“The basic premise of clearing PMP® exam is that the project management concepts should be clear”, says Pratik Patil after passing his PMP exam.
Pratik Patil works as a Senior Business Analyst working in Financial Technology sector. With 8+ years of experience Pratik has a blend of rich tech and management experience.
In this short interview Pratik shares his approach to the PMP® exam, wrapping it up with few insights he’d like to share with PMP aspirants.
What made you take up PMP®?
PMP® certification is best in industry and recognized worldwide. I decided to take up PMP® to learn and implement best practices of Project Management in my organization.
Earlier I did think about CSM certification, but then I prioritized PMP® ahead of it. I think that PMP covers all aspects of project management and thus comprehensive than other certifications.
What benefit do you expect now that you are certified?
My primary expectation is that I will be able to implement relevant processes of Project Management in my projects.
Project Management is a vast field and one does not get to work on all aspects (knowledge areas, in PMI terms) in a single project.
However, now I feel more confident about my abilities to take up any kind of project, because I know what to expect and how to proceed when faced with challenges on the job.
What were the study resources you used?
I used PMBOK guide as the primary resource for my PMP® exam study.
Apart from this I took up 10-12 mocks tests from Udemy and Knowledge Hut.
Overall I would have solved about 3000-4000 mock questions during my preparation.
How did you approach the exam and what was your study plan?
The basic premise of clearing PMP exam is that the project management concepts should be clear.
I set a 3-month plan for my study and 15 days for solving mock tests.
During my preparation, I read PMBOK guide twice and understood project management concepts as thoroughly as I could.
Understanding all the processes, when each one needs to be used, all the 33 Project documents, 19 Project Management Plans and a bunch of Tools & Techniques – this understanding is very important.
I referred to Data Flow Diagrams for each process in PMBOK guide for remembering inputs and outputs.
Like I mentioned, I topped this up with 10-12 mock tests just before exam. This helped me like a dry-run of the real exam, so it didn’t feel much different during the real exam.
Did you face any issues?
Managing my time efficiently has sometimes been an issue for me while preparing for exam.
With my work schedule I could not dedicate a specific time of the day for study. At any time there could be some extra office work or personal work because of which on certain days I was not able to study at all.
But I realized early that I need to keep studying consistently and develop a momentum that carries me through to the exam.
I did plan for 3 hours on week days and about 8 hours on weekends. For the week days that I slipped on study time, I made up on the weekends by studying additional few hours.
The week before the exam is crucial. How did you prepare?
Yes, the week before exam is very important.
I dedicated last 15 days for solving just mock tests. After each mock test I would review the incorrect answers, understand and digest them well.
My score for all this mocks are in the range of 65% – 78%. I think that getting 70% on a consistent basis shows your readiness for exam.
I have also reviewed all the Project Management Plans, Project Documents, and ITTOs before exam. Also, I summarized all 10 Knowledge Areas in the last 2 days before my exam.
Tell us about your exam experience.
I reached to my venue an hour before the scheduled time.
Exam environment was very strict. Nothing was allowed inside exam hall (not even handkerchief & comb). The exam coordinator told me to deposit all in my bag and gave locker key. Only the locker key and identity card was allowed inside exam hall. They checked all the pockets and gave me tissues and a calculator.
After reading the demo I began my actual exam. Because of all this security experience I got a little bit nervous.
I began slow and was able to solve 125 questions in 3 hours, then I picked up speed and answered 75 questions in last hour.
The exam staff was supportive. Once you raised your hand, they will come to your desk and you can tell them if you want to take small break. I took one break in between.
- 70-80% questions were purely situational – such as ‘what you as PM should do‘ in particular situation.
- I have got around 30-35 questions on Change Management and PICC process. So, prepare it very nicely.
- Majority of questions I got were 2-3 liners and few were straight forward, like Control Chart,Tornado Diagram etc. Only couple of questions from EVM, a question on EMV and 1 on NPV. There were few on Critical Path as well.
The bottom line is that you cannot expect only a certain type of questions to come on the exam. Prepare for all kinds of questions – longer ones, formula based, in fact create a list of all formulas from all Knowledge Areas and practice before the exam day.
I was so thankful that I focused more on basics of project management concepts as thoroughly as I could, because I could see how it helped me on the exam.
Any specific insights you’d like to share?
- Understanding all processes, and how they are interconnected is very, very important.
- If you understand all processes, ITTOs and concepts well then passing exam is not difficult. Of course, you need to practice a ton of mock tests.
- I would recommend reading PMBOK guide twice. You can refer other books or courses too. Some of the other popular books are Rita Mulchay (ad), Headfirst PMP (ad), and Kim Heldman (ad).
- Your daily commitment is an absolute must for passing exam.
All the best for all PMP® aspirants. Go and achieve this best Industry certification. Since PMP exam is changing from 1st July 2020, plan your PMP exam in the current version as soon as you can.
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