Henok Berehanu Senafikew passed his PMP exam recently and we got chatting. I loved how simple his study plan for PMP exam was. As you would expect I asked if I could interview him. And here is Henok’s perspective of PMP exam prep. Henok lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He works for Honeywell as a Deputy Construction Manager for Airport project.
Let us find out how Henok went about preparing for his exam.
What made you take up PMP exam?
Few years ago I began working as a Deputy Construction Manager in my company, and project management is part of my job profile. I needed a well rounded education in project management. Looking around for various certifications PMP certification came across as the most comprehensive one.
I was already aware of PMP through my colleagues before, so I discussed with them in detail before deciding on PMP.
How may PMP impact your work now?
Since I work on projects, it is good that I have PMP. I have gained enormous insights into various aspects of PMP during my studies – such as scope, schedule, and cost management.
In terms of impact, I can already see that I am able to perform much better at work. I can see areas where PMP after my name can have an impact and sure when the time comes the certification aspect will come in handy.
What were your study resources?
Mainly, I used 3 study resources-
- Reference guide: PMBOK guide as a reference book (if you are PMI member, you get a free soft copy)
- Study from blog and study group support: I have joined your PMExamSmartNotes Facebook group, and that helps me a lot also
- Exam simulator: I have done many free sample questions from the internet and I also bought exam simulators from Whizlabs
You can refer to recommended study materials, including free simulators here.
By being selective about my study resources and sticking to them for daily study has helped me make steady progress. And I did realize that for PMP exam making progress every day is key.
What was your study plan?
I prepared very simple study plan for PMP exam – take as many sample exam questions as I can and refer to PMBOK guide for details.
And for few topics that it can’t be found in PMBOK I surfed the internet and studied them.
That’s a simple and great plan. Did you face any issues?
Since I used many simulator questions online I had a peculiar issue. The answers to similar questions seemed different from different simulators that I used. And some of the answers were wrong too.
In the week before the test I took some more sample exams.
I was too worried that I may fail, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the actual exam was not as hard as I expected. This could be because of the fact that I took many mock tests and felt comfortable answering questions of any difficulty level.
Tell us about your exam experience.
First, I wanted to take away any ‘unknown unknowns’ on the exam day and thus I visited the exam center the day before. I encourage everyone to do this. Ensure your slot is booked, you have the identification items that the test center expects, you see the exam hall, feel the temperature, talk to the staff and find out the help they will extend (whether they give you sheets of paper or laminated sheets and erasable pens, for instance).
This familiarity reduces anxiety and gives you the confidence on the day of exam.
Unfortunately, my exam was interrupted because of power outage, but the good thing is the exam continued from where it stopped when the generator power took over. This may not be the case where you are slated to take the exam, but now you know it is possible!
The questions were not very difficult as compared to mock tests I took. Most of the questions in my exam were short and clear (not verbose). But that didn’t mean that there were no complex questions with tricky answers! I faced some difficult questions with every choice looking to be the answer.
Bottom line, know your concepts well and practice mock tests as much as you can.
Any specific study tips you’d like to share?
My primary suggestion is do take as many mock tests as possible.
Also, learn how other successful PMPs did it, but prepare your own study plan for PMP exam.
Don’t book your exam until you are reasonably confident, otherwise it may create frustration when the exam date arrives. But don’t wait to feel completely confident either, chances are we never feel 100% ready. 🙂
The other thing I was doing during my studies are:
- Taking notes or screenshots some major points from PMBOK, like Knowledge areas, project documents and many more important pages. I used this my phone to take pictures and put it in a folder for easy reference in my phone.
- Writing down process table and list of project documents from my memory repeatedly.
Be consistent and feel confident about your preparation and the exam will take care of itself.
All the best,