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 PMBOK-4 and not updated for PMBOK-5. 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