Prepare Own PMP Exam Study Notes With Simulators- Shriram Puranik, PMP

PMP exam study notes prepared by self is the best tool for revision during later stages of preparation, says Shriram PuranikWhen I initially spoke with him, I was captivated by his thirst for learning and the ability to stay committed as long as it took to realize his objective. I immediately said yes to work with him towards his PMP goal.

It wasn’t a surprise that he managed to score a perfect Above Target score in all the 3 domains.

You will see why in a bit.

During our weekly conversations, he would talk about how his self-made PMP exam study notes are helping him along with the mind maps from the program.

Shriram Puranik is a Mechanical engineer and has over 38 years of rich and diverse experience in the construction field for the Power, Oil & Gas sectors. He began his career in 1981 (before many of us were even born) in mega power projects in India & Kuwait and worked up to 1991.

From 1991 to 2003 he worked with Larsen & Toubro in India, Russia, and Malaysia for their projects. Then from 2003 to 2018 worked with National Contracting Company in Saudi Arabia.

After returning to India, he decided to take up PMP exam and I had the privilege to work with him to help prepare for the exam.

Shriram sir (as I call him) passed PMP with ‘Above Target’ in all three domains – People, Process, & Business Environment.

What a perfect score!

Look no further than his exam experience here if you want motivation as well as guidance on how to go about your PMP preparation. And don’t miss his study tips in the last section of this interview.

Why PMP?

How to score Above Target in your PMP from exam experience of Shriram PuranikPassing PMP has been my dream objective since 2014.

During my tenure with NCC in Saudi Arabia as a Corporate Sr. Manager QA, I successfully implemented PMP culture with the help of top management, by conducting training, discussions, and also motivated managers and staff to take up the PMP exam.

During that period I passed my CAPM exam. Although I added more technical certifications after that, it wasn’t until 2016 that I chose to focus on PMP.

But due to unavoidable circumstances, it got prolonged and I appeared for PMP exam in 2018 but did not succeed.

Then after a long gap I began preparing in 2020, but could not take the exam before the new 2021 exam was introduced.

Then the wait happened due to Corona restrictions as I wanted to take up the exam at a test center.

Which study resources did you use?

During the long journey of PMP certification, I took coaching from Venkatesh Harirajan and Shiv Shenoy, and attended the PMP exam prep boot camps with Varun Anand, and Dan Ryan.

All these made my foundation solid and helped me be crystal-clear about the concepts required for passing the exam. Without all of them, it was not at all possible to pass my PMP with so many obstacles.

Next, I am preparing for the PMI-ACP and want to clear it by the end of October.

Also read:

Can you talk about your study approach?

I referred PMBOK guide and Agile Practice Guide along with Shiv Shenoy’s coaching and study materials, coupled with Cornelius Fichtner’s exam simulator.

PMP Last Mile program has really good material, including assistance with application preparation, exam strategies, and customized study plan.

Shiv’s personal touch with weekly Skype meetings guided me along and helped to make regular progress.

I felt comfortable understanding the content as I prepared PMP exam study notes using my own words.

The mind mapping technique from the Last Mile program helped to comprehensively understand a whole lot of crucial information in one diagram without feeling overwhelmed.

The mind maps were good revision material too.

I attempted a LOT of mock tests, the main one being Cornelius Fichtner’s exam Simulator. Simulated exams are invaluable help.

Varun Anand, and Dan Ryan’s boot camps and material were also helpful for my preparation.

Any challenges along the way?

Continuity of study was a primary issue because in Saudi Arabia I could not spare time for study due to heavy work pressure with a number of projects and a tight work schedule.

After returning to India, the family issues and then the Corona pandemic kept me away from the PMP goal.

How did you adjust your study method as the exam approached?

Two weeks before the exam I focused on full-length mock tests with Cornelius Fichtner’s exam Simulator, Varun’s simulator, Dan’s simulator, and PMI’s sample questions.

After each mock test, I reviewed the wrong answers and identified the areas I needed to go back and study more.

My score was In all mock tests was between 65% to 70% and not more than that. So I was not sure that I will pass the final exam, to be honest.

I made it a point to go back to my PMP exam study notes for revising quickly after each round of full-length mock tests during this time.

Another challenge was that I did not have prior exposure to Agile, so I had to learn everything from scratch.

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Can you talk about your exam experience?

Right from the beginning, I was clear that I wanted to take the exam at the test center and not online.

Due to this, I could not schedule my exam during the Corona period, which delayed my exam by a solid year and a half.

In the meanwhile, I extended the exam eligibility by requesting PMI.

On the last day of my extended eligibility, I got an exam slot at PearsonVUE’s Pune center.

I traveled from Mumbai to Pune the day before for the exam. My exam was scheduled for the noon slot. I reached 30 minutes ahead of my exam slot.

After the briefing, I entered the exam hall.

I opted for both the breaks of 10 minutes each. This allowed me to catch my breath, relax and reflect on how to proceed during the next part of the project, and continue with a clear mind.

For the first part, it took me 80 minutes for 60 questions.

Due to time pressure, I did not review the questions and moved to the second set of questions.

The second part took me 75 minutes to complete 60 questions.

And again I chose not to review the 60 questions in the interest of time.

Then the pressure mounted in the third part. With the remaining time, I completed questions #121 to #180 with just 5 minutes left for the review!

Very carefully I reviewed 5-6 questions and then the exam ended.

With no hopes of passing this time as well, I waited for my result with bated breath.

Then the person in charge of the test center called me to collect the result sheet.

I came out and stood in front of him, he took a long breath and said, “Sir, you have passed the exam. Congratulations!”

It was simply awesome, unbelievable for me that time and again he told me that I had passed with flying colors.

I had passed my PMP exam with Above Target in all three domains.

It was the end of my long and hard efforts that ended in sweet memories.

That’s incredible. Any tips for PMP aspirants?

  • Take as many mock tests as you comfortably can, just ensure that you take them from good providers. Many free tests on the internet have questions from previous versions of PMBOK and the questions can cause havoc with your understanding.
  • When you are not sure of the answer right at the outset, use the elimination technique and select the best answer.
  • Use mind maps. They are great learning tools. I found Shiv’s mind mapping technique and his mind maps the best to clear concepts. You can create your own as you study each knowledge area.
  • Take up PMP exam prep classes from those that have produced results.
  • Last but not least, make it a practice to prepare your own PMP exam study notes as if you are explaining concepts to someone. This is a great way of learning.

I wish you all the best,

Shriram Puranik, PMP

 

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