I started preparing for PMP in the mid July 2017, though I had taken a Simplilearn course for my 35 contact hrs I wasn’t quite sure about taking the exam until I joined the WinningPMPlan whatsapp group. (Tips to motivate yourself for the PMP Exam) The group not just helped me clear the concepts but also helped me to keep the momentum going! Though I was a silent member, I used to follow the discussions regularly over the weekends. Due to personal commitments, I really didn’t have much time to prepare for the exam, this group played a major role in my PMP preparation.
The versatile sample questions posted by group members followed by a healthy discussion on the answers kindled my thought process and set forth a clear direction for my PMP journey. The constant follow ups on my preparation status by the group moderator Vidyesh Alve and his encouragement made me book the exam date, as a first and foremost step!
My preparation time was roughly 2 months (12 to 15 hrs per week) with almost 8 hrs/day in the last 2 weeks (I was on leave due to personal commitments and utilized that time wisely)
I studied the ‘PMBOK guide – Fifth Edition’ and the ‘PMP exam prep by Rita Mulcahy (8th Ed)’ once thoroughly and worked on all the chapter end questions from Rita’s book. I also took the Udemy course by Joseph Phillips (Paid subscription) and solved all his module end questions. I had also taken 2 full mock exams from Eduhubspot (Paid subscription) and most of the questions discussed in the WinningPMPlan whatsapp group. Apart from this I used to watch the youtube videos of Saket Banzal (iZenbridge) and Phill C.Akinwale (Praizion) during my commuting hours.
In my opinion, there are two ways to approach this exam. 1. Read the PMBOK guide along with any good reference book (Like Rita Mulcahy, Kim Heldman etc.,) and practice loads of mock tests, find the gap – repeat the process 2. Study the PMBOK guide and the reference book, try to get the concepts clear and solve couple of mock tests to make sure you got the flow right!
I chose the latter due to time crunch and luckily it worked for me! The former works best if you have ample amount of time for preparation. Also note that there is a lot of difference in “reading” a book vs “studying” a book! The first method is like clearing the concepts through questions. The second method is using the questions to make sure you got the concepts clear!
The only thing I wish I could have done different (if I had time) was to take up more mock exams (full 4 hrs timed exams). This would have helped me a lot to manage the time during my actual exam. I would suggest the aspiring candidates to take this point seriously as taking a 4 hrs test is definitely not an easy task! Also check out: Tips for the D Day
Few suggestions/tips that I picked up from my learning experience,
- Try the good old “recollect what you read” process once you are done studying a topic. This will greatly help during exam. The faster you recollect the better it is during actual exam. You can do this either by saying the concepts aloud (in your own words) or by writing it down in a piece of paper or by using flash cards etc., Also use a different spot other than your usual study area when you try to recollect. Your brain will get accustomed to this change of place and will aid you a lot during your actual exam!
- Take up at least 4 full length timed mock up exams during the final week (preferably at the same time you take up the actual exam). For instance if you have booked your exam at 10 in the morning, try your mock exams at 10 if possible.
- Rest well before the day! Since the entire exam process is quite stressful you may need be in an alert state of mind to take up the challenge!
- Use the strike through and highlight feature in the actual exam. Trust me! This will save you a lot of time when you revisit the questions later for review!
- Try to stay away from social media at least a week before the exam. This will help your mind to focus better and is also a reality check!. You will actually realize how much extra time you have in a day for doing other stuff 🙂
Set a goal, be consistent with your study plan, stay focused, work hard (at times smart), be determined, PMP will be yours too! Good luck!
Rekha Sriramagiri, PMP®, CSM® (LinkedIn)