Wednesday, December 06, 2017

PMP Success Story: A Good Coach, Dedication and Determination Are Keys to Success

By Naveen Kumar, PMP

I’ve been in Project management field for so many years, and had a goal to crack the PMP® exam, but was never able to put a dedicated effort to prepare for the exam. It kept on dragging for 1 to 2 years. Finally, in year 2017, I took it as a firm personal goal and committed to crack in 2017 and not delay it any further.

PMP Coaching Experience
Having Satya as a coach very much helped me as his approach to get anyone prepared for the PMP exam is very systematic, to the point and easy to understand in comparison to reading any book on your own. 
I was fortunate to have Satya as my coach for PMP exam. I believe you are more than 50% prepared for the exam after having gone through 35 hours of training with Satya. Rest is your own efforts in self-study. Satya is a great person, mentor and coach.

This PMP classroom training is very much essential in addition to your own preparation for the exam. The key take-aways are:
  • You will have a great coach to get you prepared for the exam effectively and efficiently.
  • Without having concepts clear in your mind, it will be very difficult to crack the exam. This class room training helps in having the concepts clear in a short period of time.
  • Prepares you with a systematic and concise way to approach the exam.
  • The tips covered in this class are extremely helpful in passing the PMP exam.

Own Study
It took me around 4-5 months of dedicated preparation which included study of around 2 hours daily on week days and around 4-5 hours over the weekends. I read the following books:
  • The PMBOK® Guide, 5th Edition by Project Management Institute (PMI®) 
  • I Want To Be A PMP book by Satya Narayan Dash
  • PMP Exam Prep by Rita Mulcahy 

In addition to these books, I also completed a lot of mock exams from “I Want To Be A PMP” book, “PMP exam prep Questions & Answers by Christopher Scordo”, “HeadFirst book” and few other mock exams before appearing for the PMP exam.  

Book Review - I Want To Be A PMP
I bought the “I Want To Be A PMP” book as I got to know from the class room training. The way it’s written is very easy to understand all the concepts, has many tips that really help and is a very interactive book which makes you feel as if Satya is talking to you directly, while you are reading it. Also, this book is an online version which is kept always up-to-date so it will reflect the latest content.

It also has many videos to explain the important topics of the exam and are explained in the easiest possible way. Anyone can understand them very easily. This book comes with 3 question sets with increasing difficulty level which really raises the bar before you actually appear for the exam. This book and question sets holistically equips you to be ready the PMP exam. You feel much more confident to write the exam after 2-3 readings of this book.

PMP Exam Experience
I scheduled my PMP exam around a month before the exam date in Nov-2017. My strategy was to complete all the 200 questions in the first 3 hours. But I could not complete as I was spending too much time on each question during first one hour (could complete only 35 questions). After that I increased my pace and was marking the unsure questions for review in the end. 

I could complete all the 200 questions in 3 hours 45 minutes. I reviewed most of the marked questions in those 15 minutes and corrected the answers wherever it should be. There were a lot of situational questions that were tricky that will really test your thorough understanding of the concepts. 

“I Want To Be A PMP” book really helped for my preparation. There were few mathematical questions mostly around cost management and schedule management areas. 

I’ve three key suggestions:
  • Maintain speed during the exam. Don’t get stuck with one question for more than 2 minutes. If you are not sure, mark it with your best answer and move on. Review it in the end if time permits.
  • Attempt the very long questions (mainly questions that are one full screen long) in the end. Reading and understanding the question itself may take you over 2 minutes, hence better to mark them and attempt in the end.
  • Although it depends on person to person, but taking more than one break during the exam would mean you will lose at least 10-12 minutes easily. I took one break during the exam. That means you will at least lose 5-6 minutes because Prometric will need to perform the checking procedure, signing procedure again after you come back from the break. Consider this aspect while you plan your strategy for the exam.

There can be disturbance during the exam (from noise of keyboards used by other candidates taking exam). Prometric centre has sound proof ear masks that you can use during the exam to avoid the outside noise. It will help you to concentrate more.  

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants
  • Get your concepts very clear and thorough before you appear for the exam.
  • Every day reading for at least 1-2 hours definitely helps to prepare for the exam. Don’t allow the rhythm to break as it can slow down your preparation or you may need to start again.
  • Having a coach is really important and keep sharing with him your preparation progress and follow his guidance which ensures you are on the right track.

  • Don’t break the rhythm in your preparation even 30 minutes in day of reading some topic helps.
  • Don’t delay in submitting the application and scheduling your exam. If you are not serious about the exam, you will not clear it.
  • Don’t allow any confusion to be there in your mind on the concepts. If you have doubt, immediately clarify with your coach or from the PMBOK guide.

Getting PMP certified is a great experience and accomplishment. After this, the real benefit would be when you apply these practices in actual project management and ensure continuous improvement.

Brief Profile
Naveen Kumar, Program Manager, around 16 years of experience in hardware and firmware project management.

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