PMP Against All Odds – Roselin Kapur, PMP

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The hook.

I started my career as translator and interpreter about 10 years ago in Tokyo in a Japanese IT company and advanced my profile into bilingual project coordination. I heard about PMP for the 1st time about 4 years ago. I was clueless about it and I thought this was meant only for engineers and technical team. Later I came to know that people from similar work profile as mine were also doing it.

roselin kapoor pmpThus I decided to give it a go.

The preparation phase.

After doing some initial research on the benefits of the certification, I took the membership of PMI. I got my free copy of PMBOK and started studying it.

I could not understand a single word for the 1st time! But somewhere within me I knew with so many people putting their hard work in creating it has definitely something inside it which I must understand. I struggled hard to understand and so created a list of difficult topics such as Network Diagram, EVM and so on, and searched online to know more about it.

The progress was very slow while managing home, work, and study.

Then I came back to India for a year for a different project and my name was recommended to for the company sponsored PMP training. However, for several reasons I decided to do it on my own.

First I enrolled for the 35 hours contact class on the weekends. After completing it I again started reading the PMBOK. This time I could understand it little but not all the areas.

Also Read: A visual study technique helped me prepare for ITTOs – Plaban Roy Bhowmik, PMP

Then I got a copy of Rita Mulcahy from a friend and I purchased Head First PMP.

Slowly I began to understand and enjoy the process. Just as I was making up my mind to seriously start studying and sit for the examination, my mother got detected with a critical illness. It was became impossible to concentrate and continue the study. Doctors shared the disease progress details and while she was undergoing the treatment, I submitted my application.

I had no idea what was I thinking when I applied, my application went into audit. I got in touch with my manager, sent the documents to America. I received a message from PMI about No Fault Audit and was asked me reapply after getting the required experience. Discouraged by everything that was happening, I just left everything.

I told my organization that I will do it but I am not sure when.

Meanwhile I took up different project and started traveling. For some time my mother’s condition got better but again started deteriorating. I guess I was just not ready to accept the fact that her condition is so critical. So I somehow continued working, learning and studying project management whenever I could.

Then one day she went away suddenly in sleep. It was and still is a difficult fact to accept. I completely left everything last year in August.

The final push.

When I resumed work, I started reading the emails from Shiv Shenoy which I must have subscribed at some point. He shared the PMP success stories and several other tips and suggestions. I used to just go through each of them and think will I be ever able to pass this examination?

Everything seemed so dauntingly unachievable.

I wrote to Shiv Shenoy and briefed him about my situation. I think he suggested I have enough resources with me and I only need a good simulator now.

I again started with PMBOK. This time slowly taking interest but without any expectation. I am not sure if it is the energy that my mother was giving me I started understanding and enjoying the subject. I think I would have read it twice. I also went through Rita (My mother’s name) and Head First PMP.

I started identifying my weak areas like Procurement, Risk, and Cost. There were many things which I could not understand at all. I picked up the topics one by one and watched Saket’s videos. I think still I was very slow.

Also Read: Get into ‘training mode’ for quick results – Mayank Garg, PMP

Then came the announcement about PMBOK 6.

At first I did not take it very seriously. But again since I was receiving emails from Shiv Shenoy I used to get updated with the required information and developments. In each email he encouraged to study and pass PMBOK5.

In January Shiv announced about his special course to pass PMBOK 5. I attended the free seminar.

The way the whole seminar was conducted, it generated interest in project management itself before anything else. I remember I started viewing my daily work also differently after attending it.

So I enrolled for the course. I targeted to complete all the material given to be me one by one.

The audit

Meanwhile I had to clear the audit.

I explained my situation to my manager and he sent me all the documents immediately. When I dispatched the packet to USA, I received email from PMI that they allow me complete the audit electronically.

I again requested my manager to send all the audit document with his approval to the email that PMI provided. The next day itself I received email from PMI that I passed the audit!

It was tough because it was not possible to take off from work for this study. So I had to manage it during office hours break time, after work and during weekends. I had to simplify many things to do this such as reducing the household chores in the best possible way. I came up with a simplified meal plan and study for my son during this period. I stopped his weekend study classes, cooked only plain daal rice for my son on repeat, asked him for his cooperation explained him that his mother has an important exam to pass in a month’s time and I needed his understanding and cooperation.

Also Read: My Agile approach to PMP exam preparation – by Abdul Saleem, PMP

I completed the tests that were included in the study program but I could not do it sitting for 4 hours straight.

One week before the exam I again contacted Shiv and he suggested to purchase the PM PrepCast Simulator.

I took the 8 March date at Osaka Prometric but I did not tell this to anyone.

Now just before the exam, I thought to call Prometric and confirm my seat on 8th. They confirmed and told me to carry my passport. I said my passport is with Embassy for renewal and so I will carry my Japan Resident card. They said they will need the passport and I can reschedule the examination. I was so upset and told them I don’t want to reschedule my test. Then I called up PMI Tokyo and explained everything. They coordinated with Prometric and finally after 3 days Prometric said I can bring my Resident Card and Japanese credit cards as identity proof.

Today I can say that not only I understand what a project is much better, I think I also ended up learning more than I thought 3 years ago.

Understanding the purposes of mathematical formulas was extremely difficult in the beginning but now every word in PMBOK made sense.

The exam.

In the examination, most of the questions were scenario based ones, asking how would one act in a particular situation – kind of management philosophy test. It asked me how I go forward from the situation that I am into along with resolving the issue. I think I see projects in a different way now.

My PMP study tips

  1. Study PMBOK guide. It has got many benefits which is initially difficult to understand but you will thank later.
  2. Limit the reference books to maximum 2. Too many materials can only confuse.
  3. Select the topics which are difficult and study about it online. There are several free resources, videos available. I enjoyed Saket’s videos.
  4. Select a good coach and a study program. I benefited immensely from Dan and Shiv program. It contained everything I needed to pass, this is exactly what I was promised also.
  5. Get a good simulator recommended by your coach. I got mine just a few days before my examination. Had I got it some 2-3 weeks before and attempted all of it I think it would have much more easier.
  6. Do prepare your brain dump. I had mine of about 4 pages. Although I was not allowed to write anything during the tutorial but I did benefit from it.
  7. Check the examination day tips shared by Shiv Shenoy. I simply followed it.
  8. Family support is needed. They don’t know what PMP is but when you explain about it properly, I think they do understand it.

For me personally Shiv’s emails were like a blessing in disguise. I subscribed many other for PMP related content. And today I really feel had it not been for his emails I am not sure if I would have passed PMBOK5. May be I would have delayed it more. I feel the way he writes he is able to connect at some emotional level also with his readers.

I am happy I am able to do this. I would have been happier if my mother was around to see me achieve this.

Good luck for your exam,

Roselin Kapur, PMP

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