Want Shortcut? Get a PMP Exam Mentor – Jessica Colletta, PMP

Jessica mentions why is it important to get PMP exam mentor“Get yourself a PMP exam mentor”, said Jessica when I asked about the single-most useful tip she can give a PMP student, “and you’ll not have moments of doubt, uncertainty, and confusion. Ever.”.

Jessica Colletta has a Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Phoenix. She has a decade-long experience in Digital Health Management domain, in which the last 4+ she has managed complex projects.

There were a few important insights I got from her exam experience, which I thought is important for every PMP student to understand.

For example,

..it is a general opinion that one must take the optional breaks offered during this long and fairly complex exam.

Relax, rejuvenate, (maybe eat something) and proceed.

But Jessica didn’t opt for them. Not even one of the two. 

4 hours of straight marathon.

But she had her reasoning for it.

I think makes a lot of sense, considering that she passed the exam with all 3 Above Target score!.

Let us hear from her.

What made you take up PMP?

Finding an PMP exam mentor is the best way to proceed, says Jessica.When I first became a Project Coordinator, I took a PMP Boot camp and knew that’s the certification I wanted.

It was the end-all-be-all certification I feel any Project Manager must have.

Initially, the PMP was my Holy Grail. Now that I am PMP certified, now I am considering other certificates to add to it.

What did you expect from this certification?


I have been a Project Manager for four years and I really feel like it validates all the work I have done and how I’ve grown into my profession.

I am hoping it will open up many more opportunities for my future in Healthcare.

Also read:

What, according to you, is one good quality a PMP aspirant should possess?

PMP Jessica PMP cert, with PMP exam mentor!I would say, the ability to visualize yourself in the shoes of a project manager facing a situation and coming up with the right thing to do.

In other words, The PM Mindset.

This is exactly what the PMP exam tests you for. No matter what you are studying for the exam, or how you are studying, you must be able to constantly think like a project manager as you read a question on the exam.

The one idea I kept going back to as I was taking the test was what would I do if in a particular situation.

I have been in many scenarios already that the test reflects questions on. That made it easy for me.

I would recommend having the mindset to try and problem solve and document everything first and foremost.

Which study materials did you use?

I used the PMP Exam Prep.

There were lots of Practice tests that helped prepare my expectations. (Shiv: find few top free ones here)

The best resource, however, is real world experience.

What was your study strategy?

I set myself up for 9 months of study time in advance.

I read the latest edition of the PMBOK and completed as many practice tests as I could.

Furthermore, I think it’s important to have a PMP exam mentor along your journey to become PMP certified. Better still, even after. It’s important to have someone you can talk to who has already gone through the process and has lots of experience as a Project Manager and being PMP certified.

I had a few mentors along my 5-year journey, one of which taught me the importance of having a PMP.

“You will not be taken seriously as a Project Manager without it in most cases. You may even get overlooked when job hunting”, she said. This turned out to be very true in my case.

My other mentor, who was also my boss at the time, was the other staple in propelling my PMP path. She backed me in fulfilling my dream of becoming PMP certified.

Almost every day, we would discuss specific scenarios that I run into daily as a Project Manager. And she would help me problem-solve using techniques from the book.

I think everyone who aspires to be PMP should find a PMP exam mentor.

Even if you only meet with them short term, it can be a valuable encounter to obtain first-hand problem-solving or experience.

Did you face any blockers along the way?

I would say, just the anticipation.

I didn’t really know what to expect! 🙂

Knowing that I had a second chance if I was unsuccessful on my first round really brought the anxiety levels down. Luckily, I didn’t need it!

How did manage the ‘golden-week’?

In the week before the exam, the golden-week, I made sure to,

  • stick to my workout routine,
  • get plenty of sleep, and of course
  • revise all the concepts!

I realized keeping it simple and business as usual was a good way to manage exam stress.

Can you share your exam experience?

I took the test at an exam center.

The two optional breaks? I didn’t take them. On the exam, when the break was offered, I thought pushing through was the best option.

I do encourage taking the breaks if required because it is very hard to stare at a computer screen for a 4 hours straight.

Just try with and without taking breaks during your mock tests and see how it fares.

Even when you know what you want to do on the exam (in terms of breaks), keeping an open mind about it helps. If you are in the zone and not tired, maybe you’ll want to skip a break and move on.

Any advice for PMP students?

The best advice I can give is to really think about your experience as a Project Manager and tie that into each scenario given in the question.

That, for me, is the best way to deal with this exam.

Jessica Colletta, PM


Use the series ‘Ace Your PMP Exam’ – collection of 12 books of pure, filtered, simplified concepts presented in a brain-friendly way, so you can answer ANY question on the exam effortlessly. Develop your PMP mindset.

Bonus: Get a free 1-1 PMP prep strategy call with Shiv by sending (shiv-at-pmexamsmartnotes-dot-com) your receipt of purchase of this study book.

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