Project Management Professional Certification, How I Topped it – Achintya Kumar, PMP

project-management-professional-achintyaAchintya Kumar is an MBA with IT/Systems specialization with 10+ years in IT industry. He is an expert in the field of Project Management, Requirements Management, Business Analysis and Presales in consulting engagements. In this article he shares the exact blueprint of his study that enabled him to score Above Target in all 5 domains of his Project Management Professional (PMP) exam.

What event/experience triggered you to take up PMP?

achintya-pmpI always wanted to have PMP after my name and be more effective project manager. With growing experience it only became a natural step for me to take up PMP exam.

My preparation for the exam was on and off but around September I began to measure what is needed to ace the PMP exam seriously, but then unfortunately I had to discontinue.

It all became a reality recently. After completing the feedback form at the end of the PMP exam, I saw the CONGRATULATIONS message displayed on the computer screen.

I passed with Above-Target in all the 5 domains. It was an unforgettable moment.

What were your study resources ?

pmp certificationI referred multiple resources for my Project Management Professional exam and they include the following:

I’d like to add that it may certainly be not necessary to refer these many resources, having a finite number of good resources should give you equally good result.

Also Read: What is changing for PMP exam in 2019?

What was your study approach and study plan?

I started my final study in December when I completed PMI-PBA and submitted my PMP application.

PMBOK was my first reference point and as I complete one chapter/knowledge area.

I ensured I read the exam tips, important key concepts from other books like Rita PMP prep book, Andy Crowe’s book and from PMP Exam Simplified book by Aileen.

This ensured that I am making notes and understanding all the aspects of knowledge required for PMP exam.

I took around 30 days to read PMBOK once along with making notes from other resources together.

As soon as I completed one iteration of reading and making notes, I started reading the notes again and this time I started solving questions Knowledge area wise from various exam resources mentioned in my exam resources list.

What were the issues you faced during your PMP journey, and how did you overcome them?

I was coming out of family emergency and had tough times in October which I think strengthened my determination to succeed. I realized I have nothing to worry about and the best thing is to forget everything and get along with study to keep myself engaged even after work.

I knew my goals and always listened to motivational videos from achievers and felt that I need to go on with my goals. I got great friends along the journey who kept me motivated and this journey became easier towards the fag end of the exam. I also subscribed to Praizion Media in YouTube, which was a great source of encouragement.

Also Read: Revealed: Maria Keane’s prep strategies and insights of PMP exam

What was your preparation steps in the one week before the exam?

I was going through my self made notes and also concentrated on the Data Flow diagrams for each of the processes and the ITTOs for those processes. It was difficult to remember the ITTOs but understanding them makes it easier to relate with the processes.

I solved 50 Questions process group wise and then spent time understanding each right/wrong answer. This would help me get the rationale behind the answer and help rectify my understanding.

How was your real exam experience?

The real exam was completely different than all the questions I had solved till date.

Only thing that was common were the topics I had studied and the approach I took to understand them.

This helped me solve the questions in the exam.

Most questions had answers that did not seem to be perfectly correct but I had to choose the best among the 4 options offered.

The questions were very tricky and almost all of them were situational based.

I completed the exam in 3 hours 40 minutes and marked around 30 questions to review in the last 20 minutes.

I changed around 9 answers out of the marked ones before time ran out while I was reviewing the marked questions.

Also Read: What you need to know for PMP exam when it comes to Critical path calculations

Do you have any specific study tips or techniques that you’d like to share with PMP students?

I would recommend Project Management Professional exam aspirants to have a mix of study and solving mock tests as a part of study plan.

Reading will help understanding the concepts and solving mock tests will help you understand what you need to study deeply and which areas need more attention.

Studying the answers also provide the rationale behind the correct answer and will help closing the gaps of study.

Regular reading of the these should help –

  • Process Group to Knowledge Area mapping (the process table from the PMBOK)
  • Project documents
  • Change request flow from Rita PMP prep book
  • The formulas for Earned Value Management

Prepare to the best of your abilities and have faith in yourself. I wish you good luck.

Achintya Kumar, PMP


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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • AZZAM OTHMAN April 16, 2019, 2:16 pm

    Thank you Mr. Achintya Kumar for sharing your experience in passing the PMP exam. I found it useful and I will consider your journey to PMP in my study and preparation . Congratulations and have a great day .

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