I am an IT (Information Technology) Project Manager in one of the leading MNC having total of 14.5 years of industry experience. I moved to management role 4 years back.
I chose to do PMP, an aspired certificate of every Project Manager to enhance my Project Management experience. I had a passion towards project management. The thoughts of doing PMP started at the end of 2016 but did not pay serious attention.
Finally the dream came true when I decided to pursue the PMP exam with more determination, and passed it on my first attempt!
Study plan & Resources
Initially I was studying PMBOK for about an hour everyday. But then I soon realized that I was going nowhere because I found PMBOK to be a dry read. I was finding it hard to understand the concepts at the first go.
On my colleague’s advice, I started reading Rita Mulcahy but spent too much time on Integration management chapter and started losing interest. By this time I was 4 months in my preparation.
I needed to move fast and make real progress.
Shiv Shenoy’s Free 11-day PMP study blueprint email course helped me get back the momentum. It was very crisp and good to get acquainted with basics of each knowledge area.
After reading Shiv’s notes, I read Rita’s guide once again. This helped me understand the concepts in detail.
Then I went back to PMBOK, which started to make sense to me. By this time, I was in 6th month of exam preparation.
I was not sure if I was ready for the exam yet. But I was feeling that the more I push the exam date out the longer it will take for me to prepare.
So I decided to book go ahead and book the exam date. I booked my exam about 6 weeks from then.
For the last 3 weeks I spent 4 to 6 hours a day and read PMBOK for the second time.
Joined various PMP study groups on Facebook which helped to understand the kind of questions that can be expected.
I took 6 full length mock tests during the last 10 days from PMAspire, Simplilearn, Oliver Lehmann. My mock test score was average and was around 73-77% but by taking these tests I could train myself to manage the 4-hour time on the exam efficiently.
Prior to the exam I took one week of leave from my work and fully focused on PMP.
Challenges I faced
Being a mom for a 7.5 year old naughty son, working at home and office – preparing for PMP was not an easy task.
Tons of thanks to my husband and my little one who realized the importance of this certification and helped me in all the ways to focus on my study, specially during the last week of the exam.
My PMP exam experience
I wanted to keep myself calm and free from any tension. So I stopped studying the day before the exam.
My exam was scheduled for 12.30 pm slot. I reached the Prometric Centre well ahead of time. Had lunch few minutes before entering the exam hall. I was allowed to keep the eatables outside the exam hall and all other stuffs in the locker.
Then I went through the checking process.
I finished the first 100 questions in 1 hour 20 mins.
Took a 5 min break. Grabbed a piece of snack and went back to the exam.
I was able to complete all 200 questions in 3 hours and had marked 70 questions for review. Went through the marked questions and finalized the answers for 60 questions in 40 mins.
Still 10 questions were marked and I took the chance to review them again as I still had 20 mins left.
Finally submitted the exam.
My hands and legs were cold as I was staring at the monitor and my heart was pounding fast until I saw the Congratulations message flashing on the screen 🙂
Yes, I had cleared the most renowned PMP certification and I am a certified PMP now.
Thanks to my parents, well wishers and friends who supported me throughout this journey.
Tips for PMP aspirants
Having went through one of the difficult certification exam journey I have had few insights, which I hope will help you.
- Do not postpone your exam date thinking that you will apply once you are ready. Unless you fix the date, you will never be ready.
- Do not read too many books. PMBOK is a must. You can choose the other one either Rita, Andy Crowe or Head first PMP.
- There is no need to memorized the ITTOs. Understanding the processes and their interaction with the knowledge areas will help you to answer the questions. Do remember the process names in the order given in PMBOK – which would really help to answer some of the direct questions.
- Mock exams can be very different than the real exams. So if you have scored less in mock exams, do not lose confidence and you can still succeed in the final exam. You just need to understand the gaps and work on it before appearing for the real exam.
- Read the success stories of people who completed PMP to boost your confidence. At the same time, read the failure stories too as they would give more insight on the things that could go wrong.
- Last, but not the least, have faith in yourself. PMP is a very beautiful journey. Instead of worrying about the exam, enjoy the journey and of course, you will reach the destination.
Best of luck,