“Getting a study buddy was the best PMP strategy I used. It was loads of fun. We would also vent our anger and frustration during our calls :)”, said Meera when asked about the best tip she can provide for PMP preparation.
Meera Sidhu has a Masters’s degree in Neuroscience. She is a Research Ethics Coordinator with the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR).
Don’t miss the ‘MET’ concept, an important aspect during your PMP planning phase, to know how to make it viable for you.
Meera passed her PMP exam with ‘Above Target’ score in all domains.
That only meant that I had to talk to her and share her study and exam prep strategies with you. 🙂
If you find it useful, consider sharing it with someone that may need it.
What made you take up PMP?
I come from the research/healthcare field. As I navigated my career path, I realized that I excel at project/program management.
When I started looking at upskilling further to become a more desirable candidate for the current job market, I figured that PMP certification is the right next step for me.
I did consider going back to school for further education (a Ph.D. or another Master’s degree) but the careers I am interested in do not require that level of education.
What was the core benefit you expected from PMP certification?
I expected that having my PMP certification would make me a more desirable candidate in the job market. I had hoped it would give me the leg up I needed to advance in my career.
Having the PMP (or any other certification) is always a bonus.
You cannot go wrong with learning and bettering your portfolio. I do see elements of the PMP course materials being used in my current job, such as tracking the progress and budgeting of multiple projects at a time.
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According to you, what is the one thing a PMP aspirant should do to prepare well and pass the exam?
Know what your learning style is.
This is the crucial point. Get this right and your entire PMP journey will be fun.
I am more of a visual learner, while I also enjoy books. Using only the textbooks and understanding concepts is hard for me.
Having said this, I am aware that PMBOK and Agile Practice Guide are the unofficial primary references, so I based them to manage and track my content coverage.
So I looked for videos to study. I found YouTube videos that explained the concept first and then once I watched them I would find the corresponding chapter in the textbook and read it. It made more sense to me.
Alternately, you can choose video-based training to get all the concepts together. Then no need to separately track the completion against the syllabus.
PMP preparation is about choices.
You have to spend Money, Effort, and Time to pass PMP. That’s given.
And you can choose to spend more on one and reduce the other with some smart decisions.
- Get a video course + mentorship and save big on effort and prep time.
- Use only PMBOK & APG, and save on overall PMP investment.
- Go with what makes sense for you and suits your case.
That’s interesting. Any other tip?
Carve out time every day for study.
I set a goal of 2 hours every day, 6 days a week.
I mapped out my goals for chapters/course material on a calendar for 3 months upfront.
This allowed me to track my progress and I finished my exam prep in a reasonable amount of time.
Which study resources did you use?
1. I used PMBOK 6 and Agile Practice Guide with PMC Lounge YouTube videos.
I watched the videos, then I read through the PMBOK chapter that corresponded to that area.
2. I watched this process flow video by Ricardo V.
This tied all the processes together.
3. I wrote the process chart down the moment I started my exam.
..in the scratch paper they give you during the exam. It helped so much, and I referred to it throughout my exam.
4. I took plenty of took simulated practice exams
The best one that related the most to the exam was from Andrew R.
What was your approach and study plan?
My study schedule was 2 hours a day, 6 days a week.
It took 12 weeks (3 months) for me to go from PMP decision to distinction. 🙂
I used the Table of Content of the PMBOK and Agile Practice Guide to track and complete my studies.
Did you face any blockers?
When I first started preparing, I just jumped right into the PMBOK.
It was difficult to understand as it is very technical, and I come from a research/healthcare background.
I tried for a week to understand as I wrote.
Then I realized I was not retaining any information this way, and I had to find a way that worked for my learning style.
That’s when I turned to the videos. Once I had that resource and my calendar of what to do each day, I was set.
I had a study buddy.
We would complain and vent to each other every day. 🙂
We stayed in contact as we studied.
We sent each other questions that made no sense.
We shared resources.
Her support was invaluable for my prep.
The week before the exam is crucial. How did you prepare during this week?
I ramped down my preparation and gave my body time to rest.
I knew the material.
I watched maybe 1 to 2 videos a day, that was a total of 15 min total.
I did not touch my books the day before the exam.
More resources to help with your PMP strategy:
- Here are 6 PMP mindset hacks no one is telling you!
- 5 PMP traps you must avoid while aiming for PMP this year
- 19 real-life project management challenges and their solutions!
- Get your WHY and you will find PMP preparation DAMN easy
- 9 top tips to pass PMP exam, from my 9 yrs of coaching experience
What was your exam experience?
I took the exam at an exam center.
I did take all my breaks.
I didn’t need them, but I took them.
I got up, stretched my legs, walked around, and tried not to think about what I just answered.
The exams by Andrew were so similar to the exam questions that I was quite confident on my answers.
Did you come across PMBOK 7 based questions?
There were no questions that I could pinpoint specifically on PMBOK 7.
Would you like to share any specific study tips?
Set a schedule and stick to it. This is quite essential, else you won’t know how the days go.
Take this exam seriously. It can bring you amazing growth opportunities.
PMI says PMPs earn 25% more than non-PMPs, on an average.
If you prepare with the right PMP strategy, there is every reason you’ll enjoy and ace this exam.
All the best,