Student Profile: Audrey Muratore, PMP
I've spent my career as a NASA contractor, beginning as an engineer and moving into team leadership, engineering and management process development, and management. I'm currently a member of the Project Management Office in our organization, working on a project to upgrade the famous Mission Control Center.
Our contract is coming to an end and I may need to find my next job in the commercial sector. PMI and the PMP certification is becoming more common in my NASA world but it didn't take long to figure out that it is almost required for commercial sector project management jobs. Becoming a PMP seemed to be the best way for me to broaden my options.
Although I found the scope of material covered in the PMBOK very familiar, I've never used the PMBOK. Breaking through my mindset and learning PMI's vocabulary and view of processes and knowledge areas was difficult for me. After I learned to "think PMI", everything fell into place.
A colleague who had used the PM PrepCast for his PMP certification recommended it to me. I visited the website and made an easy decision to buy the product. Being able to study in small segments was very important to me. I added the Formula Study Guide and the Exam Simulator after seeing them described on the website. My first benefit came when PMI audited my application - I'd watched that video and I knew just what to do! I appreciated being able to access the videos after completing my final exam; as I continued to study, I returned to re-watch videos on areas where I felt weak.
I found Cornelius Fichtner's advice to be absolutely on point: Don't try to memorize long lists of information. Understand the material and you'll be able to reason your way to the ITTOs. I did memorize the formulas - I carried the one-page formula summary from the Formula Study Guide around until I could reproduce it line for line - but that was all. I concentrated on which activities happened in which process groups and, within Planning, what order activities needed to occur in. Go a little deeper than the PMBOK headings - for instance, instead of remembering only that Control Scope falls into the Monitoring and Controlling group, think about what activities are required to perform Control Scope. You'll walk into the exam with a solid framework that will help you answer questions on topics you didn't particularly study. This worked for me - I passed on my first try, with flying colors!