PMP After Ph.D., Helps My Work At The University – Felcy Gabriel, Ph.D., PMP

PMP after PhD, Felcy GabrielFelcy Gabriel is an Application Design & Support Process Manager at the State University System of Florida – Board of Governors. She has a Ph.D. in Crystallography and Biophysics.

Yes, it’s not the usual background we’d expect for project management!

But then that’s the beauty of this certification. If your work involves handling any type of project in any field/industry/vertical – you can, and must, get PMP.

The benefits are enormous!

Felcy did it in 3 months.

Let’s just get to know how she did it.

Grab my free PMP course to supercharge your PMP study!

What made you take up PMP?

I was promoted to Application Design and Process Manager back in June 2019 and my new position motivated me to take up the PMP certification.

What was the core benefit you expected from PMP certification?

PMP Felcy GabrielI wanted to learn about Project Management and apply what I have learned to my job.

I have become more confident in my new position after passing the exam.

When I went back to work, I received a lot of appreciation from my manager and peers.

Which study resources did you use?

I began with PMBOK Guide 6th Edition.

Then, I used Rita Mulcahy’s PMP book (easier read).

In addition, I got training videos from Eduhubspot.

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

I started reading the PMBOK Guide in the middle of September.


I watched video tutorials for every chapter and then read the chapter in PMBOK Guide and Rita book. They also prepared a study plan for me.

When I completed studying a chapter, I took the test at the end of Rita’s book.

This approach helped me understand how to apply concepts and solve questions.

Did you face any issues along the way?

When I started reading PMBOK Guide alone, I was discouraged and frustrated as it was very hard to read. But, that’s when I started watching video tutorials prior to reading PMBOK it became relatively easy to understand.

Go ahead and choose the study resources that you want, but then do not skip PMBOK and Agile Practice Guide. Most exam questions come from these, I’m told.

Reading Rita’s book was much easier to read in terms of the language used.

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The week before the exam is crucial. What was your approach to studying during this week?

I took annual leave the week before the exam.

I cannot tell you how useful this strategy turned out to be.

No matter how much you study, the situation feels different when you are in the week before the exam. You may suddenly discover missing pieces, you may need to brush up on concepts based on your study gaps.

More importantly, you will want no disturbance from office work.

Apart from revision, I took about 4 mock tests. Those mock tests really helped me to face the actual exam more confidently.

What was your exam experience like?

I opted for the test center option.

I reached the exam center at 7.00 in the morning. Got checked in at 7.30 a.m. and I was taken to an isolated room.

I felt very comfortable with no noise or other disturbances.

Even though many encourage you to take breaks, I was afraid that I will run out of time and hence didn’t take any breaks (your break time is not part of the 230 minutes of the exam, just to be clear).

I started the exam at 8.00 a.m. and completed it at 11.30 a.m. – taking a total of 3.5 hrs.

I was able to review those questions that I had marked for review.

Submitted at 11.55 and thanked God when I saw the Congratulations message! 🙂

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That’s brilliant! Would you have any specific study tips for PMP students?

1. I would say that being consistent with your studying is key.

You cannot afford to have a start-stop kind of approach to the PMP exam.

There is so much content to study and you can get it done only by using a study plan and consistently studying every day.

I spent 1-2 hours every day and about 4-5 hours on the weekend.

I am still amazed that I passed the exam in less than 3 months but I worked really hard in those 10-12 weeks.

2. Don’t be discouraged if there’s any chapter that’s really hard for you.

For me, Procurement was hard but then I spent a lot of time understanding the steps involved in Procurement.

I memorized all of the formulas but was a little disappointed that there weren’t a lot of math questions. 🙂

Hope my experience will help you.

Good luck!

Felcy Gabriel, PhD, PMP

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