In the last post of this series Swati Popli shared her experience of preparing for PMP under 3 weeks. In this post Vivek Gulati, who passed his exam 3 weeks ago, shares what he did for his PMP Exam preparation and how he got over blockers that most of us face as well.
Shiv, I’m glad to share my PMP experience with your readers. I felt it was one of the toughest PMP question papers. Needless to say you have played an important part in my PMP success.
I’ll try to keep this as brief bullet points.
My PMP exam preparation: resources I used
- I started with Rita’s PMP book and initially went through it twice. Then I switched over to the PMBOK guide and read it twice as well.
- I also enrolled for Simplilearn’s PMP course (self-study), because I felt other than self-study through books, we also need expert advice to pass the exam. I needed the 35 training hours as well.
- During the final stages of my preparation (last one month), I decided to make use of additional resources to cover the updated PMP content (new tasks added). That is when I read the books written by Shiv Shenoy as they contained additional content in simple language. I also used his books related to different process groups for final preparation.
- I am glad I came across the book ‘PMP Exam Simplified’ written by Aileen Ellis. It contained chapters written task-wise rather than by process groups. The quality of questions at the end of each chapter was pretty good. Also, there were a good number of questions arranged by process groups, so it was easy to know how much I was scoring in each process group. It also contained the updated PMP course content.
My prep plan
- Along with going through different books and study materials, I was making my own study notes as they really help during final days of the exam. You just need to have a glance rather than going through the entire chapter in the book. Writing also gives you a good practice and you don’t forget important topics easily.
- I really tried my best to understand each ITTO in detail. It is not possible to try doing that 100%, and you would definitely need to mug up some of it. But no issues with that as long as you are able to answer all ITTO-based questions correctly on the exam.
- I also ensured I attempted at least 2000 practice questions through different resources as they really help a lot.
- I used Simplilearn’s 1000 practice questions, over 200 practice questions by Cornelius Fichtner, Aileen Ellen’s book that has a good number of quality questions, and tons of other free exams on the Internet (with free stuff, make sure you look for the ones updated for PMBOK-5).
I must say my study plan worked well for the most part. More than 80% questions I got in the exam were scenario-based, and so you really need to have a good grasp of all the subjects to answer such questions.
Few bumps along the way
- Working and studying together is always tough, especially if you are in a private job. Mostly I had to extend and work over-time and that was making it difficult to study on a consistent basis.
- I have a small child who always needs my attention. There were times when 2-3 weeks would go by and I won’t be able to study much.
So I used to either get up early and study when everybody was sleeping, or study late at night. No matter what, I used to ensure that I get proper sleep, eat well, and also don’t stop reading the books.
Tips for PMP students
- Reading and self-growth should never stop. There will be many of hurdles that would make it hard to concentrate, but ensuring that you keep the focus and momentum is crucial. Even if it means taking comparatively more time than others. I took an year to study and pass the exam, but in the end, it was worth it.
- The satisfaction of seeing the “Congratulations” message on screen was incomparable, and made me forget all the struggle I went through to make it.
PMP exam preparation can be hard, but by good planning you can ease it up. I wish all the best to everyone who is reading this post and wants to clear their PMP exam.
Vivek Gulati, PMP
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