Back in the year 2012
I’ve had colleagues, relatives, and friends who have been so scared of taking the PMP tests for ages. I know a guy who has been trying to be a PMP for the last 5 years. However, does not have the courage to sit for the exam till now..
What’s so scary about the PMP exam?
I guess with methodical planning, we all can pass with proficient ranking in all knowledge areas. 🙂
Before we get into how I prepared for the exam – here is some background information about myself –
I’ve been managing projects for the last few years – a total of 16+ years of experience. I have been part of dynamic companies like Microsoft, Tech Mahindra Sapient, etc.
I took a 4-day PMP prep class on 23rd Feb 2012 till 26th Feb 2012.
My leanings To crack the PMP Examination
Once you have eligibility criteria fulfilled (experience and the PDUs), there are 3 main steps:
1. Apply for PMP exam
Apply for the PMP exam at the PMI site ( I was a PMI member before and hence saved time to get the PMI member). PMI has an audit process, and your application can come in the audit – I was fortunate that it did not. However, a tip for all the people out there – Please ensure that any referral you write is correct and if required, you should be able to get in touch with him/her (for proof in case your application is selected for audit)
2. Select the Prometric center and the Day of Exam
After applying for the PMP exam, I used to check my email every hour – we all do that anyways.. I finally got a breath when the approval came after 2 days. Once I received the approval email from PMI, I logged in and paid the PMP fee online as per instructions. After the successful transaction, I could choose a Prometric center – Since I live in the NCR area, the only choice we have is Gurgaon center at Sohna Road. Selected that and the earliest date ( Kept my numerological auspicious no combination 🙂 and selected 21st March 2012)
3. Study as per Plan
Once all formalities were in place and a date, I had to ensure that I pass the exam, so I sat with all my thought processes to make a study plan.
A few things are essential:
Read a CORRECT Study material at least 2 times – There are key terms that you should be familiar with – even the way words have been used can change the meaning of the whole question. It helps if you’ve read PMBOK and can correlate.
Read A PMP Study book – This helps clear the thought process, establishing your PM experience with Knowledge areas and process groups and relating the key concepts along with the PMBOK way of thinking.
Attempt as many mock question sets as you can – This is the most important of all and needs to be done in order to understand the question type, PMI philosophy, and, on top of all, get confidence in your thinking.
My Journey of PMP
Once I got a handle on what needed to be done – I had only 14 days left to prepare for the exam, I ensured that I did mock tests (at least 50 questions) every day. And re–read whatever answer I was getting wrong. However – This is interesting: All the mock exams that are out there on the web may not have good questions. To top it off – the questions are not complete, and to add to the confusion – the answers are wrong
:).. another interesting phenomenon that I noticed was that most of these free mock exams have the same questions (incomplete, wrong, and copied), So don’t lose heart if you do not understand the question or do not understand the answer. Go back and read PMBOK, relate to your experience as PM, and go through the questions in open forums to get the correct answer. There are many people out there who can help!!
On the D Day – The Exam (PMP – Prometric center at Sohna Road Gurgaon):
Finally, the D day came.. and I arrived at the Prometric Center.
The Sohna Road Prometric – location-wise, no problem finding the place. It had a separate area where you can study if you have reached early.
In my case, I arrived at 11.30 am, whereas my exam was planned at 2 pm. The Prometric staff gave me a choice to either start my exam early or, if I want, I can study.
I chose to sit for the exam. I made the mistake of not bringing any food with me. It’s a 4-hour exam, and you feel a hunger strike in the middle ( I do when I have to think a lot). The Prometric staff helped me with the place of seating ( it’s like your office cubes, just the separation walls are higher, since the capacity is quite high ( I guess more than 20 people approx.) and people are giving different exams like nursing, executive, etc. – expect noise.
In my case, there was constant keyboard hammering noise (I guess 3 at least people were giving typing speed tests). This is not to scare you off but to give the perspective so you are prepared. I was allowed to take 4 breaks. However, I utilized only 2 ( the clock keeps on ticking even if you are on break – so you need to decide how much time you need for breaks to focus better)
Finally, after revisions and re-reading the question, I clicked on the submit button and prayed. But no results – The screen went blank… I was in shock – how can this happen – have I lost all my answers? What next?? Do I re-sit for the exam ??? Another 4 hours???? But then the coordinator at Prometric helped me – that was a survey screen (phew). After the survey, I prayed (again) and clicked submit…..
Saw the keyword “Congratulations,” and I felt the utter joy of passing the so-called PMP exam!!
What a feeling!! 🙂