My PMP Success Mantra Is… – shares Umut Karabudak, PMP

PMP success is possible with meticulous planning, says Umut Karabudak as he shares his plan!Umut Karabudak is a Civil Engineer working in a manufacturing company as a Project Manager. He lives in Ankara/Turkey and during his free time Umut enjoys watching movies and going on long drives.

Umut passed his PMP exam recently with an overall Above Target score (People-AT, Process-AT, Business Env-T). As we chatted about his preparation and the ups and downs of the PMP journey, a clear picture emerged about how he managed from zero knowledge about PMP to actually ace it with Above Target score.

Here’s are the excerpts from the chat. I hope this would help your PMP goal.

What made you take up PMP? Did you consider any other certification exams?

I wanted to do my job professionally by learning about project management from the most authoritative source. What best than Project Management Institute for this?

PMP is the most respected certificate in the industry.

With PMP certification done, now I am preparing for PSM.

I was aiming to be more recognized as the core benefit and thus attract better opportunities. PMP has already helped me expand my network now.

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Which study resources did you use for your exam preparation?

I used Rita Mulcahy’s PMP book, Agile Practice Guide, and PMBOK guide.

As I studied these I prepared my own notes as well. This process of making notes was very helpful in internalizing the knowledge.

In addition, I went over simulators to practice my ability to interpret and answer questions quickly.

All these resources helped me close my shortcomings and prepare well, and in the process, they also helped broaden my project management perspective.

How did you approach the exam, and what was your study plan?

Actually, my study goal was simple: “complete studying from all of my resources and solve at least 2000 questions”.

We were expecting our child and I had 4 months of time to prepare for the exam. So I had to be methodical and meticulous in my planning and preparation.

Thus my approach was plan-driven to fix the exam date and work towards it.

I prepared a schedule and followed it most of the time. There were of course times where I slipped, and I did my best to get back on track.

The only aim was to keep making progress on a daily basis, so any slippages I could cover over the weekends, or days where I could carve some more study time.

Any challenges along the way?

There were many, as a matter of fact. The best lesson I have learned is to expect the unexpected and do the best given a situation.

I have a full-time job, some evenings I couldn’t find the energy or motivation to study for the exam. This caused a little delay in my schedule.

Meanwhile, our baby was born and I couldn’t study anything for the first 15 days. Then, with a quick round of revision, without delaying further, I gathered my courage and took the exam.

And I passed!

What was your approach during the week before the exam?

During my study, I took a lot of notes as a summary, I only worked on these notes in the last week.

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Can you talk about your exam experience?

I took my exam online.

I knew there are many difficulties in taking the exam online because of the strict rules in the online exam and the possible risks such as internet interruptions. But because of the Covid situation, I did not any other choice.

Truth be told I was VERY nervous at the beginning of the exam.

I couldn’t use my time effectively in the first part of the exam.

Then I chose to take my breaks to calm my nerves. During the break, I used the restroom, ate some candies, and stretched myself.

And it worked.

After the break, I found it easier to solve the problems quicker. I was gaining solid momentum and answering questions pretty quickly.

Almost all of my questions were situational and lengthy. And again almost all of them were related to the Agile and Hybrid approaches.

Any specific PMP exam study tips?

I don’t think the aspirants need to do any memorization about the exam. Trying to memorize might make the whole study experience hard and bitter. Understanding the concepts is the key to PMP exam success.

The other tip I have is to solve as many questions as possible. This helps improve our question interpretation skills and makes us feel be more comfortable in the exam.

Hope this helps PMP students.

All the best!

Umut Karabudak, PMP



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