Another celebratory YooHoo+Coffee! moment for me as Prem Joseph, student of our PM Exam Last Mile prep program passed his PMP® exam.
Prem is a Global Client Management Lead at Unilever, and has close to 8 years of rich experience in IT field. He says that the most important lesson he has learned is that researching and choosing the right study resources makes the whole exam preparation experience easy and the goal much easier.
In this article Prem shares how he went about achieving his PMP® certification.
What made you take up PMP®?
PMP® is the most sought-after certification in the IT industry. I had Agile certification in Project Management and my organization provided an opportunity to enhance our skills in the project management area, so I choose PMP®.
Now that I am certified, I feel confident of faster career growth.
PMP® gives you the understanding and best practice approach from the industry of how projects should be managed, and it gives you the confidence in managing the projects better.
Which study resources did you use?
Oh, if there is one lesson I must take away from my PMP exam experience, that would be do your research and choose the right study resources.
Having the ones that you actually enjoy will save you ton of lost time, and gives you early confidence that leads till the exam day.
When I started studying for the PMP® exam I already had PMBOK guide, Rita Mulcahy.
I needed an easy & complete study program, so signed up for the PM Exam Last Mile Prep program.
Thus, in all I used PMBOK guide, PM Exam Last Mile program, and it’s PMP® Exam Cheat Sheet (I used it a week before the exam), notes that I prepared, ‘Ace your PMP® exam’ series, a white board (Feynman Technique), and Cornelius’s PrepCast Simulator.
Also read: Journey from layoff to PMP® certification, by Janice Bryant, PMP
How did you approach the exam and what was your study plan?
Initial approach was to study through all the 10 Knowledge Areas one by one, that approach did not help me as I was not able to connect the flow of the processes.
I had finished one reading of PMBOK and mind maps. Then I switched it to process group wise from Initiation to Closing, this approach helped me to connect the flow of all the processes.
The study plan was to dedicate at least 3 hours on weekdays & additional 2 to 3 hours on a weekend to revise what I had studied.
So, I would study from 5 am to 8 am. This is the only quiet time I used to get to study.
You are part of PM Exam Last Mile prep program (thank you!). Could you please share how it helped?
I had finished the PMP® classroom training in Oct 2019 and after few weeks of completing this I couldn’t recall the concepts I had learnt in the classroom.Thus I preferred online training that would help me study at my own pace, based on my schedule.
So, I went onto Udemy to find any PMP® video training I can use to learn, but could not find which was easy enough to understand.
Then while browsing the kindle app I found Shiv’s ‘Ace your PMP® exam’ series book (ad) which I downloaded a sample. It was easy to read, immediately I purchased it and then I came to know about the PM Exam Last Mile prep program.
The mind maps from the ‘Last Mile’ prep program really helped me to understand how each process flowed end to end. The simple and effective way of understanding of the input, outputs from each process helped a lot.
I was studying for an exam after a long time from college which was challenging, I was looking for something which was easy to understand, and I was finally happy to find it.
The mind maps were great. I took printouts of all the mind maps and started to write them on the white board explaining the inputs, concepts and outputs to myself, it made concepts easy to remember.
After finishing each lesson I would complete the fun crossword and then take two 10-question quizzes to understand how to apply concepts to solve exam questions.
I would then review why I answered any question incorrectly and make notes based on the video solution explanation provided. This helped a ton.
Any trouble along the way?
Staying motivated was the biggest challenge I faced during this journey.
Doubts would creep in my mind saying it’s an impossible task to pass the exam. I had a study partner (a fellow student of PM Exam Last Mile prep program) Neeharika Peri who would encourage to not give up.
A big thanks to Sunitha Anthasheshu (friend, mentor) who constantly encourage that the journey was worth it.
The week before the exam is crucial. What was your approach to study during this week?
I took two weeks leave from office before the exam. I had already completed one round of studying PMBOK 6 and mind maps by this time.
So I divided each day into three parts,
- mornings, I would study the notes.
- afternoons, I’d go through the mind maps.
- evenings, I would take the Cornelius’s simulator exam on alternate days and next evening I would review the 200 questions.
The last week I read PMP® exam cheat sheet by Shiv and the Ninja notes from Maneesh Vijaya along with my notes.
Also read: Struggling with PMP® prep? Book a free consultation session with Shiv here!
What was your PMP® exam experience like?
I took the exam in a test center, and reached the exam center hour early.
I was quite nervous when I stepped into the center. The staff was pleasant and helped me to settle down after the check-in process.
As the exam started it took be a bit of time to get into a rhythm of answering the questions. And I wanted to continue this momentum into the second half of the exam as well. So I did not take the 10 minutes break allowed during the exam.
After answering all the questions, I had about 7 minutes left to review the questions marked for review.
I quickly reviewed the ones marked before ending the exam.
It was an amazing feeling seeing the ‘PASS’ result on the monitor! 🙂
Looking back I realized that completing the PrepCast & PMI practice exams had prepared me for the 4-hour sitting time.
Join PM Exam Last Mile Prep Program today and get certified in the current version of the exam!
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Would you like to share any insights with PMP® aspirants?
Of course. I have benefited from the exam experience and insights of successful PMPs before me, and it would be a privilege to share mine with future PMPs! These are some of the points I would think helps –
- Acquire the right study resources, with the criteria being that you like studying from them. This saves you lot of time, and gives you early confidence that leads all the way till day of your exam.
- Make a study plan. It may change as you go along, which is okay, having a plan helps you make progress.
- Have a study partner/person/mentor to whom you are accountable.
- Take the mock exams to help you with time management on the exam, and for explanation on why you answered the question incorrectly. There is invaluable learning here.
- Make your own notes – write them down, and it stays in your head for a long time.
- Get a white board – explain the concepts to yourself (use Feynman Technique). You will remember it better.
Hope this helps!
I wish PMP® aspirants all the best. Go get it before the new exam kicks in, you can definitely do this!