My Long PMP Journey Condensed In A Knowledge-Capsule For You – Biswa Khatua, PMP

PMP experience shared in a knowledge capsule biswa khatua pmpBiswa Khatua has 14 years of experience with good exposure in Program & Project Management and ERP Consulting.

It took him almost 1.5 yrs to get PMP, with a couple of breaks in between due to shifting priorities. He vouches that it has been worth the efforts.

This week, he shares how he prepared and passed PMP exam, like a knowledge-capsule.

Beware, he shares all the videos, resources (specific to the page numbers!), and tips, so you might be in for a fair bit of PMP learning itself! Bookmark this page and come back to it, especially as your exam gets closer.

Let’s get started.

pmp cert new biswa khatua

Why did you take up PMP?

pmp biswa khatuaGetting PMP certified was always on my mind.

I wanted to learn all the skills and be part of a globally recognized club that helps me grow in my career.

I had done a little basic free training available on YouTube, which gave me an idea of PMP foundation.

Finally, decided to take the plunge. Picked up Joseph’s course as it was bestseller and most recommended course and also got the 35 contact hours certificate.

Then I began my 1 ½ year journey. Along my journey I read through all the success stories, adapted my study pattern accordingly, and kept moving forward.

Which study resources did you use?

Courses & Books –

ITTO/Data Flow Practice –

Apps –

  • PMP@Exam Mentor — gives one-liner for all process and knowledge areas… good app
  • Pocket Prep — used to take daily questions and explanations. Its reminding feature is good.

Practice Tests & Mocks –

Want my FREE PMP course?

If you are in a hurry watch this blog post in video format

YouTube Videos –

Can you talk about your PMP preparation strategy?

I did it in 3 phases.

Phase-1:

Completed Joseph’s course, PMBOK and Rita simultaneously.

Studied PMBOK & Rita’s chapter after completing the same chapter in Joseph’s.

Along the course kept making notes which helped a lot during revision during final week.

Initially, it was a very slow progress and difficult to focus, I struggled to study 2 hours a day with so many self-made distractions & office work. Then social media and mobile phone as well. But somehow I kept myself motivated and managed to complete the entire book and course with all assignments and exercises as per plan.

Next thing I took a free mock test and scored well as the questions were very easy and straight forward. Immediately decided not to waste much time on free tests and instead look at paid mocks which will be closer to real exam.

Phase-2:

Started working on ITTO mapping/understanding the flow. Read Rita again and glanced through PMBOK.

Practiced Process Chart as per Ricardo’s video, made a chart along with him and did one on my own and also printed the flow in A1 sheet and hung it in my study room. I used to see it every day to get the look and feel of ITTOs.

Went through Praizion videos on ITTO mapping and his explanation is amazing. Helped me map most of the important ITTOs. And one of Earned Value Management and ITTO Process Relationship.

Also, completed Joseph’s practice exams with score 45-60%.

Phase-3:

So far had completed Joseph’s course, Practice Tests, Free Mocks, Finished PMBOK & Rita twice, made notes and my own analysis of ITTOs.

It was now time for revision and practicing what I learned.

Tried making flash cards and left it mad way. Instead, I took the print out of flash cards from the course and glanced it a few times. Every day for the last 15 days, I used to write down the process chart and all formulas in a sheet.

Also, I went through Belinda Goodrich Book for quick revision.

Subscribed to Prep Cast Exam Simulator, it has 7 exams and 8th one for ITTOs.

I took the first one & got 62%.

Panicked and got demotivated.

Then started making notes of the wrong answers.

Explanation of answers is fantastic in PrepCast.

It explains why this option is correct and why the others are wrong… the detailed explanations were themselves like revising all the topics again. I used to take almost  2 days to complete all 200 explanations, while the exam took just 4 hours.

It was tough to do this everyday.

Nevertheless, my exam date was approaching, and I ended up studying almost 5-6 hours, but I had a target to finish minimum 5 mocks to be ready.

Week prior to the exam, I stopped these mock tests when I crossed 95% in my last attempt.

