Amit Londhe, PMP – Start with a formal PMP study plan for yourself


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pmp lessons learned amit londheHello Shiv,

pmp study plan amit londheI passed my PMP certification exam last week! PMP has been a long journey for me. It took me almost 2 years to finalize on PMP (Prince2 and ITIL creating the dilemma). Here is how I went about preparing for my exam, with my PMP study plan.

Background

I attended the mandatory workshop organized by my current organization in December 2014. I sacrificed my marriage anniversary on Day 1, although a dinner date made up for the lost day.
After the training was over, my confidence level was ~55% (mock test being the measurement tool).

I registered with PMI in February and then created a formal plan to crack PMP in the first attempt.
There were too many variables affecting my study plan like an upcoming annual performance appraisal, time I needed to spend with my little daughter (1 ½ years when I registered with PMI), weekend time for family and a job hunt.

The initial thought-process was to clear PMP by March (as I would have received 50% refund of my exam fee from current organization but with a lock-in employment period of 9 months).

However, that would have been too less a time to clear PMP exam and I didn’t want to rush or push myself unnecessarily.

In April 2015, I initiated my application procedure and scheduled my exam (for the first time) on 25th May 2015. However, on 21st May 2015 I had to re-schedule the exam date to 6th July 2015, as I was under-prepared and my confidence level hovering between 65% – 70%.

Also Read: How Jerly Thomas took the test as soon as she is eligible with some smart and economical planning!

PMP Study plan, and resources

Since I have a very small kid, I used to study time was between 4:00 AM and 9:00 AM.

Irrespective of how you plan the approach, you have to first target the PMBOK guide.

  • Read thoroughly through all chapters in the following flow of processes
    ­    4.1, 13.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 8.1, 9.1, 10.1, 11.1, 11.2, 11.3, 11.4, 11.5, 12.1, 13.2, 4.3, 8.2, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4, 10.2, 12.2, 13.3, 4.4, 4.5, 5.5, 5.6, 6.7, 7.4, 8.3, 10.3, 11.6, 12.3, 13.4, 12.4, 4.6
  • Make note of unclear topics and watch videos on YouTube to clarify your doubts
  • Take a print of Page 61 (Table 3-1) and read it before start of your study day
  • Ideally 8 days is sufficient to complete PMBOK, provided you dedicate 4-5 hours/day

Next in line should be Rita Mulcahy’ PMP exam Prep 8th edition book

  • Read thoroughly through all chapters, this time by knowledge areas
  • Solve all exercises and practice exams
  • Make note of unclear topics and watch videos on YouTube to clarify your doubts
  • Take a print of Page 50 (Rita’ Process Chart) and read it before start of your study day along with the process table from PMBOK
  • Ideally 13 days is sufficient to complete Rita’ book, provided you dedicate 4-5 hours/day

Head First PMP, 3rd edition should ideally be the last book and it’s definitely the most engrossing of all books.

  • Read thoroughly through all chapters, again by knowledge areas
  • Solve all exercises and exam questions
  • Make note of unclear topics and watch videos on YouTube to clarify your doubts
  • Focus on Rita’ Process Chart and process table from PMBOK before start of your study day
  • Ideally 12 days is sufficient to complete Head First PMP book , provided you dedicate 4-5 hours/day

I signed up for your free PMP Study Blueprint, after re-scheduling the exam on May 21st 2015. The re-scheduling may have cost $70, but it increased my odds of passing the exam.

  • Read all the chapters shared via e-mail, again by knowledge areas
  • Focus on Rita’ Process Chart and process table from PMBOK before start of study day
  • Ideally, 11 hours is sufficient to complete all books

I created my own flashcards, which I used to revise on a daily basis, even if I missed studying a particular topic (as planned)

  • Process groups, Knowledge areas and Processes
  • Rita’ Process Charts
  • Inputs and Outputs
  • Tools and Techniques
  • Earned Value Formulae
  • Other formulae and values e.g. (Communication channels)

Prepare MS Excel spreadsheet for your practicing problems and questions from Rita’ book and Head First PMP. Weigh your answers against the ones mentioned in the books to gauge your confidence level. I would say even if your confidence level is above 80%, you have more than 90% chance of passing PMP exam on first attempt.

Once registered with PMI, you have access to various resources from ProjectManagement.com.

  • Setup your profile and download process deliverable templates to experience how they look and fit in real life projects
  • IMPORTANT: Take the PM challenge and try reaching at least the “Rocket Surgeon” level i.e. answer minimum 250 questions. Aim for Da Vinci level, which is 500 correct answers.
  • The questions test your project management knowledge, however, there are no scenario based questions.
  • The explanations are good and a repository of your correct question and answers is stored in the profile for your reference.

Race to the Finish

The last 3 weeks (21 days) prior to exam date I focused on reading all materials simultaneously i.e. (PMBOK, Rita, Head First, Shiv’s Notes and My own flashcards).

Although I planned to complete the following PMP exam test modules, I could never achieve completion, blame it on weekends. But anybody can target completing these 950 questions before the final exam

On penultimate day before the exam, your ideal schedule should be

  • Shiv’s notes on knowledge areas and respective exam questions from Head First PMP and Rita’ book
  • Process groups, Knowledge areas and Processes
  • Rita’ Process Charts
  • Inputs and Outputs
  • Tools and Techniques
  • Earned Value formulae
  • Other formulae and values e.g. (Communication channels)
  • Practicing creating schedule network diagrams
  • Questions on critical path and floats
  • Questions on earned value
  • Questions on communication channels
  • Questions on risk management problems

The exam day

Remember a very important lesson, “at the end of day, it’ only an exam”. No matter what the outcome, finally your plan, efforts and process matters.
So wake up early, read Shiv’s notes followed by your revision notes on the following –

  • Process groups, Knowledge areas and Processes
  • Rita’ Process Charts
  • Inputs and Outputs
  • Tools and Techniques
  • Earned Value formulae
  • Other formulae and values e.g. (Communication channels)

Try reaching the exam center 1hour prior to schedule time and complete the mandatory Prometric center procedures.
Stay hydrated before the exam, as you may not have access to water during the 4 hour exam time.
The moment you get a workstation assigned, write all formulae and replicate the Page 61 (Table 3-1).

Complete the demo procedures, take a deep breath (with a prayer), put on the headphones and start your exam.

Be prepared post 4 hours, to change your email signature, just the way mine changed to Amit Londhe, PMP

Regards,

Amit Londhe, PMP

My PMP Study Plan

amit pmp exam plan

Click here for my recommended PMP study resources. – Shiv

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