Reply: Lessons Learned & Key tips for prep (Passed PMP on 23rd Dec'20, first attempt)

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Topic History of : Lessons Learned & Key tips for prep (Passed PMP on 23rd Dec'20, first attempt)

Max. showing the last 6 posts - (Last post first)
1 month 2 weeks ago #26516

Krishna Mohan M

Krishna Mohan M's Avatar

Thank you Yolanda and Markus for the wishes.

Happy to give back to the community in all possible ways.

1 month 2 weeks ago #26512

Markus Kopko

Markus Kopko's Avatar

Congratulations and welcome to the club!

Thanks for sharing your success and experience with the community; highly appreciated!

All the best for your career as a PMP.

1 month 3 weeks ago #26493

Divya Pareek

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Congratulations Krishna, well-deserved!!

Very well explained about your PMP journey lessons learned. Welcome to the top 2% leaders!
1 month 4 weeks ago #26457

Yolanda Mabutas

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Congratulations, Krishna!

Thank you for coming back and share with us your PMP exam journey.
1 month 4 weeks ago #26437

Krishna Mohan M

Krishna Mohan M's Avatar

Hello Folks! Hope all of you are doing well and staying safe. This is kind of a late post but I’m sure would help you in the PMP prep even now. I passed the PMP exam on 23rd Dec’20 on the very first try. I cleared the exam within a month of prep. Sounds impossible? Well, I did this and so can you. Of course the 1 month journey wasn’t an easy one. There was a dedicated coach to kick start my journey, lot of discipline in my approach, plethora of practice exams (I’ve elaborated about them below), and ZERO cramming. Yes, you heard it right. There is absolutely no necessity to cram any part of the PMP course content. The processes are fluidic and flow into each other so well that when a situation arises you exactly know the “approach”. I have summarized the lessons learned below as majority of the course content is going to remain the same with a little bit of restructuring and addition of agile. So these takeaways should be of help in some way or the other.

• I enrolled myself in a 2 weekend-only course with an Institute called ShriLearning based out of Bangalore, India. The PMP coach from this institute, Mr. Shriram was exemplary in the way he explained various concepts. Note: You can definitely self-study but if you are looking for a quick turnover, going thru’ sessions with a mentor or a coach or someone experienced in this field would be very helpful just to give you that needed push.
• I started off with the YouTube video of Mr. Ricardo Vargas, Link: (
). Mr. Vargas has simplified the 49 processes & the ITTOs in such a logical fashion that it would act as a solid base before starting with any book.
• Parallelly, I started with the RITA book. I would call RITA as the bible for understanding Project Management framework and processes. PMBOK would be more of a guide book and an equally important book which shouldn’t be missed for picking key concepts. Please note to make a separate copy, handwritten with important points or definitions from each chapter regardless of the book you follow (RITA, PMBOK or Head First). Yes, they are also available as a glossary in the PMBOK but I would highly recommend writing them. You would reap the benefits not immediately, but during the exam.

So now we are 2 weeks into my preparation mode. I completed all 10 knowledge areas from the RITA book by 10th Dec’20. You do not have to uninstall your social media handles, or stop watching TV shows or playing sports etc., but what you need to do is to dedicate a solid 3 hours every day. This 3 hours needs to be increased to 4 hours towards the last 2 weeks. Note: During these 3 hours and 4 hours, ensure you put your gadgets away (mobiles on flight mode as an example), no distractions whatsoever unless the building comes down ;)

