If you didn’t have to bother about sitting for 4 long hours, struggling to maintain focus throughout.
Imagine how it would feel if you actually enjoyed taking the PMP exam, to the extent that you would not even opt for both the optional breaks.
Sounds hard to believe?
That’s exactly the experience that Roopa went through.
And in this interview, she tells you exactly how she did it.
Roopa Desu has 16+ years of rich experience in Quality Assurance in Network and Telecom domains. She’s aspiring to be a technical manager. As a first step, she decided to educate herself, and took up PMP.
Roopa also shares a few free online resources (videos, reddit, and more) that helped her tremendously.
Get ready to make some notes, let’s start.
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What made you take up PMP?
My manager always said that I would make a good project manager, due to my methodical approach towards finding solutions. Hence, I started thinking about taking my career path that way.
As I grew in my career, I began to realize how project management aspects are seamlessly integrated into a Quality Assurance manager role. Plus, there is a unique advantage to becoming a project manager with QA background.
All these made me realize how PMP can add value to my resume, and pave a path for my career growth.
I did not consider any other certification, to be honest. Now that I’m PMP certified, maybe I will start thinking now. Possibly an agile certification. 🙂
According to you, what’s the one thing a PMP aspirant must have?
A thorough understanding of the flow of information throughout the project phases via various processes.
This understanding helps you know the nuances around each process. This is exactly what the PMP exam tests you on. Thus, this is essential.
Do not base your answers on your own experience!
This may come across as a surprise, but according to PMI, there is an ideal way to deal with any project scenario. When it comes to the exam, this way of thinking helps you answer questions successfully.
Think like an ideal manager. See things from the customer’s perspective. Management’s perspective. Team members’ perspective. How should the manager motivate them, support them to work efficiently, and so on.
To get to understand more scenarios and practice better, consciously inculcate this way of thinking while taking mock tests.
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Which study resources did you use?
I started with Joseph Phillips Udemy course.
In addition, I took training from a local trainer. This helped me understand the way I have to prepare for my exam.
Below are few more online resources that helped me for my preparation –
Get ‘PMP Launchpad’ for free!
What was your approach and study plan?
In addition to going over Joseph’s course and the study materials from my course, I would listen to many recordings on YouTube.
After studying all the content, I took many mock tests to practice my exam-taking ability.
Also, I would to ask my trainer different scenarios and learn processes in the context of those scenarios.
You mentioned of the challenges along the way?
There were a few!
1. Losing focus was my biggest issue.
I started preparing a year ago, but focus was always getting changed whenever there was a lot of work in office.
I couldn’t even complete 3-4 chapters till about a few months ago.
But then something happened as soon as I paid for PMI Membership.
I became pretty serious about the preparation and this gave me more focus towards achieving the goal. I guess investing money towards my goal was the signal needed to know that this is serious now!
In all, I put in 3 months of serious study effort, in parallel to office work. With good planning, you can achieve PMP. You only need consistency in study so that your priority for PMP goal is not changed.
2. I had starting trouble!
I always felt that I am left in the middle of the jungle as I was not understanding where to start, what to start, how to plan for PMP.
But then reading the experiences of people that have passed the exam gave me hope.
I began reaching out to them to get some basic information. But after I started training with the classes, I got a clearer picture.
The week before the exam is crucial. How did you prepare during this week?
I applied for a week’s leave to take the exam. This allowed me to focus 100% without any interruptions.
I began the week by writing mock exams from the mock simulator, YouTube live mock question and answer sessions.
I also went over the Agile Practice guide from PMI.
Taking many mocks helped me understand my level of preparation, identify knowledge gaps, and quickly brush up those topics. I also realized how to approach scenario based questions.
How was your exam experience?
Exam experience was really awesome for me.
As soon as I sat in front of the computer in the exam center, I was transported to a totally different world.
Many people had said that they got exhausted because of long hours of sitting, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time. It didn’t feel long or strenuous at all.
They also suggest taking breaks, rejuvenating, relaxing and continuing the exam. I didn’t even take the 2 optional breaks. 🙂 Just continued answering the questions.
I think this was due to the mock tests I had taken.
Thoroughly enjoyed my exam time.
Would you like to share any specific study tips?
I am a firm believer now that attitude decides your altitude.
I wasn’t even a project manager when preparing for this exam, and I completely enjoyed the study process as well as the exam.
Many people approach this with a sense of burden—that they somehow have to complete this goal. As if it was forced upon them.
I would say find a way to enjoy the content, enjoy the study process, and enjoy the journey.
The outcome, passing the PMP exam, will become automatic.
Ensure you study consistently and do not change your priority for PMP goal.
All the best!