Sunday, October 02, 2016

PMP Success Story: 25-Day Study Plan for PMP exam

Sindhu Sreenath, as fate would have it, fell ill two days before sitting in the PMP® exam. But she persisted and went through the exam in spite of running high fever.  But then, as fate would have it, she earned her PMP credential that day! 

Sindhu was part of my class late last year. I remember her to be sitting in front of my class and very active in her participation as the session progressed. She will join in wherever we had discussions or question and answer sessions. Also, she is keen to broaden her horizon on program management and related tools, frameworks.

She has outlined her experience in this post. She did not want to put her experience of the exam day, where she had a tough time due to her health. But I made her to have it noted, albeit briefly – because that is also what makes such experiences memorable and to be shared.
Go on and read her unique experience. 


In the pursuit of climbing the corporate ladder, the PMP was a gateway to help me understand the fundamental nomenclature for project management used across the globe. I found Satya’s profile after a quick search for classes offered on PMP, and without hesitation took it up. 

Reasons why you should sign up for Satya’s class
  1. Satya’s explanations to concepts are always tied down with real world examples, hence helps creating a mind map for recollecting what you have learnt.
  2. Structured approach to understanding the chapters. When I first read the PMBOK® guide (and I recommend you do prior to the class), I was lost in a wealth of words and information when I reached “Integration Management”. He skipped this to proceed with other chapters and returned to it once all the other chapters were thoroughly explained, making it much easier to connect the dots.
  3. He prepares his own set of videos and documentation to further help simplify concepts that aren’t straight forward.
  4. His knowledge of the PMBOK guide is level “Ninja”, and he is more than willing to guide you beyond classes.
  5. You only need two intensive weekends to complete the classes.

My Exam Experience
Unfortunately, I became quite sick two days prior to the exam, and it only got worse on the exam day. I was coughing heavily, had cold and was running high fever. Adding to my woes, the room was very cold. However, whenever needed, the exam centre staffs helped. 

I managed to complete the exam and go through my answers. I actually changed a few of my earlier answers in the final revision. I believe you should revisit your answers. 

At the end of the exam I ran through the survey pretty quickly. Next to the comment sections, I had the well awaited message of earning my PMP credential.

Few Notes On “What you should do” vs “What I did”
  1. Before the classes: Prior to the Training I read the PMBOK once. I would recommend anybody to read it twice.
  2. During the classes: Be 100% attentive, take notes, do whatever it takes for you to capture what you have understood as these notes will help you recollect during revisions. And you MUST revise.
  3. Plan your exam: I took my classes in October 2015, and the exam in Aug 2016, and indeed had genuine reasons for procrastinating such as work, travel, family etc. But if you are truly serious you must dedicate your time with minimal breaks to achieve this. I only did this once I booked my exam date on 2nd August by ambitiously scheduling my exam for late August (total of 25 days, includes few days before 2nd August, but determined to sit in the exam). Hence book your date in advance and that way you will stay focused, you will make the time for studying and you will manage to achieve your goal.
  4. Study for the exam: The 25-day plan I put together consisted of minimum 6 hours of study in a day. I would wake up at 4:30am, study for 2 hours, and continue in the evening after work for another 4 hours. I read through the PMBOK and Rita Mulcahy, marked the important pointers and revisited them twice, along with referring to my notes. I allotted 2 days for each Knowledge Area and ensured to stick to the schedule. I spent the last 5 days on doing mock exams. Although I wanted to finish 2 mock exams in a day, I only ended up doing one. I reviewed every question and answer. 
  5. So only during the mock exam, I did realize I could have referenced ONLY the PMBOK Guide and done well. However, Rita helped explain some concepts as well.
  6. Mock tests: 
    1. I found initial mock exams relatively easy, but it’s a good simulation experience. I took two to three mock tests to boost my confidence and I was scoring greater than 80%.
    2. PM Study Mock: This is a really good simulation and the questions are closer to the exam. I faired around 80% here as well. 
    3. Oliver Lehmann: I did this mock exam the day before my main exam and was convinced I was going to fail because I faired quite miserably at it (scored 68%). But the exam will not be that difficult. But do read through all your questions and answers.
  7. On the Day of the Exam: I am a morning person, hence the first slot available worked perfectly. I didn’t bother opening my book and went straight to give the exam.
So, there goes my story for the PMP exam. I wish you best of luck for your exam!

Brief Profile: Sindhu Sreenath, Program Manager, Intel Corporation. 


Sindhu’s PMP credential information is available at PMI®’s online credential registry.

I am thankful to Sindhu for sharing her experience and hope it will help other aspirants in their PMP journey. 

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