• So until 10th Dec’20, I practiced a simple method of reading every chapter of RITA and also took the chapter end exams. I timed it too to give it a real “test environment” flavor. If you consistently get between 70%-80% in the RITA chapter end exams, you are good to go with the full length mock exams. Note: Please do not take the full length Mock exams without completing all the 10 knowledge areas from at least any one of the books (RITA, PMBOK or Head First).
• Before starting every chapter on the RITA, I did go through short video clips on that knowledge area via a course titled “Cert Prep: Project Management Professional (PMP)” prepared and published on LinkedIn Learning by Sandra (Sandy) Mitchell who is an award winning Project Manager and a PMP coach. She took the course off effective Dec’20 due to the PMP changes but I am sure she would prepare something new around the revised course outline. You guys could reach out to her directly via LinkedIn ( www.linkedin.com/in/sandymitchell/ )
• From 10th Dec’20, I started taking Pepcast (Name: Cornelius Fichtner’s Exam prep) mock exams. As a rule of thumb, buy your own Prepcast to ensure you can stick to your plan and need not accommodate or flex as per your study partner or friends’ plan. This is very important. Make a note.
• I took the Prepcast exams (4 of them to be precise) and this was a game changer. Trust me, how many ever times you read the book, be it RITA or the PMBOK, you really cannot remember all of them. You can only understand the flow of processes. The applicability will be tested and cemented during the mock exams. Prepcast does a wonderful job in this.
• After every Prepcast exam, ensure you review all the questions. Yes, even the right ones to make sure that the concept you implemented was right and in sync with what Prepcast explains. Also, one good thing about Prepcast is that you get a detailed explanation for every question referencing the page number from PMBOK. So this is how I covered even the concepts of the PMBOK i.e. by reviewing all 200 questions/exam on the Prepcast. I took 4 of them which means, I reviewed 800 questions. By this time, you would have covered the PMBOK content as well. Note: Consider about 1.5 days to 2 days in your plan for taking one full length exam and also for reviewing it. A score in the range of 70%-80% is considered good in these sets and usually signifies that you are exam-ready. Again, these numbers could slightly vary based on the new syllabus.
• RITA was my bible and PMBOK was given the due respect too during Prepcast mock test reviews. Now which one do I support? I am not marketing anything nor am I an expert but I can certainly assure you that RITA is more engaging with real life examples. PMBOK on the other hand, is the typical “textbook” which is needed for completing the curriculum. Many candidates just read any one of them and few reads both. It solely depends on the learning agility of the candidate. I personally wanted to cover as much as possible within this 1 month. You need to get out of your comfort zone. You need to feel those jitters to be successful.
• I made it a habit to write the 49 processes and the EV calculation formulae on an A4 sheet paper every day at least once. If you do this, you do not need a brain dump on your rough sheet during the exam. Trust me, if you follow this practice every day until 2 days before the main exam, during your main exam, these 49 processes and/or formulae will come to your mind just like that. PS: As per the new syllabus w.e.f Jan’21, the focus would be on 3 major domains – People, Process and Business Environment. You would have to tailor your structure & writing practice around that.
• Last 1 week, skim through the glossary of the PMBOK & the PMP course outline once every day.
• Two days before the main exam, I also took a PMI sample exam (which is self-paced and not timed) where you get an immediate answer to each of the question when you click on submit). This was just to get acquainted with the PMI language. You are fine even if you end up with a 60% in this mock exam provided you have been getting 70%-80% in the Prepcast mock exams.

That was it. I tried to summarize the rigorous 1 month preparation that I put in. Most importantly, ensure that you read nothing and/or discuss nothing about the PMP or PMI one day before the main EXAM. You need to carry the “CORRECT” ID proof on the day of the exam else the questioning at the reception (if center based) can get you unsettled minutes before the exam.

Optional Tips (which worked for me):

1. Review the course outline, check your personal and professional commitments, and book a realistic exam date. Humans have a tendency to procrastinate ;) So, pay for the exam!! When you make an investment, you would want to get the ROI from it. Simple logic. Also you would have an end date from which you could do a backward planning with dates.
2. Every day during your prep, visualize yourself getting the message “Congratulations!! You cleared the PMP” after clicking the submit button on the day of your exam. You would feel so much better as you are creating vibes of abundance within you. It’s the Law of Attraction (Purely my opinion & I believe in it).

Stay positive, stay relaxed and you would surely make it! Wish you all test takers, the best of luck.

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