Prepare For PMP With Process Chart Game – Melissa Mehring, PMP

"Prepare for PMP process chart game", says Melissa, aft4er passing the exam with Above Target score earlier this month.“I pressed on and took the exam in December and failed just below the line.

It was not unexpected, but at the same time I was shocked I had come so close to passing and was encouraged by that.

I considered it as a good trial run for me.

That day I rescheduled to take it again prior to the end of December, the deadline under the old exam rules.

I joined a study group locally, bought books, signed up for a guided course and devoted the next five days to full immersion studying.

I sat down to take the exam on December 21st, feeling really good, only to be told the exam could not be delivered.”

Definitely not a great experience, but what got Melissa through is absolute determination and perseverance.

Yes, sometimes our goals take more than simply our ability to achieve them. 

Today, Melissa Mehring shares how she went to ace PMP exam with Above Target score few weeks ago, in spite of so many hurdles.

Unlike many earlier interviews, this was an eye-opener for me. If you are preparing for your PMP exam, there is much you can learn from Melissa’s experience.

Please make sure you read all the way through to the end, where Melissa shares her study tips to ace this exam.

Let’s dive in.

What made you take up PMP?

In August last year, a Master’s Degree in Project Management was conferred to me from USC.

To add to my years of experience managing projects and programs, it was important to prove my ability and knowledge with the PMI PMP certification.

This certification assures employers that I have the tools and knowledge to manage projects effectively.

Did you consider other exams?

Melissa Mehring shares how perseverance helped her prepare for PMP exam & pass with AT scoreInitially I considered taking the CAPM exam.

I changed my focus to prepare for PMP rather, because of the incredible body of knowledge USC imparted to me during my degree pursuit.

The courses of study were inclusive of all the leading material on project management, including the PMBOK Guide and the Agile Manifesto.

Much of the material consumed was from PMI itself, along with material published by thought leaders serving in this realm.

A peer asked me, “why are you not going for the PMP?

He felt my experience, knowledge, and education lent itself to taking the PMP. In reflection, he was right.

What was the core benefit you expected? And now that you are certified how do you see PMP helping you?

One of the key benefits I hoped for was to alleviate the chance a perspective employer might say, “you have the degree and the experience, so why aren’t you certified?

It was important to me to check all the boxes, so a perspective employer could feel good that I had done everything possible to master my craft and stay engaged with our collective professional association.

In 2016 the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act (PMIAA) passed into law.

And as a result many government employers are phasing in new hires that are PMP certified and training existing PM’s to become PMP certified.

Interested to know how PMI’s implementing PMIAA? Read PMI’s white paper below (courtesy pmi.org).

[pdf id=’107879′]

Many contractors who do business with the federal government are doing the same, as it is a requirement for them to continue to do business with the federal government.

Therefore, having this certification makes me more marketable to potential employers.

From a higher-level view, a whole new library of resources has opened up to me through PMI providing many tools, a vast library of knowledge, and an opportunity to network with fellow practitioners from all over the world. The potential to do great things is there for the taking.

 

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Which study resources did you use to prepare?

A fellow graduate student who had passed the PMP while going to school with me recommended the RMC material to prepare for PMP.

There is quite a bit of material out there, and the Fast-Track Program spoke to me. With the purchase of the digital version of the RMC PMP Book Version 10, I received the RMC Process Chart game.

I took five days to sit and go through the book from cover to cover, the week leading up to the exam.

I read it thoroughly, practiced all the exercises, and then took time to think about how each chapter topic applied to real-life projects I had either managed or knew about.

This was incredibly effective for me.

You will easily understand all activities done in each of the project phases, by playing Rita’s process chart game. Play It For FREE Here!

Additionally, PMI offered many of us a Bridge Course, which basically covered the material now offered in the Agile Hybrid Project Professional micro-certification.

It was offered as a result of the need to provide a pathway for 2020 PMP applicants to transition between the old PMBOK 6 material and PMP exam ending December 31, 2020 and the new material and exam being offered after January 1, 2021.

