PMP Preparation Approach: Keep It Lean & Mean – Amit Sharma, PMP

PMP preparation approach is key to success, says amit sharmaWhen it comes to PMP preparation approach, Amit went the lean and mean way.

Amit Sharma works as Assistant Consultant specializing in Cloud Technology and has close to 12 years of experience in the Information Technology. He is a constant learner, and has achieved PMP, AWS, ITIL Expert V3, Six Sigma, Azure, Oracle Certified Associate, & CCNA.

This week, Amit talks about the challenges he faced, how he simplified the PMP complexity, and what exactly he did before the exam.

If you are in a hurry, watch the short video below.

What made you take up PMP?

PMP Amit SharmaI have come across many successful project managers in my career and got to know about the benefits of PMP from their real-time practice.

Subsequently, I began following PMI and joined many communities like the ones on LinkedIn, which made me comfortable about taking up the challenge and applying it in my daily work life.

I did not consider any other certification for project management than PMP. That was the one I was after, and I got certified with a memorable journey.

Now that I am certified, I feel confident of being able to manage and deliver projects of any size and complexity.

The good thing about PMI is that the PMP certification is valid and respected in any industry, and not just designed for IT project managers. I am expecting to manage large and complex projects with better planning and deliver desired results with complete customer satisfaction.

Which study resources did you use?

There are many good ones out there. After some research, I chose to go with just a handful of them, and for specific reasons.

I focused mainly on books because I am a big fan of reading. I feel more comfortable reading than any other means of learning.

I would recommend you invest time in research and decide to invest in those 2-3 resources that you find useful.

👇 In a hurry? Watch this short video 👇

What was your PMP preparation approach?

I set 3 months goal and booked the exam in advance.

Took 4 weekends training which covered all PMP course and helped me in clearing my doubts.

I devoted 1-2 hrs daily on weekdays and 3-4 hrs on weekends along with practice papers based on each Knowledge Area.

2 weeks prior to the exam, I took multiple half and full mock exams.

If you are going for books, I would recommend going through PMBOK once and Rita’s book at least twice to clear your concepts.

When you start getting 80-85% in full mock exams, I would say you are good to go for the exam. But remember that your aim should be of clearing your gaps, and not mugging up the answers of mock exams.

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How about challenges along the way?

To be honest, there is SO much to study. So it is very easy to get overwhelmed during preparation.

The way I got over this challenge is to break down the study content into chunks and focusing on them—one at a time.

Also, there are a few areas that you’ll find harder to wrap your head around, and a few that feel intuitively simpler. I tried to find those areas which require more attention and started working on them.

Also, I approached my mentor, trainer, and LinkedIn groups to clear my doubts from time to time.

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

In the week before my exam, the focus was only on taking mock tests. I realized that this gives the most ROI for my time.

While taking the mock tests, I was able to pinpoint my weaker areas and focus on revising them.

Plus, as I took the mock tests, my timing became better—I could see that I was taking lesser time per question. This practice would certainly help manage time on the real exam much better, than not investing time in mock tests.

I took 4 full-length mock tests. And this made me confident of clearing the exam.

After each mock test, I went through gaps and studied the topics before moving to the next mock test.

Can you share your exam experience?

The exam hall was very quiet, which allowed me to focus on this marathon exam.

The exam center doesn’t allow you to bring any personal item—not even the water bottle. This is not kind of a comfortable situation. I didn’t want to take a break since I was in a flow.

The exam covered all process groups and the level of complexity of questions was good and tricky, as expected from PMI.

Any specific study tips for the exam takers?

  • There were many questions where I was stuck between two options. There wouldn’t be much time to sit and deliberate, and so we need to be quick with decision-making. Only simulator practice helps you do that.
  • I would strongly recommend marking such questions for review rather than spending more time, else you might be at risk of not attempting all questions. For such questions, while marking a question for later, I would still mark one of the options (based on gut feeling). This approach would mean that if you don’t have time to come back (the worst case) you’d not be leaving any questions unanswered.
  • Dedication is the key to success.
  • Don’t try to mug up things, instead, try to understand each process and related concepts.

PMP preparation approach can be complex if you overthink about it. Don’t. Keep it simple.

Good luck!

Amit Sharma, PMP


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