Tuesday, October 19, 2021

PMP Success Story: Determination, Right Material and A Lot of Practice Will Make You A PMP

By Shubhra Rishi, PMP


As a young professional in the Project Management Industry, I was motivated to get certified as a PMP to achieve a globally recognized credential that would further help me stand out among other professionals. 

I’m determined to excel and succeed in my career and this certification allowed me to gain transferable knowledge to leverage along with my experiential learnings. Additionally, I know that acquiring the PMP certification will bring me incredible new career opportunities and broaden my professional network.

PMP 35 Hours Online Learning Experience

I’ve never met Satya as I reside in North America. I went for the 35-Hour Online PMP Contact Hours Course after following his book, I Want To Be A PMP. The course was extremely helpful in my PMP preparation. Satya’s videos were detailed and explained each concept well. 

Here is my review of the course:

  • The course content flows together seamlessly. 
  • The ‘Yogic Revisions’ and ‘Yogic Tips’ really helped in absorbing the material and provided timely reminders on when concepts from the same and other lessons should be reviewed. 
  • The end of lesson questions and exercises tested your knowledge of the material in a great way, and it was very helpful that the answer sheet provided detailed explanations of the correct answer and why the other options were not correct. 
  • Satya points out which material is likely to be on the exam, take note of those things especially and ensure that you know it. 
  • Also, in some of the lessons there are articles that Satya links, I would recommend reading through those especially if the material is less clear to you because he explains in further detail in the articles which helps a lot. 
  • If there is a flow provided for certain plans or processes, it’s a good idea to understand those because it will explain how ITTOs of the processes feed into each other. 

In addition to taking the 35-hour training course, as noted earlier, I also used Satya’s e-Book for the PMP exam. 

In my view, following are key points about the book:

  • This book is a simplified version of the PMBOK guide to prepare for the exam. 
  • This book was such an easy read and I absorbed the material in a more efficient and effective way in comparison to reading the PMBOK guide. 
  • Satya provided relevant and concise examples, if necessary, but the best part was that any extra content was not included. This was great because it allowed details on the most important parts of the course and did not overload you with less important content. 
  • Each topic in the book was useful and the breakdown of the content within the sections was appropriate. 

On the administrative and overall experience of Satya’s courses, it was very helpful that all access to materials and courses was very prompt and there were detailed instructions on everything from navigating your email to locate the course, breakdown of the course, study recommendations, etc. 

Satya’s course definitely is preparing its students for grand success by providing as much information about each aspect of the process as possible.  

Additionally, Satya responded to all email inquiries in a timely manner and was always professional. He always offered to provide extra assistance if one required it. All these things really eased my mind as there were less ambiguities to overthink or stress about. 

Prior to the exam, Satya also helped guide me to specific areas that I should pay extra attention to in the weeks leading up to the exam based on recent PMP success stories. Thank you, Satya, for all the support and guidance throughout the process.

Own Study

I began my full-fledge preparation for the exam in May 2021 and wrote the exam in September 2021. I created a monthly schedule for myself to clearly know what material I needed to cover each day. 

I followed the below procedure (along with the suggestions):

  • On average, I studied 2-3 hours a day on weekdays and on weekends 3-5 hours. In the initial months, I took one to two break days a week to give my brain a rest as I was also working full time along with studying. 
  • I used Satya’s book and training course and made detailed handwritten notes to better absorb the information. I found his book and course being great to learn the material and hardly referenced the PMBOK guide or the APG (this worked well for me, but please use your own discretion with this). 
  • In my personal experience, writing down the notes was a great way to learn. I found it helpful to read aloud the notes I had made and make notes again on the most important parts of the chapters. 
  • As you review the material, test yourself on contents of project documents, plans, etc. This helped me to connect why these documents are used in the different processes.
  • I took the 6 full length practice exams in the couple weeks leading up to the exam once I had reviewed the material thoroughly. I approached it this way because at this point, I had reviewed the material a few times and was more prepared to sit through the exams. 

The obstacles I faced while studying was getting overwhelmed at times with the amount of material, and since there were overlapping plans and documents in the processes, learning to differentiate where they are used. 

I overcame this through reviewing the content a few times, asking myself questions and staying focused during my study sessions. 

I found it important to have a quiet space while studying that is free from distractions. During the summer months, I would sit outside to study because it allowed me to enjoy the weather while also being productive towards my goal. 

PMP Exam Experience

I scheduled to take the online proctored exam at home through OnVue so that I could get my exam result right away. My first strategy going into the exam was to pace myself as I completed the questions and flag any questions, I was unsure about so I could come back to them later. 

Some of the challenges while taking the exam online were:

  • No scrap paper, calculator, pen, etc was allowed on your desk. All tools to be used were provided virtually (highlighter, calculator, etc). 
  • Exam takers are NOT allowed to move their mouths to read the question back to themselves. This did throw me off in the exam because I like to read aloud or at least mouth to myself the question to better understand it. However, no movement of the mouth is allowed. 

Coming to the questions in the exam, I’ve following experience.

  • The questions in the exam are almost all situational and largely on agile/hybrid approaches. 
  • There were hardly any direct questions on the exam that referred to specific ITTOs, plans, documents, etc. Therefore, I think it is important to understand the content and memorization of each ITTO in each process is not required. 
  • I would also not focus a lot of time on mathematical questions as there are hardly any on the exam and the ones there are simple and can be solved using the virtual calculator. 
  • I had some matching and multiple response multiple choice questions in the exam that were simple to answer, majority of the exam was selecting 1 answer from the multi-choice questions. 
  • There are two 10-minute breaks that you get after each 60 questions completed. I recommend taking these breaks as they don’t take away from your exam time and it is a good time to give the mind a rest, give yourself that motivational talk or take a washroom break. 

I used the entire exam time allocated to complete the exam.

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants


  • Make a study schedule and do your best to follow it.
  • Make handwritten notes and read your notes out loud as well to review.
  • Talk to people in your network about their experience with the exam.
  • Schedule your exam once you are feeling confident because this way you will have a target timeline that you are working towards, and it will provide that boost in motivation knowing you are almost done!
  • Take some time off before the exam so that you can be fully dedicated to it, rather than context switching between work and study or other responsibilities.
  • Take breaks during the week so that your motivation remains consistent.
  • Complete your application at your earliest convenience so that your attention can be focused on the exam as the date approaches.


  • Don’t worry if you get practice questions, exams or exercises incorrect while preparing, read the explanations Satya provides and incorporate those learnings in other lessons/chapters where you can.
  • Don’t procrastinate too much in scheduling the exam, there will always be that feeling of preparing more but at some point, be confident in yourself and go for it!!
  • Don’t just be bookish, but think about your real-world experience, focus on what the PMBOK guide says is the correct way to deal with a situation, go through a process, etc.
  • Don’t Study off too many sources or courses. I find this can be confusing and can result in information overload.

Brief Profile: 

Shubhra Rishi, PMP.

Senior Project Coordinator

PMP 35 Contact Hours Online Course:

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