This bridge course helped cover the new exam material.

It addressed Agile methodology along with the style and types of questions that might be asked on the new exam.

Finally, someone told me about Aileen Ellis and her strategy video on YouTube to prepare for PMP exam.

You can watch the video here –

I am so glad I took the time to watch her video, relax and listen.

She covered the exam format, timing, breaks, how to use the white board, watch the clock, take the tutorial up front to make sure applicants understand how to use all the tools provided.

That tutorial time helped to calm my nerves and see there was a method to test success.

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Can you talk about issues faced along the way, and tell us how you overcame them?

Ah, this was an interesting experience that I wasn’t prepared for, to be honest

I signed up to take the exam about the time I graduated in late August last year.

It was a busy time.

The pandemic was in full force and my mother had just died in July, so honestly, I needed to take some time for myself.

And before I knew it, it was November, when I realized the initial PMP exam I had applied for would be changing at the end of the year.

I absolutely needed to apply myself. But it was difficult with the holidays, the pandemic and so much loss in our family.

I pressed on and took the exam in December, and failed just below the line.

It was not unexpected. But at the same time I was shocked I had come so close to passing and was encouraged by that. It was a good trial run for me.

That day I rescheduled to take it again prior to the end of December, the deadline under the old exam rules.

I joined a study group locally, bought books, signed up for a guided course and devoted the next five days to full immersion studying.

I sat down to take the exam on December 21st, feeling really good, only to be told the exam could not be delivered.

This was devastating.

Confusing.

Disheartening.

There was a complete failure at PearsonVUE and PMI.

My study group and several other PM peers sitting for the exam got the same message that week.

All of us were faced with the fact the exam material was changing. Everything I had studied and devoted time to became obsolete. As a result, I decided to wait until there was clarification on what the new exam material would look like.

There was much confusion at PMI, PearsonVUE, and the big-name course suppliers. Many of the guided courses, including RMC, were unclear well into Spring what the exam content might be.

As my exam eligibility period was coming to an end, time was running out for me to prepare for PMP.

I overcame this by writing to PMI. And they were really terrific about providing a small extension to me in this period of uncertainty.

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The week before the exam is crucial. How did you prepare?

I am primarily a “self-study” person and knew I needed quiet time to study.

I found a good week to devote my time primarily to the RMC book and process chart game.

During this time, I put in 8-to-10-hour days reading, testing, and processing.

I got lots of sleep, exercise, and talked to other PMs if I had questions. It helped me to hear what their thoughts were on some of the subject matter.

I took breaks up until the day before the exam.

That day, I reviewed areas I felt were my weakest.

The day before the exam, I studied 14 hours and had many great moments of understanding and clarity after review.

I slept well that night. Decided only to play the process chart game in the morning. Watched the Aileen Ellis video and relaxed prior to the exam.

I was taking the online proctored exam and the Ellis video had prepared me well. So, I pre-staged water outside the room, tested my computer, and decided to practice some relaxation techniques about 30 minutes prior.

The check-in began about 15 minutes prior, as recommended. Even with all that, the start was delayed.

I stayed relaxed.

Practiced some quiet meditation.

Knowing that I would have the tutorial time once I got started to further calm my nerves felt reassuring.

I felt very comfortable during this exam.

And I passed with Above-Target score! 

Any study tips for the students to prepare for PMP exam?

Everyone has their own journey and this is mine, so it may not be right for others. But my experience may have few pointers that might resonate with those taking the exam. I hope those will be helpful.

One thing was sure: I was very determined to overcome the barriers thrown up in front of me. I was not discouraged and really wanted to succeed.

Mine is a story of perseverance.

I think that Perseverance alone can be the fuel needed to propel you towards PMP goal. With that everything else will fall in place.

Don’t let anything stop you when you prepare for PMP exam.

Good luck,

Melissa Mehring, PMP

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