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TOPIC: PMP Study Plan

PMP Study Plan 1 year 10 months ago #15779

  • Byron Marshall
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The PMP was not an easy task for me, but I did it! I did my research and took my time. I appreciate the input and suggestions I got from others in regard to how to best study and prepare. Now I want to share what I did with the hope that I can help someone else.

My PMP “study” journey began when I joined the Project Management Institute, PMI, submitted an application for consideration to sit for the PMP exam and began reviewing the PMBOK guide. I began to look at all of the various sites, books, blogs, courses and methods to use in preparation for the exam and it was overwhelming. I looked for advice from friends and co-workers who had recently taken the PMP exam. A few had attended PMP boot camps and swore by them, others attended PMP boot camps, and warned against them, and the rest used other study methods offered by various training providers, local PMI Chapter study groups, or nothing but the PMBOK. I took a pause and dug deeper into some of the PMP support sites on the internet to find what would work best for me.

I immediately became interested in Shiv Shenoy’s site and read his Kindle book, ‘Crack the New (2016) PMP Exam In 4 Weeks.’ I used this book’s study plan template as the basis for my study plan. I also began using as a reference. I printed the various knowledge area lessons from the Exam Smart Notes and put them in a three ring binder. I used the lessons to give me the overall view of all of the knowledge areas before I began delving into each of the project management groups and how they all fit together into one big process flow. I also started skimming the PMBOK guide and printed a copy of table 3-1, Project Management Process Group and Knowledge Area mapping, and posted it by my desk so I could review it periodically throughout the day. Next I made the decision to purchase the PM PrepCast lessons from OSP International LLC. This worked well for me because I was in the middle of renovating my parents home and as I was repairing and painting, I could play each of the lessons through my smart phone’s blue tooth into a set of portable speakers. I just played the lessons over and over again and would get more out of it each time I heard it. I also listened, using headphones, on my daily commuter bus rides to and from work.

The process was pretty simple, read the PMBOK and listen to the PrepCast. I started at the first module of the PrepCast and worked my way through all of the knowledge areas, read the related PMBOK material in my binder, used an off the shelf PMP study guide supplement (Andy Crowe’s, “The PMP Exam - How to pass on your first try”) and repeated the process over and over. I did this for approximately six months. That sounds like a long time but I was in no hurry and I had personal things to take care of so I figured out how to make it work.

Three months out from my exam date I activated my PM Exam Simulator and started taking quizzes. Ten, 20 and 30 question quizzes to begin with and then 50 and greater as time permitted. The site produced numerous stats to help monitor and control your performance. When I felt ready, I began taking the four hour exams. The counter counts down and you have 4 hours to work your way through the exam. The common understanding by those who had taken this type of approach was to aim for 80% or better on your practice exams before you even remotely think about taking the actual PMI PMP exam, so that became my goal.

I spent those three months taking the exams and reviewing my missed questions. After each four hour exam I would spend about 2-3 hours reviewing missed questions and writing them down in a notebook. I would review them again just before I took my next practice test. I also did an internet search to find as many free exam based questions as I could in order to provide a wider margin of success. I used the Pre-course Self-Assessment test, the end of module tests from the PM PrepCast, the end of chapter and final exam in the Andy Crowe book and the free exam questions from Shiv Shenoy’s site: All of this made a big difference in my ability to apply PMI logic towards the questions. I also bought a PMP study app for my smartphone (PMP Pocket Prep). I took tests and short quizzes on the way to and from work – this started to put me in the PMI frame of mind and my overall scores began to improve. I was approaching the last month of eligiblity, the PMI enlightenment and logic made sense, and I was ready.

Everyone's story is different. Everybody has things to do. I chose to make my study time fit in with what I was doing, I had no choice. Shortly after I applied to to take the PMP I had unexpected life events that could have stopped me in my tracks. Instead I took my time and was fairly consistent. The repetition of listening to the lessons worked for me. Writing things down worked for me. Taking multiple practice tests worked for me. Going to the library some days was a necessity to avoid the distractions of everything at home - chores, family, and a 40 pound puppy. I needed to take the full year that was allowed by PMP and I was still successful. Everyone who is qualified to take the PMP exam can be successful. Read reviews and suggestions from different people and make a plan that works for you and stick to it.
Last edit: by Jenikka Ebias.

PMP Study Plan 1 year 10 months ago #15850

  • Jenikka Ebias
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Hi Bryon,

Congratulations on passing the PMP Exam! Thank you very much for sharing your lessons learned here.
Jenikka Ebias
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OSP International LLC
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