How I Passed PMP On First Try & In 4 Weeks – Niraj Kumar Verma, PMP

How I passed PMP on first try and in 4 action packed weeks!I had just begun my work with a freshly brewed hot cup of coffee. As I logged into my mailbox there was a message from Niraj. He’d passed PMP on first try, that too in 4 weeks.

I let out another involuntary ‘Woohoo..’ sitting at my desk, striking my power pose. My wife in the kitchen didn’t bother much as it has been a regular feature for her – such Woohoos coming out of my home office. Niraj was yet another of my PM Exam Last Mile prep program students to have passed PMP exam in the week.

It felt so incredible. 4 weeks of dedicated preparation with 2-3 hours per day of concentrated study to pass PMP exam is an amazing feat.

Niraj Verma PMPNiraj works as Program Director for a multi-national corporation and based out of Los Angeles, California.

He is a strategic Delivery leader with a strong track record of creating success stories for large clients in their business transformation journey, platform modernizations, cloud migrations, mergers and acquisitions and efficiency turnarounds for Animal health, Healthcare, Retail and Automotive clients.

Even with over 20 years of IT experience, Niraj said, he always felt a void he needed to fill. To understand and implement the best practices which came with the PMP certification.

Over next few days I chased him for a quick interview to have him share his entire PMP experience. Niraj’s preparation and insights would be all the more important for any PMP aspirant because he passed his PMP exam with 4 short rock-solid prep weeks.

Before we dig in, I want to you to know that some of the links on this page and blog are affiliate links, which means if you choose to use them to purchase I may be paid a small commission, at no additional cost to you.

Let’s get started.

What made you take up PMP?

The breadth and depth of knowledge which came with the PMP certification and the knowledge of best practices was something which I always wanted to possess being in the knowledge industry for more than 20 years.

To top it, I have always been awed by the aura that seems to surround the PMP professionals and the level of respect and regard they command in the respective industries they work – which made me finally go for it.

What was the core benefit you expected from PMP certification?

Knowledge of end to end project management processes with all the process groups (PG) and knowledge areas (KA) and how they impact each other. Honestly not all project managers get hands-on experience with all 9 Knowledge Areas (leaving the all-encompassing Integration management, of course). Thus it becomes critical to prepare for any challenge a project might throw at you any time, and PMP is a great way to get this knowledge.

One key change I am observing in me now is the systematic way of approaching an issue and to consider its impact on project constraints – scope, schedule, cost, quality, risk & resources. It has made the thinking model more rational and disciplined.

Also read: Learn the magic method to reproduce entire PMP process chart under 7 minutes!

People must be asking you how to pass PMP on first try, and asap. How did you do it?

Not many realize that the amount of effort and time one puts into preparing for PMP exam is determined for the large part by the study material you choose. The trick is to choose the one that you really like to study from. Of course that takes some research to be done up front.

I selected the following, in the order of content, relevance and usefulness for me.

PM Exam Last mile prep program from Shiv Shenoy

Little do I need to think when I say this is undoubtedly one of the best PMP prep courses in the vast market.

With clean and interesting articulation skills of Shiv coupled with the mind mapping techniques which he uses so diligently, every topic becomes something you will be able to

logically relate with easily and can revise during the exam days even with crunch schedule.

PM Prep Cast Simulator from Cornelius Fichtner

Great supplement when you want to experience good quality practice questions and get a knack of how the real exam may feel. I personally felt that actual exam was a little simpler, which makes it all the more meaningful to focus on the PM Prep Cast.

Rita’s PMP prep book

Good reference book to get a hang of the project management concepts in easy to understand format.

Jason Phillips PMP course (audio/video) on Udemy

Good source of knowledge especially when you don’t want to it in front of computer and even workout in the gym. I went through all audio capsules while working out in gym.

Also read: How Jeremy passed PMP exam on first try AND in 4 weeks!

How did you approach the exam and what was your study plan?

