Shiv, I passed my PMP exam! While I feel that it is important to make one’s own PMP study plan, I’m sharing mine here with the hope that it may provide some insights.
My day-to-day responsibilities at work had recently culminated into managing multiple end-to-end projects. I thought that taking a PMP certification would not only strengthen my resume but also provide me with opportunities to implement my newly learnt skills in real time.
This was a huge motivation for me to take up PMP exam.
Study resources I used
I had attended a week-long in-class training session in 2014. After successful completion of that training, I started with Head First PMP – one of the most lucid books for beginners that helped me understand the basic concepts.
Next, I read the PMBOK twice and followed Shiv’s PMP smart-notes simultaneously.
I am of a very strong opinion that it is of extremely importance that a PMP student invests in a good exam simulator for test preparation. I used PMP-Simulator for preparing for the real exam.
A simulator not just gives you a trial run of the PMP exam, it also helps you come up with a strategy or plan to cover 200 questions well within the stipulated 4 hours.
This is PMP study plan I used
As I mentioned, my first read was the brain-friendly Head First PMP book.
Next, as per Shiv’s suggestion, I used PMBOK and his PMP smart-notes to cover each of the 10 Knowledge Areas. It helped me understand the critical concepts in more detail as information came from 2 separate set of notes.
After that, I created my own study notes, which was of great help in the last week prior to taking the exam.
My last week was focused on revising the content and taking full-length practice tests.
Post each practice test, I took enough time to review all the answers that helped me in identifying my problem areas and focus on those areas further.
As a 4 hour long test is usually mentally exhausting, taking practice tests helped me stay calm and focused.
For ITTOS, I used PMBOK and tried to visualize the input/output and re-read and wrote them several times.
Also Read: How To Remember ITTOs for the Exam?
It wasn’t all easy for me
I passed my PMP certification on my second attempt. During the first attempt, I wasn’t really sure of the approach/process of the preparation.
Only once I appeared for the test I realized what it takes to clear this exam. I was definitely not prepared in the first attempt nor did I take any practice exams prior.
I did a self analysis of the failure, identified the problem areas and and came up with the right approach for preparation along with a timetable to study the resources.
With time it became a lot more streamlined and each day I could feel more confident about my preparation.
The week before the exam is crucial
I made sure that I solved at least 3 full-length PMP mock tests and took my time to review and understand the concepts for all my incorrect answers.
I followed my own notes in the last week of exam and revised Shiv’s cheat-sheet every day in the last week.
I realized that the real exam is far more tricky than the test exams.
Also, the real exam questions are shorter in length so you have to assume a lot of things in order to answer the questions correctly.
I managed to finish the test in 3.5 hours and used the last 30 mins to review the marked questions.
My exam study tips
- Take as many practice tests as you can. Thsis is one area you cannot ignore!
- Make your own notes. The act of making notes alone improves your ability to understand the information.
- Focus on one knowledge area at a time, and make sure you gather information on that area from multiple study resources.
- Do not underestimate the real exam and be consistent with the preparation.
I’d like to sincerely thank Shiv Shenoy for mentoring me throughout my PMP journey. Shiv, keep up the great work.
…and last but not the least, a big shout out to my husband for his constant motivation and taking good care of our home (especially our 2-year-old) while I could study stress-free!
If you are preparing for your exam, I hope that you’ll find something to take from this PMP study plan and enhance effectiveness of your own study efforts.
Megha Dubey, PMP
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