PMP was a professional certification I had longed for but couldn’t find the time or dedication in my professional life. I finally decided to make PMP certification my primary resolution for 2020. I started the journey by researching good institutes in Pune to get those 35 hours of project management education. Naturally, I was confused by the sheer number of institutes available and how they all claim to be the best in their field.
I finally settled on ProThoughts, even though it was a premium service in terms of costs. Two reasons were the reason I chose ProThoughts.
Arvind Nahata was the trainer. It is important to have a trainer who can give practical knowledge of PMP concepts. The PMP exam depends heavily on conceptual clarity.
They also provided an original copy Rita Mulcahy’s PMP book. However, many institutes offer soft copies. I prefer to study from books.
PMP was set to change the exam pattern beginning July 2, 2020 (though they have postponed it to January 2021 because of COVID-19). So, to avoid any uncertainty, I set a goal to pass the certification exams before the new format starts.
After the 35 hours of contact education, the next step was to fill out the application form and have it approved. Arvind sir was prompt in helping me fill out my application form. He also helped me to understand the finer points of filling out the PMP application form. My application was approved within a matter of days after it was submitted.
The hardest part of the journey was over. Now it’s time to study and prepare for the PMP exam. Everyone faces the same challenge: finding motivation, dedication, and time to study is the biggest challenge. These are the three things each person must manage on their own and there is no magic bullet that will help.
These are some tips that I used to help me prepare for PMP.
Study Plan / Schedule
Be sure to remember Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, “If you fail to plan you are planning for failure!”. Every PMP candidate should prepare a study plan. However, it is equally important that you stick to your study plans. You can modify your plans, but you should not stray too far from the plan.
Both time management during preparation and exam time are important aspects to manage. PMP candidates are often working professionals. It is important to manage their work schedules and make time to study. I recommend at least 2-3 hours on weekdays (best is the morning before you head to work), and at least 5-6 hours on weekends.
It is important to remember that you will get approximately. Each question takes approximately 1.2 minutes to answer. After the question flashes, take a quick look at the question and decide if you can give the correct answer. If not, mark it for review and continue. Always attempt the easiest questions first, then move on to the more difficult questions.
I recommend Rita Mulcahy’s book to help you clear PMP. Although PMI has prescribed PMBOK guide, I found it difficult and heavily relied on Rita’s book throughout my preparation phase. To learn the basics of project management, I recommend you read PMBOK once. Most of the questions in PMP revolve around scenarios. Rita’s book provides better clarity and insight into concepts. It also gives a better understanding of how project management concepts are applied in real life.
Mock tests and practice tests
Questions for the PMP exam can be divided into three categories.
Questions based on scenarios (long questions that test your conceptual clarity and apply it)
Formula-based questions (related EMV, EVs, etc.)
ITTO-based questions (will test you knowledge about the tools, techniques, and project management)
In my PMP exam, I received many scenario-based questions and very few ITTO or formula-based questions. Although it may vary for others, it is best to practice many scenario-based questions. You will have access to 4 mock exams if you enroll to ‘Pro Thoughts. However, I recommend that you search for practice questions on the internet. Although the reliability of these free practice tests is questionable it will help you get familiar with PMP exam questions. The more questions you can solve, the more comfortable you will feel on the actual PMP exam.
Controlling your emotions during exam
It is important to remain calm and composed during the actual PMP exam. You should also control your emotions.