Wednesday, April 19, 2017

PMP Success Story: Make Up Your Mind and Study Consistently with The Right Materials

By Rangu Dutta, PMP

For some years, I had an aspiration to get PMP® certification, maybe from the time PMBOK® guide 4th edition was in place.  In 2016, I made up my mind to complete the certification before December 2016. Got my PMI® membership and downloaded the PMBOK guide 5th edition and started reading. 

My study was not consistent and sometime there were gap of 1-2 weeks between two study days. It was due to work pressure and travel time – almost 5 hours daily. 

PMP Coaching Experience
By July 2016, I realized I had hardly made any progress. That is when I thought, I should join some PMP coaching sessions to jump start and to get my motivation to speed. I googled for the ones, which was close to my residence and provide classroom training. I finalized one and to my bad luck I fell sick during that time and had to postpone by one month.

In September 2016, I joined the classroom session and was lucky to meet Satya Sir as my coach. On day 1, he explained about the 47 Process connecting the process group and knowledge areas.  Satya sir said by Day4 we will be able to remember and understand the flow and sequence of all the 47 process. 

Believe me, by end of Day 2, all my follow students including myself were able to grasp and remember the sequence flow. After Day 4 of training, I realized that not a single minute I felt bored or switched-off. And it was 32-34 hours of learning! Also, realized the amount of in-depth knowledge Satya sir have in all the relevant topics and amount of time he spent in preparation, giving tips to us etc.

Own Study
The ball was back in my court to study and crack the exam. Satya Sir had suggested to give the exam at the earliest because slowly we will tend to forget. I was making good process in studies as compared to before the coaching. By November, I released I’ll not be able to give the exam this year.

By mid-December, I cut myself from everything, switched off my cell phone, social media etc. I started studying the PMBOK guide, chapter by chapter and making notes.  

Satya Sir’s eBook – I Want To Be A PMP
After completing the guide, I realized I had gaps and questions on Inputs, Tools & Techniques and Outputs (ITTOs).  This is when I picked my Satya Sir book - “I Want To Be A PMP.” I went through chapter by chapter in the book and many ITTOs started getting clear. The book explains why the ITTOs is used in the process, which ones are required for the process, etc. I was able to connect the dots. The book also has a separate chapter on changes in PMP exam after 11th January 2016.

Next, I started giving all possible free PMP mock questions, some sites have 200 questions with or without timer, others had less questions again with or without timers. Some sites had answers without any explanation why the author feels that is the correct answer, I avoided such mock questions.

Satya Sir's book had 200 questions of 3 sets – total 600 questions (and additional 75 questions for PMP exam 2016 changes). Most of the questions were situational and lengthy questions (expect similar pattern in the real exam). 

I was able to score above 80% in the first 2 sets. But the last one set put me in back seat because of low score. Satya Sir advised to give the exam again and slowly I again gained confidence.

PMP Exam Experience
Now it was time to book my exam date and time, I had already paid the fee before. But March month is Annual exam time in school for my kid and wanted to fix a date after the annual exam dates. I wanted to choose early morning, not that I am early raiser but wanted to avoid Whitefield traffic and lower energy level post-lunch. I choose 30th March, 2017 8:30 AM.

On the big day, I reached the center at around 7 AM and had my packed breakfast there and stopped drinking water at-least 30 min before the exam. 

This what I did during the exam:
  • Since the exam is for 4 hours with 200 questions, time management is very important. I had set the target to complete 25 questions in 30 minutes without skipping any unmarked answer (kept some questions marked for review but selected an answer).
  • When I was in 125, 150 question, I was behind target by 2-3 minutes. I tried increasing my speed but at the same time was careful not to make mistakes. I had some lengthy problem and situational questions. 
  • I was able to complete 200 questions with 7 minutes left, I revisited all the marked questions, but as Satya sir suggested to make changes in answer option only when you are 100% sure.
  • I remember Satya Sir suggesting - do not let computer take the control, with around 25 seconds left, I clicked the submit button. 
My heart started beating faster; in order to reduce my heart beat, I slowly answered the survey which is optional. But still my mind on the result and heart beat reduced negligibly. After completing the survey, my joy bounced on seeing “Congratulations” on the monitor.

I would like to thank my spouse and kid to be with me in this journey and depriving them of spending weekends with them. 

Brief Profile: Rangu Dutta - I have around 18 years of Project and Program management experience in variety of domains and multiple technologies. 

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