I passed my PMP certification on earlier this month on my first try with Above Target in all 5 domains. I did this with what I call as ‘PMP Training mode’, based on the lesson I learned with several false starts.
Coming from software engineering industry I noticed the impact of PMP on project managers quite easily. The idea of taking up PMP triggered in mind when I met few senior executives of a big multinational software development company. I noticed one common thing in those executives, and that was their badge with PMP certification. That time, I decided that I will also give a try to PMP certification as I also desired to reach that position.
In April 2016, I completed my 35 hours training course and began studying with the aim of appearing for the exam in Jun-Jul same year. But after 1 month of study some high priority office work took over, and I lost my momentum. I started my studies again next year in April 2017, only to lose my interest due to higher priority work at office.
Then in November 2017, I got the news that PMP exam is changing is changing and last date of the exam in current form is 26-Mar-2018.
Finally I decided, come what may, I will need to complete my PMP certification before 26-March, otherwise I would have wasted all my earlier preparations and I would need to start again for the new course.
I submitted my exam application and got the confirmation in January. Then paid my examination fees and scheduled my exam for 5th Mar (just after the Holi weekend).
I had to get into PMP training mode. Thus my serious my preparation began.
Also Read: 10 Awesome PMP Study Tips From a Topper! – Heather Lyons, PMP
PMP Training Mode: ON
First thing first. I uninstalled all social networking apps from my phone, removed myself from all WhatsApp groups and focused only on the preparation for the PMP exam.
To get some momentum going I decided that I will dedicate 2 hours a day on working days and 8 hours on weekends for PMP preparations.
Then I religiously followed that for 3 months Dec, Jan & Feb. As I went through cycles of various emotions – confidence to hope to despair and back – it became clear that I need to have a strong will power, perseverance and self-motivation, and only then I’ll be able to clear the exam.
I visited Prometric center one week before my exam just to get the feel of the place.
I sent my family to my hometown so that I could focus more on my studies. I studied 16 hours a day consecutively for 3 days before the exam, spending most of my time giving mock tests and get the clarity on missing questions. This really helped me a lot.
I started my studies with the book, The PMP Exam by Andy Crowe.
This book is so impressive that I recommend everyone to start their studies with this book. Andy has explained PMP concepts in a very easy language.
Then I looked for material provided by Shiv. I noticed Shiv when I first saw the Mnemonics technique used by him. The techniques he taught to memorize lot of PMP concepts were impressive.
I decided to buy the popular course by Shiv titled “PMP Exam Prep Pro: Ace the Last Mile”.
This complete course was very helpful for me to prepare myself for the PMP exam.
Finally, I bought PMTraining Mock Exams a week before the exam and continued giving mock tests on daily basis till the last day before my exam.
I prepared all this stuff without taking even a single day leave from my office.
My PMP exam was scheduled for 5th of March.
Also Read: An Agile Approach to PMP Exam Preparation – by Abdul Saleem, PMP
We were not allowed to take water bottle and eye drops in the exam room. It was bit of a surprise for me as I was not aware about this. It was bit difficult to control the nervousness during the exam, but taking deep breath in-between helped me.
Before pressing the final submit button, it was really difficult to control the nervousness because exam was quite tough. When I submitted on final button and saw “Congratulations!”, it was like Wow… I thanked God. It seemed as if I was on top of the world.
Incredibly I had scored “Above Target” in all 5 domains!
All my hard work paid off finally. I called my parents and wife to thank them for all their support during my preparation time.
My Study Tips
Here are few study tips I’d like to share, based on my own experience –
- Start your study with the book “The PMP Exam by Andy Crowe” as it is very easy to understand all PMP concepts, next take the 2nd book of your choice (Rita Mulcahy or Head First) and finally the PMBOK Guide.
- Read at least 3 books, get best PMP training online course (preferably PMP Exam Prep Pro: Ace the Last Mile as it trains you for the last mile) and online mock tests; total 5 resources.
- Use mnemonics as much as you can to memorize the stuff, using techniques suggested by Shiv in the above course.
- Be consistent in your studies. Make it a habit to study everyday. Build study momentum (use this and this)
- Perseverance and Self-motivation is very important to prepare for this exam. You can do this.
- Uninstall all social media apps and games from your phone at least few weeks before exam, to better focus on your studies.
- Do some stretching exercises for body. Specially eyes, neck, and back as you will be studying a lot while sitting, staring at your laptop/computer continuously for hours.
- Plan at least 4 days off from work before your exam and cut all distractions on those 4 days.
- In the last week before your exam try to practice as many 4 hours exams as you can without break. Do this even without water and bio-break if you want to maximize 4hrs on the exam. Use the same time duration as your actual scheduled exam time duration, for instance, 8am to 12noon.
Write down your PMP goal and work at it every day. Remember, when going gets tough switch to PMP training mode. 🙂
All the best!
Also Read: My PMP Mantra – KISS Principle with Focused Hard work, by Arijit Dutt, PMP
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