Self Study For PMP®: Momentum Helped With 2 More Certifications! – Harpreet Kaur, PMP®

self-study for pmp harpreet kaurIn this article Harpreet Kaur shares how exactly she went about plan of study for PMP® exam and passed it online. Harpreet has over 11 years of IT PM experience, primarily in HRMS domain.

What made you take up PMP®?

harpreet kaur pmesnThe PMP® badge was a professional target as well as a personal goal for me to achieve. Many false-starts happened in the past 3 years. I would begin study with all earnest and then project priorities take away the focus from the preparation. 🙂

I know it sounds like too long it took to achieve, but actually, it was final 8 months journey that helped me to have these 3 letters after my name.

Did you consider any other certification exams?

As my goal and approach was clear from the beginning, I decided to go only with the PMP® certification. Although, once I began the study I used that momentum and aimed for a couple of short term certifications like Agile Certification & Scrum Professional Certification in parallel.

Sign up for FREE PMP® course today (limited time only)

What benefits would you expect now?

At the outset this would surely add value to my resume. While I was studying for my exam I realized that we are already use many of PMP® concepts in our job. However, earlier I didn’t have a structured approach, and I also had lack of clarity – which often made me second guess my approach.

PMP® certification teaches you all that one must know about project management, that one can implement for better project execution.

Now I’m recognized as a person who has spent effort and time to attain the PMP® certification. Since this is not an easy exam to pass, the credential show the commitment of the person as well as the fact that he/she is eligible to manage projects professionally.

Also read: How iterative planning helped Smita pass PMP® exam

Which study resources did you use for the exam preparation?

I had followed the set of guidance that you described in various blog posts that gave me insights into the exam journey. PM Exam SmartNotes blog has been resourceful and has guided me through all the stages of my PMP® preparation journey. I followed your suggestion of not having too many resources while doing the self-study or mentor-based study.

Following is the list of resources I used –

What was your plan of study for PMP®?

First and for most, the commitment of giving 1-2 hours of dedicated & focused daily study slot. It does not matter which time of the day I got to study, what mattered was that I studied every day.

This is how I went about the preparation.

1. PMI membershipPMI membership offers a discount on the PMP® exam fee. Also, it provides access to lot of premium project management content. So, taking membership helps with exam preparation as well as after the exam for continuous upgrade of our knowledge. This I think is first thing.

2. Preparing/ collating the data for application submission.

3. Signing up for PM Training – One can choose from lot of options available to gain 35 PDU requirement which can be earned once one go through the PM training. One can have online, self-paced or in-person training approach. I opted for self-paced approach. I, however, while choosing the options available ensures to have a good set of practice papers for me to have hands on simulation exam practice. I opted for Simplilearn® PM Training self-paced program.

4. Submission of PMP® application at

5. Study Plan – My study plan was simple –

  • I studied both Head First & PMBOK guide one after the other
  • Next, I took mock tests using the resources mentioned above
  • Then I went about 2nd read of Head First book
  • Again, mock tests in the week before the exam

Also read: Natalie’s strategies and plan of study for PMP®

How did you study in the week before the exam?

Since I opted for the online exam, I arranged all necessary prerequisite in accordance to guidelines, including making arrangements for power backup, broadband, webcam, microphone check, ID cards etc.

Got the my desk ready to take the exam in accordance to the PMI guidelines to have no-notes-no-books clutter free room.

Got the system pre-check as per online exam proctor guidelines.

I dedicated this week only for taking 4-hrs simulation examinations. Take at least 2-3 full-length tests before your day of the exam at the same time slot as your exam. This helps you understand how much to eat/drink before the exam so you will not feel hungry during the 4 hours and also don’t feel like taking a bio-break.

Then I revised all the processes & ITTOs of 10 knowledge areas.

What was your exam experience like?

The proctor guided online exam seemed similar to the exam hall experience. The only difference is here we need to make few additional preparation to avoid any disturbances (back up for power, internet, ensuring no sound or people movement during the exam etc).

At the beginning of the exam we need to sign non-disclosure. I did not have to rush through the questions, maybe because I had taken mock tests and was set to go at a reasonable pace through the exam. Since you get only 1.2 min per question on an average, please make sure that you do not get stuck on any question for an unreasonably long time.

Validate your answer and ensure that you choose the best option out of the 4 options. Do not jump to the next question when you choose an option without reading through remaining options.

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Finally, would you have any study tips for PMP® students?

Like I mentioned earlier studying every day is important. If you are not feeling like studying on any particular day, read at least one page that day. Or may be answer one or two sample test questions.

No question will be straightforward, thus taking mock tests is essential. After you have taken the mock test, you will learn a lot by going over wrong answers and understanding why and how you got it wrong. This will clear many concepts.

If you have created mind maps while studying, they will come handy during the revision in the last lap.

Good luck,

Harpreet Kaur, PMP



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