Crucial PMP Exam Study Tips From a New PMP® – Jigar Joshi, PMP

PMP exam study tips shared by brand new PMP, Jigar Joshi Jigar Joshi lives in the beautiful city of Vancouver, Canada, and works as an Instrumentation Engineer. He’s been fascinated by project management and recently got PMP® certified. In the week’s article, Jigar shares his PMP exam study tips and the study approach he used to pass it.

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

jigar-joshi-pmpI have been working in the Oil and Gas and Mining construction industries for a long time. I have completed 6 projects so far, out of which two are megaprojects (2 Billion and 10 Billion).

Wanted to advance my career in the project/construction (EPC) industries from the start of my career. Having PMP certification will work as an asset and may become a bedrock for my further progress.

Without a doubt, having PMP® certification in hand will expand more doors of opportunity. However, the core benefit for me is to be assigned more responsibilities in the current company.

I think that the engineering technical background and PMP leads to more project-related responsibilities and faster growth.

Can you share your PMP® prep approach in detail?

It took 3 months of consistent study to prepare for the exam.

The books I used:

First-round study –

First, I read both the books 3 times end-to-end.

I began with PMBOK and read the whole book the first time.

Next, I studied Rita’s book. This book has a bunch of questions at the end of each chapter, but I didn’t touch them during the first reading of the book.

During this time I also estimated the approximate time frame needed for 2 more rounds of study and based on this confirmed the exam date.

I also came to know about the PMExamSmartNotes blog via its Facebook page.

Starting with daily sample PMP questions that are posted on the Facebook page, these helped me informally to prepare for the test as well as learn. I could follow the links given in the answers and study a bit more about the particular topic that the question covered. These mini-learning sessions on a daily basis built a lot of confidence in me without really realizing it.

They gave me an initial idea about how PMP questions can be. The “knowledge area” section on the blog helped me clarify doubts about many topics.

Topics are written in simple language and depicted with real-world examples making it quite easy to grasp the concepts. I took the help from recommended study resources section leading to the simulators.

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2nd round study –

Jigar Joshi with his PMP certificateIn this phase, I went through both the books again and completed Rita Mulchy’s end of chapter exercises altogether, after reading 3 to 4 chapters – PM Framework, PM processes, Integration management, and Scope management)

Along with these I also practiced all the formula questions, along with Network diagram related questions.

The next step was taking online practice tests (I went with Exam Central and Simplilearn exam prep practice tests) to identify which areas need more attention.

3rd round of study –

This phase was quick but thorough. I focused more on the topics that were found to be rusty or weak and also went through all the chapters again.

In total, It took around 2 months to go through the books 3 times.

The next stage was all about the mock exams and practice tests.

Below are some of my mock test results:

  • PM Exam Simulator 1 – 84%
  • PM Exam Simulator 2 – 79%
  • PM Exam Simulator 3 – 92%
  • Oliver 100 Free Questions (online) – 78%
  • Oliver Free Question (PDF direct link) – 74%
  • Exam Central: 96% (Note: this looked to me as quite easy and irrelevant)

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

I started taking mock tests 10 days before the exam.

Also verified my speed and accuracy for all formula-based questions and ran through both books 2 days before exams.

I had prepared the brain dump sheet, so the day before the exam I went over it.

What was your exam experience like?

I found that for many questions the question text, as well as the answer options, were lengthy.

I was advised to “try not to read the whole question and answers“, which I didn’t follow. I read the full questions and options which resulted in more time consumption, fatigue, and exhaustion during the last 20 questions.

That led to the decreasing speed of reading and comprehending some of the last questions.

I realized that reading the last sentence first (when questions are lengthy) is a great way to know the expectations of the question and that way you can figure out what to look for while reading the question.

Any PMP exam study tips you would like to share?

For an exam such as PMP, I find that commitment and consistency are the most important tools.

  • Starting with PMBOK can be quite boring for some and sometimes hard to understand. However, PMBOK is the most important book to read, at least refer to if you are using other materials like a video course. I went through each and every page of PMBOK.
  • I found the PMP Exam Prep book by Rita Mulcahy useful – the topics are explained well enough and in detail (e.g. control limit & specification limits in quality control).
  • One mistake that many make, and unnecessarily, is trying to mug up ITTOs. It is not needed. Simply understand the process and that would automatically help to remember the tools/techniques and outputs.
  • The final tip I have is using mock tests – take as many mock tests as you can. Analyze your results, study why you ended up choosing incorrect options. And use them as a mini-learning opportunity.
  • This will help you prepare better for the examination: Sitting for 4 hours during the exam and continuously responding to the question becomes exhausting. Taking mock tests is another good way to prepare for such situations.

All the best,

Jigar Joshi, PMP



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