Varun Gupta (PMP): Visit Exam Center a Week Earlier!

varun pmp lessons learnedHere are my PMP Lessons Learned –

PMP—those three words have been ringing in my conscious memory from the past few months and finally I have achieved it. PMP is achievable; don’t believe someone who says that PMP is not achievable. There are a few important facts to remember.

Firstly, you need to read the entire PMBOK twice. There is no short cut for that. Usually, more than 75% questions come from the PMBOK, and most of the answers are a single line or a single word from any corner of any page from PMBOK. It will be great if you could achieve the task of being completely thorough with PMBOK, as real life application of PMBOK becomes easy. But it is not practical to aim doing so. Keep in mind that if you score 75% in your mock test, you can schedule your real exam.

Second, having taken a decision to read the PMBOK, you have to make sure that you first become a PMI member as that saves you money on your overall exam fees. Once you get your membership, immediately download the free copy of PMBOK and take a print of it for your own reading. Productivity increases a lot when you read a hard copy rather than a soft copy, especially when the book is like PMBOK where the content of many chapters are linked to each other. We all work better when we have a deadline. Hence, I would suggest you to become a PMI member fill the application and pay the fees and then start your exam preparation, so that you have a pressure to schedule your exam date as soon as possible. (You still would have one year to do so after paying the fees).

Third, as far as ITTO are concerned, I would suggest you to just understand the logic behind ITTOs and avoid by-hearting the same as it is not a solution. I got only one ITTO Question in my entire exam. And also, no one cares about what ITTO is there in which process once you pass the exam. You can refer it up when you need it for practical application.

Fourth, take as many mock tests as possible. I had solved more than 2000 sample questions and kept a log of each question. This way, after completing one set of questions, I used to analyse the wrong answers, in which there were still some questions where I did not agree to the logic provided. Such types of questions were just approximately 100 or so, which I reviewed the day before my exam. So, keeping a question log helps.

Fifth, have a good sound sleep the night before the exam. My exam was scheduled from five to nine in the evening and still I did not study anything right from 8 p.m of the preceding day. You will need time to process what you have read.

Sixth, please visit the test centre one week before your exam. It is your own responsibility to do it. When I scheduled my exam and got the appointment confirmation email from PMI, I drove to the test centre one week before as per the route directions given in the mail. But to my surprise, on reaching there, I found that the test centre premises are shifted to a location 15 kms from that area. Imagine if I would have directly come on the exam day, how much panic I would have to face running to the shifted test centre location. You can’t fight against PMI and you should not aim to do so either.

Seventh and last, practice your mindmap. On the exam day, they gave me two sharpened pencils and a blue colour booklet for scratch paper with 4 single papers (Eight single side pages of size little less than A4). The team was very cooperative and provided sharpened pencils in return for old pencils. First, I did my brain dump, in which I had written down the entire Table 3.1 and Formulae. Then, I began with my exam. Make sure to do deep breathing time and again to relax. And since there are other people giving the exam, I found that I had to ask for Earplugs as there was a lot of typing noise. It was a very tense moment when I finished my exam and pressed the submit button, after which the message appeared on the screen – Congratulations on passing the PMP Exam. It was the happiest moment of my life. Do well for your exam and prepare well.

My study resources were:

  1. Shiv Shenoy’s Material (
  2. Paul Boudreau :-
  1. Cornelius Fichtner free video series on and the newsletter from which I studied for nearly three months and then got the motivation to take the exam.
  2. Infovertex REP classes from Hyderabad.
  3. Peritus Training material


Varun Gupta, PMP




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