Saturday, January 16, 2016

PMP Success Story: Understand the Concepts Well Instead of Memorizing and Have Sufficient Practice Tests



Rajelakshmi Mohan successfully cracked the PMP® exam in the beginning of this year. Her timeline was short, but determined as you can read in this post.


Rajelakshmi was part of my class in October, 2015. An enthusiastic person with a lingering smile, I rarely saw her energy coming down in my class. After being a successful PMP, she called from Mumbai to inform on the same day. I asked – “How was the experience”? She was not sure if she could really crack the exam while taking it, but continued with determination to answer. The end result is for everyone to see. She was indeed very happy to be a PMP. 

Below, she has outlined her experience – the learning from the classroom, her own preparation, notes/books she referred to and other practice questions. Go on and read her unique experience. 

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Introductory – Why I decided to be a PMP?
As I am planning to switch my job role from a technical leader to project manager role, I was advised by few colleagues to get myself PMP certified as it will help me understand the role of a PM. Also it will provide added advantage to my career.

I was looking for suitable course which will help me understand the concepts in a simpler way as I am more of a technical person and have limited experience on handling projects end to end. After finishing the 4 day PMP training and relevant mock test you will receive 35 contact hour learning from the provider.

My PMP Training Experience:
The PMP classroom learning experience, led by Satya Narayan Dash, was awesome. The concepts were explained with day to day examples which helped me understand and remember them. Also Satya always encouraged to revise the concepts, which were taught.

The key takeaways in the PMP training were to learn and understand as much as possible during the training, understand the 10 knowledge areas rather than mugging them up, and revise the concepts continuously as there are high chances of forgetting them.

In the training, Satya had advised to prepare the initiating, executing and closing process group very well, as this will increase your chances of clearing the exam. Also to practise as many mock exams as possible.

My Own Study:
My study plan was to study one knowledge area per day, and read regarding that knowledge area from other reference books as well. Then answer all the practice questions pertaining to that knowledge area. After completing the 10 knowledge areas in 10 days, I practiced 2 mock exams per day and note down the grey areas, then revisit and analyse the gaps in areas where I lacked.

Initially, I spent 4 hours per day. However during December, I was studying almost 8 hours as it was vacation time. The books that I referred were:
  • PMP notes from the 4-day session
  • Rita Mulchay’s PMP book
For the mock exams I referred to the below links, they are free mock exams.

My PMP Exam Experience:
As I didn’t get a slot in Bangalore, and hence, had to book my exam in Bombay. My only strategy was to complete the 200 question in 4 hours, and to answer the questions which I am confident about. The ones on which I am doubtful, I would mark them and review it later.

The questions in the exam are tricky as the choices are very close, so it always better to understand the concept rather than mugging it.

You get mathematical questions like critical path, EVM. Hence, it always good to practise these kind of questions very well, since you are sure to score in these kind of question which will help you in clearing the exam.

During exam, somewhere I lost hope and thought I might fail since most of the questions I was doubtful about the answer. But the very thought that I have come all the way from Bangalore and my family also taking so much trouble for me. I decided to give my best in every question. I regained my composure and answered the remaining questions.

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants:
- Dos
  • You must be well-versed with different kind of mathematical questions.
  • Understand the concepts of the knowledge areas and how each of them are inter-linked.
  • Practice the mock exams and try to finish before 4 hours, as during exam you don’t know how time flies. 
  • If you are stuck in any question, mark it, move on to the next question, and come back later.
- Don’ts
  • Mugging up the concepts will not help you much, as the questions in the exam are not direct.
  • Don’t panic before and during the exam, as a calm mind will only help you analyse the question and help you answer.

Conclusion:
PMP certification will give me the advantage to bag the Project Manager Role which I aspire to become in the next 4 months’ time within my organisation. Now my next plan is to get relevant training in handling projects within my organisation and move into a Project Manager’s role.

Brief Profile: I am Rajelakshmi Mohan and currently working as a Network Consulting Engineer at Cisco Systems. I have over six years of experience in networking domain.

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Rajeslakshmi’s online PMP credential is available at PMI’s online credential registry.


I am thankful to Rajelakshmi for sharing her experience. I believe it will help you – the aspiring PMP – to get your own.



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