How Visual Study Approach Reduced my PMP Exam Preparation Effort – Plaban Roy Bhowmik, PMP

pmp prep visualization

The PMP journey was exciting and enjoyable for me.

I kept it as simple as I possible could.

1. Fix the Objective

pmp plabanThe true objective of getting PMP could be many – get the knowledge required to do a better job at work, get that promotion, get that dream job you are eyeing, ans what not. But the objective for the exam cannot be any of them.

For me it was to pass my PMP exam in the first attempt, while being able to enjoy the process.

2. Lock the approach

Do the research and get your study materials selected. It can be different for different people based on your learning approach, but I suggest spend some time in this research (at least 1 week) and select it carefully as this will decide your fate.

For me I selected below –

  • Study Material from my Training Institute
  • Exam Notes from PMExamSmartNotes , thanks to Shiv for his content (here, here and here). It is simplified and easy to remember.
  • Question bank from Mohit Arora (1000 questions – 100 questions from each Knowledge area)
  • Simulations from my Training Institute – 3 simulations.

Once you lock it down try not to switch. Remember the objective is not to do a research on PMP but to clear the exam. 🙂

My PMP results

3. Understand the Concepts

Looking at the exam questions, I truly recommend to take time and understand it first. I used to visualize how the given situation in the question applies to my work. As I am in Information Technology Industry for a long time and my career involved executing and managing many Projects, I found it quite easy interpret most of the concepts.

Human mind is such that, we can remember things more quickly when we can visualize it instead of memorizing it. I used the visual learning technique.

The ITTOs are so much logically linked and you will enjoy that when you discover it.

Visualization technique – I took pictures from my study sources and used that to cast on my TV. Just by looking at bigger screen actually helped me to remember more, especially the ITTOs.

For instance, try to discover the below facts while you study –

  • The Deliverables have a life cycle within the ITTOs
  • All Control Processes have few Inputs and Outputs in common
  • Change Requests have a life cycle within the ITTOs
  • Quality Control and Quality Assurance have deep links
  • All Planning processes in a Knowledge area have sequential relationship
  • Find the nature of overlapping of Process groups
  • Find the Iterative nature of Planning group from ITTOs

I can go on! When you discover it basically you are questioning your mind and the reasoning of such relations. It will help you to appreciate the logic of ITTOs.

There is no short cut to PMP success, but to take up the journey of study and practice with a purpose.

4. Practice

Learning concepts is only the half of the prep. Being able to apply this learning to a situation given in an exam question is what gets you success.

For this the easy way is to practice PMP mock tests. Ideally, as much as you can.

Just make sure it is aligned with the PMBOK version of the exam you are aiming for, especially if you are going for the free resources available online.

Also Read: Get into ‘PMP Training Mode’ for best results – by Mayank Garg, PMP

The Exam Mantra

  1. We all know about exam anxieties and I am no different. Being in Professional life, I do not experience the exam anxiety so often. You will need to overcome that in the first few minutes of the exam.
  2. Pace up your exam and keep targets of every half an hour on the number of questions to attempt. The worst thing you would want to avoid is to not being able to attempt all 200 questions.
  3. Wear the hat of a manager on the back of mind and on many questions you will have to apply that to choose the best answer. Be a Problem Solver in your approach to situational questions.
  4.  Time is of essence. If you are sure of any answer do not hesitate to answer that and move on. There’s a lot waiting for you. Apply the Rule of Elimination. It will help to narrow down the answer.
  5. Take breaks only if you really need it. Each break costs about 3-4 minutes in security checks when we return to exam hall, plus the time it takes to get into answering mindset again.

It is indeed satisfying when you complete your exam and see your Objective achieved. I passed with an Above Target score in the first attempt. Wish you all an enjoyable PMP success journey.

Good luck!
Plaban Roy Bhowmik, PMP

Also Read: An Agile Approach to PMP® Exam Preparation – by Abdul Saleem, PMP

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