How I Passed PMP Exam – Sayeenand G, PMP

Shiv, I passed PMP exam!

I am a regular visitor of your blog. I used to read all the success stories you mailed and pick up tips for my preparation. Even now I enjoy these PMP Lesson Learned articles. It is fascinating to see how different people use different strategies to reach common goal – PMP.

I figured that once I passed PMP exam I must share my study strategy, tips, and insights.

So here it is!

The PMP trigger

pmp sayeenandI don’t remember how I connected with your blog, but it helped gain insights into my PMP preparation right from the beginning. I am a mechanical Engineer working in services company.

The PMP fire started in me when one of my colleagues and my best friend passed PMP exam and got managerial posts in a good organization.

I had to get mine.

I also realized that in the industry if you wanted to grow in career an industry-recognized certification certainly helps. It gives you get the required knowledge as well as credibility. PMP is definitely one of them.

Then again, balancing family, work and study is a big challenge for people like me. But I realized that with dedication I could make it happen.

My PMP journey began slowly and it took me 5 months to get certified.

Also Read: How this one PMP book helped me pass my exam – by Mohammed Mabruk, PMP

I began with a milestone based plan

Excel sheet with calendar dates for important milestones was my first plan. I wrote down when to study which of the knowledge areas.

In the 35-hour contact education course I got an overall idea of the concepts I should focus more based on my weak areas. I planned my study according to that – by focusing on weak areas up front.

In the first 2 weeks I studied Rita Mulcahy book thoroughly.

I tell you, general PMIism is the best part of this book. All the secrets are within first few pages.

Keep in mind those tips to complete other knowledge areas and process groups.

Initially I studied Process Group wise as it gave me clear idea of process flow in a project scenario.

For example, if you study Initiating process group it makes sense to Identify Stakeholders as soon as developing project charter, than jumping to create project management plan. I studied this way first and later shifted to studying Knowledge Area wise.

Make up relatable project examples to understand concepts

Secondly, it was difficult for me to imagine big abstract projects to understand the PMP concepts.  I began imagining Bangalore Metro and the construction of a Technology Park (where I work) as examples to apply study concepts to. This helped me a immensely to understand the processes.

In the 2nd round I drew pictures of what I understood and tried to recall those pictures to related to the concepts. This visual association helped further in recalling the information on the exam.

What’s your favorite PM topic? Get featured on this blog by writing about it (free training)

Mock tests!

After the 2nd pass of Rita I went through couple of sample mock tests, which forced me to see projects in different perspectives. Then I started the Edwel Boot camp, which I highly recommend. The questions are really tough ones. I scored 48%, which was really less.

In the 2nd pass of the boot camp I started comparing the idea/core behind the both Rita and boot camp. This helped me to score 68%+ in mock tests, which was an improvement!.

The above process took almost 2 months.

Then I repeated the same process twice, but with lesser time – 1.5 months and 1 month respectively.

Leading up to the exam

With 20 days to go for the exam I began solving a minimum of 200 question every day and reading your blog.

I also began writing down formulas every day. This is the one area we can score 100% on the exam. This made me very confident of the formulas on the day of the exam.

By practicing long verbose type of questions I could understand which part of the question to read first to understand what is it actually asking us to solve.

I took 3 and half hour to answer all the questions and 30 min for final review.

The tips I generally follow beyond PMP are…

  1. No gossip about others. Be truly professional
  2. Eat only healthy food
  3. In office I utilized the free time to solve questions in PMP app
  4. I would study the late nights and recall the same during next mornings for about 30 min or so
  5. Don’t lose focus at any moment of time (even with work pressure)

I took a bit longer to get my PMP due to personal constraints but it was worth investing time.

Also Read: 108 must-know Project Management Statistics for you to gain unfair advantage this year!

In summary

The joy of seeing ‘CONGRATULATIONS’ message at the end of 4 hours is unforgettable. Once you get your PMP your career path can change significantly, so my sincere advice is to give it all that it takes.

I passed PMP exam not without few tense moments, but then what good has come out of something that’s been easy, right? 🙂 It is my firm belief that all good things come to people that pursue their PMP dream..

All the best PMP aspirants,

Sayeenand G, PMP


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