This PMP® Exam Practice Helped Me Succeed: Ashish Gupta, PMP

PMP exam practice that changed the game for me, says Ashish Gupta, PMPAnother YooHoo! moment for me this week 🙂 and another article that shares some of the best PMP® exam practice from a fresh Project Management Professional.

Ashish Gupta passed his exam on the first attempt. He is sharing very crucial insights into the exam. I was, to be honest, surprised by his new type of brain dump but then realized that it was indeed a unique perspective.

Ashish works in IT industry and has a rich 12 years of experience. A B. Tech and MBA, he started his career as a Business Analyst and then moved to management role.

In this article Ashish shares a PMP® exam practice that he found to be the most effective.

What made you take up PMP®? Did you consider any other certification exams?

pmexam-last-mile-ashish-gupta-pmpI came to know about the PMP® first time in the year 2014 when one of my colleagues has cleared the same. Since then I was fascinated to take this exam. After discussing and researching PMP® in more detail, however, I was able to make up my mind to take on PMP® in early 2020 only because of eligibility and time availability requirements.

Before PMP® I earned agile certifications (CSM & CSPO) as I wanted to get them done with and then dedicate more time for PMP®, being one of the complex certifications to attempt.

Achieving PMP® was a milestone of my larger career goal, I was well aware of its benefits in terms of knowledge, benchmark, and higher earnings.

Also read: How I gained confidence to pass the PMP® exam

Which study resources did use for the exam preparation?

After doing research into study resources I chose Shiv Shenoy’s ‘PM Exam Last Mile Program’ to understand the PMP® exam content in a very simple way.

Another study material I have chosen is Rita Mulchay (#ad) and then of course the PMBOK® guide as well.

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

The COVID situation helped me plan well for the preparation as I was working from home. The time otherwise would have been spent in commute to and from work gave me 3 additional hours – which I dedicated for PMP® study.

I worked with Shiv to create a custom study plan for 11-weeks and strictly followed the plan.

Here is a PMP® exam practice that I consider helped me the most. You can call this the agile approach to studying for PMP®.

I took the incremental approach to preparing for this test, which I learned stepwise each time building on top of what I have learned previously.

  • First I studied for a KA through the Last Mile videos + mind map combination. This gave me a good hold on the concepts.
  • Then I read the same chapter in Rita’s book. This helped me cover any parts that I might have missed.
  • Next I also ran through the PMBOK® guide covering the same chapter. I made sure I keep the official reference guide as part of my preparation.
  • Then I moved to the next knowledge area. And continued in similar fashion throughout.

The other benefit of this approach was that since I was going over same concepts different resources there wasn’t a moment I felt things were repeating and boring.

Moreover, the PMBOK® guide, which it considered to be a hard-to-read book, felt like an easy read because when I picked up this I was pretty much thorough with the processes and concepts.

You were part of the PM Exam Last Mile prep program (thank you!). Could you share how it helped you?

The ‘Last Mile’ program has helped me a lot in understanding the fundamentals in a great way, the approach of learning through mind map helped in creating a crystal clear picture in the mind, which we can recall any time.

Also I was able to add up on these mind maps with my own notes & thoughts, which I used to refer in the final week.

Weekly personal sessions with Shiv helped me a lot in focusing on the result and getting guided around any problems or obstacles.

Also read: Don’t miss Srija’s 3-part approach to PMP® exam preparation here.

Did you face any issues along the way?

During my preparations, there were certainly high and low points as you can understand there are few of the things for which we can’t plan – we just have to act on them once they occur.

My exam was rescheduled twice due to COVID-19 situation. That meant revision and associated preparation (and a bit of anxiety) all over again.

Apart from this, there were also times when I felt low and was not satisfied with my progress. During such times the individual calls with Shiv helped me a lot. These calls not only motivated me for my aim but also suggested the best possible method to overcome the hurdles.

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

Yes, the last nail is always crucial to place, I had applied leave for the week before exam to concentrate fully for the exam.

I attempted PMP® exam practice tests on a daily basis. On few days not 200 questions but not less than 100 questions either.

After taking practice tests I used to spend at least 2-3 hours in analyzing what went well and what went wrong, and what can be improved. I also revised the concepts based on the mistakes made in the mock tests.

Can you share your experience of the exam.

I took the exam in test center, this was way better than dealing with the unknowns around online test.

My test center was just a few kilometers from my house, so I was well aware of the test center location. However I suggest to take a ride to your test center few days before if possible.

On the exam day be there at least 45 minutes before your scheduled time as this helps avoid the anxiety of being late to the exam.

Once I reached they have guided me with all the formalities and then provided me a locker to put all my belongings. I was provided with dry erasable pens and laminated sheets for scratch work. The initial 10 mins were anxious for me, gradually I adapted to the situation.

The complexity of the questions was: 25-30% was difficult, 50% were medium, and the remaining were easy.

My brain dump was different.PMP Certificate of Ashish Gupta

Instead of the usual formula etc. I wrote what I will achieve by passing PMP® exam and what will be the aftereffect if I failed today.

This helped during the exam whenever there was an anxious moment. I just took a look at this and then it again made me more focused and full of confidence.

Shiv: Join me today and get PMP® certified comfortably before Thanksgiving!

Pass PMP exam before the new & harder exam rolls in..

Work one-on-one with Shiv every week, fast track your progress, and pass with confidence.

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Any specific study tips for PMP® students?

Of course! A few of tips are –

  1. Have a study plan and do run with it for a week and refine it as per the progress.
  2. Study daily, if not possible as per the plan then for 1 hours at least, but study daily
  3. Try to relate the applicability of the concepts rather than just learning the concepts
  4. Practice and analyze the mocks. I don’t say to practice 1600 or 1500 questions, no harm I doing 800 mock questions also if you are analyzing your answers.

Hope you have found this article, especially the one PMP® exam practice I think helps the most, useful. Good luck for your exam!

Ashish Gupta, PMP


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