When not working or surfing project management blogs, Sai travels and spends time watching TED talks & movies.
-Shiv Shenoy, PMP
Sai, what triggered (event/experience) your desire to take up PMP test?
Many, but mainly a TED talk about dynamic changes in technology industry where the speaker highlighted a study by World Economic Forum about skills/work that will be obsolete or automated by 2020.
That talk triggered the need to re-evaluate my skillset and see where I’d stand in next 3-4 years.
Now that you certified, how do you see PMP impacting your work?
I’d say I’m going to plan activities more stringently and confidently now and “do the only work required” and avoid scope creep in real life and projects.
This accomplishment and knowledge gave me a whole new perspective about looking at things in life and work.
What PMP test prep study resources did you consider, and eventually used for the exam preparation?
I started and stayed with Joseph Philip’s PMP course throughout.
Also, I referred Head First book initially and realized it’s good for beginners but not to pass the PMP. I also read Scott Payne’s book.
To be honest I’d say Joseph’s course, Rita’s book, Shiv’s daily LinkedIn questions, and PrepCast simulator will do the magic.
If I can go back in time, I’d use only these resources to prepare. Throwing in more study resources only results in confusion.
How did you approach the exam and what was your study plan?
I was clear that I should answer every question from PMI/PMBOK’s perspective and should temporarily unlearn the practices from real world.
My initial study plan was 60 days with 3 hours per day dedicated to PMP prep.
However, due to my personal commitments I had to extend it to 4 months.
I’d say 90 days is optimal and extending beyond that would just complicate things.
Can you please tell our readers some of the issues you faced during your PMP test prep, and how did you overcome them?
Procrastination – Let me be honest, this is a very dry subject and many of us didn’t do any heavy reading after graduation. It was very hard for me to spend more than 20 minutes on PMBOK.
I googled for a solution and found Pomodoro technique.
That really made a difference and helped me concentrate on the goal.
Also, I took a print of my study plan and pasted it at work and home beside my computer, so that constantly reminded me about my goals for the week/day.
I setup a daily reminder on my phone to study – which included notes from my previous day’s learning.
I spent about 3 hours every day after my work until I completed first iteration of PMBOK and Rita’s.
Then, I took about two weeks off from work and spent 7-8 hours on 2nd iteration, practice quizzes and full simulator exams.
How did you prepare in the week prior to the test?
I did not do any reading, but did reviewed my notes and some notations on Rita’s book & PMBOK.
I did full exams on Prep Cast and reviewed the areas where I should focus on by going through incorrect answers.
PrepCast explanations are very helpful and they even highlight the PMBOK source with page numbers, so I just referred to those pages from incorrect and difficult questions.
I also used PMP OneView to memorize key outputs and review the journey of deliverables, outputs from each process etc., that helped to put some things in perspective.
What was your PMP exam experience like?
Woah, Prometric policies are very intimidating, the physical check and scrutiny throws us off balance if we are not prepared. No matter how many reviews you read, the experience is quite different.
I started my exam and completed about 50 questions in an hour, marked a lot of them. Realizing that I was losing confidence by marking too many questions for review, I reassured myself that I was prepared for this. ?
I reviewed about 40 questions and changed answers to 5 of them.
Many people ask me about brain dump. Although I practiced a lot creating my brain dump I did not make one on the exam. The practice of creating one itself has made that knowledge easier to recall, I guess.
What are some of the specific study tips, advice, techniques, or strategies you’d like to share with PMP exam students?
Like every project is unique, every aspirant too. Hence I believe there is no one plan that fits all, but we can take the ones that resonate with us and create our own plan.
1. Search and finalize study resources and study plan that works for you.
I have gone through tons of PMP test experiences of successful PMPs on Shiv’s website, PrepCast and Google and then I come up with my own plan as my learning style and requirements are quite different.
2. Do not postpone taking the PMP test.
As many said, booking the exam slot sets up our mind for the deadline. As soon as your application is approved, schedule the exam with a 60 days or 90 days study plan.
3. Do not overspend by buying too many resources.
PMBOK guide and one study book are more than enough to read. Simulator is a MUST to evaluate and figure out the gaps in learning throughout the prep.
Also Read: Joshua Render shares his PMP test prep strategy to fast track prep.