Wednesday, April 11, 2018

PMP Live Lessons Success Story: The Journey Itself An Experience To Cherish and Is The Reward

By Rizwan Khan, PMP




Introduction
I was looking to be educated in Project Management, heard about PMP from a friend and the impact it could make on my career. This developed an interest in me to pursue. I started going through the needed content and found it to be very interesting. Next, I found out the prerequisites for the examination, had a checklist prepared and got enrolled into classroom learning. 

PMP Coaching Experience
In the hunt to get the 35 Contact hours, I selected Knowledge Hut as the schedule given was the best match for me. I was part of Satya’s classes, which was my first decision and glad to mention it as one of the best decisions I made. The least I was aware that being in that class would have such huge influence in my journey to become a PMP. 

The knowledge shared and motivation given by Satya in the classroom sessions helped build a strong base of confidence. The unique ways of teaching, with real time examples, connected the whole learning experience with the real world and made it easier to understand and digest. I still admire how the 47 processes across the knowledge areas and process groups where explained in a sequence which helped me to remember them, without any memorization. It was told like a story.


At first it appeared to be a big task just to remember the names of the 47 processes across the Knowledge Areas and Process Groups. But, as Satya rightly mentioned in the beginning of the class, by the end of the 4th day every person will remember all of them. The sequencing of the processes helped establish the link within the whole course content and making it appear like a story, as I mentioned earlier.  

The tips shared in the class, the acronyms used for complex names, all the mathematical computations or formulas, made it easy for me to remember and apply. The entire 4-days of coaching was an unexpected blessing. 

At the end of the coaching we were given a 30-question test to evaluate our readiness for the exam. My score showed that I need to invest more for my exam preparation. But, Satya’s motivation, the PMP success stories on Management Yogi Blog, kept me charged throughout and helped achieve this success in 3 months.

Own Study
After getting the 35 contact hours, I moved on and filled up my examination form by the beginning of December 2017. I took a week to gather all information and submitted the application. After application’s approval, I started reading the PMBOK GUIDE 5th EDITION. But that was not helping me much as after a long day at work I was tired and reading it was not helping.

Soon enough the PMP LIVE LESSONS was released by Satya. By mid-December I had the PMP LIVE LESSONS course. It was just like attending his interactive classroom sessions. After a full day from work, now I just had to watch the Video Lessons. It was exciting and I had to put little effort as compared to reading a book. And understanding the contents as well as the concepts was easier. They all are explained in simple terms in the PMP LIVE LESSONS course.

It took me around 2 months to complete the PMP Live Lessons course. After completing the course, I went through the PMBOK guide and the PMP LIVE LESSONS again together. This time the PMBOK guide was easier to understand. During this process I also took chapter wise practice questions.

With 3 Weeks left for the Exam I started attempting the full-length question sets and tried completing 200 questions within a 4 hours window. In The first question set, I ran out of time with 3 questions left and for the subsequent ones, I could complete the question sets in around 3.5 hours. 

I referred the followings for my preparation.
  • PMP LIVE LESSONS by Satya Narayan Dash
  • PMBOK Guide 5th Edition By PMI
  • PMP Exam Prep QnA By Christopher Scordo

Earlier in the process of studying I realized that, it is critically important to practice more sample questions. It also helps to achieve the level of concentration required during the exam. 

After investing good amount of time on learning through the PMP LIVE LESSONS and the PMBOK guide, I was still not very comfortable or confident as would end up scoring not more than 65% across the question sets. My target would be a 75%. Yet, one thing that kept me going was the thought of having spent all the time in studying for the past few months – and just a few more days to achieve my dream of being a PMP!

I invested more time and effort thereafter and spent more time understanding the purpose of the processes, the key tools and techniques as mentioned by Satya in the PMP LIVE LESSONS. Once I had a wholesome understanding of the story, I took a 100 Questions from Christopher Scordo’s book. This time I scored above 80% and gained back my confidence. I also realized that the questions in the PMP LIVE LESSONS were of very high quality which pushed me to prepare harder in the earlier days of preparation.


Review – PMP LIVE LESSONS
The four main reasons I bought PMP LIVE LESSONS were:
  1. I had complete confidence in Satya’s knowledge, ability and dedication towards aspirants getting PMP after the 4 days of classroom session.
  2. With limited time in hand (As the PMBOK Guide 5th Edition was expiring on 26th March 2018), I had to prepare faster for the exam.
  3. I approached Satya to know more about the PMP LIVE LESSONS and I received a set of sample videos. These videos were just like his classroom sessions I attended. 
  4. The icing on the deal was this - It is a Money Back Guarantee! I had nothing to lose.  

There are many interesting aspects in the PMP LIVE LESSONS which will make it an amazing learning experience. 

