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Pradeep Parameswara: Passed PMP Aug 18, 11 & Lessons Learnt

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Hi Friends,
I’m pleased to announce that I cleared my PMP Exam. Let me thank numerous good wishes from my friends, support forums like here. I appeared the course about 2 months back, I set a target of 45 days for the prep. My colleague and I started a study group, we were nearly 5, but only 2 of us appeared for the exam and both of us cleared it gladly. 

Exam had its standard, it was neither very tough nor very easy, knowing concepts is the key. I was able to answer all the question in 3 hours 40 mins, but used complete 4 hours. It had nearly 20% of each areas, ITTO related, risk response strategies, cost management calculations questions respectively, rest focused on the depth of understanding across all the areas. Memorizing things will not help in this exam.

Here is how I prepared:

  • Make sure you have time for light exercise, meditation and prayer daily, that really helps in concentrating the subject/studies and secondly, while dealing with the stress caused by 4 hours of writing in the exam.
  • 2 months back we made a timetable of chapters we are going to study/discuss in next 18 days, that included Saturday and Sunday. (Honestly, it took more time than expected, the lessons learned was ineffective time management).
  • We started our study using PMBOK and Head First PMP as the reference, Head first provides information very delicately, with care, first timers should refer to this book so that anything studied will get registered into the brain.
  • Pg 43 of PMBOK has a special memory for us, it was those times when we tried to memorize it, played game, i.e. which Knowledge area and what Process group & visa-verse.
  • Tired to understand the purpose of each processes. I used to get up at 4:30 in the morning, study the topic which we are going to be discussed, honestly speaking time used to run out and had to do a last minute preparation just before the discussion.
  • Go to the office an hour early prior to the office time, to have a discussion for 1 hour/day,
  • Discussed, debated, argued the processes, objective, purpose, example from real world scenario. This has helped us to a greater extent, if I have to say the most effective way, then it should be this. But make sure you have a good “Time management”, keep an eye on the distractions, loose talks, small talks etc.. you know what I mean! :)
  • Tried attempting exercises from Head first and some materials, at home. This served as a revision for us. difficult questions were dealt the subsequent day. For this I used to nearly spent an hour at night, some times I was not able to touch the book at night due to stressful work at office. So I used to solve exercises in the morning.
  • Once we got a general Idea of all the knowledge area, we focused our studies using Rita Mulchay Prep book. This book gives you a different angle to your study and thought process on Project Management. I should really be Thankful to this lady, so unfortunate to know that she is not anymore, I will definitely light candles for her.
  • Referred to Kim Heldman book when there was doubt, I liked the flow which takes lifecycle approach rather than knowledge area flow approach. Found it effective when I was going thru ETC, EAC formulas. Questions provided are good.
  • http://quizlet.com/subject/PMP/ gives few PMP flashcard games, I found it effective for ITTO.
  • Put the ITTO chart based on the process group so that I can identify the common Tools and Technique for different process. Important thing is to understand how the common tools and techniques are used differently among processes. For example Variance analysis is used in most of the processes in M&C process group, but employed differently.
  • When near to the exam, I tried solving many number of questions available from various resources provided in this forum, they are all very helpful. Main challenge was to keep up the time, so I downloaded a countdown clock fromhttp://www.nestersoft.com/timeleft/ that gives you a feel of restriction (time bound thought activity) and helps in planning for the real exam. I targeted at a rate of 3-4 mins earlier and gradually reduced it to 1.2 mins – 2 mins.
  • Subscribed to Rita PM Fast track, questions were very helpful, puts lot of thought process.
  • When it was about 42 hours from the exam, I made sure I go through the Glossary thoroughly.
  • Found YouTube video by Cornelius Fichtner very helpful.
  • Just before the exam make sure you had some food (not very heavy) before the exam, drink sufficient water.
  • Another thing is, it is not how many hours you are going to sit and study, but how much you understand, try to think about the subject from a large project perspective, situation of having to deal with large number of stake holders, difficult team, whilst being Responsible, Respectful, Fair and Honest (PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct isn’t it..).

One tip for those who are starting with PMP studies – take this exam as not just a means of passing the exam, but a beautiful journey of knowing the concepts, the joy in coaching someone who wants to pursue in project management, a way to for the betterment of things for which we can influence…

Wish you all have a nice day ahead, take care of yourself.. :)

Thanks,
Pradeep Parameswara (now PMP® – Feels good to see the tag… :) )

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