The Most Effective Approach To Succeed With PMP: Sheri N. States, PMP

most effective PMP approach Sheri N. States shares her PMP secrets.“What is the one most effective approach for PMP success?” I asked Sheri during the interview. I was picking her brains to understand and summarize the secret of her perfect Above Target score in all 3 Domains a week ago.

Her answer made perfect sense (more on this in a bit).

Sheri N. States lives in Charlottesville, Virginia USA. She works in technology and has a great deal of experience with Agile approach. During her free time, loves to cook, and coordinates weddings as a side business (check out

Sheri leads a group of technical specialists and works alongside a team of professionals to provide operational support to 160 member societies all over the world to manage their data, events, email marketing, and other technical needs to aid in operational efficiencies.

What made you take up PMP?

pmp sheri statesOver the years, I have considered other certification exams but given my experience, gifts, and talents, as well as the work I gravitated to, I knew the PMP was the right fit for me and my career.

Looking back, I have been a project manager most of my life. And PMP would outline all aspects of this profession and would help me get a comprehensive understanding of project management.

Now that you are certified, how do you see PMP helping you?

The credential signals to others that I am a project management professional and have invested the time necessary from work experience, education, and determination to meet the credentialing requirements.

This itself can open opportunities. Not to mention the ability this provides to improve upon our project management skills.

Also read:

What is the one thing a PMP aspirant should have, to prepare well and pass the exam?

Immerse yourself in the curriculum.

I’d say that again. You have to truly make it a focus. I learned it wasn’t as much about how many hours or practice tests are completed.

It is more about understanding how to apply the learning. My work and studying complemented one another. It was easy to apply lessons learned.

Remember that the exam tests your ability to lead/manage a project, and thus understanding the PMP content from the application perspective will help you answer the questions naturally.

Which study resources did you use?

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What was your approach and study plan?

It took a long time to get there, but ultimately I immersed myself in the curriculum, listening to the training while I walked, in the car, and then hours each night.

It took many years for me to complete the certification because of the demands of my work.

I changed jobs and had different roles that continued to capture the majority of my time.

In addition, I am a part-time wedding coordinator, which is also time-consuming.

I was scheduled to take my exam on March 18, 2020. The testing centers closed down two days before my exam. I had prepared only to have my exam canceled. It took a great deal of time for me to refocus once the testing centers opened back up.

My primary approach was to apply what I learned to project situations.

Like I mentioned, I had a great deal of Agile experience and I believe was the biggest contributor to my understanding and application of the principles.

The week before the exam is crucial. How did you spend this week?

To be honest, I was one of those that crammed at the end.

I used Joseph Phillip’s and Cornelius Fitchners’s Exam Simulator for my final preparation.

I immersed myself in the training videos and listened to them over and over while walking and driving.

Also, I listened to Richard Vargas’ Presentation, which I probably listened to at least 10 times during my studies.

Can you talk about your exam experience, please?

I took the online exam.

Joining 30-min ahead of the exam time, I followed the instructions and made sure my laptop met all the requirements. Furthermore, I took the exam in a spare bedroom, removing any pictures or other distractions to be sure there were no words posted anywhere.

I took both the breaks, only about 5 minutes each.

I had issues twice with my exam in that the proctor could not see me and the connection must have been lost. That was extremely stressful, but I kept breathing, remaining calm, and working with the representative to resolve.

We did, and I was able to complete the exam with 15 minutes to spare.

I learned while taking the practice exams not to “overthink” the questions and to go with my first thought.

Would you have any specific study tips for PMP aspirants?

  • Don’t drag it out. Once you decide to take up PMP, have a plan, give yourself a timeline, and begin the preparation. Of course, you may not hit the plan perfectly (we know this as project managers), but then getting a start and having the plan helps us move forward.
  • Come up with a plan and then go for it. Like I mentioned earlier, a plan is a must to help us keep making progress. With this approach, I could easily focus and retain far more than I thought and wished I had done it sooner.
  • Don’t overthink it. Overthinking is an almost unnoticed reason for procrastination.
  • Finally, take as many practice exams as possible. Practice Makes Progress.

All the best!

Sheri N. States, PMP

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