Project Management Professional (PMP)® Student Profiles:

Student Profile: Ann Koermer, PMP

What better testimonial than a live coaching  student becoming a brand new PMP. This past Thursday< June 7, at approximately 3:45 PM, I viewed the "Congratulations" on my monitor after patiently completing the Prometric survey.

My journey began in 2001, when my favorite manager at IBM placed me on the project management baseline.  I was always too busy with work and family and yes very intimidated by this PMP thing. I thought a degree in Project Management would be necessary. I had taken many of the IBM Project Management courses, but had never attained the degree. In 2010, I decided enough was enough and I would try to achieve the PMP status.

I was ready. I sat in a 5 day course, Jeff Furman's course, and came away with an understanding that this would be a tough exam for me to pass. I was not a good test taker, was not a memorizer and also was working with a very demanding job at the time.  I did not like exams at all. I read Andy Crowe, took his exams and thought I might be ready. The exam was changing in August 31st of 2011 and I thought I would give it a try and on August 3rd, I took a chance and had a very poor testing experience. The test center was very crowded. It took 1 and 1/2 hours to check in. I began the test and I could very barely make out the calculator. Then a tester was placed in the cube directly opposite to mine, who was taking a typing test and proceeded to hammer away at the keyboard for the next 4 hours. It took 10 minutes to get into and out of the room for breaks, due to the number of test takers.  There was no way, I could focus entirely on the questions. I gave an attempt, but there was no hope. The only bright light was the next day, my biopsy proved to be a non event,


After the test, I realized that I would need to reset priorities. I wanted the PMP more than ever, and decided to let the job go, at least for a while. I would study, take a course and take some time off to reset my priorities.  My project had ended and a new project was possible in another state, but I did not want to relocate.  I joined a study group, PMP Study,where we took turns giving presentations on the knowledge areas. I took a course at a technical school where faculty was sympathetic, but I still did not feel I had achieved that readiness. Did I need to memorize the ITTO's? It was not even possible for me at the upper limit of middle age. I surprised my self and learned how to memorize page 43 of the PMBOK, decided to use Rita's book as the best book of choice. I felt that her book would provide  the challenge to thinking and provide the best cognitive exercise I needed to understand the complex questions on the exam. In the study group, I had won in a raffle the Prepcast and put the prepcast on my ipod and used it as part of my studies. Then I learned about "the live coaching group" given by Cornelius Fichtner and Kevin Reilly. At first, I deemed it impossible. Then early one Sunday morning, with 3 openings left, I received an email, and signed on the spot.

The live coaching group was on and what a wonderful experience it was. I was always a question person and had a chance to really understand and explore project management concepts. What I liked was that Cornelius and Kevin did not over explain ideas and concepts. Their succinct answers were just enough. What is not often said concerned the tone of their voices. This was a tense time. Cornelius and Kevin were calm, and always very optimistic. They conveyed the optimism for all of us in the first  live coaching group. Also, through the material and the prepcasts , we had a chance to meet and hear from other PMPs who shared their experience. some of the prepcastd, I would like to hear again and of course there are the PDU's I will be earning now through the podcasts.

I also found  the 105 calculation questions and answers by Cornelius to be the best and this exercise  gave me the confidence to handle any calculation questions on the exam. I ran through the 105 twice.

Therefore, a few weeks after the end of live coaching group and a few weeks prior to my 1 year deadline for taking the exam. I thought I was ready. But not quite yet. I wanted to take one more simulator exam and listen to a few more prepcasts, coaching group replays,  and read the high lights of the PMBOK. I was now ready. It was June 7 and I sat in cube 13. This test center was very quiet, bright and almost cozy. I  watched the instructions on how to take the exam and wrote my brain dump. I was ready. I had taken about 14 trial exams including 6 Prepcast Simulator exams, a few twice. I took a break after 60 questions because I needed to use the rest room and  I was also thirsty. When I had 40 questions remaining and 1 hour and 20 minutes left, I took another break. The breaks, signing in and out were quick. I finished the exam with about twenty minutes to go and went back to review two calc questions, that I knew would take time. I then proceeded to go through my marked questions and changed 2. With 4 minutes left, I said a prayer. This was really up to God now. I pushed the finish test button and saw the white screen. It was over and my fait would be known in a few minutes. The survey about the testing experience came on the screen. I was very complimentary to Prometic at that site. Then I saw the Congratulations! It took a nano second for my brain to gather that yes I am a PMP!!!!! I threw my arms up in the air and practically levitated off the chair. I am a brand new PMP!!!!!

Thanks again to Cornelius and thanks again to Kevin!!!!!

Ann Koermer, MBA, PMP

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