PMP Online Training Helped Me Ace The Exam: Angela Rinaldi, PMP

pmp online training angela rinaldi“PMP online training along with support from mentors helped me ace the exam”, said Angela Rinaldi, as we began discussing her exam approach and experience. Being US Army veteran you can imagine how thorough she’ll be in her prep. Some of the insights Angela shared are very critical to PMP aspirants. Let us hear in her own words.

Could you please share something about yourself

PMP angela rinaldiHello, I am Angela Rinaldi, PMP, originally from California, I have lived in 2 different countries (Dominican Republic & Frankfurt Germany), multiple US cities, and today I call Irving, TX home. I currently work in the power distribution industry, which covers a lot of ground. Also, I am a lead Quality auditor.

Officially, I am a Sr. Project Manager for any special (first time) production projects. My implementation specialty is ISO 9001:2015, and have implemented this program for 4 different companies to date.

In my personal time I enjoy outdoor activities, being active in my community, wood working, and photography keeps me busy with personal projects.

Also, I am a US Army Veteran, communications repair, Sergeant six years, if that makes the story more interesting. I was stationed in Frankfurt when the Berlin wall came down.

Also read: How Pitabas passed PMP at the young age of 64!

The beginning

So, about my journey to PMP. I graduated from UTA with a degree in political science and a minor in biology. I have always had the kind of job where the boss keeps giving me more and more responsibilities to handle managing multiple improvement projects for any company I have worked for.

What I learned is I LOVE project management because it is so dynamic. I like the challenge of taking a concept and turning it into reality.

Also, I love the team spirit and esprit décor that comes from working as a team. I decided on project management because it is a high demand field, pays well, and I find this kind of work very rewarding; being part of the solution.

I have been planning take my PMP since about 2014. I wanted first to obtain an education in project management, so while working, I began my Masters of Management (concentration project management) in 2014, Colorado Technical University, and I completed this goal in 2016.

At the same time, I was working on my Masters, I was the project manager assigned to implement ISO 9001 for our company in order to qualify for high dollar jobs; like our Nuclear Project.

My approach to PMP

So, while I was gaining my education, I was executing projects with departmental managers and top management. In 2014, I started taking every opportunity I could to lead any unique project to get the project experience required in the 5 process areas, so I could sit for my test.

Developing PMI knowledge and gaining experience to build skillsets are what creates highly effective project managers, demonstrating you have what it takes.

My main drive for obtaining my PMP, is because these letters mean you have education, experience, PMI knowledge, and logic, and provides you with a competitive edge.

As everyone knows; this is not an easy journey. I ran into a few obstacles along the way, but I did NOT give up even though I had some disappointments along the way.

For training I chose PPM Global Services, an authorized training provider of Andy Crowe’s ProQuip Velociteach curriculum, “The PMP Exam: How to Pass On Your First Try,” 6th Edition.

I had amazing teachers and mentors. The thing I liked most about this curriculum, is it teaches you PMI logic. Learning the logic to why an answer is the best choice is how I passed the exam.

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PMP online training

My training was online, with live virtual classes. I definitely need to thank my instructors Matthew Thompson MBA, SAFe SPC, PMP, PMI-ACP, Lee Parsons PMP, and Mike Shore PMP, all of these men were highly experienced project managers and excellent instructors. The thing I found most helpful about the Velociteach system is it parses everything down into essential information and logic to be able to pick the best answer for a given scenario.

My company paid for me to take the course in November, 3 days, 8 hours of grueling information overload. My brain was mush at the end of 3 days. This is when I realized exactly what I did not know.

I continued studying all 660 pages of “The PMP Exam”. The book is divided into the 10 knowledge areas with practice questions in the reading sections and a 25-question test with answers and logic to get to the right answers.

At the end of the book is a simulated 200 question test. I continued taking these tests until I scored at least 90%. This concerned me a bit because I thought I was just memorizing the answers to the questions.

Once I completed the PMP online training course, I had all of the contact hours I needed to be able to apply to PMI to take the test.

The audit experience

My first disappointment on the journey. Almost as soon as I submitted my application I received notification that I had been “randomly” selected for audit. So, I sent in all of my required documentation overnight. Within 3 days I got the news that they rejected my application!

This was a huge setback in my mind. The reasoning given, specifically, stating there was no evidence I had created a project management plan, along with other various suggestions.

I knew the real reason was, I did not complete the application in a way that showed ISO implementation as project vs. daily operations.

