Shiv, here is my PMP study plan for passing PMP exam on the first attempt.
My PMP trigger
I work at an Engineering company for Oil and Gas projects, which needs me to play a project manager’s role. My job profile also requires me to study new active techniques to solve problem – especially to make real Cost Estimation, to know how much we need to complete, or how to reserve for risks. Since these types of projects take long time and need large work force and equipment, and price fluctuations happen all the time based on technological changes that happened in the industry.
In addition we faced many issues dealing with vendors, communicate with stakeholders effectively, and to prevent delay or scope creep due to limited information or unclear requirements.
In order to deal with all these difficulties, I participated in courses of project management. These group learning activities helped me gain valuable insights and understand many gaps I had in my knowledge.
I learned how to deal with issues since changes on the project happen all the time. Also, I got tips to manage time better, and calculate project costs using specific techniques. These encouraged me to think about taking PMP exam.
It was the realization that with PMP certification I can get the right knowledge, build problem solving skills, make right decisions on the project that made me take up PMP.
How I studied for PMP exam
I read PMBOK guide two times.
I made it a point to make my own notes at the end of each knowledge area. Doing this helped me build a set of summary-notes which would be useful during revision.
Next, I read PMP exam prep 8th edition by Rita Mulcahy and added to my study notes.
In fact, my short study notes acted like Flash cards!
In addition, I solved all the questions given at the end of each chapter.
I became a frequent visitor to PMExamSmartNotes’s Facebook page. Here I would try to answer the daily sample questions and then cross-check it with the answers posted twice a week. I also joined a project management community in Iraq.
I began to take notes from the questions or answers and make it like flash cards to help me review my understanding.
As I was building my PMP study plan, I added a review phase to it.
I decided to review both books (PMBOK guide and PMP exam prep by Rita) twice.
This review phase took me about 4 months.
Then I started work on PMP Fast Track exam, and had some interesting results.
On my first try I got 66% – this was not bad considering that this was my first mock test.
In my second attempt I got 71% , and in third exam I got 80%.
Also I tried solving more than 1000 free questions available in different other websites (refer this for free ones), then I reviewed the both PMBOK and Rita’s books for one month. This I did to fill out all my gaps – especially in Procurement and Risk management Knowledge Areas.
The week before PMP exam
The last week before taking the exam I focused on PMBOK especially the Inputs, Tools & Techniques, Outputs for all the 47 processes, and read the Glossary at the end of the book.
I also reviewed the notes on a regular basis during my study journey.
Lesson learned: when I wrote a concept in a context as it applies to my day-to-day work, I tend to remember it better.
Few blockers I faced
My PMP journey was not smooth.
For starters, English is not my first language. Therefore, I needed to read the questions two times or sometimes 3-4 times, especially with the verbose questions.
I took lot of mock exams in order to manage my time on the exam much efficiently. In addition to this, I went back to my notes for each difficult mock test question and cemented my understanding.
This approach sure took more time, but was a sure-fire way to understand better.
Few study tips to strengthen your PMP study plan
The exam is not easy but at the same time it is not impossible. You can pass the PMP exam on very first attempt by doing the following –
- Manage study time well, get most out of your efforts.
- As you read through the question try to understand the real problem it is asking. Do not get swayed by the words used in the question.
- Keep solving sample questions, keep taking mock tests
My heartfelt thanks to Shiv and all my fellow students, for providing their answers and unique perspective on the daily questions on the PMESN Facebook page.
I hope that you will find this PMP study plan useful to prepare for your own exam. I wish for a enriching PMP study journey and success for all of you.
Suha Alaah Warde, PMP
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