Here are my scores – 62.50%, 60.50%, 67%, 63.50%,67.50% and 93.00%.

The difficult part was to focus and concentrate for 4 hours.

More PMP support articles for you:

How did you study in the week before your exam?

Completed CRAM session by Joseph Phillips.

What a course! This is one of the best thing to happen. It refreshed the entire syllabus and is a must to do. Thanks again, Joseph.

Went through important topics in PMBOK –

  • Page 89: PM Plans and Project Documents. If possible, memorize all the 18 plans and 33 project documents. You should know the O/P mapping of all these project documents. Ex: Project Calendar is O/P of Dev Schedule process.
  • Key Concepts – P673-678
  • Glossary – P698-726
  • Tools & Techniques – P685-697
  • Go through the PMP Exam Outline as few answers are linked to the outline.

ITTO – My analysis & Lesson Learned from other PMP candidates.

How was your exam experience?

My exam was scheduled for 8:00 a.m. slot.

I had completed all of my studies the day before and went to see a movie to unwind. I was so stressed that all I could think about was PMP and getting through it.

The next day, I woke up early and completed a quick review of my notes.

I arrived 30 minutes early for the exam, did the formalities, was not allowed to bring anything inside. I did bring a couple chocolates and a banana, which I had to store in the locker given to me.

We are handed an erasable working sheet on the table, which is pretty useful. The real exam was quite difficult! wWith difficult inquiries that put our deep expertise and comprehension of the entire process to the test.

If you’re not sure, read each question twice. But if you’re stuck, mark your best guess, mark the question, and go on… don’t waste time on that one question.

I took breaks, had water and a piece of chocolate, relaxed and went back.

When I took the first break, I was not sure how many were correct and if I could make it. Next section went quite well with few easy questions and most of them lengthy ones.

I got 5 questions on EVM and were very easy. Same with finding float on network diagram.

I finished all of the questions with 15 minutes to spare. Rapidly glanced over the marked questions and made a few changes.

Overall, I left the questions marked as they were, with my gut feeling.

I just closed my eyes and tried to relax for the last 60 seconds. I was so nervous to hit submit.

Finally, at – 3 seconds, I hit submit, and then blinked to see a message on the screen congratulating me. What I was witnessing astounded me.

All of my sacrifices, compromises, and hard work had finally paid off!

Would you have any study tips or techniques to share with PMP students?

Learning is less effective than relearning. Let me explain what I mean.

When you study something for a long time and then study it again, you develop “situational blindness.”

When your mind accepts something as commonplace, it tunes it out.

You give yourself a chance to forget about a topic if you study it all the way through.

The ability to recall material from long-term storage is then reinforced when you study it again.

ITTOs should not be memorized.

It will be easy if you understand rather than rote learn. Expect at least 20 to 30 questions on Change Management. Therefore, thoroughly study “Perform Integrated Change Control” process and understand how changes are managed in both traditional and agile scenarios.

Cover the fundamentals of Initiating and Closing process groups (low hanging fruits – easily 30 to 40 questions on the 3 processes in these).

Also, focus more on Agile and change in the organization while going from traditional to Agile.

Taking as many practice tests as possible will help you fill up the gaps in your knowledge.

Rita’s book is all about thinking like a project manager and relating it to how you’ve managed projects in the past.

Try to complete 180 practice test questions in 4 hours nonstop; it’s an eye, mental, and physical fitness test, especially because the questions and options can be lengthy.

If you aren’t properly prepared, you may lose focus easily and make mistakes.

All ITTOs for processes are not worth remembering, but make sure you remember the most important ones. For example, identity risk has two outputs: a risk register and a risk report.

Study the terminology and the appendix of the PMBOK guide.

Take a few full-length mocks, and you’ll be able to tell where you stand.

There is no end to it if we keep reading. Only mocks would give us the confidence.

That’s how I felt when I was studying; I just kept studying and taking mock exams until I discovered the holes and filled them in.

Keep Moving Forward. Be Confident!

Biswa Khatua, PMP

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