An Accidentally Discovered Trick to Fast-track PMP Prep – Pratiksha Saxena, PMP

pmp exam results pratiksha saxenaMy PMP exam result: Above Target in 4 in first attempt.

Began prep in: 2016

Attempted exam in: 2018

pmp pratiksha saxenaChances are you are in the similar situation as me, having taken a long time to prep up for the exam. 🙂

Inadvertently, I found the trick that fast tracked my PMP prep.

I’ll come to it in a bit.


I am working as Functional Project Manager but my seniors’ jargon of Project Management terms often confused me. My appraisal was not done well enough so I was thinking about changing the job. I thought that since I am technically strong, it would not be a problem to prepare for PMP, but boy was I in for a surprise – I figured it takes something to pass this exam. But I was determined. And decided to take up PMP so I can better manage projects as well as improve my job prospects in today’s competitive market.

Like I mentioned, I started in 2016 and even took training from Simplilearn (a review here) but due to family problems could not begin the exam preparation.

Finally I made up my mind, and in 2018 I paid examination fee and started preparing for exam.

That did the trick. Everything seemed to fall in place and I discovered that my mindset towards the exam had changed. Once you make up your mind to seriously prepare for the exam, things will start to move magically. I believe that if I hadn’t done this one thing, it would have taken me more time to get my PMP.

Also Read: Shamla Rampersad shares how she managed to overcome exam anxiety by refining study approach.

The preparation phase

I would say, fix examination date as soon as possible, because the moment you do that you become serious in your preparation.

All in all, I read Rita’s book twice and PMBOK guide 4 times.

I did numericals from books, such as the one from Aileen. Any other book with PMBOK is important. for instance, Rita gives us understanding of concept in simple way.

Also, I downloaded mobile app such as PMStudy (more app suggestions here). These are handy when you have some boring family functions and gathering and in between you have some time. 🙂

As part of the preparation I gathered lots of material from net, WhatsApp group etc. I also went over the exam notes from Shiv Shenoy’s blog and zeroed in on selected materials. I found experiences of people who have cleared PMP very useful. I received these regularly from Shiv (sign up here). His emails are definitely confidence-boosters.

I studied whenever I could find time in office and on weekends usually early mornings. Some terms were really confusing in PMBOK so best approach was to study them when mind is fresh. I also made some of my own notes and mnemonics.

I revised everyday. And I watched videos of izenbridge wherever I had confusion.

Rita process Chart Pg 31 is good. Shiv Shenoy small books are good for revision. I specially liked question of the day on Facebook page (link here).

Also Read: Apoorva Revankar proves how enjoying PMP journey actually helps making faster progress.

PMP Mock Exams

Understanding process sequence and ITTOs is very important. Cramming simply doesn’t work.

Another aspect I decided to focus on is taking mock tests. I took about 1800-2000 mock tests.

Mock tests are an important component of PMP preparation. I would suggest to choose from a good source (here’s a free one).

Initially score can be low but don’t let this get to you. I found that as soon of understanding of ITTO grew my score started touching 80-85%. So, even if initial score is low, try again. Never give up.

Week before the exam

My PMP preparation took to the top gear this week. I was surprised to see that I did not got even a single question from mocks. But I discovered that the process of taking mock exams is very important as they give you direction in thinking for solving questions.

Questions on the exam were very situational. I would say study each process, close your eyes and think about their ITTOs and the processes before and after this process and how it fits into bigger picture. You can visualize this by studying the Data Flow Diagram given in PMBOK for each process.

Before Exam I did mocks of (a bunch of them on this page) –

  • PMSTUDY – 84%
  • Rita – 90%
  • Headfirst – 88%
  • Scordo – 80%
  • Oliver site – 64%
  • Oliver 175 – 80%
  • Simplilearn – 78%

Try to visit Exam center once before the Exam and plan to reach at least 1 hour early .

Also Read: Hitesh Bhatt reveals that Agile approach to PMP study helped him pass the exam with ease.

I was doing Scordo’s last set mocks which are very tricky. Scored low in Scordo so on the eve of the exam, and I began getting nervous.

Moral: don’t try too tricky questions else your confidence may take a dent.

I was very nervous before the exam. I calmed myself and decided to face it with confidence.

Revised all content day before Exam day till 1.00 pm.

Calm mind is very important, so I had a good night’s sleep.

The exam day

I started the exam with cool and collected mind. Initial questions were tough! I would advise to keep track of time during the exam as it is easy to get stuck on a question and lose track of time. It wasn’t different for me – I had such anxious moments. I completed last 100 question in last 95 min. Last few questions were easy, thankfully, and I raced through them.

Moral: Plan your exam (search for ‘proven strategy’ on this page) taking strategy well in advance.

Specially look for Keywords in questions. Questions are very situational. No direct questions.

Completed Exam just 3 min before the window. Then I hurried into un-marking the questions I’d set up for review and revised last 5 questions, and boom – my time was up.

Finally submitted my exam, submitted the review and waited for the results with bated breath. After what seemed like eternity my monitor flashed the Congratulations message. Result came on screen with Above Target in 4 domains.

Also Read: How Roselin Kapur got over all odds and raced through her PMP preparation.

I was so happy. Yippee!

I want to thank earlier contributors on this site for providing excellent lessons learned, and to Shiv for providing practice questions and quick tips and techniques. All this really helped me understand how to go about my PMP preparation.

I wish you all the best!

Pratiksha Saxena, PMP

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