Student Profile: Ronald Davis, PMP
I’m an engineering consultant professional from the power industry with a work history involving projects located in both the US and Asia. I’ve recently decided to return to the US for good and, a couple of weeks ago, accepted a position in southern California that aligns well with my career interests. Most of the project management positions I applied for while pursuing new opportunities either required or strongly preferred candidates with PMP® credentials. As I pursued these new opportunities, I certainly felt that I had a leg up on numerous other job candidates with my recently obtained PMP certification.
How important do I think it is for new students to read the official PMP Handbook from Project Management Institute (PMI)®? Very important. I’ve read about a few folks who were able to pass the PMP exam without reading the PMP Handbook but I think a given PMP aspirant would be making things unnecessarily difficult by not reading it as many of the exam questions come directly out of it. It is lengthy so should not try to be memorized from cover-to-cover. My recommendation would be to skim all of the sections when first preparing for the exam to gain an initial understanding, then give it a more in-depth reading as your preparation progresses and once you have a good grasp of the materials through your various study means. Be sure to take notes as you read to help internalize the key points, thus eliminating the need to excessively re-read. Again, don’t try to memorize the materials. Just aim for a thorough understanding. Have the book available for quick and easy reference as your exam prep progresses.
My recommendation that other students do in the last week before the exam, try to relax, continue studying and be confident. By this time, you should have done at least a few mock exams and scored well on them (at least in the 70-75% range). By taking high-quality mock exams (appropriately timed) you will be preparing yourself in the best way possible for the real exam in my estimation. You should take at least 1-2 fully timed mock exams during the week before. While others recommend taking mock exams right up through the day before your real exam, my suggestion is different and involves giving yourself 1-2 days beforehand to do light reviews (and not do fully-timed mock exams during this time) while allowing your mental test-taking abilities to “recharge” during this period. The MOST IMPORTANT thing to do the night before the exam is to get a good night’s sleep! This may be hard to do if you are a bit nervous (like most everyone else), but try the best you can. Prepare to go to bed early and try to stay away from caffeine or alcohol. There are many relaxation techniques available on the internet that you can use. Just know that you are going to have a few jitters that night so plan ahead accordingly.
Ronald Davis, PMP