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By the grace of ALLAH, today I earned my PMP certification with 4 P’s and 1 MP. It was a great journey and I want to share my lessons learned with all of you so you can take advantage of it.
I thought of becoming a PMP back in 2013 but I was so busy with my job and few exciting and challenging projects that I could not even spare some time to research about it or even to get registered on PMI website.
This year my contract finished and while applying for couple of new assignments, I was told that they specifically need PMP certified candidates (which was not advertised with the job posting by the way) so that ignite the desire of becoming a PMP again.
Being a good project manager (I know I am self-praising ) and realizing that life is a project in itself, I took PMP exam as a Project. Below are the steps, I took before starting preparation:
I registered myself on PMI website, and got myself a licensed copy of PMBOK 5th Edition. I would recommend anyone who want to be a PMP to do this as their first step.
I did online research about available resources, guides and the best way to earn 35 contact hours.
I set the goal to not only prepare for PMP (and to get 5 P’s ) but also improve my Project Management knowledge and skills.
I prepared a detailed project management plan combining resources, schedule, budget, risks and stakeholders needs.
I was selected for the Audit but I had prepared everything in advance (Risk Management) and face no trouble clearing the Audit.
PMBOK 5th Edition
Head First 3rd Edition
Achieve PMP Exam Success
PM PrepCast by Cornelius Fichtner
PM Exam Simulator by Cornelius Fichtner
Formula Guide by Cornelius Fichtner
Scardo Questions Book from PMI eReads section
PMI Standard documents for Estimating, WBS, EVM, and Risk
Courier Fees for sending Audit Package to my manager in Papua New Guinea then to PMI $135
Start Date = 1st June, 2015
End Date = 29th August
Duration = 90 days
Exam Date = 31st August
27 Days for Round 1
56 days for Round 2
7 Days for Round 3
At least 5 hours a day (total of 450 hours – wowww that is some number. But it was worth it)
I followed this schedule to the end without any variance. Details of all three rounds are as per below:
Round # 1
Focus was on getting familiar with the content and prepare my base for further studies
Study PMBOK Chapter
Study corresponding Head First Chapter
Completed round 1 in exactly 27 days, 2 days for each chapter (both PMBOK & HeadFirst) making it 26 days, 1 day for Code of Ethics.
Round # 2
Watch one module of PM PrepCast, take notes
Study corresponding chapter in PMBOK and PMI standards where applicable (just skimmed through)
Study corresponding chapter in HeadFirst
Study corresponding chapter in Achieve PMP Success
Searched all concepts and terms from the chapter from GOOGLE
Prepared my own notes for the chapter
Take quiz of the chapter from PrepCast assessment questions, Scardo, HeadFirst, Achieve
Finished in 54 days plus 2 days rest due to EID
Round # 3
Took 8 exams from PM Simulator (Average Score = 92%)
Oliver 175 questions and 75 online questions (Score = 82%)
HeadFirst Mock Exam (Score = 94%)
Achieve Mock Exam (Score = 87%)
Scardo Mock Exams (Average Score = 94%)
Visited the test center one week before the exam
Watched “Mission Impossible 5” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” the day before the exam
On the Exam Day
Reached at the center 45 minutes earlier
Found the center environment very relaxing, everyone seemed friendly
Test started and suddenly I found myself under pressure, first 10 questions, I thought I don’t know anything. Then I relaxed, took some deep breaths, and started answering questions.
Finished the exam in 3 hours easily with two break of 5 minutes each.
Reviewed all questions in last one hour.
I was confident of 5 P’s but only got 4 and one MP. Anyway, I was very happy to see the CONGRATULATIONS on the screen.
Went home with some sweets and now celebrating
Please don’t waste your time memorizing ITTOs, try to understand them. Why they are needed, what they do.
EVM Formulas are very important, you need to know when to use each formula and how to manipulate formulas. For example, your budget burn rate is AC/EV, Actual % of work complete = EV/BAC
While answering any question, think from PMI and PMBOK’s perspective. It’s a PMI’s PMP exam not general project management exam.
I would recommend to make your own notes or flash cards, doing so will help you understand and remember the key concepts.
Don’t hurry in the exam, read the question and all the answers carefully, imagine the situation described in your mind, put yourself in the shoes of the PM described in the question and using your PMBOK guide understanding answer the questions.
Be confident. If you have studied hard for 2-3 months, there is no reason of being afraid of the exam. Trust your hard work.
I would strongly recommend that your motive need to be to improve your project management knowledge and skills along with preparing for PMP. Because there is no meaning of being a PMP if after preparation you have not improved your knowledge and skills.
Some Brief Reviews
I found PM Simulator to be very useful. Difficulty of actual exam was very close to its questions.
HeadFirst is good to understand the concept but it’s better to train your mind in PMBOK language.
I find Achieve PMP success extracurricular and very interesting. Good to improve your PM knowledge.
A cousin gave me RITA’s book last week but honestly I didn’t like it. It’s just my personal opinion, you don’t have to agree with it. It seems to me like the re-wording of key concepts in a horror story style.
PM PrepCast is a wonderful study tool, I am so happy I choose it as my study aid. I highly recommend it to all PMP aspirants.
And finally, I like to sincerely thank my virtual teachers, Cornelius Fichtner, authors of HeadFirst and Achieve PMP Exam Success, Scardo, and Oliver Lehmann.
This interview with Simona Fallavollita (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the magnificient Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. We discuss the how, what, why and when of the changes that are coming to the PMP exam.