Saturday, August 15, 2020

PMP Live Lessons Success Story: A Sense of Victory After Passing One of The Toughest Certification Exams in The World

By Prasad Ramamurthy Kadambi, PMP

I came to know about PMP® certification way back in 2007, as my manager was preparing for this credential. I finally decided to pursue it and attended Satya’s classes during weekends in February 2018. The classes were based on the 5th edition of the PMBOK® Guide.

In the class, I came to know that exams will be based on PMBOK® Guide 6th edition from March 26th, 2018.  So, one thing was very clear that it will be impossible for me to prepare in that one plus month gap. Irrespective of that, I gave one attempt on February 14th, 2019, but I could not clear the exam. I found it to be very tough. Next, I didn’t do much on this front for quite some-time. 

My actual preparations started on December 5th, 2019 and I personally met Satya. I informed him that I want to give a second try and purchased PMP Live Lessons.

Need for A Success Story 
During my preparation, I used to read the PMP success stories and that used to increase my energy levels to put in all the efforts for the preparation needed. Whenever I feel outweighed by enormity of this challenging exam, I would read a success story. 

Today at the end of PMP journey, I am writing my experience. I have primarily two purposes here:
  • To thank Satya because he has put in a lot of effort to make me understand the concepts.
  • To tell PMP® aspirants that it is possible to earn the credential and all you need is an honest effort from your end. 

Own Study
For my preparation, I referred the below ones. There are many books, courses or material in the market, but I referred ONLY the below three, nothing else at all. 

I have read PMBOK® Guide thrice, though my plan was to only read once. PMBOK guide is not an easy guide to understand, and I hardly could make out anything from it, initially. 

Review – PMP Live Lessons
The PMP Live Lessons course comes with a set of ‘Smart Card’ questions at the end of every lesson, which compelled me to read the PMBOK more than once. I would get a perception which I would I have missed in the earlier go. 

I really liked it as it made me read more from the PMBOK® Guide and made it more understandable along with the videos. There are days I have spent more than 6 hours on reading PMBOK® guide because of ‘Smart Card’ references per lesson or chapter. I have read once the e-Book of I Want To Be PMP.

Coming to the videos of the Live Lesson, I have at the least seen each video 4 times and never went to the next one unless I was very sure of the current video. I realized for every 1-minute video I took 5 minutes to internalize the concept and made my own notes.

I did not get any opportunity to look for PMP® contents outside as I found that Satya’s material is vast. I could do only 4 full length questions out of 6. However, I was consistently scoring 80% to 90% in the questions, which Satya informed to be good score to clear the exam.

I had prepared for more than 400 hours, with 2 hours daily and 6 to 7 hours on the weekends. During the weekdays I used to get time only after 11:30 PM and I was comfortable with the schedule as there were no disturbances.

Satya’s support was exceptional as he used to call me to clarify my doubts and, he constantly monitored my preparation. Also, throughout my preparation, I have asked him many questions, which he answered. I am grateful to him for that.

PMP Exam Experience
I gave my exam on August 12th, 2020 and I took it directly at the PearsonVUE centre. This is because I did not have backup power and network at home. 

Satya always says that it is good to visit the test centre before the exam day, so I exactly did that to realize:
  • There is no parking facility and we need to find a private parking space!
This also ensured that I have no hassles on the exam day.

I was very calm both before and during the exam, the formalities went smooth and I started to write down all the 49 processes spread across the 5 process groups (PGs) and 10 knowledge areas (KAs). I also wrote down all the formulae related to the PMP Exam. In total, it took me around 14 minutes. This you should do ONLY do after the exam has started.  

The exam comes with an optional break of 10minutes, which is outside the exam duration. However, before the break, I could complete only 89 questions. It matches with the break, which typically happens on 89th or 90th question. 

I did not take the break, but continued with the questions as I felt it will break my concentration and focus. I was able to complete all the questions before the stipulated duration.  Just before the 5 minutes reminder (your exam completes at the end of fourth hour), I was in the 200th question, which was a numerical one.

When I was left with only 3 plus minutes, I submitted and instantly I saw ‘Congratulations’ message. I could not believe that at all! It took me few moments to realize and sink-in that I am a PMP now.  

As the title of the success story tells, it’s one of the toughest exams you will ever face in your professional career, if you want to pursue a career in management. 

Types of PMP Questions Faced
  • 95% of the questions did not exceed one and a half lines in length. However, almost all of them were situational questions. 
  • Not only the questions are situational, the choices in the answers are also situational in nature. 
  • I had only one numerical question, which is based on PERT estimation and it was a direct one. 
  • Mostly questions were on the below areas:
    • Change Requests and Change Management,
    • Risk Management,
    • Communications Management,
    • Stakeholder Management.

My Whole PMP journey
I have learnt a lot of lessons as I complete my PMP certification. 

This is the first such exam what I have written and cleared after my engineering way back in 2002. I had a perception that management is not similar to engineering in concepts, but I was wrong. Management concepts and application of those concepts are very logical, thoughtful and many-times driven by analysis, modelling and calculations. 

I loved all the efforts that went in, my sacrifices and the whole journey. 

Suggestions for Aspiring PMPs
  • Internalize the concepts, as I have said before. It was not easy for me. 
  • Read all the related content to the PMP exam, which Satya publishes in sites such as MPUG and the current site.
  • Be very critical while you prepare, manage time and try to relax in between the preparation. I was never frustrated as I gave all the efforts needed during my preparation.
  • Ask questions to Satya then and there, not later. 
  • PMBOK Guide is the Gold Standard for project management, so read it as and when the PMP Live Lessons course mandates.
  • Plan, plan and plan as much as it is practical during the preparation and for the exam day.
  • Unless the concept is clear there is no way to clear the exam as we cannot guess the answers. So, try to get what the videos in the PMP Live Lessons emphasises and do NOT click next video without understanding the concept.
  • The PMP Live Lessons course cannot be taken as just another video course to browse through. You need to involve completely to the get the concept clear and make your own notes.
  • Whenever the PMP Live Lessons course mandates a revision, do revise. Do NOT ignore it. 

The journey was great and there is a sense on contentment, lots to learn and I loved the whole experience. The PMP certification is not a candy certification. To earn it, you must put in the needed effort. As I write this success story, I believe it is true and as mentioned before, you only must put an honest and sincere effort. 

Brief Profile:
Prasad Ramamurthy Kadambi, PMP.
I have been working in information technology sector and I have around 16 years of experience in this sector.

1 comment:

  1. Along with the 49 processes and the formulae, I also wrote the 'Stakeholder Grid' also known as 'Stakeholder Matrix' or 'Stakeholder Map' or 'Gardner Grid'.

    The reason is it helps to tackle the questions which will be situational along with the answer which will be situational too.

    Because for me in the exam, the answers were NOT;

    - Keep Satisfied
    - Manage CLosely
    - Keep Informed
    - Monitor

    Hope this helps during your preparation.

    -- Prasad Ramamurthy Kadambi, PMP.


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