I was unfortunately, in the same league of players who keep on working on PMP materials in bits and pieces and keep on prolonging the desire to pass PMP year on year.

But fortunately, I had to relocate for my work to Indianapolis – an extremely cold place with lot of snow and tough conditions. That particular situation strengthened my resolve and made me to put a firm date for the exam which was only 4 weeks out and made me start working towards it.

The best and probably the simplest tip I can offer from my personal experience is to create an artificial contingency situation around you in order to constrain yourself to work towards your desired goal of passing PMP on first try and in 4 weeks tops.

I used to study 2-3 hours every day after finishing a tiring day at work through one of the resources I mentioned above, as per my study plan.

4 weeks are quite a short duration. Did you face any issues?

Biggest hurdle was belief.

We are never willing to accept that we can indeed take and pass PMP in 4 weeks. I personally think that our best abilities come to fore during “constrained” situations. Since I gave myself just 4 weeks I was able to take necessary actions to make this happen – choosing right study material, study plan, and commitment to make progress every single day.

Information overwhelm.

With so many PMP study options available out there, avoiding information overwhelm and choosing the right set of study material was challenging. Till I did that I could not make meaningful progress that gave me confidence.

What I found to work for me was that I chose the resources which I liked to study from the most i.e. with which I could relate the most.

For me it was Last Mile Prep, mind maps and Joseph Phillips videos – in that order. Of course exam simulator was vital to assess my prep level.

Also read: How Vicky Adams used effective coaching to pass her PMP exam.

What was your study approach in the week before exam?

In the last week, I started taking one 4 hour simulator test from PM Prep Cast simulator each day.

It was a mammoth effort given that I had to wake up at 3 am to complete the 4 hours stretch in one go and get ready for office by 8 am.

While it may sound easy, if undertaken constantly over prolonged duration of 5-6 days can be mentally draining. Therefore I suggest being hydrated and having fruits and vegetables during that period.

After taking the mock test I used to go over the wrong answers to understand why I was not able to get the answer right – what did I miss to think etc. It helped me in getting the PMIism way of thinking.

Was the exam experience scary? 🙂

I arrived 1 hour before my exam slot and made myself comfortable with the test center and its surroundings. The exam experience was quite comfortable.

I was constantly pacing myself according to the clock which appeared to be racing. 🙂

Often I was slower by 10-15 questions (taking 1 question/minute rhythm). I had to increase my speed towards the end to finish the exam on time, and I hardly had a minute to spare.

I would suggest to keep a time check at regular intervals and pace up or down accordingly without losing a grip on the exam.

PMP Last Mile prep course

Watch 2-hour of free mind-map based training videos on this page. Check out the Curriculum section to discover how this program is engineered for effortless PMP success. Click to claim your special discount AND the $497 valued bonus PMP coaching with Shiv Shenoy for FREE today!

Any study tips to share with PMP aspirants?

First of all, know that it is very simple to pass PMP on first try – you only need good plan + study materials + commitment.

Like I mentioned earlier, success of PMP exam largely depends on the study resources one chooses. Do your research and choose the one that you like to study from. I chose Last Mile Prep from Shiv Shenoy, which helped me hit my short time frame of 4 weeks. I know I shouldn’t be recommending a course but believe me you won’t regret.

There is SO much information to learn and remember. I loved mind map as a tool because it can capture any amount of complex information in a way that is easy to cover in a short time. You can take your notes as a mind map. Could be one per process, one per knowledge area, or one per concept – however you like it. Build a good understanding of the mind maps to think logically.

Choose a partner book of reference which you are comfortable with – Rita, PMBoK, Headfirst, whichever floats your boat.

Choose PM Prep Cast simulator for simulating the exam – take several full length mock tests before the actual exam. This practice will also help you to pace the exam nicely. If you are scoring in the range of 75%-80%, I think you are doing good.

All the best,

Niraj Kumar Verma, PMP

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