PMP Coaching & Right Resources Combination Essential to Succeed – by Vicky Adams, PMP

pmp coaching with shiv was essential, says vicky adams“PMP coaching is essential to succeed with confidence. Shiv worked with me each week right from the beginning when we together came up with a customized study plan. This gave me plenty of confidence to move forward.”, said Vicky Adams after she passed her PMP exam.

Based just outside of Munich, Germany where she has lived for 5 years, Vicky is originally from the UK. She has nearly 20 years of rich experience of working in IT, primarily as a Business Analyst on global software implementations. Vicky has been working as a project manager for the last 3 years.

In this interview she reveals her step-by-step journey towards PMP certification goal.

What made you take up PMP?

Vicky Adams PMP coaching studentProfessional qualification, credibility for the role, its alignment with the work experience I have been doing.

I considered PRINCE2 briefly – as I thought it might be more recognised in Europe. However, in Germany, PMI & PRINCE2 both seem to be recognised and decided on PMI as it seemed more comprehensive certification.

What’s the core benefit you’d expect?

PMP is a professional qualification that will add credibility for my work experience. This is also a first step that opens doors for further discussions with a potential employer.

As PMP certified, now I can employ new tools and techniques at work. In fact, I have also leveraged some of the leadership and motivational techniques with the younger members of my household. 🙂

Since PMP preparation takes considerable amount of time, I think that it gets us into a continual learning mindset. This means now I can go ahead and take up other certifications much more easily.

Which study resources did you use for your preparation?

I did some research and chose the study resources, and during the course of my preparation phase I picked up a couple more.

I would recommend putting in some time for research and select the study resources that you find naturally appealing to your style of learning.

Also read: How Jeremy passed his PMP exam in 4 weeks using this strategy (download 4-wk study plan infographic)!

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

I decided not to hurry, and began my preparation about 5 months before my tentative exam date. On an average I studied 2-3 hours a day.

My general approach was:

  • Prep Cast & PMBOK – I watched Prep Cast videos & read PMBOK section in parallel, wrote detailed notes into the PMBOK whilst viewing – took 2 months
  • Read Rita’s book
  • Read PMBOK for second time. Wrote notes (started with Flash Cards – these didn’t work for me), then changed over to mind maps – 1 sheet per ITTO, wrote on mind map & on back of sheet with additional notes such as purpose, benefit of each process, why IP/ OP / TT were used, flows, key concepts, trends/ emerging practices etc)
  • Read Rita for second time & answered end of chapter questions
  • I had my one-on-one Skype sessions with Shiv every week, which helped me get past any blockers and make measurable progress against the customized study plan he helped me with. His initial study strategy call gave me access to best practices of study plan and study techniques.
  • Exam Questions – I answered 2000+ including 8 full lengths ones, Prep Cast, Oliver Lehman, PMI and other Sources. Reviewed each incorrect answer.

As an ongoing activity I read bogs, LinkedIn Group Questions, Audio books, and Prep Cast Videos (watched multiple times at 1.5X speed).

Any blockers along the way?

Well, my application was selected for audit.

The audit process took almost 8 weeks from the time I submitted my application. I had notified my previous Managers in advance to let them know that it might be coming.

Delays mostly due to Christmas vacations when my previous managers were in US (I’m in Germany). So they had to send me responses in Europe. They arrived just after Christmas Holidays but one was invalid (envelope not signed correctly) so I had to request again. Then eventually postage from Europe to US took 2 weeks.

PMI were very quick approving application once they had received the docs (within 1 day!).

The uncertainty factor also had an impact.

I tried to keep myself focused on studying, including during Christmas vacations and when my application was being audited.

I also had a few unknowns in my bandwidth towards the end of study period so I built in some additional buffers before scheduling the test.

The last week was tough as schools and other institutions started to close down due to the Corona virus scare and also it was difficult to concentrate.

I was unsure whether the test centres would be open or how frequently the public transport would be running. In the end, I took my test on the last day before the centre was shut down.

Finally, the feeling of not being ready to take the exam! 🙂 But then I had trust on my mock exam results so I told myself that I’d be okay.

Study momentum is crucial. Build yours by using these daily study resources: Join free facebook group and the free LinkedIn group here.

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

I kept it simple. No new stuff to study.

I answered 3 full length 4-hr mock exams, reviewed my notes and skimmed PMBOK (ITTOs / DFD & beginning of each chapter).

Then I went over Rita’s Exam Prep book. I reviewed it twice and completed exercises.

What was your exam experience like?

Exam staff was great – PearsonVUE lady was lovely and helped allay my worries, even with the additional Corona related precautions and regulations.

As the exam began I did brain-dump of the KA/ITTOs and main formulae.

Questions were difficult – a couple of them I did not understand and a few was unsure which of the 2 options to select.

I tried to answer them all and flagged about 5 for review at the end of the test.

Throughout the exam I tried to stay calm, focus on the process and answering the questions logically.

I finished with about 30 minutes to answer flagged questions and review.

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Jeremy says Last Mile program & PMP coaching helped him pass PMP in 4 weeks!

Would you have any tips for PMP aspirants?

Consistent study is important – I studied daily, even during Holiday time. Got up early and studied before family got up, a bit during day and then again read during the evening before going to bed. This way I felt I balanced the needs of work, study and family.

  • Exam Questions – Gave me the confidence that I was on track to pass the exam. Otherwise, it is easy to feel lost with the volume of Information.
  • Identify your learning style – to make best use of your time. Mine was reading/writing.
  • PMP coaching, set a timetable with buffers – I started meeting with Shiv in January – quick weekly chat up to review progress and blockers. He shared a timetable which I adapted to my studies with built in buffers at the end of each week. Also it helped to hold myself accountable and check-in on weekly Progress. Shiv also shared helpful guidance, knowledge and tips about the exam preparation.

Good luck,

Vicky Adams, PMP

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