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TOPIC: Certified PMP -> My Success Story :-)

Certified PMP -> My Success Story :-) 2 years 4 months ago #4322

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Hello everyone and good day ... hmm, hope that doesn't sound like Cornelius a lil’ bit :laugh: :-)

Well, greetings to all. Let's see now, where should I start...

Okay... It's been nearly a month now since I took the PMP exam. My journey began in December 2013, when a few of my colleagues and friends from the corporate line approached me with the idea of embarking on this journey.

All of us already had a good 5 to 8 years of Project Management experience at the time. Thus, after a couple of brainstorming sessions over beer we decided to attend a 5 day programme at a local PMI REP here in Malaysia. We joined the class in January 2014, which gave us a good overview of the PMP exam and what it would take to prepare, be accepted by PMI and to sit for the exam to become PMP certified.

After the 5 day course, some of us felt that the syllabus covered was a bit rushed and we'd definitely had to do more research and a lot of self study to fully understand the concepts before attempting to take the exam. So I started researching online, looking at various different options from other REPs via distance/online/e-learning to obtain the 35 contact hours and to have a clearer more in-depth understanding of the elements of the PMBOK guide.

By chance "and thank the Heavens", I discovered the PM PrepCast and Mr.Cornelius Fichtner. From the very first moment I watched his introductory video, his language, the clarity of the presentation and the way in which he presented them, I knew right then and there that this amazing person would be my mentor on this journey. So I signed-up online and even purchased the PMP exam simulator, as I firmly believe in what Cornelius always says throughout the course, "Practice Makes Perfect" ...PMP !!

Upon successful registration, I managed to download all the lessons (audio and video) to my laptop. I started right-away and went through all the introductory lessons on the very first day of purchase. It was awesome and motivated me even more. I created an Excel sheet for all the videos and marked off the ones I completed watching and doing the assessments. Those tougher lessons, such as Procurement Management for me in this case was marked for review as I went through the lessons/vids a couple times. In addition to this, I also created mind maps for the 47 processes and put up charts of formulas and key concepts on the walls in my living room. I had to seek the permission of my Key Stakeholder who was also my PMP project sponsor if you will, my lovely Wife Ann.

So the studying went on. It was now towards the end of March 2014. While going through the first few lessons, I worked on my PMP experience and documented it online via the PMI website. When I had completed all the PrepCast Lessons, I did the online exam and obtained the 35hrs PDU cert. I documented the best (non-overlapping) projects I had worked on end-to-end, submitted my final application and successfully received the acceptance letter from PMI. This boosted my confidence a lot more. I then followed what Cornelius said, to set a date by scheduling the exam and to work towards that date. I booked the 14th of May 2014 and successfully scheduled my appoint for the exam at the Kuala Lumpur Prometric Testing Centre. This was the turning point and things just became very real.

I started doing the PMP Exam Simulator questions to see where I stood. I scored 71.5% on the very first test. It was a good start for me. I decided that I had to improve my percentage by at least 20% (note: the questions/scoring use a weighted mechanism so it's not about the percentage) by the 2nd week of May 2014 just before my exam. I put up the calendar on the wall and marked the exam date on it. I crossed of each day as the days passed. After each chapter, I'd cross reference with the PMBOK guide. I also used Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam prep (8th Ed) just to cross-reference and to widen my understanding of the terms and concepts. As I did the sample tests, I sort-of performed an RCA on the reasons I answered certain questions wrongly and even looked at the reasons I answered some correctly. This helped me fully understand the processes and ITTOs and to think from PMIs perspective. There were many distractions going on due to external forces at the time here in Malaysia. For instance, Malaysian Airliner MH370 went missing and the whole nation was upset. Also, it was the dry season and we had water shortages and water rationing. There were also many other work related issues that I had to take care of for the projects I was attached to etc. Nonetheless, I managed to filter out this noise and focus on the game plan at hand. I systematically planned my work and worked my plan.

Finally, just a few days away from the exam, I had taken leave from work to revise and to get myself into exam-taking mode. I revised all my key-notes. These were the crucial last moments. I went through all the tough exam questions I had compiled, practiced all my brain-dumps, and started going through the PMBOK glossary. I also listened to all the summary modules and interviews on the PrepCast.

A day before the exam – I woke up early and did just one practice test from the PrepCast. I scored 86.5%. I felt quite comfortable at this point. I relaxed the rest of the day and slept early as the exam was at 9AM the next morning.

Exam Day – woke up early, had a nutritious brain-food breakfast (oats, cereal, skim milk, bananas and dark chocolate). I reached the exam hall on time and was checked-in by the facilitators. While reading the tutorial, I accidently clicked the proceed button and the exam started, abruptly not giving me enough time to complete my brain-dump, though it didn’t really matter at this stage because it was imprinted on my mind as I had revised this almost twice a day for the past month.

The Exam itself – was moderately tough but very tricky with about 35 calculation based questions. I completed the exam in 3hours and 40 minutes. I used the remaining time of 20 minutes to review the questions I had ‘Marked for Review’ but I only changed about 2 answers as I didn’t want to second guess my initial gut-feel-judgement. The moment of truth then began when I ended the exam. I chose to do the brief exam survey at the end to distress a little. This was it....When I clicked submit, the moment I’d been waiting for, these past few months was here at last. “Congratulations on Passing the PMI Examination” appeared on screen. It was an awesome feeling to see that and I breathed a deep sigh of relief. I walked out with a big smile on my face, handed all the scratch material to the facilitators and collected my results (I passed – proficient in all areas). As I drove out and away from the building I called my wife and gave her the news. It was an awesome feeling, an amazing journey and I’m really glad I made it this far. Oh, and of course, the celebrations began !!! The rest is history.

I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank Mr.Conrnelius Fichtner. There were some hard questions during the exam that I almost had not a clue, but then from out of nowhere it was as if I could hear your voice reiterating the question to me in my mind and asking me to think and answer carefully based on logic. You’re simply amazing Sir and I do hope I have the honour of meeting you in person one day soon, in the near future.

Thank you to my Lovely wife Ann for the sponsorship, love and support

And last but not least, thank you to my father, Mr.Masilamani, for the tutorial and guidance. Having helped setup the Malaysian PMI chapter and being a certified PMP yourself, the experience you shared was invaluable. Thanks dad.

I do hope my Lessons Learned help inspire those attempting to take the exam.

All the best people, and Good luck!!

Warm Regards,

Uthaya Shankar Masilamani PMP®
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