Ali Manrique, PMP – Understand mistakes you’re doing and improve on them

pmp-lessons-learned-Ali-ManriqueMy experience was quite eventful. I appeared for the PMP test three times!

pmp-AliManriqueMy first failure was because I appeared for the exam without having prepared enough, relying only on my experience. I had less than a month to read the Rita Mulcahy Book, superficially. I presented the exam and got poor rating in three of the five domains.

The second time around though I tried to spend more time and I studied Rita Mulcahy‘s book and the PMP simulator.

I took time off from my work, which involves constantly moving in three countries. I took care only to study the book and simulator from Rita Mulcahy,
I did not pay much attention to the PMBOK, and gave the exam. On the day of the exam I studied until hours before the test, I was late to the center, feeling very stressed. I found the exam very easy, and completed it in two and a half hours. Unfortunately I failed the test and that depressed me a lot.

Bouncing back

My third and final time, I decided to understand what were the reasons for the previous failure and with that attitude, I started my preparation. I took off 20 days at a stretch for my PMP study. I started on July 13 and appeared for the PMP exam on August 12.


I studied on weekdays and rested on weekends. The first thing I did was to use the Internet to seek advice and others’ point of view. I found Shiv’s PMESN site, I downloaded the books and advice. Also, Shiv recommended Cornelius Fichtner’s exam simulator, which I bought. Additionally I used the site PM Study Circle, which clarifies various topics that tend to confuse.

This time I used PMBOK Guide as my primary study resource. I worked with ITTOs to master how the inputs, tools and outputs work. I understood the concepts that are confusing. I studied about 8 hours daily, from ground up. I prepared thoroughly every area of ​​knowledge and expanded my understanding with material from Shiv’s PM Exam SmartNotes blog and PM Study Circle site.

The simulator was a great help. It helped me find gaps in my knowledge and to understand how the 4hr exam works. I took 6 of the 9 mock tests that the simulator offers.

Just before the exam

I stopped studying two days before my PMP exam. I scheduled the exam in the afternoon, because in Mexico City, the traffic is very complicated in the morning and did not want to take risks reaching the center late. I started to the exam three hours before and arrived 45 minutes earlier.

I took the very calmly and analyzed each question to avoid repeating past mistakes. I followed the advice of Shiv and Cornelius in relation to the examination. I had Proficient in three areas (P, E, M&C) and I am now PMP!

I would like to thank my family, people like Shiv from PM Exam SmartNotes and Fahad Usmani from PM Study Circle and Cornelius Fichtner and his simulator. Thanks!!

Ali Manrique, PMP

México City, México

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