Sunday, August 14, 2016

PMP Success Story: Not A Difficult Exam if You Put Your 100%

Sajith Vijayan believes PMP® exam is a not a very difficult one and you can definitely do it, if you try wholeheartedly. He was part of my class in February, 2016. I remember the batch to be quite lively with lots of questions. 

Sajith is a composed person with a deep listening approach.  One aspect he has downplayed, but which I want to emphasize is – his commitment, which you can see in this post. He is used to read in the cab while travelling, as it takes a long time to reach the office. Also he had booked a hotel next to the test centre to beat Bangalore traffic! Today he is a successful PMP.  I would say - well earned.

He has outlined his detailed experience in this post.  Go on and read his unique experience.


I heard about PMP for the first time around 3 years back from my colleagues. That time I was not so keen to get PMP certified. But over the time I have realized that PMP certification is a must to move ahead in this world of competitive job market. Around one year back PMP aspiration actually came into my mind and I decided to get PMP certified.

In order to avail the mandatory 35 contact hours, I googled for the authorized institutes and found a provider closer to my home. Then enquired about the institute from my colleagues. One of them told me that his reportee did the course there and cleared the exam.

My PMP Training Experience
I have attended the classroom training in February, 2016. Satya’s training was awesome. He is very knowledgeable, covered almost all the topics and his focus was to make us understand the concepts better. He used proper examples to make it simpler and easy to recollect. The exercises and study materials he has provided have helped me a lot for the exam.

Moreover, he shared a lot of tips and tricks during his sessions. His method of memorizing all the 47 processes was very good. We could recollect them like a story and had no need to mug up. He has created a few flow diagrams, e.g., flow of deliverable, which will help answering many questions right.

My Own Study
I would say my real preparation started after the training. I have read five chapters of PMBOK® guide. But every time when I read PMBOK it didn’t make me awake for more than half an hour. Later my colleagues suggested me to start reading Rita Mulcahy’s book. He also told me that if I am not planning to go through PMBOK I need to at least go through the glossary before appearing the exam. So I did the same.

Since my office is two hours away from my home I used to get 1.5 hours of quality time for reading in the cab. During weekends I spent around 4 Hrs. Meanwhile I scheduled the exam on 10th of August. 
One month before the exam my studies went into top gear. During this time, I finished reading Rita’s book two times along with study materials given during the PMP program and prepared my own notes. 

I took one week leave before the exam and started taking the mock tests, revised the topics using my notes and daily I spent almost 8 hours altogether. I could consistently score around 80% in the mock tests. I have decided not to study anything on the day before the exam.

My PMP Exam Experience
I have scheduled my exam at the Prometric Testing Centre in Prestige Shantiniketan, Bangalore. My schedule was in the morning as I wanted to write the exam with a fresh mind. Reporting time was at 8:30AM. The test centre was 24km from home. To beat the uncertainties of Bangalore traffic I have decided to stay at a hotel near the test centre. The previous day I went to the test centre and got the documents verified. They asked me to report at 7:30 AM instead of 8:30AM. So I felt the decision to stay near the test centre was right! If you are unaware of the location I suggest you to visit the test centre once before the exam. The campus is big and you may end up spending more time searching for the test centre.

I reached the test centre at 7:15AM on the D-Day. After verifying the credentials, they provided an instruction sheet and a locker to keep our belongings. They won’t allow you to carry anything inside other than your ID card and locker key. If you want, they will provide a manual calculator. I have collected one. Ear plugs were available at desk. I have used it during the exam.

There was a 15 minutes’ online tutorial about how to take the exam. I had some doubts which got cleared in that tutorial. Then the exam has started. My target was to finish at least 60 questions in an hour. But my answering rate was very slow. I could score only 37 questions in the first hour. Pressure started mounting on me. I realized that I won’t get time for review so I chose final answer for most of the questions though I marked a few questions for review. In the next hour also my answering rate didn’t improve. After two hours I answered around 70 questions where I am supposed finish 100 questions. I was under immense pressure when the timer shows 1.5 hours left and I couldn’t even read the questions properly. I literally became panic and started thinking about taking the test once again! 

Then I realized it won’t lead me anywhere and went out for a quick break even though I was lagging. I came back with a fresh and determined mind and started answering. I really caught up in the next 1.5 hours and finished answering all the questions just 1 minute before the exam ends! Immediately I submitted the results. While the results were processing in the background a survey about the Test Centre popped up. Within seconds after finishing the survey “Congratulations” flashed on my screen;-). I got 3 process areas ratings as “Proficient” and 2 are “Moderately Proficient”

The mistake I made was that even though I was 100% sure about the answers I kept reading twice or thrice to make sure that I didn’t miss anything while reading the question/choices because it was not the mock exam where I made lot of mistakes by not reading the question/choices properly. Some questions were very simple and straightforward. That made me think “WILL THE QUESTION BE THAT SIMPLE? OR DID I MISS READING SOMETHING?” – Believe me “NOT ALL QUESTIONS ARE DIFFICULT IF YOU STUDY WELL”.

Question Patterns that I remember:
  • Mathematical questions – Around 10- 12 questions.
  • Many are situational questions.
  • No questions from professional and social responsibility.
  • Some questions asked inputs/outputs of processes by describing a scenario.
  • 4-5 questions about Pareto chart!
  • One question on network diagram.
Overall the questions were not very difficult. If you prepare well you can easily pass the exam. 

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants:
- Dos:
  • Have a proper study plan and stick to it. 
  • Answer as many questions as possible before the exam. This will increase your confidence.
  • Take 4 hour tests and manage your time.
- Don’ts:
  • Don’t consider the mock exams as mock, consider it as a real exam.
  • Don’t over study.
As noted before, not all questions are difficult. You can definitely do it if you prepare well.

Brief Profile: 

I am Sajith Vijayan and currently working as a Lead Engineer at Sasken Communication. I have 12+ years of overall experience in IT.


Sajith’s online profile is available PMI’s registry. 

I am thankful to Sajith for writing his experience. I believe it will help the readers of this blog to prepare and earn their PMP credentials.  

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