Student Profile: Phil Schuyler, PMP
My Name is Phil Schuyler, I am 33 years old, and I work as a Sr. Controls Engineer in the Augusta, Ga area at Starbucks Coffee Company (Manufacturing). Most of my job consists of developing software applications related to my industry and manufacturing business intelligence. I have recently began managing capital projects with my organization as well as my previous employer so I only had about four years of experience managing capital projects prior to sitting for the PMP® exam. I knew that the PMP® credential would allow me to be more competitive within my organization so I went for it! A quick online search revealed that the PM PrepCast seemed to be the most cost effective approach to a successful test and I happen to learn better with some type of video delivery whereas traditional classroom coursework didn’t fit within my schedule.
I'll admit, that I under estimated the degree of difficulty of the PMP® exam and didn’t take my studies seriously enough in the first couple of months of study which resulted in a failed attempt on my first try on the exam. I do not work for a projectized organization and didn’t have any solid project management mentorship throughout my career. I bounced back from my failed attempt and began to really take the exam seriously. My approach was pretty simple to say the least. I watched all of the PM PrepCast videos in the recommended order within a period of 5-6 weeks. I was able to watch videos at work, home, and even on vacation. There were several videos that I watched two or three times just to make sure that I knew the material well. Additionally, I learned that the PMP® exam is especially difficult if you have not actually used certain PMI® processes in real world practice. So, I used capital projects that I was managing to employ a lot of the tools and techniques within the PMI® processes. Rolling up my sleeves and using the PMI® processes was the most value added approach to my studies.
There are a lot of blogs and web sites that suggest all of these whacky tricks, and brain dump sheets which I believe do not help at all. I didn’t use any type of “Brain Dump Sheet” or memorization and still comfortably passed the exam. If you are new to the famous “47 processes” then I highly recommend that you begin your first couple weeks of study with a high level understanding of each knowledge area and each process first. Once you understand the relationship between the processes and the knowledge areas then deep learning of each individual process will come easy. In the days leading up to my exam, I spent almost all of my time doing practice PMP® exams using an online simulator. I knew I had passed the exam without a doubt before I clicked submit on my last question on the exam.
But overall, the single best thing you can do to better your chances of passing the exam is to actually understand all 47 processes and do not attempt to simply memorize them. Understand and apply concepts that you are struggling with. Honestly, I have never read any of the PMBOK® Guide. I simply watched the PM PrepCast videos and applied the concepts and tools I learned in real world projects and passed the exam with flying colors.
Phil Schuyler, PMP