Get a Mentor to Accelerate PMP Exam Prep: Bich Phuong Dang, PMP

pmp lessons learned bichMy PMP Preparation

I started reading the PMBOK back in 2013 and as I read it I started making notes and important points on index cards. But I was not motivated reading this book until I found a mentor who could help me moving on on my studies.

I knew that I could find a lot of resources and advice on the Internet but I felt I needed to be supported by somebody with one-on-one discussion. I found one and started asking my mentor to explain me difficult concepts.

bich pmpI found that Rita Mulcahy’s book is a very good complementary resource to the PMBOK. It explains a lot of concepts/formulas that are not in the PMBOK yet are part of the exam. So I highly recommend you to get the Rita book. Just make sure to have the latest version of it.

Once I finished reading the PMBOK I started doing sample questions. I did as many mock exams as possible and noted down questions for which I did not understand why the given answers were right. Then, I asked my mentor for explanation. In order to motivate myself, I planned a meeting with my mentor one week in advance and this forced me to do as many hard mock exams as possible so that I would have questions to ask my mentor.

Therefore it would be a good idea if you know somebody who is PMP certified or if your company gives you the opportunity to be in touch with a mentor! Without a mentor to support me, I think I would never get my PMP certification.

Also read: PMBOK + PMESN + Prep Tests = PMP : Sunil Narula

Preparing for the ITTOs

As I noticed that in many questions we were asked to choose the corresponding inputs, tools and techniques or outputs related to a Knowledge Area, I decided to learn all of them by heart. For every Knowledge Area, I wrote down the inputs, tools and techniques and outputs on my index cards.

Then every day, I picked up a card randomly and tried to write down the ITTOs on a draft paper. When it was too complicated to remember these by heart, I developed strategies to learn them by heart (for example, I invented a story in which I inserted those inputs, tools and techniques and outputs, etc).

My study schedule

I spent 2 hours a day studying for PMI (from 5 AM until 7 AM before going to work). I spent the first hour reviewing the different Knowledge Area content and the second hour doing questions.

As I learnt (from Shiv’s post on Facebook) that the PMP exam would change on January 12th 2016, I decided to pass the exam before this date at any cost. I submitted my PMP subscription form on December 20th , then I got the approval to pass the exam on December 25th. The process was very quick.

But it didn’t quite turn out to be like that.

I had already planned to go to Bali on December 30th for holiday and there were no exam sessions available in France (where I live) before December 30th . So I decided to pass the exam abroad during my holiday in…Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)!

So on January 3rd, I took the airplane from Bali to Kuala Lumpur and on January 4th; I passed the exam. Then, on January 4th after the exam, I had to take the airplane to fly back to Bali. This journey was just crazy and incredible. Now, I still can’t believe that I did that.

Also Read: PMP: Once Bitten, Second Time Successful – By Sita Sharma, PMP

My PMP Exam Experience

As I did a lot of hard scenario-based questions prior the real exam, I was very surprised that the exam was so easy. As I passed the exam before January 11th, I coped with less scenario-based questions. Instead, there were a lot of questions based on calculations, so I was happy with that!

I was very lucky during the exam because I was very concentrated and stuck in front of my screen during these 4 hours! At no time, I needed to neither to take a break, nor to go to toilet.

I recommend anybody to choose a second language during the exam. Thus, your screen will be divided into 2 screens. On the first screen, the question will be in your mother tongue (it was in French for me) and on the second screen, it will be in English. The advantage is that when you cope with questions related to a diagram (like the project schedule network diagram), you can keep the diagram on the first screen, and then, you can scroll down the second screen and read the question.

Also read: How Jeff Verdon passed his PMP exam while on vacation!

My study resource recommendations

Here are some books I used for the questions:
– PMP: Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide by Kim Heldman
– Achieve PMP Exam Success: A Concise Guide for the Busy Project Manager by Diane Altwies and Janice Preston
– PMP Exam Prep: Questions, Answers, & Explanations by Christopher Scordo
– Achieve PMP Exam Success: A Concise Study Guide for the Busy Project Manager, 5th Edition, Updated January 2016 by Diane Altwies and Janice Preston

Websites I used for the questions


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