked in a different way than the prep exam questions.
This is why I put so much emphasis on mindset.
The mock tests (aka the prep exams) establish the mindset, which you need to apply during the actual exam, more than the knowledge acquired during your studies.
Would you like to share any specific prep tips?
Stay committed, determined and focused.
To put in a lot of study effort over a long period of time (my PMP study plan was for 2 months) is tough, especially when working full time, but push through.
I wanted to give up a couple of times, but glad I didn’t. It’s worth it in the end. So, never ever give up.
All the best!
Master all concepts of the NEW PMP exam in an easy-to-understand and smart way.