How I Earned My PMP Certification – Rathish Padman


Initial Preparation(Jun’18-Aug’18)

  • Started preparing for PMP exam from Mid Jun’18, though the 35 PDUs were earned 2 Yrs back in Apr’2016. My target was to write the exam by Sep’18.
  • For the first 2-3 weeks I was referring Joseph Philips videos from Udemy which I believe is a good introductory material along with 2 Full Mocks. Mock questions were mostly ITTO/definition-based questions with very limited situational questions. So, I attended only 1 Full Mock.
  • Also I had been going through Youtube Videos posted by Saket on specific Processes where ever I needed clarity.
  • From July’18 onwards I started reading Rita as PMBOK was too dry to handle. After 3 Weeks I started reading PMBOK again with great difficulty. Reading PMBOK was still an uphill task. By 2nd week of Aug I had completed reading Rita and PMBOK once. Till then I did not attempt any Mock/Questions from Rita/other sources.
  • I started solving Rita Exercises after reading the chapters again along with Scordo, Kim Heldman/other short Mocks available online.
  • I would say the turn around happened after  I came across “WINNNING PLAN FOR PMP®” Book written by Vidyesh & Vidhi and I joined WinningPMPlan Whatsapp Study Group. It had a lasting impact on my preparation with some expert advice and mentorship.
  • Overall I was spending around 2-3 Hrs per Day during week days and 6-8 Hrs on Week ends. Being a full time employee and a family to support, I can guarantee that the preparation phase will test your patience and determination. I was lucky that I got immense support from office colleagues and my  wife & Kids.

Exam Readiness(Aug’18-Sep’18)

  • Am I ready for the PMP Exam? I was scoring around 80% in Rita chapter wise exercises and other short Mocks (20-50 Questions) but was not quite sure whether those scores can be considered as benchmark for real exam.
  • I came across a blog from Edward Chung where he has listed around 7 standard Free Mocks available online along with his First Time Results. I have seen many users commenting on his benchmark scores that match with the real PMP exam results. So, I decided to use the same as benchmark to understand whether I am ready for the real exam.
  • I attempted Oliver(100 Qs Online/200 Qs PDF), Grey Campus, Prep-Cast and PM Study Mock exams by 3rd week of Sep’18 and the results were very close to the benchmark scores of Edward Chung. Please NOTE: Analyse the mock questions and take notes for both right/wrong answers. This practice will help to understand your knowledge gap.
  • Probably I would have attempted around 2500 Mock QAs from various sources (Given at the end) then I registered and booked my exam for 16-Oct’18.

Final Exam Preparation(Oct’18)

  • Took a week off from office and started preparing for exams. Rita being the primary reference and PMBOK for quick preference while attempting mocks. Was practising around 50-75 Questions/day from various apps/online sites.
  • I would strongly suggest to prepare notes while you read Rita or PMBOK which I missed during my preparation and I had to use the Notes published by Edward 😊. It was very useful during my last days of preparation.
  • Also, I was watching Youtube video tutorials from Saket, Praizion and Aileen for some specific processes like Change/Configuration management, Closure process and Quality. I had to thank WinningPMPlan members Riyaz, Suhas and Abhishek who recommended these tutorials.
  • Aileen videos were most useful as it demonstrates the elimination techniques across multiple processes.
  • I think it’s natural to feel nervous before the exam day. I was so nervous that I woke up around 1 AM 😊 and started roaming around my house with everyone else sleeping peacefully. Probably practicing meditation might have helped to reduce nervousness.

Exam Day

  • I had fixed the first slot available for exam ie 8:00 AM
  • Reached exam centre around 1.5 Hrs before scheduled time and after completing all formalities, I could start the exam by around 7:30 AM.
  • Do carry a primary Id card preferably Passport to ensure a smooth Check-in process (Similar to Airport check-in).
  • I was clueless after reading the first 10 questions as it looked to be very difficult to interpret so I marked all those questions and moved forward. After 1 hr and attempting around 60 questions and marking around 20 questions, I realised that I don’t stand a chance to clear the exam.
  • My rate of marking the questions started slowing down after 90-100 questions. Totally I would have marked around 30-35 questions out of 200. I used last 30 mins to review those questions.
  • Don’t spend more than 1 min/question so that you would get enough time for reviewing the marked questions. Due to anxiety/panic in the initial 1-2 hrs there is always a tendency  to wrongly interpret questions so it’s advisable to review it after completing 200 questions.
  • Also, do utilize the highlight/Strikeout features without fail during exam. I found it to be very useful while reviewing the marked questions at the end.
  • You may realize after completing the exam that you still have lot many gaps 😊
  • After pressing the “End Exam” button and completing the feedback process, it took almost a minute to know that I have passed the exam. Most exasperating 1 min of my life so far… 😉
  • It was a great feeling to receive the Exam Result sheet with “Your Overall Performance: Pass” and Above Target in all Process Groups. A sense of self-esteem and accomplishment which couldn’t be explained in words.

Quality of Mock Exams

  • Though I have attempted more than 2500 questions but most of them were either definition or knowledge based.
  • I would suggest the aspirants to look out for some quality mocks which deals with situational questions which will be more beneficial for your exam. At least 90-95% questions were situational but short (2-3 Lines a big relief).
  • You can expect at least 4-5 simple Formulae based (EVM, Network Diagram and Procurement), 4-5 ITTO/process definitions-based questions and 1-2 Agile based questions.
  • Change Management/Quality/Resource Mgmt being the important topics covered in my exam.
  • Few Useful Links for Free Mocks/Concept knowledge given below. Haven’t tried all so cannot comment on the quality. Few Links will have duplicate reference to same Mock QA bank.   ( Useful link for ITTO Mapping/PG wise questions)  ( To Practice Rita’s Process Chart)




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