How To Prepare For PMP Exam In 3 Weeks, Without PMBOK – Shantanu Shukla, PMP

“How to prepare for the PMP exam in 3 weeks without PMBOK, with a simple 5-step strategy” – would be a great title if Shantanu wanted to write a book (although it’d be a bit too long for a book).

Because that is exactly what he did.

Shantanu Shukla knew that he didn’t have much time on hand for his PMP prep.

His project was going to pick up heat in about 3 weeks’ time, and he had a small window to get PMP done.

What he did was exactly what a smart project manager would do – take into account the constraints, make a plan, and hit it with all that you’ve got.

And for Shantanu, this came off well.

The reward was worth the ‘risk’ – actually it wasn’t a risk at all considering the fact that the study effort will only make you a better project manager!

And interestingly, he did it without referring to PMBOK (that is not to suggest that you should do the same ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

And don’t miss his 8 insightful study tips – I am a big fan of #5.

Let me hand it over to Shantanu to share his short and successful PMP journey.

Why it had to be PMP?

pmp shantanu shulkaOnce I figured that PMP would give me the knowledge, ability to hone my skills, and authority in the industry, the decision to take it up was a no-brainer.

I learned about Joseph Philip’s course on Udemy from a friend and signed up.

Can you share your “how to prepare for the PMP exam in 3 weeks” study strategy? ๐Ÿ™‚

Of course. I can drop this into a 5-step approach.

Step 1. Studied Udemy course lectures

I watched the entire set carefully in 10 days. And then took my first Udemy mock test and scored 74%.

I felt fine, as I knew I was almost there (especially given that I could not focus properly on this test as my 2.5-year-old was raising the roof at the time!).

Step 2. Attempted mock tests

I then took the second Udemy mock test after two days and scored 82%, and so I knew if I could keep my nerves under control, I could do well in the PMP exam.

Step 3. Laser-focused post-mock-test analysis & learning

I kept analyzing these two mock test results to identify my weak areas and kept re-watching these Udemy lectures.

By day 15th I had a good grasp of my weaknesses and I tried to shore those up by watching the free videos and referring to those sections in Andrew Ramdayal ‘s book.

Also read:

Step 4. The final push

2 days before the exam, I gave my third (and final!) free mock test and scored an 87%.

I certainly am no expert on PMP (as clearing the PMP exam does not make you an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but gives you the right start towards a great journey to become a better project manager).

But I just want to share that I did not even have a copy of PMBOK, let alone reading it even once.

I am not sure if I recommend doing this, but I certainly passed the PMP without ever reading the PMBOK.

The only reason I did NOT read PMBOK is as I had heard from multiple people that it is very dry, and I only had 3-4 weeks to take the exam.

As I did not have the luxury of time, so I could only take three mock tests. Plus, I read bits and pieces of Andrew Ramdayal’s book on Amazon and tried to watch all Udemy content twice with as much attention as I could muster.

Step 5. Leveraged my support system throughout

Throughout my preparation, I needed a support system, which I found thankfully in the PMESN blog.

  • I kept reading the lessons learned and exam preparation tips from other successful test-takers
  • Took the daily PMP question (Facebook page and LinkedIn group), and looked at the previous answers to verify whether I got them right
  • The answer links for further study helped to strengthen my concepts
  • The advice I received through emails and blog posts were useful in refining my study pattern to get the most ROI of my time

Can you share your exam experience?

The night before the exam, I could not sleep and kept rolling on the bed for 9 hours.

Woke up. Had breakfast and a strong cup of tea.

I packed my Red Bull and cake and also bought a sandwich, which I ate before I entered the test facility.

I was hoping to take two breaks but chose against it as I was in a flow and didn’t want to lose momentum.

Midway through the exam, I kept looking at the clock, I was slowly falling behind on my time per question mark.

I changed gears and aimed to answer every question within one minute – even if meant I had to flag more questions to answer later.

Soon I was down to my last 25 questions. I began to just narrow down my choices before marking an answer and kept chugging along.

I reached the last question with just over a minute to spare. Did not review marked questions and just let the clock run out.

After what seemed like an eternity, I saw the message conveying I have passed.

I was happy to learn that I had scored “Above Target” on all domains when I was handed the printout.

In summary,

I really think you can pass the exam with just 1 or 2 good sources. There is a lot of stuff on the internet, but you should only choose 1 or 2 sources and be thorough with them.

I do see how taking multiple mocks may help someone if their initial score was too low to start off with, but as in my case I scored a 74% on my maiden test, I believed in myself and thought 3 mocks should suffice.

Yes, I did feel the real PMP was way tougher and lengthier than the 3 mocks I took (or maybe it is just because I was low on energy due to lack of sleep the night before). I had a lot of situational and change control types of questions on the exam.

I’d like to thank platforms (the blog, LinkedIn group, and Facebook page) for providing the inspiration and preparation advice.

Master PMP concepts using the series ‘Ace Your PMP Exam’ on Amazon – 12 books of pure, filtered, simplified concepts to learn in a brain-friendly way, so you can answer any question on the exam.

ace your pmp exam series kindle

Any specific tips for PMP aspirants?

  1. Set expectations with your coworkers, boss, and family about your PMP prep and the need to spend time on it.
  2. Choose 1-2 study resources, the more you choose the chaotic it can become.
  3. Clampdown the study duration, put everything you have got into the study.
  4. There will be times when you can’t study as much as you’d hoped. It’s okay. Be gentle to yourself.
  5. Keep hitting your milestones, and keep making progress – this is the only way to kill those moments of overwhelm that one is bound to feel now and then.
  6. After each round of study, test your knowledge by taking mock tests – they will help you to identify your weak areas
  7. Don’t forget to celebrate every victory – completion of a milestone, passing a mock test, hitting today’s planned study, however small it is. Celebrate with even the simplest of pleasures – such as making yourself a cup of coffee you love.
  8. Celebrate your PMP win with those that supported you in the journey!

And that is how to prepare for the PMP exam in 3 weeks without PMBOK! ๐Ÿ™‚

I understand that PMBOK is important, and I would not ask you to not use it – you should definitely use it if you are comfortable studying from a book. The point I wanted to put across is that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing if you feel strongly about a different way of doing things that work for you.

All the best!

Shantanu Shukla, PMP



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