These were projects with a starting and end date delivering a product, service, or result. I would only have two more attempts to get my application accepted. So, I turned to a professional to write my application, FPMcertify, Tim McLaren, MBA, PhD, PMP, rewrote my application.

The most difficult thing I found was trying to explain a year long project in 500 words or less and hit all of the points PMI wants to see; oh, and make sure you include activities in all 5 process areas! 2 days later I had my improved application, which I submitted, then overnighted to PMI.

The day they received it PMI responded that I had been approved to take the test!

The second beginning

With PMP online training much behind me, I realized I needed to take the boot camp again. So, my boss gave me another 3 days to redo the boot camp course. Matt, my instructor, suggested that we schedule our exams within two to three weeks from course completion.

The week before I took the test, I took a weeks’ vacation and did nothing but study and read for about 10 hours each day up until I took the test.

So, I read the entire training manual again, took all of the 10-chapter tests again, I created charts for the 5 process groups, 10 knowledge areas, the 49 processes, and the tools and techniques for each.

All total, over 1,600 Inputs, tools & techniques, and outputs (ITTOs). I practiced making my brain dump for the test and I timed this as well. Overall, I was able to reproduce the 49 processes under their corresponding process group and knowledge area, in about 12 minutes.

I memorized all of the math formulas and practiced reproducing all of the PMI mathematical formulas too. My plan was to take the 200-question test (again, I timed myself) and practiced like I was taking the actual test.

Also read: How PMP online training & rock solid study plan helped Niraj pass PMP in 4 WEEKS!

Ah, the test!

My test was scheduled for Friday. So, Tuesday, I took the 200-question test for the first time, after getting 90 or above on all previous smaller tests.

And I managed to score about 60%, missing 85 of the 200 questions.

My first thought, I had wasted a lot of money in the pursuit of my PMP and I am not going to pass with a 60 percent. 🙂

I was certain I could not make up that ground by Friday. So, I retook every question I missed, read the logic for each answer then retook the 85 question I missed. This time I only missed 11, redid those 11 questions, then retook entire 200 questions, timed, this time I got 91% right.

This was a great learning exercise for me!

I also took the time to drive to the exam center before the test and I am glad I did, it was in a totally unfamiliar location located in a Wells Fargo Bank building, so, no outside signage for test center.

The exam experience

I showed up an hour early to exam. The exam center was clean, organized, and the staff very professional. I sat down at my station, and began my brain dump, remaining mindful of my time. I had accomplished this many times in practice within 15 minutes. But now I took 20 minutes and with confusion I left things out and redid.

I took a deep breath and settled into the test. I managed my time by ensuring I had at least 100 questions completed by the 2-hour mark.

The set of questions I pulled seemed easier than the practice questions I took or maybe I just knew the information better.

I only had one network diagram, and 2 or so math problems.
  • There were more questions about Agile project management than I expected, but they were simple mostly vocabulary type questions.
  • Understanding CPI, SPI, and TCPI calculations and being able to interpret the performance of the project based on the numbers given, is very important, I had at least 10 questions like this.
  • I got multiple scenarios where CPI and SPI are given and you must answer whether the project is behind, on time, or ahead of schedule and cost.
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My test strategy

My test strategy was to take my time with each question and answer it right the first time. I did not skip any answers or do a review. I completed with about 15 minutes to spare and pressed the button to submit.

The first word I read was “Congratulations”, Angela Rinaldi, my brain said, congratulations, that’s good news. You have passed the PMP! I threw my hands in the air and said, “I passed!” (in my head not out loud) then a tear of joy ran down my cheek!

I scored above target in 4 of the 5 process groups.

My plan is to continue gaining knowledge and learning how to be the most effective project manager I can be. I would never have made it to this point without all of the awesome PMPs that mentored me along the way. So, thank you to everyone who helped me accomplish my mission!

Summary

If you are opting for PMP before the new exam begins the turn of this year, your best bet is to take PMP online training and start off with a strong study plan. As an alternative to live coaching, the self-paced PMP online training helps with going back and forth during your entire study journey. This can be effective when you have a mentor or a group of mentors that can guide you past each block along the way.

There is no shortcut to PMP except for smart hard work. Begin strong, stay strong, and you will finish strong.

Good luck!

Angela Rinaldi, PMP

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Peggy Rinaldi May 13, 2020, 4:24 am

    Could not be prouder of Angela she sets goals and keeps after them until she succeeds. I am a mom in her life and I know I am a little one sided, I assure you I know her and her success makes my heart happy. She works very hard.