“Balance prep for PMP exam with your work”, says Hashiru after passing his PMP, “and you will enjoy the whole journey”.
Hashiru Newland lives in Maryland, USA, and currently working for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
When not working, he likes to watch soccer and basketball, or simply go for a run.
This week he would be sharing the whole process of choosing PMP as a goal, all the way till passing it. All the challenges and insights, of course.
I’m impressed with how he has simplified the entire process, focusing on what really matters for the preparation.
In that context, I consider his very first advice about getting started invaluable. Simply because it keeps you away from so many of the possible challenges later into your preparation.
Let’s understand how he did it.
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What made you take up PMP?
I am a contractor working in a compliance environment dealing with capital projects contracts, project documents etc. My employer encouraged me to take the PMP certification exam.
I did consider other certifications, and I do hold other certifications.
Since project compliance environment is a step away from core project management, I’m thrilled to be a full-fledged project manager now.
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According to you, what’s the one thing needed ace the exam?
PMP exam preparation takes time. And you would be, most likely, doing this while spending long hours at the day job.
Thus, time is of essence. And you can’t afford to lose it by a half-hearted start.
Get the right mix first.
As a PMP aspirant, you will do well to first lock down the right set of materials, training, and practice tests to simplify your certification journey.
Do your research. Ask around. Talk to people that are PMP certified.
But don’t just get them because someone recommended. Make sure you do like that resource.
This is an important step. Do not ignore this. Saves you a lot of sleepless nights.
1-2 study material, and good simulator before you begin to study. Once you have these, do not do any more research about study materials and such. You will start second guessing your decisions, or get too many study materials. Both are not good.
Also, an inquisitive personality trait will help.
The one that is always seeking to understand the why, what, and how of project management activities.
When you approach your study this way, you will begin to naturally enjoy what you are learning.
Which study resources did you use?
I just went with Aileen Ellis’s PMP study materials.
Keeping it simple! How did you approach the study?
I studied all the content (predictive, agile, and hybrid) twice.
And then I practiced the mock tests to get a sense of the real exam.
A good simulator will help you to see which areas you need a little more studying, and which areas you are comfortable with. With this knowledge, you can use the last few days before the exam strategically.
Aileen’s study plan was helpful.
Did you face any blockers along the way?
Balancing the work and study is definitely a challenge.
I tried to stay disciplined, by studying according to the plan.
I also ensure to take enough rest to rejuvenate the brain, so I can study in slots.
With this approach, I was able to study and also make time for family and friends.
I did not hurry with my preparation and kept it on a parallel track along with my work. This was a better approach than giving higher priority to PMP study over work and trying to get it done in a short duration. It took me close to 8 months to get PMP certified.
Work derailed my original plan of taking the examination by a few months. Work priority will throw a monkey wrench on your plan, be prepared to deal with those. Like I mentioned, if you take work and PMP study in parallel, like a daily routine, you will be able to do PMP without impacting other priorities in life.
You’d be lucky to escape life’s uncertainties. 🙂
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The week before the exam is crucial. How was your prep for PMP exam?
I have taken many certification exams. The preparation for the last week was no different for PMP.
I went through the revision materials, and mock tests to refresh my memory.
The idea being, when I encounter questions in the examination, I should think less and clearly, not faintly.
Can you share your exam experience?
Going through simulator exams was very helpful when experiencing the actual examination. It helped with time management plus honing your knowledge of the subject.
I figured it was essential to take breaks and cool off for the following 60 questions.
The level of complexity of the questions was directly related to my strength on the topic or the PMP examination contents.
I think I reduced the complexity by truly understanding the content and concepts.
Aileen’s study materials helped me with the anxiety, and she suggests taking the examination after you are well-prepared.
Any specific study tips for PMP aspirants?
Managing study time as well as time per question is essential.
Revise your weak areas more often, and less regularly your strong areas. This helps you with the former.
Use a good simulator and practice as many tests as you can, and this helps you with the latter.
Finally, you may feel that your prep for PMP exam is never complete. It’s okay to have such thoughts. Let your mock test score guide your decision to book the exam. As they say, if you are hitting 80% or more on mock tests you are sorta ready!
I wish all aspirants nothing but the best. Good luck!
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