Monday, August 26, 2019

PMP Live Lessons Success Story: Just Focus and Follow Satya’s Words, You Will Pass The Exam

By Bibhuti Bhusan Bagha, PMP

I heard of PMP® certification way back in 2007 when I was in Bangalore and my manager took a month leave for preparing PMP. When I moved to the US in 2010, I realized the importance and acceptance of this certification.  I saw a few people from our broader team at Hewlett Packard (HP), who are PMP certified. Their working style and the way they manage the projects, inspired me to pursue this certification. 

PMP 35 Contact Hours Experience
I had my training on PMBOK® 5th edition with Mr. Satya Narayan Dash as my coach. The learning experience was really great with Satya. Being from a technical background, I always had this perception: Project management is boring. But Sayta’s unique teaching style made it interesting for me.

In the session, I got a fair idea on project management methodologies, the framework on how to prepare for the exams and related tips. Moreover, by the end of the sessions, I gained the confidence to write all knowledge areas, process groups and all the individual processes with the sequencing. I think this sets a very strong foundation for PMP exam preparation. 

As I mentioned above, Satya’s unique teaching style set a solid foundation and that helped me to understand and memorize the principles behind the processes, their interconnection, and the mathematical calculations like earned value management (EVM), critical path method (CPM) etc. These played key roles and made the subsequent preparation easy for me.

Own Study
After 35 contact hour training, I tried to study for one month to appear for the test in 2018 on PMBOK 5th edition, but I realized later that one month is not enough. My preparation was off and on for several months as I was not getting the free time. 

I started my real preparation from March 2019 with the new edition of the PMBOK guide (6th edition) with the PMP Live Lessons and tried to maintain the continuity. I took around 300 hours of serious preparation and it helped. I had an internal target of completing one knowledge area, including the practice questions in one week, so I divided the hours accordingly. I used to study for a couple of hours after dinner at night and a couple of hours in the early morning between 4 am to 7 am. 

I totally followed Satya’s Live Video lessons and went through the course three times including the chapter end ITTO exercises as well as  practice questions. I went through the full-length question sets for two times, but for the third time when I went through the PMP Live Lessons, I could not get time to go through the full-length question sets. However, this time I went through his video lessons word by word, took my own note for revision, reviewed the previous chapters or concepts periodically whenever Sayta reminds in the form of Yogic revision in the live lessons. 

ITTO exercise and the chapter-end questions are the great assets for the preparation, they really made me think, reflect, and review the concepts again and again. 

I think as we proceed through the lessons/chapters, it is very important to keep a tab of the previous learning, which Satya reminds throughout his video lessons and says “go back and revise” if you do not remember. This is really needed, indeed, otherwise at the end of the Lesson-10, you will find the contents of Lesson – 1 to be new!  This is what exactly happened with me in my previous preparation, so constant review is a key. 

The other things where I struggled is on ITTO is this: their perspectives change from process to process, e.g., the same tool and technique will be used in two different processes in a completely different way. One needs to really understand what that element is and what the characteristics are for the particular ITTO, and which characteristics fits into which process. Again, as I mentioned earlier, I paid very close attention to Satya’s tips and the revision reminders during the live lessons and that helped me to overcome the challenge.

The reason I bought Satya’s PMP Live Lessons is this: I was impressed by the sample videos that Satya shared, some of which are available publicly.  I could see a very systematic and detailed explanation of the concepts which PMBOK guide does not tell. 

I followed only the PMP Live Lessons for my exam preparation. I think the entire set of lessons is unique. It actually tags you with different areas and at the same time makes you focus on the current topic. In fact, as I went through the lessons, I felt like Satya is holding my hand guiding through the lessons. 

The “What Happens” at the beginning of each lesson with the diagrammatic process flows gives a wonderful insight into the respective knowledge area quickly. Then at the end the ITTO exercises really make you review the internals and memorize them.

The yogic tips, revision tips shared in the Live Lessons were truly very much helpful. Those are the real help which made me revise and memorize the concepts. The chapter-end questions, the full-length question sets, and the explanation for each answer are true assets if you can go through them diligently you can really solve the questions during the test quickly. It covers vast scenarios which gives you the confidence for the test.

One of the best parts are the ITTO video exercises. Also, the explanation to each answer in the chapter-end questions as well as full-length questions are of immense help.

PMP Exam Experience
My exam center was in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. I had scheduled online and the process was smooth.

I was confident that since the exam center is in my city, it will be easy for me to find the place, but it was not. I struggled to get there and finding a place to park my car. My exam was scheduled at 2PM but I reached the center 5 minutes late. I was really nervous. The exam center coordinators completed the formalities quickly and then the test started. 

Below are a few points about my approach towards the exam.  
  • I set an internal target of giving one minute to each question so to keep 40 minutes in the end for review. 
  • Together with the former one, the sub-target was to read the questions and answers a couple of times to make sure I do not miss anything. 
  • The mathematical questions and other questions where I was not 100% sure about the correct answer, I marked them to review later. 

I completed all my questions in 210 minutes so I had 30 minutes to review the questions which I had designated for review. I could not take any break in between. I ended my exam just 90 seconds before.

Types of Questions Faced
  • There were around five questions from processes which were relatively direct, but the remaining questions were situational. 
  • I had a couple of questions on Budget at Completion (BAC) and Estimate At Completion (EAC) calculation and a couple from CPM and Free Float calculation. Mathematical questions were mostly direct. 
  • For the situational questions, I followed Satya’s strategy: Find the keywords within the questions, focus on them to determine which process you are in, once you do this you will reach close to the right answer. This is very unique to Satya’s teaching, and if someone does the chapter-end questions and practice questions sets thoroughly that will definitely help to score well in the exam.

Overall my score was this: in 3 domains I scored Above Target and in 2 domains I was on Target. 
I would definitely suggest that you take a good sleep the previous night and eat something lite, prior to the exam which is not too heavy. It should give your the needed energy for the next four hours. Also, make sure the food does not make you feel thirsty. Unfortunately, I had everything reversed and hence, struggled on these aspects. 

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants
  • Focus on each word in the PMP Live Lessons. Focus on Tips and review the previous chapters continuously, which Satya reminds throughout the lesson. 
  • Do all practice questions: ITTO and chapter-end exercises. Keep your own notes and review them. 
  • Satya has given the explanation for each question, review them even when your answer is right, just to learn how he solves the problems and he cuts down the wrong choices to arrive at the right answer.
  • Do not underestimate the test.  The exam is tough and really tests your understanding. 

I would like to thank Satya from the bottom of my heart for providing such excellent study material and guiding me throughout the preparation process. I can now visualize many things at my work which I was not able to do so before, I’m going to utilize this in our internal projects first.

Brief Profile:
Bibhuti Bhusan Bagha, PMP.
I work for HP Inc. in the USA as a Technical Marketing Engineer for one of the key enabling technologies in HP’s Managed Print Services. My work is mostly on the technical pre-sales, work closely with the HP sales team, customer and HP R&D team, provide the response to RFP and RFI’s for the new contracts and renewals, post-sales support and escalation management. I have worked with several hundred customers in Americas regions in the last six years including some of the large enterprises and Federal customers.

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