How This One PMP Book Helped Me Pass My Exam: Mohammed Mabruk Alhassan, PMP

My PMP Journey: Building Up Momentum is the Key

pmp book mabrukI took my PMP Exam and PASSED on first attempt. I took it in  the city of Accra, Ghana. My overall score was Above Target.

pmpIn individual domains I got the following score –

  1. Initiating – Above Target
  2. Planning – Above Target
  3. Execution – Above Target
  4. Monitoring & Controlling – Above Target
  5. Closing – Target

It was a huge moment for me and had to take several hours after the exams to come to terms that the PMP certification is done and bagged.

In the last quarter of 2016, I enrolled into 5-week (weekend lectures) PMP Exam Prep Course organized by Institute for Project and Business Management, led by Ernest Botwe, PMP, in the city of Tamale, Ghana.

After the training and unsuccessful group discussion, I struggled to keep my grips on the PMP studies and the enthusiasm and momentum began to wane.

Then in the last quarter of 2017, while reading the success story of an exam taker, I got to know of PMP HeadFirst Book.

Although my studies were very erratic, this PMP book stimulated my interest and kept me moving forward and I managed to complete the book.
This was my resuscitation and marked the beginning of my resolve to get the PMP certification.

Early February, I registered to be paid member of PMI to leverage the benefits and the exam fee discount when I finally submit my application.

Subsequently submitted my PMP application and it was approved in March.

In this post I shall cover the study plan & material I used and the wrap it up with few insights I’ve gathered during my study. I hope these tips will help you.

Also Read: Don’t let setbacks set you back on PMP path, says Roselin explaining how she got her PMP

My study plan & study material

I had 2-step study plan:

In the first step I studied using a PMP book in detail. I chose PMBOK guide.

I amped it up in the second step to revise and practice. For this added to PMBOK guide 3 selected study resources. I will talk about these in a second.

First Step Studies

  • PMBOK Guide: PMBOK v6 was my main study material. I did not find it as dry as people portray it. It is full of knowledge and I enjoyed reading it.
  • PMChallenge Questions from The questions here tested my understanding on basic terms and concepts in Project Management and helped in consolidating my understanding during the first pass studies of the PMBOK guide.
  • Rita End of Chapter Questions: After each chapter of the PMBOK guide, I tried out the Rita end of Chapter questions without reviewing the explanations.

Second Step Studies

  • I purchased PMP Exam Prep Seminar on Udemy by Joseph Phillips to give me the audio-visual touch in my preparation. I would watch the section videos after completing each associated chapter studies from the PMBOK Guide.
  • Rita End of Chapter Questions: I tried the Rita end of chapter questions again but this time, reviewed answers and explanations.
  • I also purchased the Ace Your PMP Exam Series for PMBOK v6 by Shiv Shenoy. This is a PMP book that you can use to kick-start your exam, to study at the beginning of each KA, as well as to revise your concepts before the exam. Its a 700+ page book and a very easy read. Helps answer situational questions on the exam.

Also Read: 108 amazing PM stats you can use today.

The mock exams I used

Exam experience

Everyone has a different exam experience, and I hope that my experience might be useful in understanding what to expect on your big day.

There were other exams going on which involved the use of keyboard, so I used a noise cancelling headphone.

The exam questions were tricky. Unlike the simulator mock exams, the PMP questions weren’t long and winding and that leaves you with little clue in the situation given.

What I did was to choose my best option. I marked a lot of questions for overview, after all, I had nothing to lose with the review tag on them.

I also utilized the striking out feature on the exam to narrow down on my best answers from the options provided.

I didn’t take any break and I completed the 200 questions with 20 minutes remaining which I used to review my marked questions.

Also Read: How to study in the ‘Golden Week’ and ace your PMP exam?

My study tips

  • Whichever prep materials you decide to use, make room for PMBOK Guide, and study it at least once. It’s a PMP book that does not disappoint you.
  • Plan your studies and review your progress at your defined milestones. Forecast your progress and if the need arises, reschedule your exam date. Just make sure it is at least 30 calendar days away from the exam date to avoid the additional fee. I personally rescheduled my exam date three times.
  • Pace your exam journey according to your individual style. But prolonging it might make it boring and counterproductive. Just know the balance and adjust accordingly.
  • Understand the Project Management concepts. For Inputs, understand “WHY” they are needed for a process; for Tools and Technique, understand “HOW” they are used either individually or in combination with others. Also understand why certain project documents and Project Management Plans are updated as part of outputs of other processes.
  • Develop a score tracker that can help in determining knowledge gap and focusing on them.
  • Momentum is the key which determines how long your preparation will take. Don’t overwhelm yourself, just keep a consistent study pattern, the momentum will build up gradually.

I want to express my appreciation to my number one stakeholder, my wife, for the space and encouragement through this PMP journey.

Also Read: “Study Like a Rock Star” says Carmen and shows how exactly she did it!

Good luck!

Mohammed Mabruk Alhassan, PMP


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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Mamani Mohammed Dulana October 2, 2018, 7:14 pm

    Congratulations once again. I just had a reignited interest in preparing for this exam again after reading this. Thank you.

  • Nazif October 2, 2018, 2:57 pm

    Great read!

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