Project Management: Goal to Reality With 2 Critical Factors – Subramanya Sharma, PMP

Project management professional (PMP) exam is hard but can be conquered with consistent execution of a smart strategy, says Subramanya, after acing it with 3AT score recently. Project Management was his goal.

PMP was the vehicle to get there.

It took 9 years.

He failed once.

Took a break, and got back harder.

And smarter.

In the end, it was all worth it.

He grew ‘project management’ wiser.

In the process, passing with Above Target in all 3 domains was like a natural byproduct.

Subramanya Sharma is a project manager with an MBA in IT and Marketing. He is a Scrum Master as well. Self-confessed movie buff, he is also a crypto-enthusiast.

In this week’s PMP Lessons Learned series interview, Subramanya shares the journey. 

So you can prepare better for your exam.

The things that worked for him, and more importantly, those that didn’t.

What made you take up PMP?

PMP subramanya sharmaI was always interested in managing projects ever since I took up my first job. I learned about PMP in the year 2008-09 and wanted to pursue it.

Thus, I planned it after 3 years of the Project Management experience, which was one of the requirements set up by PMI.

From planning for PMP to actually getting certified a week ago, I ended up getting certified in PRINCE 2, MSP, and Scrum Master.

That is an indication that PMP takes planning, time, and consistent effort to get through. There is plenty to study, and in the end, as I found, it is exactly what every project manager needs.

As a new project manager, I didn’t have any direction about how to solve project management problems.

PMBOK gave me the concepts and guidance I required time and again, even before I got certified. In a way, that has truly been my North Star.

Now that I am PMP certified, due to the study approach I took, I can recall any concept when required on the job.

Also read:

According to you, what is the one thing a PMP aspirant should have for success?


PMP is a long-term game that requires hard work, and you need to play it with strategy.

One way to do this is to see how successful people are doing it. Learn from their experiences—studying what worked for them, and most importantly, what mistakes they made that you must avoid. Because, one single mistake can be fatal.

The other, equally important aspect in my view is…


Once you begin the PMP preparation, don’t stop till you clear the exam.

Stay consistent. Study every day. Take mock tests at milestone level (Knowledge Areas etc) to see how you are doing, and fill the knowledge gaps.

I failed in my 1st attempt. Then I took a break, re-energized, and prepared better than the first time.

Took a few mock exams, where I was scoring above 80%. That is when I chose to book the exam slot. And cleared with Above Target score!

There will be people pulling you down, especially if you have not cleared the previous attempt. Take it as a challenge and go after your goal.

Which study resources did you use for your exam preparation?

What was your approach and study plan?

For the 1st attempt, I studied 4-6 hours a day for a month and a half, and took a few mock exams.

For the second attempt I took it slow, I studied at my own pace.

This time around I took the fresh mock tests till I was hitting 80% and more consistently. Then only I decided to block the exam slot.

Did you face any hurdles along the way?

Setback after not clearing the 1st attempt, though I had cleared 6-7 full-length mock tests.

Listening from others that “your PMP journey is never ending” was a dampener.

I took many years for my PMP certification. You can imagine how many false-starts I’ve had. But my never-give-up attitude paid off in the end.

People used to joke that it was never ending, and that I will end up reading ALL the version of PMBOK. 😀

Thank you for being part of our student community!

Thanks for the great support from you.

Your books are the ones which I used for study & revision during my second attempt.

Many articles on PMESN blog were very helpful, especially learning from the mistakes and success of past PMPs.

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

By mostly doing revision and taking mock tests.

I opted for the online exam. So I set up my computer ready with all the required tests to ensure there is no last-minute surprise.

To avoid issues like internet outage, I decided to take the exam from the office. I blocked a room for 5 hours and took the exam peacefully.

What was your exam experience?

It was very comfortable.

The only challenge, since I had opted for online exam, was to make sure people would not open the door while I took the exam, else it could be a problem. The proctor can even terminate the exam then and there.

Questions were moderate to easy on a difficulty scale. Most of them tested practical knowledge implementation.

I took the 10-minute break for every 60 questions answered Stretched my legs, sipped some water, walked around a bit, and generally relaxed.

What are your top-3 study advice?

  • Consistency is the key. Read and read again till you understand the concept. Then apply it to a real time project you have managed, which helps you understand the concept for a lifetime.
  • Teach what you learn to others, it’s an easy way to know where you stand in your understanding when someone else ask questions.
  • During exam, it is essential to take breaks to avoid stress, which I didn’t do in the 1st attempt. Second time around, I planned to opt for the breaks offered for every 60 question. In all, I had 20 minutes of break time and completed the exam just before the time completion.

And by the way, before you take up your exam, read about the exam security.

Hope my experience helps.

Best wishes to PMP aspirants,

Subramanya Sharma, PMP

Master all concepts of the NEW PMP exam in an easy-to-understand and smart way. 

>>> Check out the ‘Look Inside’ link to read through <<<

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