PMP Experience Example: Stick To The Basics – Nirmala Vinothbabu, PMP

PMP experience example basics Nirmala PMP Going through a PMP experience example is one of the strategic moves you can make while studying for the exam.

That way, you can avoid some common mistakes.

Better still, legally steal a technique or two that has worked for the toppers.

This week, Nirmala Vinothbabu shares her PMP experience, and shows how she topped the exam.

Nirmala works as an IT Project Manager in Barcelona, Spain.

She is passionate about Supply Chain Digital solutions and Data Analytics.

So far, we have interviewed over 340+ PMPs, picking their brains to know how they prepared and passed the exam. Bookmark this page to go over PMP experience example now and then.

What made you take up PMP?

PMP experience example shared by Nirmala, how she got Above Target in PMPI am working in the project management field for the past few years, but frustrated with non-standard ways of managing projects.

It was mostly trial and error, and it was becoming clear to me that I need to know how things are done in a systematic way to increase the odds of success.

When I was researching about possibilities, I came across PMP. I went over the syllabus. The comprehensive nature of it convinced me in picking up skills necessary to become a better project manager.

Apart from this, the credibility this certification provides did boost my self-confidence.

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Which study resources did you consider?

PMP AboveTarget Nirmala

Keep reading the article to know how to get this score yourself.

I read Rita Mulchary’s PMP Exam Prep book in my preparation.

This book gave me good knowledge with practical application tips for implementing it in organizations.

For Agile preparation, I used Agile Practice Guide from PMBOK and googled for the agile concepts (Agile manifesto, Scrum guide, etc)

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How did you approach the exam, and what was your study plan?

My study plan is to complete all chapters from Rita’s book and ensuring to answer the questions by the end of each chapter.

I followed Andrew Ramdayal YouTube videos as well. His videos helped me in setting my mindset to prepare and get to know about the expectation of PMP certification.

Can you share any of the issues you faced, and how did you overcome them.

The main difficulty was consistency of preparation.

The start-stop approach does not help with PMP. You need to keep on building the momentum and deepen the understanding. A gap will basically lead to forgetting what you have studied till then.

When I paid the exam fees, I felt a change in my approach. I got a bit serious. 🙂

But then I kept on procrastinating for a couple of months. When it became clear that I was slipping this way, I decided to go ahead and schedule an exam with 4 weeks’ lead time.

That’s when the magic happened. My preparation automatically moved into a higher gear.

I’m convinced now that once you have a date on the calendar, things will change.

I’ve also discovered that having a positive mindset in the PMP certification journey helps you.

There will be times when you don’t get to study as much as you’d anticipated. And it is okay. Don’t beat yourself up. Accept it and tell yourself that you will put your best foot forward.


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

I revisited the questions in the Rita’s book.

Then I revised all the concepts again, and spent more time on those that were unclear to me.

Can you talk about your exam experience?

I planned my exam in the PearsonVue test center, thus avoiding technical issues.

I did opt for both the 10-minute breaks, which helped me maintain my concentration levels.

It is highly recommended to take these. You can actually practice these during your simulator practice.

I want to share a specific insight from my exam experience.

For the questions I wasn’t sure of the answer, and the ones I wanted to mark for later, I made sure to mark an option that felt intuitively as the answer on first thought.

If you get time towards the end to review, you can change the answer based on analysis. However, your first feel tends to be the answer more often than not, if you can’t do any better.

This cannot be the strategy of course, but considering the nature of this exam, follow this for those few questions you may not have a clue about.

Would you like to share any specific study tips, advice, techniques, or strategies for those preparing for their PMP exam?

As a matter of fact, I do have this 3-step approach to suggest. I sincerely hope this will help at least one person.

1. Go through your study resource randomly first.

No need to do deep dive, just surface level scratching.

This may sound counterintuitive. But this gives you a sense of what is involved in PMP preparation.

This helps your planning.

Plus, when you deep dive into the specifics, you will see that ‘things fall into place effortlessly’.

This is something that has to be experienced to know the power of. I hope you will give this a try. There’s nothing to lose.

2. Next, plan your time-based study, based on your knowledge level.

What I mean here is to create a simple plan based on your own assessment of time it takes.

I know, you may be thinking, “how will I know how much time is needed”?

You won’t.

That’s why analogous estimation, or a thumb-rule based forecasting, helps.

First, ensure you have a milestone based study plan.

Milestones could be Knowledge Areas, or Process groups (if that’s how you want to traverse your study).

Then under each milestone you put in tasks for, say, one for each process.

What you are doing essentially is the Work Breakdown Structure.

See? You are already employing PMP right at your planning stage! 🙂

3. Then schedule the exam and calculate backwards to put in timelines.

Gee, I don’t think that would work.

It does!

You are being a project manager here, don’t hesitate.

Give each milestone a fixed number of weeks (or assign days to the tasks, if you can!).

You get overall timeframe (remember 100% rule from your PMP study? This is that.)

Now add 15-25% buffer for “unknown unknowns“.

Now you have a tentative timeline and the week of your exam.

Go ahead and book your exam slot.

Now you have the plan, exam date, and as a result a heightened awareness about your exam.

This brings in seriousness into your PMP study that otherwise is impossible to get.

I hope this helps. I wish you nothing less than a perfect Above Target score.

All the best,

Nirmala Vinothbabu, PMP



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