Sunday, August 13, 2017

PMP Success Story: Learn With The PMBOK Guide and Exam Tips by Satya Narayan Dash

By Syed Ehtishamuddin, PMP

The passion and interest to get into project management kick-started my preparation for the PMP® certification. I am a technical cum management person. Technically leading the project later slowly induced the interest of getting into management completely. I was hearing about exams and certifications that project managers and project leaders were pursuing. 

Then, after the first training and when I met Satya, I read through the success stories who passed the exam. This inspired me a lot that I can do it. I wished to attempt and crack the exam, and today I am a certified Project Management Professional!!

PMP Coaching Experience
Fortunately, I started with the training at first (Aug/Sep 2016) under Satya where I learnt that studying for PMP can be fun as well. Later within a year, in 2017 April I could clear the exam. Satya’s notes, exam tips, videos, blogs and shared materials helped a lot. Exam tips and notes recollecting during or before exam gave a good confidence to appear for the exam.

Own Study
I was not alone but it was our group who prepared for exam, studied and gave exam together. We were four of us, inspiring each other, helping each other in study, learning and mentoring each other. We attended Satya’s class together, shared the learnings and exam tips learnt from Satya with each other. The group study was very helpful. We did not miss any notes or exam tips. If one of us missed a tip, other helped to fill up the missing tips and notes. In fact, we created a whatsapp group to coordinate, share important information and tips that was helpful when going for exam for quick recollection.

It was all self-study plus the group study. Study one topic and share with others in round robin. We used to meet for 3-6 hours weekly, apart from our daily self-study. Finished reading the PMBOK® guide, one exam prep gook and Satya’s slides multiple times for reference and quick re-collections before the exam.

Studying PMBOK was very challenging. So, we thought it could be more of a reference book than studying. Have the PMBOK guide downloaded on your mobile so that it can be referred everywhere.

PMP Exam Experience
Exam was getting delayed due to other priorities, which was causing us to lose interest and hope as times was passing. We decided to fill application and set the exam date first so that we apply “Students Syndrome” technique to accelerate and expedite. Once exam dates are fixed, we had no way to escape or show laziness. That helped us finishing PMBOK once completely. Revised Satya’s notes and presentation slides and other materials shared. Then took full length mock exams from the institution that offered the training to us and also using other online practice test materials. Was scoring about 70-80% that gave a little confidence. Solving exam prep questions as well increased confidence level.

During the Exam
Facing 200 questions sitting four hours continuously was a hard experience. However, the confidence after studies and the “Exam tips from Satya” made it is easier to overcome the hurdles. I was slow and calm in exam and reading questions thoroughly. Though my other group mates finished early, I had only 10-15 minutes for revision at the end. My marked questions for review were comparatively less. During the review, I did not change any answers. Just was confident on what I had selected for first time. I didn’t leave early but sat till the last minute, though it was very difficult to sit in the 4th hour [ since we, in our work life, never sit and work this long, even school/college day exams were lasting max three hours ;-( ]. I was standing some times in between. Filled even the feedback with calm and finally cleared the exam.

I like to thank my colleagues/PMP Exam group mates who inspired, supported and facilitated a group study and appearing exam together that boosted confidence.

Thanks to Satya, for initial PMP foundation through the training and his material (especially the way he made us to remember all 47 process groups, ITTO (Inputs, Tools & Techniques and Outputs) and tips. The first day of training I was blank and stunned when Satya wrote all 47 processes chart on board, but the last day he made us able to write them on board by our own that built our confidence.

Finally, thanks to my family who supported me, inspired me with weekend outings/shopping sacrifices.

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants
  • If you are very passionate and profound interested in becoming project management certified professional, then book the exam dates first after first cut of initial PMP foundation training. This will ensure your dream turns into reality as early as possible. 
  • Set exam dates with sufficient duration and such that you will be able to study. You can also take into account Satya’s opinion on duration with his mock test at the end of training where he evaluates and tells you when you can give the exam. Based on that and your confidence, select an approximate exam date first. This pushes you to prioritize this over your other activities and ensures you give exam without any delay. Otherwise you may keep pushing the exam and if it delays more, then there is chance you may forget what you studied, and eventually lose interest and hope.
  • Prepare self-notes. One example is shown below.

    • Another example is formulae list, fetch from books. List is available in the books.
    • We prepared many such notes that helped for quick review on exam day morning.
  • Practice tests are must for confidence. At least two full length tests completion and scoring to the satisfaction before appearing exam. There are even Apps available online for practice questions.
  • Remember - mugging up does not help! Limit memorising to only where it is necessary. Rather understand the concepts, and definitions of each processes, their groups and knowledge areas, correlate the ITTOs with practical experience.
  • Use the tips shared by Satya.
It was party day when we cleared the exam. It gave more interest and confidence that I can pursue my career into the next levels of project management, and grow with growing organizations.

On a fun part I started applying the learnings in my personal life too along with professional life. Applied Kanban and lean in my day to day life to fill the home refrigerator only on demand and signal cards. My wife has now turned against Kanban ;-) , but likes Kaizen (continuous improvement) mind-set for household activities ;-).

Brief Profile:
Syed Ehtishamuddin, Project System Leader in an MNC. 

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