Of all, the best ones I liked were:
  1. The Yogic Vision Tips given at frequent intervals and the Yogic Revision Tips, which always helped recall things done earlier and help establish the connection among concepts.
  2. In every Knowledge Area there is a video called “What Happens?”. This explained the sequence of events and the difference between the key benefits and purpose of the processes within a Knowledge Area.
  3. Risk Management was explained in the easiest possible way with all the process in the Risk Management Knowledge Area put into a single video over 2 slides covered the entire flow of processes in the Risk Management Area. This was an example of a complex concept told like a story.
  4. EVM was explained with its real-time use with the help of graphs which helped understand the formulas than just memorizing the formulas.
  5. Exercises in the form of Flowcharts at the end of the Knowledge Areas or chapters would help connect the chapter / Knowledge Areas with others as it was always iterative and interconnected. 

After completing the PMP LIVE LESSONS, I had a better understanding of each knowledge area from the exam point of view. It helped identifying the aspects in which one needs to be prepared and the pattern of the questions. 

The full-length question sets on the other hand helped manage the timing for each question and helped maintain the concentration levels for 4 hours at a stretch. It was effectively useful to measure the time I was spending per question compared to the amount of time I should be spending per question. It was always more interesting to go back and self-evaluate after completing the sample tests and to learn from the mistakes made through the course of the test.

PMP Exam Experience
I started looking for an exam centre nearby to my locality, Monterrey, Mexico. Early in January, I scheduled the exam for 19th March. This helped me to plan my study by keeping the exam date as a target. I had only one slot available 2 PM to 6 PM, I took it. 

There was no master strategy, except this: take every question individually, do not carry the baggage of previous questions into the upcoming ones. 

For the easier questions, I ran through them quickly and that made time for the lengthier or the mathematical questions. I always wanted to be sure that I have 50 questions answered in 1-hour max. which is exactly how I played. It helped me complete 200 questions in 3 hours and 50 Minutes. I came back to check the marked questions (very few) and I changed the answer for only one of them. Finally, I submitted with 5 min left.

The 4 Hours exam was an experience I would remember all my life. Every question out there is to test your understanding, i.e., do you understand what the PMBOK guide say. 
  • To my surprise, there were 4 to 5 questions only on Pareto Diagram.
  • A dozen on questions on Earned Value Management (EVM), which included questions to find variance; EVM graph questions, questions to calculate EAC etc.
  • One question on Matrix organization.
  • Few questions on Control Chart.
  • Several Risk and Quality Management related questions.
  • A couple of questions on the types of contracts.
  • Handful questions regarding Change Requests and Change Control System.
  • A couple of questions which had a paragraph of write-up in the beginning but the question was just in last line of the paragraph and to my surprise the paragraph was not required at all to answer the question asked.

During the exam, after little over 2 hours and 110 questions done, I started losing my concentration level and felt exhausted. I stopped right there and took a break. The break lasted 2 minutes exactly. Two minutes of stretching gave my mind the freshness to start all over again. After the break I felt the same level of concentration as I had in the beginning of the exam and the journey continued.

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants
Dos 
  • At least spend 1 hour a day. This helps to maintain continuity.
  • It’s all about understanding the reason or purpose of having a Process or a Tool or a Technique. 
  • Practice more and more questions.
  • Your first round of studying may not help understand everything. So, go through the same content repeatedly.
  • 12 to 18 hours before the exam, just relax. Save yourself for the 4-hour long Exam. 
  • During the examination, put yourself into the shoes of a Good human being, an ethical Project Manager or Resource Manager and that will help answer some questions well.

Don’ts
  • Being clam is the key. Do not rush even if you feel you are running behind time. To avoid this situation, maintain a steady speed from the beginning. Full-length Sample question sets will help practise for time management. 
  • Do not learn or explore new things or materials in the last couple of days, rather take more practice questions or revise through the learned concepts.

Conclusion
I have now started reading through the PMBOK GUIDE 6th Edition. It is really exciting to know the changes in the new Edition. The PMP credential is not just about a book or a guide, as Satya had mentioned in the class. It also develops your character and personality. I intend to lead projects with the knowledge acquired through this learning and drive my career towards becoming a knowledgeable Project Manager, who can apply these learnings in real-world situations.

Brief Profile 
Mohammed Rizwan Khan
Technical Analyst Intermediate, 
Global Support Services, 
JDA Software.
I joined my first and current organization, JDA Software, Bangalore, on 1st July 2013. Thereafter had various roles as part of Cloud L2 team and moved onto the Cloud L3 team, being responsible for a handful of projects on JDA Cloud and currently part of the Global Support Services at JDA Software Mexico. 




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