The following are the lessons learned from Mr. Solomon Hassan Kuta, who is a regular visitor to this blog and who has passed the PMP exam.
The 3rd of October 2018 was an important milestone in my career as a project manager. On this day I passed the PMP certification exam.
My journey to PMP certification started several months before in November 2017, when a senior team member in my company, who is a PMP, organized a session to pitch the PMI standards of project management. He conducted many sessions.
These made me curious to learn more. However, there was a problem. All training programs were based on the PMBOK Guide 5th Edition and the 6th was imminent. How was I going to reconcile this when I didn’t know the extent of the changes in the next edition?
To keep pace with the sessions, I read Head First PMP 3rd Edition that was based on the PMBOK Guide 5th Edition.
These sessions lasted several months, going until May 2018 when I joined a 35 contact hours PMP training program with Ceil Consulting. It was a different ball game. The trainer, Obalim Esedebe, was a maestro in the art of content delivery; this was the first sign that I could get the PMP certificate.
I was following the latest PMBOK Guide and the 9th edition of Rita Mulcahy’s PMP exam prep guide by the time we started the PMP training.
I tried questions from the fast track software. Though I had proper training and went through the PMBOK Guide and Rita’s PMP Exam prep guide, I still had grey areas. That was when my online research led me to another maestro of PMI content delivery, Fahad Usmani, and his blog PMStudyCircle and PMSprout.
Fahad’s blog played an important role in my success. After completing my training I had doubts on many concepts, so I would head to PMStudyCircle and read as many of those posts as I could each time I wanted to get my groove back or get the PMP juices flowing again. These blog posts were helpful.
In summary, aspiring PMP candidates should have the following in mind:
#1: Most Important
If Solomon can do it, I can do it.
#2: Rediscover Yourself
Find out what works for you. Don’t stay awake all night learning nothing. Take a break each time you find yourself stuck on a few lines, or are having difficulty understanding those lines, etc. If it is nighttime, just go to bed.
#3: Get Set Early
Pick an exam date but don’t aim to be ready by this date. Instead, build your confidence that you will be prepared a week before. You should read through Fahad’s posts on PMStudyCircle. Yes, that’s how good the content of this blog is.
Find professionals who have attempted the exam and who will take it soon. Discuss PMP related issues, crack PMP jokes, use terminologies in conversations, etc.
#5: Google is Your Friend
Search on Google. Look it up, from two to three different sources if you are having difficulty with a concept. Break it down just as you would when creating the WBS. I advise you to use the bottom-up method, i.e., your entire preparation is a building process—lay a good foundation. Do this early.
You may feel intimidated while practicing questions or attempting the mock test, so never say never. You will score better with practice. Questions entrench the concepts we have learned, so learn from each wrong answer. Our strength is made perfect in weakness.
#7: Time is Not Your Friend
You can never have enough simulated exam conditions. Look for software programs like PMP Fast Track. NEVER MAKE THE MISTAKE OF THINKING that four hours is enough for 200 questions. Practice exam simulations and mock tests as many times as you can. I highly recommend it.
#8: Pay Attention to Communication
Make sure you read through all emails from the test center, e.g., for information about bringing the right ID or policies such as no more brain dumping during the awareness session of the PMP exam.
#9: Prepare for the Worst
Prepare your mind for the worst frisk you will ever get. This threw me off balance because the search before the entry into the exam hall was comprehensive, so be prepared.
Examine your diet as the exam approaches. I ate plenty of bananas in the morning and before the exam! I wanted “the monkey effect.”
Invest in study resources as much as possible and use media that makes sense to your personality and learning style. Study before you use audio or videos. For example, don’t choose audio lessons or videos without first reading through hard copy materials.
The materials I used include Head First PMP 3rd Edition, PMP Exam Prep, PMP Rapid Review, PrepCast videos, online materials (PMStudyCircle was the main online resource for me), the PMBOK Guide, PMP training kit, and more. Refer to at least two materials if you have any grey areas.
Read as you have never prayed and pray as you have never read for the exam. With your determination and God, you are limitless.
Impossible does not exist for you!
Did you pass the PMP exam and want to share your lessons learned with the community? Please contact me at [email protected]