Friday, February 14, 2020

PMP Live Lessons Success Story: Success is No Accident – It Requires Hard Work, Perseverance, Learning, Sacrifice and Above All, Love What You Are Doing

By Poornima Nagaraja, PMP

I’ve been into the information technology (IT) industry for over thirteen years and have always heard of PMP® certification and its global recognition. I was able to gather useful information about the value of PMP credential through various means such as friends, colleagues, and social media. All of these inspired me to go for this certification. 

Further, I personally explored more about PMP certification and finally decided to go for it as I strongly believed this knowledge will help me to add more value to my project management skills, and give the best value while aiding my day to day responsibilities.

PMP 35 Contact Hours Experience
My preference has been classroom sessions as it’s more interactive, and also for me it’s more serious and attentive. Classroom sessions are livelier, will have a lot of questions and answers as well as knowledge sharing. However, these can only happen if the trainer or coach allows such participation, interactions and addresses the questions. 

After all my research I decided to go for classroom training. I’ve never met Satya before I attended his classroom sessions. He was our trainer for the 4-day classroom session. 

I must say that I was lucky to have him as the trainer. He is passionate about teaching, has very great and in-depth knowledge and explains the concepts in a more practical and realistic way with real time examples. In addition, he shares a large number of tips, which are very useful for the exam. 

By the end of the sessions, I was able to remember all complex formulas related to two-pass techniques. I was able to easily write and sequence all the 49 processes cutting across the various Process Groups (PGs) and Knowledge Areas (KAs). 

Own Study
I used below materials for my PMP Exam preparation:

Immediately after my classes, I received the 35 contact hours certificate. Next, I took around 2 to 3 weeks to read Satya’s “I Want To Be PMP” e-Book. It was a great learning experience. 

I love the way this book is written with a lot of tips. All the key ITTO are highlighted in different colors, which makes it easy to read and understand. My first walkthrough of this e-book was a great experience. After that I took a few months break due to my office work and other things due to which I could not focus on my preparation seriously. 

Again, in mid-2019, I started studying, but it was not at a continuous stretch and frequent in-between gaps. While you study PMBOK for the first time you will definitely not understand anything and it’s absolutely fine. Hence, I read the “I Want To Be A PMP” book and PMBOK, chapter wise.

Though I was preparing, my serious preparation actually started from September, 2019. I made up my mind and first submitted my application. By this time, I’ve purchased the PMP Live Lessons course from Satya as well. 

My application was selected for PMI’s Audit. I followed through the audit process and my PMP Application was finally approved in November, 2019. Thanks to my Manager for extending all the help and support for the PMP Audit process. Next, I booked my exam date for January 2020. 

This was my approach for the final (and real) PMP preparation for 3 to 4 months:
  • I used to study during weekdays for around 2 hours and on weekends for 8-10 hours.
  • I referred PMP Live lessons course and the PMBOK Guide to ensure all my concepts are very clear. I followed each and every tip Satya has given and solved all the lesson/chapter end questions from the Live Lessons. 
  • I started solving full-length questions from December, 2019 from PMP Live Lessons. This gave me more confidence. I also took a few full-length questions from Prep Cast Simulator. All these questions sets are key for my success. 
  • Questions from the PMP Live Lessons should be your Master Set. I must say that the questions are of the highest quality and quite tough. It made me prepare for the tougher questions and how to approach the exam along with time management.
  • I read the PMBOK glossary before your exam. It is a must and it is another round of revision to remember all key terms and terminologies.
  • I used to practice all the formulas and charts with all the 49 processes and sequencing them multiple times. I was able to write within 10-12 minutes.

Throughout my preparation, I’ve called and reached out to Satya multiple times. It was through emails and direct calls. He was always available to clarify all my doubts. His clarifications with proper justifications helped me a lot to keep concepts fresh in my mind. Thank You Satya!

Also, during my free time/driving time, I used to recall all the process names, KEY ITTO for each process, and recall all the formulas. These helped me a lot.

My parents, my husband, and my five-year old son were a BIG support for me during my preparation. I had to sacrifice all the play time with my son until my exam was done, and my son was very co-operative and for his age. He was very wise to understand that “his mother has an exam and he should not disturb😊”.

To be very direct and straight, in order to clear the PMP Exam, you only need to have PMP Live Lessons and the PMBOK guide. They are definitely enough. PMP Live Lessons has great content, well organized and structured. It helps you very easily to understand the concepts.

There are around 200 questions at the end of every chapter (lesson). And they are worth it. It was a game changer for me as it improved my confidence. After reading the PMBOK guide and other materials, I was yet not sure about my preparation. In fact, I read the PMBOK five to six times. 

But I gained good confidence ONLY after solving question sets from Live lessons. With it, I understood the way questions can appear in the exam. As mentioned earlier, Satya’s Questions sets are really very hard and if you can solve and score around 70% to 75%, then the real exam will be a cake walk for you. 

In fact, in Satya’s question sets I was only able to score around 65% to 70%, whereas with Prep Cast Simulator my score was in the range of 85% to 90%. As I said, if you can score in the aforementioned range for PMP Live Lessons’ question sets, you are ready to sit in the exam.  

The Live Lessons is filled with Yogic Tips, Yogic Revision, numerous ITTO Exercises, ECO Exercises, Process Flow Exercises. These will help you to understand and remember the concepts very easily and it stays fresh in your mind.

PMP Exam Experience
I had scheduled my exam at 8AM on 17th January, 2020 at Pearson Center, Central Street, Shivajinagar, Bangalore. One week before the exam, I had visited the exam center to avoid any confusion on my exam day.

On the D-day, my exam commenced after all the formalities. And this is how I proceeded:
  • As it started, I quickly wrote down all the formulas and 49 processes cutting across the PGs and KAs.
  • To be on the safer side, I made up my mind to choose the best answer and continued to do so. I believed this will help me – if towards the end I don’t have time for review. 
  • The first 92 questions were very tough and I took almost 2.5 hours (out of 4 hours) to complete. I was just left with 1.5 hour with 108 questions remaining. I went ahead and tried to increase my speed. I was able to solve 199 questions.
  • I had marked question number 66 earlier and it was my last question, before submitting. But while solving the last question, my time was complete and the computer system took over the control.

A Congratulation message was flashed on the Screen. I received ABOVE TARGET in all the Process Groups. 

My strategy was to choose the best possible answer, though I did not have time to review the questions towards the end. It was still good for me as the result finally flashed on my screen. 

I faced the following types of questions:
  • Questions were mostly tricky, and situational. I had very less straightforward questions.
  • I had just four formula-based questions. 
  • I faced questions from Communications Management and Stakeholder Management. You see there are a number of overlapping areas in these two. 
  • A number of questions were from Change Management. I also faced a number of questions from Procurement Management, Integration Management and Schedule Management. 
  • Overall, I would rate the questions’ complexities from moderate to high.

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants
  • Study consistently and continuously. 
  • Read, listen until the concepts are clear. Practice makes a man perfect. Solve as many questions as you can. 
  • Follow and practice an effective time management approach while solving questions. Keep a target time for each question, that will be very helpful during the real exam.
  • Do not waste time on unnecessary questions available on the Internet or Play store apps. Solve ONLY HIGH-QUALITY questions.

I will ensure to use the knowledge gained in my regular day to day activities. I’ll also contribute, mentor and share my knowledge and continue to learn. There is no end to learning.

Brief Profile:
Poornima Nagaraja, PMP. I’ve over thirteen years of experience and currently working as a Quality Assurance (QA) Manager at Infor. 

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