Joseph's pmp exam lessons learned

This is a PMP exam lessons learned by Mr. Joseph Fertig, who is a regular visitor to this blog.

Project management has been a part of my career for the last 14 years, but it was two years ago when I considered getting my PMP certification. I was jobless and searching for a job.

I realized that having a PMP certification would make me more marketable. At the time, I couldn’t pursue it; however, when I got a job in February, getting this credential became my goal for 2017.

Unfortunately, my hectic schedule prevented me from making this happen. During the late summer or early fall of 2018 when my work pressures lessened, I started research on how to get the PMP certification.

I realized that it would take a lot more effort than I thought. On the internet, tons of information is available and it is challenging to wade through it all and find the resources that speak to you.

I came across Fahad’s PM Study Circle during my searches. This resource spoke to me. It was enlightening and encouraging to read the stories of those who had taken the PMP exam and passed it. The blog is an excellent resource for learning project management concepts.

I took the exam and passed it with good results, “Above Target” in four domains and “At Target” in the Initiating domain. The following are my lessons learned during the process of obtaining my PMP:

Lesson #1

Commitment is essential to getting this certification. I mean that I was not serious about this until I purchased and started the 35 contact hour training course. Underestimating the time commitment required for the PMP is easy.

I got a shot in the arm when I was laid off at the end of 2018. That reinforced my resolve to get my PMP credential and to become more desirable in the job market. The process became real once I scheduled the exam.

Lesson #2

Many training providers can help you earn 35 contact hours in project management. It can be hard to weed out inappropriate providers and pick an excellent one. The PM Study Circle Blog was helpful in this, as there is an in-depth review of three courses (all PMI-approved REPs), which helped me to select GreyCampus as my provider, although the other two appear to be well suited too.

Along with the training, other study resources were also required. After evaluating the various offerings, I selected Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep book, the PMBOK Guide and Fahad’s blog. I ended up reading Rita’s book three times, the PMBOK Guide twice and watching the GreyCampus video series twice.

Lesson #3

I looked up topics that I did not understand as I progressed through the training. I searched on Google, YouTube, and browsed Fahad’s blog. PM Study Circle was very helpful in this way. It helped me to understand the concepts better and internalize them.

Lesson #4

It is essential to work through simulated exams. I tried 900–1,000 questions during the process. The crucial part was reviewing missed answers and working through them.

This helped me to internalize the information. It also helps to understand the pace at which you answer the questions. During the exam, I answered all 200 questions in 2-1/2 hours, leaving me plenty of time to review.

Lesson #5

It is important to have a structured study plan as it is easy to procrastinate. Having a set time each day and not studying on the weekends, except on occasion, made it easier to progress through the material.

Lesson #6

As others have suggested, I did not work the day before the exam, except for reviewing formulas and what I planned to write down at the beginning of the session.

Lesson #7

Before you start the exam, you go through airport security. You have to store all of your belongings in a locker and show the test center personnel your empty pockets, your wrists, and ankles. They will examine your glasses, and you get scanned with a wand. This happens every time you re-enter the exam room, even after bathroom breaks.

Lesson #8

While reviewing the answers, I visited the marked questions first and then reviewed the rest. I found myself second-guessing during this time, so I tried to review the questions for obvious wrong answers. That can drive you a little crazy, so try to avoid it.

Overall, I think you must be serious about the commitment and the time it takes.

My final lesson learned is this: If I can do it, then you can do it as well! 

Did you pass the PMP exam recently and want to share your lessons learned with the community? Please contact me at [email protected]