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Like most project managers, squeezing in study time to an already busy schedule is really hard. In real life, we tend to procrastinate things and wait for the 11th hour. Same with getting PMP Certification.
I am maybe one of those project managers out there who try hard to be as organized as possible. Planning and scheduling daily activities and making sure things get done is fundamental, after all it’s kinda expected of me specially in this line of work. But balancing life, work and studying for an exam is not an easy task.
I started my PMP certification review in Oct 2014, using primarily PMP PrepCast as study material. I followed the advise Cornelius Fichtner to plan it out and schedule the study time and listen to podcasts at least 2 hours on weekends to avoid burn out. I was doing well for the first few weeks until a big project came in and demanded more of my time and away from studying.
I found myself listening to the podcasts again, a year later. By this time, I have listened to most of the PMP-PrepCast episodes already. I was so motivated to get my certification but life happened. My company relocated me to another country. This distracted me from focusing on reviewing for the exam. With the pressure at work, adjusting to the new work environment and the new city, it was just impossible to start reading the PMBOK Guide.
The year of 2016 is coming to a close, and I still haven’t sit for the PMP Certification Exam. The only way that I can get this task done is to book an exam date…and so did I. With less than 100 hours in a 4 week time frame to prepare, I geared up and plotted every episode to every hour I have. The clock is ticking and I have so much concepts that I have to refresh my mind of. I spent 4-6 hours to every chapter of PMPrepCast, focusing on subjects I am less familiar with and spent at least 3 rounds of sample exam online from sites that Cornelius recommended.
And the exam day came, got at the testing centre 45 minutes earlier, went through the centre’s procedures of confirming identity, and sat for 4 hours for the exam.
The first few questions were tough, but it didn’t stop me from answering the rest. Some questions are harder than others. Some are very similar to sample questions found online in format and in construction. And some took me more than once to read for me to understand what the question was.
The time was just enough for me to complete the test. The following minute or so was the most fretful. It is when the computer is determining whether the hours I spent studying for the exam was enough. Whether I am PMP Certified. I was antsy and was anxious to know the results.
And the results appeared in my monitor...and I was elated.
Clearly, PMPrepCast significantly helped my chances of passing the exam (to be honest, I barely touched PMBOK Guide). Cornelius Fichtner was my only study partner. In hindsight, what he suggested in the first few episodes of his podcast on how to retain more information by listening to the episodes 2 hours a week, which I did at the beginning, is effective. Studying on the 11th hour to refresh the concepts by listening to the PMP PrepCast, few weeks before the exam is not recommended but can work too only if it will be your second or third time listening to the podcast.
In summary, here are some key takeaways to pass the exam:
• Listen to the tips and study guides episodes of the PM PrepCast. You will find them useful
• Reduce the study hours but increase the frequency of study time. This reduces the scope and will allow you to focus more.
• Identify subjects that you are not too familiar with and focus on them, mine involve topics that use formulas and Math.
• Associate the concepts to the tasks you are familiar with. It will help you remember things.
• Book an exam date. Nothing can motivate you more than having a hard date to complete the task.
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.