PMP Exam Prep: Why do you need a ‘trusted coach’ in your PMP journey

pmp exam prepIf you are a project manager eyeing for that promotion, raise or even that dream project to get into – chances are that you’ve made a resolution to get your PMP this year. You might have even started your PMP exam prep.

You would do well to hit this goal this year because PMI may bring in the newer version of exam early next year (2021). As with every time, the ‘newer’ exam will have its own nuances and it would take several months before the students get used to the new exam.

‘Weirdness’ of PMP exam

Unlike other certifications you might have taken in your career, PMP has a bit of weirdness to it.

For one, even PMI does not disclose exactly how they grade the exam. Although industry experts like Cornelius have figured how this is done, there is no official word. In Cornelius’ own words (from one of his facebook posts) –

“Passing the PMP Exam is no longer determined by the percentage of questions you answer correctly. It is calculated using a sound psychometric analysis. In essence, this means that the harder questions are worth more than the easier questions.

So you get a higher score if you answer more of the harder questions correctly and a lower score if you answer more of the easier questions correctly. The minimum score needed to pass is determined by the overall difficulty of your individual exam.”

This means that the more you hone your skills of answering questions quickly and correctly, higher are your chances of passing the exam.

Or consider this scenario.

For test questions most of the times PMI adds an option of two that is partially correct. This means that based on the level of preparation of a candidate one of the partially correct options may look like the right answer.

Then there are ‘What is the BEST thing to do next’ type of questions.

Then there are ITTOs

pmp coachPMBOK has a bunch of processes, each of them have few Inputs, Tools & Techniques and Outputs. Assume 8-10 ITTOs per process on an average. And you can do the math to see how many ITTOs are there for all the processes put together.

Has the thought of the need to remember and recall all ITTOs crossed your mind? Did you feel a bit depressed at the enormity of this exercise?

If so, you are not alone. Many PMP students worry about this.

Well, the good news is that there is no need to remember ITTOs at all.

But then how do you answer those ITTO based questions on the exam, right?

All you’ve got to do follow this simple 2 step process (as I’ve detailed in one of the posts) –

  1. Spend 10mins every day for a week and write down the process table of PMBOK guide in a spreadsheet.
  2. Spend time on the Data Flow Diagram after each process to understand how the input of a process turns into an output and how that output becomes input for another process.

If you did this exercise, you’ll never have to bother about ITTO based questions.

Why does this approach work?

This exercise helps you understand,

  • how these processes inter-connect, and
  • how each process feeds into the next one in a logical manner through the inputs and inputs

Also, if you have gone through PMBOK at least once you probably understand that it is not one of the easiest books to read. But there are few tips like the one above, or this one, that help you get most out of PMBOK in least amount of time.

Your PMP Coach

pmp study materialWould you feel that there’s got to be someone, like a coach, that could help you avoid pitfalls of PMP journey and make it actually easy and enjoyable?

Someone to help you prepare a step-by-step plan, help create a study schedule suitable for you, and guide with required resources to make you PMP exam prep easy.

One approach is to hire a coach.

As you can imagine, this could be an expensive proposition. Because a good coach would charge in excess of a $100 per hour of coaching.

Is there an alternative?

What if you had a website that could act like a coach taking PMP student by hand through the steps to getting PMP certificate?

One such blog is – created by Shiv Shenoy. The blog itself is engineered to act as a PMP coach.

He created this after having a tough time trying to balance work, hours of daily commute, and trying to balance work and family life, while attempting the PMP exam. He began sharing all his study notes on the blog. Subsequently he created artifacts that help PMP students get over typical blockers.

For instance, a common problem for most PMP aspirants is the ‘false starts’.

I mean, have you begun PMP exam prep many times only to put in on backburner upon facing ‘fire-fighting’ situations at work?

You are not alone.

This is the most common problem that PMP aspirants face. That is the reason behind the 11-day PMP Study Blueprint email course (now replaced with more effective PMP Launchpad course!). With its top-down approach, you get a solid foundation to start with PMP study in an easy manner. It also solves the second problem faced in PMP exam prep – to get you into much-required study rhythm.

Once you have the study momentum you’ll be able to finish off much easily. Yes, this email course is free and you can sign up here.

There are few more such tools and techniques that help PMP aspirants – which are free on

The best place to start on your PMP journey is the Start page on the menu. This page helps you create the overall plan to your PMP exam prep.

Also, Shiv provides free Skype coaching to PMP aspirants to work out a study strategy that suits their unique circumstances. This he does based on the insights he has gained by helping over 748 PMP students (and counting) so far. Best part? Even this consulting is free. You can also reach him by email (once you sign up for the PMP Study Blueprint email course) and he answers all the questions.

Plus, you can simply leverage PMP exam prep advice of successful PMP students.

In Summary

PMP exam prep can be a difficult journey or the one that is enjoyed thoroughly. All that you need is a simple plan, daily study schedule, good set of study resources (books, video courses, simulators, so on), planned milestones, and a ‘study coach’.

Good luck!

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