With A Good System, Process, & Mentor, PMP Exam Is Easy – Prakash U, PMP

PMP exam is easy with a system, process, and mentor - Prakash saysPrakash is one of my most successful students, considering how he achieved the PMP Above Target score even with a crazy work schedule as a CXO. Notwithstanding an unexpected injury and surgery.

Here’s a short interview explaining how he did it.

Don’t miss his 3 study tips shared in the last section.

This is the 330th ‘PMP Lessons Learned’ interview I’ve taken!

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What made you take up PMP?

I wanted to take 10ys ago, as soon as I became a Project Manager.

And as I got more and more involved with projects, the certification kept going to the back burner.

A good credential helps use the right language when speaking with others, and the knowledge needed to develop your skills.

Above all, it gives you authority.

What was the core benefit you expected from PMP certification?

My aim was to get into the transformation coaching role for growing my organization, developing processes, and tools, and cultivating behavioral leadership.

My company started with 40 employees and has now grown to 800.

And is still following the old ways, which are not valid anymore.

I want to get into this role sooner. PMP is one of the many tools I’ll equip myself with to prepare myself for this role.

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According to you, what is the one thing a PMP aspirant should have, to prepare well and pass the exam?

It’s got to be FOCUS.

Once you make up your mind about PMP, avoid putting it on the back burner.

I did it many times. I would start a month of training or reading and then slip on it.

Many such False Starts.

It’s wasted energy and soon starts to play on your mind.

I realized that it is only possible with consistent focus. Glad I found you, who could be with me every day, talk to me every week and help me (even nudge when needed) reach my PMP.

The last lap took me 2 months of focused study.

Which study resources did you use for your exam preparation?

I read PMBOK 2 times but wasn’t getting anywhere. Then a friend endorsed your PMP Last Mile program.

I loved the mind map approach, helped me visualize the flow.

Your training was a journey that I enjoyed.

I used the trial version of Cornelius’s simulator. And thoroughly enjoyed learning PMP using your upcoming simulator as a beta user.

Awesome! What was your approach and study plan?

I started visualizing my PMP certification as a project itself.

Trying to prepare my mind for success, and dreaming about its success.

I made a study plan with a 9-week schedule.

I would study every day for an hour or an hour and a half. On weekends about 2-3 hours on Saturday as well as Sunday. That gave me about 12 hrs of study each week – which translates into about 110 hrs of the overall effort.

Applied the study strategies from your PMP Study Strategies course, as part of PMP Last Mile program itself – mnemonics and immersive study by applying to my own process.

At the end of the first round of study, I took simulator mock tests and scored about 40%-50%.

This was very low, and as you said, the second round is “where everything falls in place”. Thankful for that advice.

I focused on the second round of study, went over your video recordings at 1.5X speed, and revised the mind maps.

My mock test scores started to increase, and finally, I was hitting 65%-72%!

Can you share any issues/blockers you might have faced along the way?

I scheduled the exam first and then planned backward.

This put some pressure on me, but kept me focused!

However, towards the end of this period, I had an injury and had to go through surgery.

That took some of my precious time away, and I had to reschedule my exam by a couple of weeks. I lost focus during this time and lost study momentum.

I remember our conversations during this time. With that, I then got it back in the next 2 weeks with a 100% focus on this.

I used to get 40-50% in simulations then. at some point, I realized that this is a subject that takes years of time to master, and we are trying to do it in a few months. And so I needed to be patient, and take things as they come.

I had to push aside my self-doubts. A university course takes 6-12 months and here I was doing it in a few weeks. That perspective helped me manage my anxiety and focus well with a clear mind.

Thank you for being part of PMP Last Mile program! Can you please share how did it help?

When I started PMP prep, 10yrs ago, I joined a boot camp of 14 days.

Later I took a Udemy course. Then the third time on, this time, was your PMP Last Mile program.

The first 2 felt like pure training, dry. The Last Mile program was a well-rounded one. It helped in terms of strategy, how to handle questions, etc. More of a holistic approach.

The best part is that it helped me understand myself – about my thinking and refine my approach.

This was very important in my acing PMP exam.

This program helped me save time as well because I could identify my mistakes and course-correct them easily.

Your exam simulator, Passible, gave me the analytical ability to identify where I went wrong and see my pattern. It showed me specific areas to improve. It saved tons of time and effort. Avoided frustration. Gave me a lot of confidence.

The week before the exam is crucial. How did you prepare during this week?

This was right after my injury when I had to push the exam.

I went through all videos of the PMP Last Mile program in the second last week.

Last week I took only simulator tests. Each one would take 6-7hrs every day. Monday to Friday.

Then the exam, and boom! Congratulations message! 🙂

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How was your exam experience?

I took my online exam from home.

It was very straightforward, and easy. Went smoothly although I was not comfortable with my injury.

I downloaded the PearsonVUE app on my mobile, took pictures, and uploaded them (room walls, selfy photo, id card etc). For a few seconds, my invigilator chatted with me.

Asked me to show the table.

I took both breaks in between, which relieved my physical pain. I had to keep multiple things in mind while answering – not to move out of the square, not to look here and there, not to mumble. so I had to read a few questions multiple times just to understand.

Time management was important, and I was maintaining 1 min/question. I got 5-7 min for review in each of the 3 sections.

Finally, I submitted it with 8 mins left on the clock.

The difficulty level compared to the simulator was easy.

The exam was easy, but the simulator was tough. 🙂

More questions were about transitioning from Predictive to Agile, and Change management.

Questions were related to the day-to-day life of a project manager scenario-based, so felt easier because of the way you suggested learning (by getting into the mindset of a project manager, immersive).

  • It felt like I had more questions on Agile than Predictive.
  • A few on leadership part, change mgmt, team management, conflict resolution, communication etc.
  • 3-4 questions with multiple answers (more than 4 options)
  • 2-3 questions on drag the answers
  • No fill-in-the-blanks or clicking on the image

Some say PMI has begun introducing questions from the PMBOK 7th version. Did you come across such questions?

No, I didn’t come across any.

Would you like to share any specific study tips, advice, or techniques for a PMP aspirant?

1. Don’t be complacent.

Once your application is accepted by PMI, you have an eligibility period of one year.

Many tend to take it easy considering there is one year’s time.

Big mistake.

Don’t become complacent.

Plan to take it within 3 months.

Utilize the momentum to hit your goal.

I had to struggle with this. My eligibility was going to end in just a few days. No scope for another attempt. Unnecessary pressure.

2. Use a good simulator.

Your simulator can be the difference between narrowly missing the passing marks versus acing the exam with an all Above Target score.

The simulator helped me identify my knowledge gaps, and understand why I made a mistake while answering a question.

Then this allowed me to not repeat the same mistake.

Shiv, your simulator made my exam very easy.

3. Don’t memorize, it gets overwhelming.

Even the formulas. I wasn’t comfortable till last week. Mnemonics helped a lot in recalling unrelated lists and so on.


Finally, I would say this.

  • Plan well,
  • get a good study resource and a simulator,
  • work with a mentor and get your PMP done within a specific time frame.

You’ll get recognized, and earn some authority.

Then, get on with implementing this knowledge, sharpening your skills.

As you get more confidence, take up more challenging projects. And that’s how you put your PMP to work to help you grow in your career!

Good luck,

Prakash U, PMP

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