After a focused effort of 2 months I passed the PMP exam with 4 Proficient rating, on my first attempt. Following is a brief account of how I achieved it, and some of my PMP study tips that I hope will help those preparing for their PMP exam.
PMP study resources I used
I chose a limited number of study material so as to avoid a sense of overwhelming.
- Head First PMP (3rd Edition)
- Cognitel Training material
- Few chapters of RMC‘s book and PMBOK 5th Edition
- Notes from Shiv’s blog
My Study plan
I discussed with some of my friends and those that have passed PMP exam already and come up with a basic study plan. However, I had to refine this as I went along and this is what I ended up doing –
- First studied HeadFirst PMP book thoroughly (I targeted 1 chapter every day), completed exercise from each chapter as soon as I studied the chapter. I highly recommend this approach.
- Next, I took classroom training at Cognitel, which was very useful in understanding PMP concepts.
- Studied appendix from PMBOK to go through Acronyms. Basically to revise definitions of all important terms in PMBOK. This helped me understand concepts based on the PMP jargon.
- Then I moved to solving questions from different sources, free PMP mock tests which were helpful in identifying gap in my preparation/knowledge.
- I practiced 5 full length PMP practice/mock test (one each day):
- One from Head first PMP book
- One from Exam central website
- One from PMStudy website
- Two from Cognitel mock tests (earned my 35 PDUs by attending Cognitel training and they provided 6 full length mock tests)
- I read PMBOK and RMC’s book (few chapters) for the clarification of my doubts on those areas.
- In last week before exam, I revised from Shiv’s notes to quickly go through entire syllabus, and practiced formula based questions.
Also read – The complete PMP resource list
What worked for me?
Not every plan works out in one’s favor, same was my case. Few things that I suggest based on my success –
- Regular practice of PMP sample questions from below sources –
- Revising important definitions from PMBOK acronyms
- Understanding process flow (from data flow diagrams in PMBOK book) rather than memorizing ITTOs.
- Reaching early to Prometric test center to avoid traffic on road and stress that traffic could have been created
PMP study tips
Again, I tried many things and the pointers below are few suggestions I have based on my own experience. I suggest you try them up and see if what works for you.
- Avoid using too many books for studying. I think PMBOK and 1-2 reference books (Head First OR RMC) are sufficient.
- Solve as many mock tests as you could before taking exam, but be careful while choosing source of questions, since few questions on internet – especially free ones – have wrong answers/explanations. One of the reasons could be that some of them are still based on earlier versions of PMBOK and not updated for the latest version. Be aware of such question sources and avoid them.
- For me, the main purpose of solving a question is to identify gap in knowledge. Identify your weak areas and work on them.
- Avoid mugging up ITTOs, instead understand the process flow from PMBOK.
- Please read the “PMI Code of Ethics” from PMI website, Glossary and Leadership qualities from PMBOK appendix.
- It will be useful to you practice 1-2 mock tests in the same time-slot as your actual exam (for example 8am-12pm).
- Most questions are tricky. Please be very careful while reading question and options, a single word may change the answer.
- Keep your calm and cool during exam, don’t panic. Believe in yourself and you will rock.
I hope these PMP study tips will help all the aspirants. All the best!
Vishal Gupta, PMP
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