Monday, February 03, 2020

PMP Success Story: Extraordinary Content of 35 Hours Online Course and a Sincere Approach Helped to Crack the Exam

By V Satya Viswanadha Raju, PMP

The project management professional (PMP®) credential is considered to be one of the best in the market for project management practitioners. 

This, along with many factors such as market conditions, desire to pursue a rigorous course after a long time, and look for further opportunities, made me go for the PMP credential.

PMP 35 Hours Online Learning Experience
I didn’t take any classroom session, but only followed Satya sir’s PMP® 35 Hours Online Learning Course. I spoke with Satya sir before taking up the course and took up this course for a period of six months.  

The 35 hours of video learning course is one of the best educational videos that I’ve gone through in recent times. Not even a single video deviates from the topic. It delivers exactly what is needed, and only the ones needed. This makes learning very effective.

The videos are divided across various knowledge areas and chapters, which aligns closely with the PMBOK Guide. I just followed it.

The course is divided into various topics in a systematic way and is paced gently with its extraordinary content. For example, every topic (taking an example of Knowledge Area) starts with yogic tip and explanation of that, followed by a real time scenario. Next, I’ll be knowing the current trends, key points, Agile perspective, and then will proceed to the actual topic.

The content is so well explained that you will never get distracted from the topic. For example, while explaining Change Management and Change Requests, Satya sir will drive you through sequence of steps that you as a Project Manager (PM) should look at that change. 

This is not only for the topic of change management; it’s explained similarly for many key areas. As you proceed, you will realize the importance of the topic with great interest.

The biggest advantage for me with PMP 35 Online Contact Hours was this: I can play the videos any number of times I want.    

Own Study
I primarily followed the PMBOK® Guide, the 35 Contact Hours Online Course from Satya Narayan Dash, and the book by Rita Mulcahy.

I followed this approach for my PMP certification:
  • First, I wanted to be clear on why I wanted do this certification. I took time and decided. Because without a vision you can't achieve anything. And this goal of being a PMP will take you towards the vision.  Next, I asked myself: “Can I spend dedicated time daily for this, despite the busy schedule?” I decided I've to do it anyway.
  • I've had three months dedicated preparation. In my view, it's minimally needed. I spent daily 3 hours during weekdays for PMP preparation, and 6 to 7 hours during weekends. Be in this mode, till you are PMP certified. I even used to play the 35 contact hour videos during my travel time to and from office and also, whenever I am free. 
  • I first read PMBOK book, got an overview. Next, I went through the 35 hours contact hour online videos. 
  • Once this is over, I immediately took the first mock exam and evaluated myself. This helped me to identify the areas of weakness. I again went through the videos and covered the gaps.

It will be difficult initially to go through any course or content. But when you study, do it with keen interest. If you can spend daily 3 hours for the first seven days, then that’s it! I am sure you will continue daily after that. Study and absorb, relate to your day-to-day work. 

Review – 35 Contact Hours Online Course
I’ve already mentioned in the beginning the content of 35 Contact Hours Online Course is extraordinary. Also, I’ve mentioned that the biggest advantage with this 35 Contact Hours is, you can replay any number of times. 

This is not the case with any class-room training. This way the course is unique and distinct. 

The beauty of this course is, the trainer will drive slowly to the core topics through a series of steps. And these steps will be common throughout the knowledge areas.

At the end of every lesson/chapter, there are about 35 to 40 questions with answers. They will really test your understanding and more importantly, they will help you how to read the question, how to identify the key-points in the question. 

The practice questions at the end every section are really useful. They will help you to understand the topic from various perspectives.

PMP Exam Experience
After I finished one round of 35 Contact hours course, I registered with PMI®, and filled up the exam application form. You must do this irrespective how much you gained from the course or from the PMBOK guide. If you don’t choose a date for the exam, your preparation will be never-ending. I'm telling you this with my experience. The commitment will come after you choose the date.

As I preparation neared completion, practiced for sitting 4 hours without any distraction. It was a very big challenge. So, I treated the mock exams as real exam and it really helped. 

The PMP exam will test you from every corner. It will not only test your knowledge, but also test your patience.

These are the types of questions I faced in the exam.
  • Perhaps, you would be knowing that most of the PMP questions are situational in nature. My experience was no exception, i.e., most were situational questions. I had very few straight-forward questions.
  • A number of questions were on PM roles in various types of organization.
  • I received around 12 formula-based/mathematical questions. I had two questions on critical path measurement (CPM).
  • I received a good number of questions on change management, change requests.
  • There were around 15 questions on Agile approaches. Also, I received a question on point of total assumption (PTA).
  • It's important to note that around 70% of questions I received were having more than four lines. But the choices are just one line. Hence, be prepared for such questions. 
  • Find the difference between Lessons learned and Lessons Learned Repository. I faced questions in these areas.
  • Be very clear on all the content of all the “Plans”, like risk management plan, scope management plan, schedule management plan, etc. I received question in these aspects.
  • Have a good understanding of Communication Knowledge Area (KA) and Stakeholder Engagement KA. In situational questions on these two KAs, you may find difficult on which context the question is asked.
  • Be prepared for choosing the right answer among 2 CLOSE answers. You will be presented with 2 very close answers.

I practiced breathing exercise, took break for 2 minutes as I wanted to relax and stretch my legs. In my personal opinion, a break is needed halfway through the exam.

I completed all of my questions well on time. I had just 17 questions to review. Finally, when the exam end, the message “Congratulations” flashed on my screen. But I was not really sure if I’ve cleared the exam. 

Finally, as I received the print of my report, I realized that I’ve actually cleared the exam. I scored Above Target (AT) in all the process groups – Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing. 

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants
  • Start your day by telling yourself, “I am “<your name>”, PMP”. You imagine yourself being a PMP. That motivates.
  • Don’t panic if the initial questions are tough.
  • Don’t give up. Stay away from distractions. 
  • Don’t give any excuses if you don’t study for a day. 
  • Be sincere to your employer. This is your personal goal, and don’t mix it with your office work.

The process of preparing for PMP itself will bring a lot of changes in your personal and professional lives. I’ll try to apply what I’ve learnt so far in my professional work. 

Brief Profile:
V Satya Viswanadha Raju, PMP: I work as an information technology professional with DXC Technology, Bangalore, India. 

PMP 35 Contact Hours Online Course:

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