AT A GLANCE
Makarand Hardas passed the PMP® exam and below are the Lessons Learned out of his PMP® exam preparation experience.
The PMP® examination emphasizes on testing the applied skills and knowledge of the project manager, not just memorization of the facts from the PMBOK® Guide Guide. The questions and answers are structured in a way that only experienced Project Managers get the best choice of action for a given situation. The PMP® exam is a means to test who are the real project managers.
Timeline for my PMP® preparation
- Week 1 – PMBOK® Guide Guide Preface, Glossary, PMBOK® Guide Guide Chapter 1-4
- Week 2 – PMBOK® Guide Guide Chapter 5-12 and Appendix A-F,
- Week 3 – Rita’s PMP® Exam Prep book Chapter 1-5
- Week 4 – Rita’s PMP® Exam Prep book Chapter 5-13
- Week 5 – Quick Revision of all Knowledge Areas of the PMBOK® Guide Guide
- Week 6 – Practice Exams by Knowledge Areas, Review all answers, Skimmed through Rita’s PMP® Exam Prep book and PMBOK® Guide Guide
- Week 7 – Rita’s PMP® Exam Prep book Chapter 14, Skimmed through Rita’s PMP® Exam Prep book and PMBOK® Guide Guide, Attempted online and offline practice exams
- Take a day off before the real PMP® exam
- It takes around 7-10 weeks to be fully prepared for the PMP® exam
Don’ts for PMP® Exam
- Do not rely on memorization techniques. The PMP® exam tests your project management skills through rather than memory.
- Do not over study which could lead to confusion. If you are seeing two correct answers for a question, you might have already over-studied.
- Do not solely rely on single PMP® exam prep book, you must have more books for reference.
- Do not skip the PMBOK® Guide Guide
- Do not directly jump to knowledge area chapters, the introductory chapters are important.
- Do not just rely practice exams from a single source.
- Do not expect that wording of questions in the PMP® exam be same or close to what you have seen in the practice exams.
- Do not ignore the ITTO’s. Knowing them and knowing them well.
- Do not skip the calculation formulas from Cost, Schedule, Time and Communication management knowledge areas. The calculation questions are not quite difficult.
- Do not study too much before the exam day. You need time to digest / process the information you have already gained.
- Do not get overwhelmed by others’ preparation schedule. Everyone is different.
- Do not underestimate or overestimate the level of difficulty of the PMP® exam. It tests your experience, knowledge but not intelligence. You can pass it with hard work.
- Do not rush through the questions, take time to read the questions and answers carefully.
- Do not arrive at an answer by gut feeling.
Dos for PMP® Exam
- Try to understand the whole philosophy and concept for project management as defined by PMI®.
- Try relay the knowledge with your experiences.
- Take practice exams from different sources (must be quality ones). There are multiple free online exam resources. Attempt the practice exams after you have sufficiently prepared. BrainBOK, PM Fasttrack and Headfirst are very good
- ITTO’s are difficult to memorize but easy to understand. You can understand them by co-relating with the previous and next set of processes.
- Review ITTO’s at least once a day for minimum 10 days in order to learn some of them by heart. You will start to see the inter-relationships among them.
- Solve all the chapter end questions and exercises from Rita’s book. Don’t skip them.
- Use the PM FASTrack for questions by knowledge areas after you have finished chapter exercises.
- There are around 10-25% calculation type questions in the PMP® exam.
- Do visit online PMP® websites and forums to read other people’s PMP® experiences.
- Study 2 hours daily on weekdays and minimum 6-8 hours on weekends for around 8-10 weeks to be thoroughly prepared for the exam.
- During first reading of the PMBOK® Guide Guide, follow the following pattern for each chapter:
Read > Understand > Analyze > Application > Revise
- Develop the stamina for sitting long hours (i.e. 4 hours consecutively) with full attention and focus
- Have minimum 7 hours of sleep during the last few days leading up to the PMP® exam
- Relax during the exam with relaxation techniques like deep breathing.
- For wordy questions, read second paragraph or last few sentences for the first time before reading the whole question.
- Read answer choices from bottom to the first. It helps you to eliminate wrong choices easier.
Other PMP® Tips :
- Write notes on important concepts, formulas and ITTO’s which help me to understand the concepts deeper
- Take only advices that suit you, like preparing on your own vs in a study group.
- You might read two books (PMBOK® Guide Guide and one additional exam prep book) concurrently. Compare the important concepts, information between the two.
- Solve more calculation questions
~ PMP® Lessons Learned by Makarand Hardas