“PM to ‘PMP Above Target’ In 6 Weeks. How about that?”
“Why not”, he smiled.
Bhaswanth is a postgraduate in Industrial Pharmacy, and has been associated with Pharmaceuticals with manufacturing, Quality and Project Management.
He scored Above Target in all the three domains.
Did you know that Bhaswanth did not use PMBOK guide at all?
Not that I’m suggesting either way, but it is possible to ace the exam with or without the PMBOK. And this is a case in point for without.
Plus, in this interview, he also talks about how to avoid Student syndrome.
He also used some insanely effective ways.
Imagine your study desk with post-its all over the wall. Stand in front of it for 15 minutes a day and soak in all the knowledge.
This, and more, Bhaswanth shares today.
All that worked for him. Which can work for you too.
Let’s get started.
What made you take up PMP?
I’m already an ASQ Certified Six Sigma Black belt and Green belt.
Ever since I assumed project management responsibilities, I considered getting certified by globally accepted institutes. PMI is one of such globally recognized certification bodies.
I believe that PMP would help me enhance my project management skills and open new opportunities for me.
Thus far I have handled various projects in pharmaceuticals using predictive approach. Am now looking forward for IT project manager role with the Agile Project management skills I learned through PMP. I consider this PMP as a much-needed addition to my profile.
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According to you, what is the one thing a PMP aspirant must have, to prepare well and pass the exam?
In my opinion, to be successful in PMP certification, these two factors are essential.
1. Understanding the concepts clearly.
Questions will be based on concepts, so more than ITTOs it is important to understand concepts. The same holds good for agile and hybrid portion as well.
Also, I went with the approach of studying process-group wise, instead of Knowledge area wise. Going by the process flow across the process groups (Initiating to Closing) helped me immensely.
2. Developing Project Manager mindset.
This mindset is a must-have for every PMP aspirant to pass the exam. Not only for being successful in PMP exam but also in their PM career as well.
The exam tests whether you can think like a project manager, and this thinking approach has to be developed as you study the content.
How to develop this mindset?
For every concept you study, imagine how you would implement it as a project manager.
Which study resources did you use for your exam preparation?
I used Andrew Ramdayal’s Udemy course for my 35 Hours training, And attended Percipio PMP boot camp.
I also did a lot of self-study for the preparation.
During these 35 hours of training and boot camps, I prepared my own notes.
I used the same notes during my revision for the exam, and I never read the PMBOK book.
It’s interesting that you never used PMBOK! What was your approach?
I strongly suggest scheduling your exam first before proceeding for any preparation. That’s what I did, and it gave me this amazing focus.
Once your PMP application is approved, schedule your exam between 4 weeks to 8 weeks, depending on your readiness.
Don’t take more than 8 weeks for your PMP exam. Adding more time than that is of no use and leads to Student syndrome.
I scheduled my exam considering 6 weeks for preparation.
I prepared a study plan considering 2 to 3 hours a day on weekdays and 4 to 6 hours a day on weekends.
During this preparation, I pasted a lot of sticky notes (post-it notes) with important points and had a glance at them daily for 15-minutes.
This worked like magic for me.
I do believe these 2 helped me get PMP Above Target score.
Can you please share any challenges you might have faced along the way and how did you overcome them.
Losing the motivation is the issue everyone would surely face. I did too.
To overcome this, I developed a motivating factor.
I shared my journey with a close family member, who would push me if I didn’t complete the daily study goal 2 days in a row.
It could be this or something else for you, but identifying a motivation factor is essential to keep going.
Consider joining someone who is in the same PMP preparation journey as you, and discussing frequently your respective studied content.
Noting down WHY you are doing PMP and how it can help your career, is a great way too.
I wrote this on one of my post-its and looking at it daily kept me motivated.
The other factor is managing to make time for study.
I have a 4-month-old baby. It was a bit difficult to study, and I cannot resist spending time with her.
To work around this, I dedicated evening time to spend with her, and planned my studies in the night after she went to sleep. I was like a night owl. 🙂
The week before the exam is crucial. How did you prepare during this week?
I took 4 days off from work and had a quick revision of all the processes and Agile/Hybrid project management concepts.
I also took 3 full-length mock exams with similar conditions as the real time exam. This helped me get familiar with the exam situation, and that helped me during the exam.
A word on the mock tests.
Always, always, always go over the incorrect answers you gave. The key is to understand why the other options are not the answers.
Having the entire process flow in mind with Project Manager mindset is the secret to pass this exam.
What was your exam experience?
I took the exam online from my home.
The exam is divided into three 60-questions slots.
Almost every question in the PMP exam was scenario-based for me. You need utmost concentration to get it right.
Your brain may get tired doing so repeatedly. So, I strongly suggest you opt for the optional breaks at the end of each 60-question slot.
This will surely help you reduce strain, and you will not feel that you are taking a 4-hour long exam.
Would you like to share any specific study advice for those preparing for their PMP exam?
- Stick to one core resource for study and do not run across different resources.
- Try to mind map all the process in a sequence. I used to do that daily.
- Knowing all the process and its flow helps to answer many questions. So understand how each process is logically tied to other processes.
I suggest you stay focused and strive to achieve PMP as soon as possible, as it will open new doors in your career. Keeping this in mind will help stay motivated.
Finally, stay confident and be optimistic, PMP might not be an easy exam but not impossible too.
I wish you nothing short of PMP Above Target score.
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