My PMP journey started on July 9th 2020, when I reached out to my Mentor Smita Mishra , asking her if 3-4 months is sufficient for earning the required contact hours , applying/submitting the form, studying and earning the PMP Certification. Her prompt response was, “Yes, Indeed” , with a clause that ‘diligently studying’ and ‘understanding concepts’ is key . Gaining the confidence from her , I started off with a book , that someone gave me earlier- Ande Crowe – How to clear PMP in your first attempt.
While there may be many important concepts more clearly explained in other books , I must admit Ande Crowe’s book was very simple to understand and I completed it ( in about 14 days ), taking away with me with a firm impression that , earning a PMP certification is possible for me 😊
Going forward, my Mentor introduced me to a study Group , full of PMP aspirants. A ‘study group’ is a MUST for every PMP aspirant to make life easier for each. The WinningPMPlan Group was extremely helpful , many people share questions and have plenty of fruitful discussions around answers ( and most importantly why an option is not an answer ) . Huge thanks to Vidhi and Vidyesh to keep this group alive with their daily questions and discussions. Below were the Key books I referred to (Post skimming through Ande Crowe’s book ones – I didn’t have any other book to start with initially !! Lol !)
- PMBOK 6th Edition (Book)
- RITA Mulcahy (Book – Referred it for some Topics that I couldn’t understand from PMBOK – Procurement KA, Risk Management KA mainly )
I read through PMBOK (was slightly boring as most people say,or perhaps I was catching up a book to actually “Study” after many years!) and while reading, I used to highlight some Important/Key concepts/sentences/words (which I can refer to during my revision time later). The concepts that were difficult (for me) to understand from PMBOK (eg: Risk Management, Procurement), I referred RITA book for the same. My suggestion here is – Do not refer many books , as it could get confusing. PMBOK, along with one supplementary book to refer, should be good enough.
Like the Hare and tortoise story, my pace declined a bit later, and I completed PMBOK and RITA (for those specific chapters I couldn’t understand from PMBOK) around first week Sept. Getting my interest and pace back was bit difficult, my suggestion is please make a time table for self to study and discipline yourself to follow it diligently.
Moving onto the Questions / Tests for practice . My Mentor advised me with some good ones to refer:
- Christopher Scroddo ( This has KA Wise and 50qs Mock tests as well )
- Questions from RITA book (To me, the questions are bit lengthier than what actually shows up in PMP Exam, however, these questions will really get your concepts clearer – So DO THEM for sure)
- PrepCAST – Cannot enough stress on its importance! The questions here are not very lengthy, at the same time , somewhere reflects the way of questions asked during the actual PMP Exam – It’s a MUST to seek for, per my suggestion. It has Simulators and Timed/Untimed quizzes)
- PMI Practice Questions (200) which you can avail, when you take up PMI Membership. DO take this test up, without fail . The real PMP questions were of somewhat similar language, is what I felt.
- Apart from above, I had tried some free ones from Oliver Lehman’s site, PM Study Circle as well, and was active for the questions/discussions in the Study Group, just so I try different types.
To me, the questions on PMP exam were not Lengthy and very complicated. I would rate as “Moderate-to-high” types . If you have read and understood the PMBOK (and a Supplementary book for reference) and tried the questions from above, you should feel confident to appear your exam.
Coming to the Home Online Exam , here are my tips , that I learnt out of experience :
- The slots are available very frequently (unlike the Centre Tests). Do join in atleast 30 mins in advance to your Test time slot.
- You will get an email , when you book the Online Test. In that email, there is a link which will take you to the Exam Page (on the day of the exam). It also has a link to test your System and internet speed, for compatibility for taking up the test. Do run this test, prior to your Test day, multiple times, just so you don’t end up with last minute issues.
- On the exam day, I cleared off my room off unnecessary items / stationery / papers etc . I did put up a Transparent water bottle and glass nearby . << Remember – While you can keep your Mobile Phone in that room (incase the proctor needs to call you), it MUST BE NOT PLACED within your hands reach while seated. I placed it on a distant shelf >>. Ones you click on the link in your email to go to the Exam Site (Point 1), a message will show up on screen to take pics of your Room ( Left of your System, Right of your system, Back and front of your system , and then upload it into the link. Then it will ask you upload the pics of your ID proof, which has a signature and photo of yours – Pretty smooth it was)
- Ones done, “Begin Exam” button enables on the screen and you click it.
- It takes you to few Tutorials that you will need to read through ( 5 – 7 minutes) , explaining how to take test, striking an option etc.
- Ones done, you can “Start exam”.
- The questions take up the entire width of the system (unlike the Mock questions that more or less are within the Word doc/Pdf width size ). Which means, you may have to move your Eyes / Head left to right completely while reading. It was a bit odd for me, so thought I should put this up here for you !
- After 90th question, there is an option for you to take a 10 minutes break (optional) . I suggest you go for it , freshen up as your eyes might get tired looking at the screen for long.
- As I had planned to, I DID NOT mark questions for review in the end , as I was not sure if I would sufficient time in later to review . Its upto you to decide, if you are sure your pace is good. (You should Review first 90 questions before the break, and the next Review of 110 questions before exam ends).
- Keep a target for yourself – to complete first 90 questions in X amount of time, and then the rest in Y time. And try to stick to it. If a question takes longer, then you may have to adjust in the upcoming questions . I did it that way, and followed my plan. Glad it worked 😊
- By the time I reached 180th question, my heart started beating faster , thinking about Results. It took away couple of minutes of mine to stabilise myself and just focus on the questions rather than the result. Please ensure you don’t worry about results throughout the Exam – Just focus on the questions , answer it to the best of your understanding, and rest assured. I mostly used the “Elimination method” for answering the questions.
- Problematic questions – Yes , I did have one Network diagram that I had to draw on the Online Whiteboard with the data given , but it was quick . I had practiced the Online Whiteboard earlier many times during my preparation . I found it was easy , if you use the external mouse, rather than the mouse scrolling pad on the Laptop keypad.
Post all the questions , when the next screen showed up with “Congratulations, you have now earned the PMP Certification , go celebrate …..” message , it took me to the top of the world ! However, I did not stand up my from Seat ( Recall seeing some Lessons Learnt in Google where people stood up with excitement and Online proctor questioned them, so I just wanted to remain cool!) . I was not allowed to take a Pic of this screen (Online proctor confirmed this message means I have cleared) . Then it goes to a Survey screen – Its optional. I took it up though! The final mail with your PMP exam detailed Results came to my mailbox post around 24 hrs , and then the Badge comes in after 2-3 days.
With this , I have stated all nitty-gritty information I feel you should know before you take up the exam . I hope this helps you in anyway. Please feel to reach out to me if any questions. I will be more than glad to assist you.