Monday, January 11, 2021

PMP Success Story: If You Want To Be A PMP, then Simply Read the Book – I Want To Be A PMP

By Shams Ul Haq, PMP 


I first heard about the Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential from my manager while I was a senior software engineer. It was around 11 years back and from that time onwards, I was curious about it. 

As I grew in my career, I kept hearing stories on how important the PMP credential is for management positions and roles. This inspired me to do a PMP certification.

PMP Coaching Experience

I attended PMP coaching classes couple of years back. I was really impressed by Satya’s teaching style. It was simple and very effective. 

He has a very different way of teaching and explaining things. He makes sure that everyone in the class is engaged. He makes sure that everyone benefits in his class and asks everyone in the class to come forward and do activities on the whiteboard with him. This helped us all in understanding the concepts better.

Satya advised us to start reading right from Day 1 of the training. However, it was too much information for me and I wanted to start reading after the training was done. I tried to start reading many times and even scheduled for the exam in the middle of 2019 and then kept on postponing and rescheduling the exam.  

Own Study

When I heard that the PMP exam pattern is changing from January 2021, I decided to write the exam before the pattern changes. I finally rescheduled my exam for 30-December-2020 and wanted to start reading from September but it never happened. When December came, I had a serious discussion with my wife that this is not working out and she motivated me to take it seriously and start reading and it is achievable. I took off for two weeks before the exam so that I can give it all to read and clear the exam.

I followed this approach.

  • I started reading seriously just before 3 weeks of the exam date. I spent 3-4 hours in the first week.
  • Initially, I was able to read first 6 chapters from Satya’s book: I Want To Be A PMP. I was never motivated to read the PMBOK guide, as it was too dry and was too lengthy. Hence, I decided to just stick to Satya’s book and read it thoroughly. 
  • Decision to completely skip the PMBOK guide was a tough decision to take, as Satya had clearly told that reading of PMBOK was a must. But in my case, this was one of the best decisions I took and it really paid off in the end.
  • From 2nd week onwards I started spending 6 to 8 hours a day and sometimes even 10 hours a day (this was possible as I had taken off from office). 
  • I completed reading all chapters from Satya’s book and took all the chapter end exercises and then revised all chapter once more along with the exercises.
  • In my second reading of the book, sometime I took some notes, which helped me in a quick revision at the end
  • Just 4 days before the exam, I took the “PMP-50 Question” exam followed by two full length exams from Satya’s book, out of three, which are provided at the book’s end. 

Book Review - I Want To Be A PMP

In the class, while explaining, Satya showed some of the videos. As these were part of his book: I Want To Be A PMP, I got interested in the book and I bought it right after my classroom sessions.

The best thing about this book it is updated very frequently, and Satya keeps adding more exercises and other additional topics to it.

The “Yogic Vision Tips” and “Yogic Revision” are really useful and many questions can be answered just by remembering these. Satya has covered many important topics for the PMP exam with videos which are really helpful.

The process flows, chapter end exercises are really useful. The questions are pretty tough, but give us a good practice for exam. The full-length questions give us a good idea about how to prepare for exam and how we can plan our timing to complete 200 questions in 4 hours. 

PMP Exam Experience

I scheduled my exam from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM at Pearson Professional Center on Central street Shivajinagar, Bangalore. I reached the exam centre at 7:30AM and parked my car in the Prestige Atrium. The parking is quite costly. I was not allowed to take anything inside the exam hall.

I wanted to finish the first 89 questions in less than 90 min and I was able to do so in 85 min. I took a 10 min break and went a little slow with the remaining questions and took the full remaining time to complete the 111 questions.

Questions Faced

  • Around 50% to 60% questions were situation based. It really needed actual project management (PM) working experience, along with the knowledge of the book.
  • There were around 25 questions on Change Requests, so prepare this very well!
  • Very few mathematical questions and mostly they were around Earned Value Management (EVM). They were very simple.
  • There were some direct questions which were easy to answer. 
  • Make sure that you read the question at least twice and read all answers before selecting the correct answer.

In the beginning there were some network glitches which were resolved after 15-20 min.

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants:


  • Read all chapters from I Want To Be a PMP book at least twice and take notes.
  • Make sure to do all the chapter-end exercises and full-length exercises.
  • Take at least 4 full length exams.
  • Though everyone tells it’s a must to read the PMBOK guide, I didn’t read it! I was fully dependent on “I Want To Be A PMP” book. So, it’s possible to clear the exam without reading the PMBOK guide, but you need to read the exam preparation book thoroughly.  


  • Don’t be afraid to take the exercises and full-length exams. This will give you confidence to take exam.
  • Don’t panic, exam is not very tough if you prepare well.


I delayed taking PMP exam for around two years and when I finally decided to take the exam, I had only 3 weeks to do it. I had the “Will” to do it, and put in a lot of hard work and it paid off finally. I could clear the exam easily. 

So, it’s very important that you create the “Will” to be a PMP and then put in the efforts and it is achievable. 

Brief Profile: 

Shams Ul Haq, PMP 

Senior Manager - Program Management. I have total 15 years of experience. 

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