Hi Shiv, I have just passed my PMP exam last week with Proficient in all domains, and I wanted to thank you for the resources you share with the community as they were important for my preparation.
I want to share my road to PMP as I think it might be useful for others.
I started my preparation with 35hr training session in the beginning of March.
As I know my learning process (highly utilitarian and concentrated on practical application) I started from the beginning to apply the new knowledge to assess previous projects that I have been managing or am a part of.
The mistakes that were made there, whys and hows of the PMI processes could have helped there. And indeed, in every knowledge area that we were speaking about during the course I have found answers that I should have known earlier!
I was going in my head through the scenarios of how I would manage project differently this time, even sketching schemes and elements to use in each project depending on its specifics.
Understanding the BIG picture
Next step was to see the final task – full 200 questions exam itself and the way of thinking that was to be required from me. Slowly I was beginning to realize that most of the answers are nowhere in the books – not in the PMBOK, nor in Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep book. At least not in a straight-forward away.
So I continued to try to understand the processes described in PMBOK from the practical point of view. I made dozens of small cards with processes and tried to connect them between themselves (picture below).
It has taken all my carpet in the living room but helped me to get the visual big picture (quite literally).
Important part of the preparation was also thinking of how the PMI processes would help in my current projects, and testing them in small portions.
Experimenting, learning limitations of one process when there is no other in place, not being able to perform one because of missing output from another etc helped me make connections between them.
For this openness to project management approach I am very grateful to my management.
External training materials
From the external training materials, I have used my notes and slides from my Prep course, PDFs and articles from PM Exam Smart Notes, various YouTube videos for particular concepts (mainly Simplilearn channel), PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (very important!) and Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep book.
I have my copy of PMBOK, but I have referred to it only to check the questions I have answered wrong or that I have hesitated.
Managing my time to study
I have had a very limited time during preparation due to business trips and projects I was managing, so I had to choose the most efficient way and discard some of the others.
Studying dry knowledge from PMBOK or other resources that just concentrated on the theory was a serious block for me, so I decided to go more practical, applying processes in my head to the experience, imagined situations and scenarios.
While doing tests – 5 full 200 question tests, plus shorter ones – I always marked the questions that I am not sure about, and marked my second choice if I was debating between them. Also Shiv’s question-a-day on FB was a good way to keep my mind in the zone every day.
My process of understanding difficult information
We all have different ways of absorbing information.
For those of you concentrated on the practical application (but not only that) I highly advise constant questioning “Why?” to raise curiosity, and trigger critical thinking.
Why this process is performed, why are we supposed to use these tools, why is it before, after or during other processes? How could I have used it in the previous projects, why would it be useful (or not?).
Know yourself, know what is the best method for you to learn, and concentrate on it. In my opinion you don’t have to read the whole PMBOK 5 times nor have to do 5000 questions. You have to understand the methodology and the application of it to a given scenario, the rest of the scope is negotiable 😉
And before the exam do something you are very good at – paint, play music, run a mile or bake a cake – just to boost the confidence in yourself. You will do great!