My PMP® Prep Plan: Anitha Gandham, PMP

pmp prep planlessons learned anitha gandhamThree to four years ago I heard about PMP® Certification from a friend. As I am voracious reader so I thought of taking PMP® exam to enhance opportunities for my career advancement.

At the same time our organization arranged a video conference with leadership team for PMP® aspirants, which boosted my interest in PMP®.

About an year ago I took training from IIL for 4 days. As part of this training I was given 4 days sessions, PMBOK® guide, IIL book and access to PMIQ (simulator) for 6 months. I scheduled exam on 4th Jan, 2016 (before new syllabus come in to place) but my preparation was on & off, so I ended up postponing the exam.

pmp prep planPreparation

In Dec 2015 our organization appointed a PMP® ambassador to help PMP® aspirants. I contacted him, where I got briefing about the study resources, study plan and came to know about Shiv Shenoy. He advised me to take online tests and if I am consistently above 80%, then I can go for real exam. My score was just about reaching 50 to 70% that time.

My study resources and approach

I rescheduled the exam to April 18th, 2016. Apart from IIL notes and the Kindle book “Crack PMP in 4 weeks” by Shiv Shenoy, I decided to get these –

I opted for Cornelius Fichtner’s free simulator for 3 7 days and daily questions (15) for 8 days.

The daily study emails from Shiv (from Study Blueprint course) kept my motivation to pass PMP® at the highest level.

I used HeadFirst PMP® book, where you will get to the knowledge of concept clearly.

The e-reads section of is another great source for PMP prep material. I downloaded the 18 tests and 10 KA tests and tips for exam from here. This material is not available anymore, unfortunately, as they closed it on Jan 31st.

I also got the ‘Last Mile’ prep books which contains 11 books for each KA and then PMP® sample questions with answers, PMP® Formula book, PMP® Question Types….etc.

I started studying each KA for 3 days from all these study resources.

Practice using Simulator

As I was considering using a Simulator, I wrote to IIL to provide the access to simulator for 10 days before the exam. They provided me access for one month.

I attempted 1270 mock test questions across all process groups. When I wrote the exam, I could see questions getting repeated. So, I answered the questions process group wise. For these mock exams I started getting a score of above 80%, and I used to complete the test within 2 and a half hrs.

So I knew I was getting ready for the big day.

Before the day of exam, I took a practice exam from IIL, which I scored 95% under 1hr 50min, which boosted my confidence.

Last week before the exam

As suggested by Shiv, I took one week off from work, and practiced more and more tests and reviewed answers, even if they are right, to make sure my understanding is correct.

Finally, the exam!

The exam day came, I took 4 minutes to go through the tutorial, then I started writing down my brain dump on paper. To my dismay I could only write p.61 of PMBOK and some formulae. While attempting process related questions I referred to my brain dump for at least 2 to 3 questions. For the first question, I took 3 minutes to understand the question itself!

After 50 questions, I took 1 minute break, closed my eyes, relaxed as much as I could. I did the same after next 50 questions, which makes me relax and focus on what I am doing. Within 2 hours, I was able to complete 130 questions, so I felt more relaxed and took another 10-minute break. When I completed all 200 questions, I had still 45 minutes left.

I had planned to “Mark” the questions that I was not sure of, but when I finished I saw that I had marked only 4 questions! So I reviewed these marked questions first, changed couple of answers, then started reviewing all the questions.

I was able to review 140 questions in the remaining time and changed at least 10 answers.

Then the Prometric test center survey started. Though I was answering the questions in survey I was praying. 🙂 Finally I completed the survey and saw my result as PASS. I realized that I didn’t get a single question from the mock tests I had taken. My ethics played a vital role in answering questions related to ethics.

Good luck to you,

Anitha Gandham, PMP
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