Project Management Professional (PMP)® Student Profiles:

Student Profile: Steve Richards, PMP

fullsizeoutput 134fMy name is Steve Richards. I’m originally from Detroit, Michigan but I’ve lived in Southern California for over 35 years. I have an undergraduate degree in Business, an Executive MBA, and now I’m PMP certified! I started my career as a software developer, transitioned to management, then professional consulting with Ernst & Young, then into industry as VP of Professional Services, and then ultimately, I started my own Project Management Services consulting firm. So, I’ve been in this field for over 30 years.

I’ve never felt that I “needed” my PMP credential. However, over the last 2-3 years, I’ve noticed that more and more roles were available but seemed to require a PMP certification. Since I didn’t “have” a PMP, people/recruiters really weren’t interested in learning more about me and what I’ve accomplished or how I could help them. I felt like I was a “book being judged by its cover” yet I was a great book to read! So, this year I decided I was going to take on a significant personal growth goal and that was to study and get my PMP. This really was the main motivation, to be credible on paper with the credential. 

So, I embarked on the journey. I wanted to see if my 30+ years of experience, combined with the right preparation, would help me pass the PMP exam on the first try. I won’t lie, I was a bit nervous, but I did, in fact, pass on the first try (phew)!
The key to success is proper preparation and if you prepare well, you should pass the exam.

That said, there are numerous resources available in the marketplace but after diligent review and evaluation, there is NO better prep material than the PM PrepCast!

From great video education to the PM PrepCast formula guide, to the PM PrepCast Exam Simulators, the PM PrepCast is THE BEST resource out there to help prepare you for the exam.

Really go thru this material. Really understand the Processes, Process Groups, and Knowledge areas, that is a great 1st step. BUT really knowing the formulas and the ITTO’s is critical. These 2 things, coupled with the fact that you HAVE to know the role of the PM in key situations – and what the PM should do (right thing, right way….) is paramount. The test seemed to want to know what you would do in a given situation (i.e., what is the right thing to do).

Read the official PMP Handbook from PMI. I think it’s a good idea to browse the book for a couple of hours, to get familiar with the content (table of contents) and how PMI arranges/focuses on the content. Personally, I didn’t read the book from cover-to-cover, it can be intimidating. But, I DID spend time looking at the table of contents, the process groups, knowledge areas, and the 49 processes. I then spent time reviewing key integrations or connections within the 49 processes, as well as spent time looking over the ITTOs.

But, the key to being successful comes with taking a prep course (PM-PrepCast!) and investing time in each of the 10 knowledge areas and the 49 processes.

I memorized the necessary formulas.
I took numerous simulated exams, and this was a huge part of being successful AND raising my confidence bar prior to taking the test.

What do I recommend that other students do in the last week before they are scheduled to take the exam?

My first comment is relax. Stay focused, be intentional in finalizing your study and preparation, but don’t be wildly intense or freaked out.

Simply and accurately assess where you are.
Spend focused time on areas you feel concerned about.
Review any weak spots.
Take 2-3 simulated exams to stay loose (so to speak).

The day before the exam, relax. If you’ve prepared well, trust yourself.
The night before, relax. DON’T cram any last minute things into your head. Spend time relaxing, however, your relax. Enjoy your evening, laugh, take your mind off the exam and get “clutter free” in your own head.

The day of your exam, don’t be nervous. You’ve prepared for this! You got this! Right?

Believe in you.
Believe in your training.
Believe in how you’ve categorized information.
Believe in your recall.
Believe in your ability to discern based on your education and training.

Steve Richards, PMP


Training for Project Management Professional (PMP)®, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®, and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®