PMP Study Approach: Don’t be Afraid to Change! – Shamla Rampersad, PMP

pmp study approach shamla3 Above Target, and 2 Target.

That was my PMP result.

shamla rampersad pmpI’ve been interested in becoming PMP certified for a number of years, but never liked the idea of having to take an exam. Who likes exams after all? 🙂

Once I got past that reservation, and realized that the exam is going to change I realized I had best try to get certified. I had nothing to lose in the process! I really should have done it earlier when I did not have children, it would have been a lot easier to study for, but, things worked out the way they did.

Where to start?

First thing first, I attended my PMP boot camp while I was expecting my 2nd baby – I was in the 2nd trimester, and he is now 18 months. A lot of time had passed.

I attended a PMP training webinar hosted by Shiv Shenoy & Dan Ryan around January 2018, and then signed up for the Last Mile course.

It was also logical that I needed to cover the course content thoroughly. By this point, I knew what I didn’t know.

Next, I worked more intently on getting in my exam application, which I submitted by the end of Jan 2018. I was lucky enough to have Shiv look it over, and I found a suitable date / time slot for the exam as well.

Then I worked to get all my study resources in order.

I had signed up for Shiv’s free study notes. These were so useful, and covered the material so well, and I felt it was so digestible.

No matter how I tried I really could not enjoy the PMBOK. At some point, I may have actually “decided” not to read it.

Then I decided to watch videos in order to cover the course syllabus. I watched / listened to the weekend course, and also purchased Joseph Phillips Udemy course, which I also highly recommend.

Joseph’s course has a Blitz version at the end, which is very useful, and can be watched at higher speed if needed. He has a nice way of showing how to remember Formulas too.

Also Read: Apoorva shows how to enjoy the PMP journey and learn quicker

At some point while watching the videos I think I realized why I was pursuing the goal of PMP – I actually enjoy Project Management. This became my motivation to push through to the end,and just continue.

Then it came time to start PMP mock tests.

I decided to get the PM PrepCast Simulator, and highly recommend it for anyone taking the PMP !

The first time I took a mock test, I was in my room with the door shut, and my internet connection kept cutting off. So I ended up with running out of time, and scored 56% !

This put a dent in my confidence and I decided to just do short quizzes whenever I could. I would do them during lunch breaks, while traveling to and from work, longer ones after work (since I’d reach home late).

It became apparent to me that the easy way was to practice mocks and in the process learn PMP content.

I was not afraid of a 4 hour exam, but rather, focused on the practice of questions. It still felt like my scores were not high enough. And I decided to take a different approach.

PMP Study Approach: manage the change!

One weekend, I went through and totally focused on brain dumps from Shiv Shenoy (get it here), Edward Chung, Cornelius Fichtner and few others that I found online, and found the common themes.

Since everyone said, “This is what you need to know to Pass” , I figured, this is what I need to know – and started to write the topics down. I made a few pages of notes, knew exactly what it meant, and where these points came from and how things relate to each other.

I tried not to memorize anything, but to understand as much as possible, or at least to use mnemonics if really needed.

This helped tremendously!

The same day I focused on understanding the processes and how they interlink with each other. I found a video by Ricardo Vargas. Someone should give him a medal.

Here is a link to his video for PMBOK ver5 based video, and here’s the link to PMBOK ver6 based video.

Also Read: PMP Against All Odds! – by Roselin Kapur, PMP

By watching the video a number of times, I did not have to memorize the processes for the table 3.1 at all.

I did draw it in table format before starting to answer my exam, and wrote my formulas, but apart from that, I did not write anything else down.

I also focused on understanding the flow of Work Performance Data -> Information -> Reports , and understanding the inputs and outputs between all the processes in Integration. And this video I found to be helpful for this.

For answering questions in the exam, here’s video I refereed to.

The approaching exam

2 days prior to my exam, I took my final full Mock exam, and scored 77%. According to the simulator it was a pass, which was a surprise, because I thought a pass was 80% only.

I felt fine, just a tad nervous, and thought the the only thing left to do was go over the syllabus, not try to learn too many new things.

The day before my exam, I skimmed through the entire PMBOK, figuring how can I possibly not do it. I did this very quickly.
I realized – I know the content of every page! That really gave me confidence!

Also Read: 9 things to do on the day of your PMP exam to up the odds of success!

Unlike most, I actually did study till pretty much the last minute. I’ve always been this way, and this time was no different. I did stop by 8pm, and was in bed by 9:30pm the night before. My exam was booked for the next day afternoon slot.

The exam center was perfect – it was relatively easy to get to, and was really quiet! The actual exam was rather confusing. I had no idea how it was going to go, as most questions were situational.

I was genuinely surprised at my results, and happy to know that I passed.

Few study tips

For those planning to pass the exam, for PMBOK-6, I would suggest the following.

  • Take Joseph’s Udemy course (link given above)
  • Watch iZenBridge videos
  • Watch Ricardo Vargos’s video
  • Do not memorize anything. Understand Everything.
  • Enjoy the journey, and use this as your motivation to Pass the PMP Exam.

I hope the info helps future PMP aspirants!

Shiv, your own blog is tremendously helpful. I think I went through every section of it. The section on how to apply for the exam was especially helpful too. I applied for the exam and started serious study in Feb, so that was about 6 weeks away from exam date. Each article on your site continues to be helpful to me!

Do keep it up – it’s appreciated !

Shamla Rampersad, PMP

Also Read: Agile to PMP, a Better Way to Succeed – Hitesh Bhatt, PMP

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