Dear Shiv, although I came across your website quite late for my preparations, it gave me valuable inputs and tips for the PMP exam preparation. My target was to pass the exam in the 1st attempt no matter what proficiency I get.
Time and again I was reading the contributions of other aspirants and their success stories. It was so useful for me. I would definitely like to share my experience here so it can help PMP students.
At the age of 46 years the decision itself was very tough when your cognitive and learning skills both slow down. Also, traveling by Metro (Noida to my home town) for my office and back to home consumed at least six hours each day. It consumed my energy, time, money and concentration. Nevertheless I developed the habit of concentrating and studying while traveling, often standing during rush hours.
It took me overall 6 months to prepare for the exam. But my actual study was only of the last one month.
1) Enroll for some classroom training. It seems to be outdated but still it is the best point for understanding quicker. Before joining any such training do read about the topics covered in PMBOK.
2) Understand your strengths and weaknesses. In my case I did not touch the cost management because calculations are my weak points. Do not leave out any areas just because it appears tough. This is very important!
3) PMBOK reading is very important, though many people find it a boring read. I consider PMBOK to be essential study companion because majority of exam questions are picked from it, and it is considered to be most comprehensive reference book for PMP exam. I suggest to not leave this out of your list of study books.
4) Alongwith PMBOK always use another reference book for each topic. For example, I first studied Integration management from PMBOK and then studied it from HeadFirst PMP.. This way it gave me more confidence in my understanding of PMP concepts. HeadFirst makes you understand the concepts in a ‘brain friendly’ way. This is another book I suggest.
5) It took me two months to read these two books. You may take more or less, but the idea is to stick to it and never give up. Find time to keep study momentum – even at times it is as less as 15-30 minutes a day. Study momentum is key.
6) The other book I chose for my study is Rita’s book. This actually makes you understand every step of PMP concepts. Somewhere I’d read about “Magic of three” i.e. read any book at least three times. I’m not sure how effective is this approach. 🙂 I attempted all of the exercises and got clarity on concepts.
7) I also tried to understand the CPM on other websites on the internet. Do not stick to only the books/courses you choose for your study. There are sites where certain PMP concepts are explained better than in books. If you find a concept difficult to understand Google for it and read through other sites that explain it (sites like Wikipedia are useful to get a high level understanding of a concept)
8) Online practice is also crucial. I took the following practice questions –
- Oliver 75 Qs
- Oliver 175 Qs (click to directly download the pdf)
- Skillset 300 Qs
- Christopher Scordo 600 Qs
9) Most important is to always prepare a study schedule. I did it because I had to study either during traveling in rush hour or on Sundays only. I divided each topic, each section date wise. It helped me understand where do I stand and how much more is left to be done.
Vishal Sawhney, PMP