The following are the lessons learned from Harshala Patel.
It feels great to pass the PMP exam on the first try. But, trust me, it requires discipline and dedicated efforts.
My PMP exam preparation started in October 2019.
I got my 35 contact hours training program from L & T Project Management Institute. It is my previous employer’s in-house institute that invites trainers and conducts such training programs for its employees and external candidates.
The training program required students to the PMBOK Guide at least once, even if you don’t get it the first time. So I read it. Afterward, I started reading Rita Mulcahy, which helped clarify the PMBOK Guide concepts. It took two months of disciplined reading to finish Rita Mulcahy. Solving the exercises was very helpful.
While reading the PMBOK Guide for the first time, I underlined the important points for later reference.
I revised Rita Mulcahy a second time, along with the PMBOK Guide. This time I finished my reading in 15 days and my confidence level was high.
After this, I focused on the ITTOs using flashcards provided by the training program. It took more time than expected as I got confused. At this time, I referred to Fahad’s blog and learning notes and built my flow chart for the ITTOs. He explained most of the concepts in straightforward language, which helped a lot.
I read Rita Mulcahy a third time to revise concepts. Now was the time to gauge how well I knew the concepts. I started solving PMP practice questions like Oliver Lehmann’s 200 questions and online questions through the “PMP Exam Prep” app, which gave me more confidence.
Fahad’s 400 questions helped me to check and verify my knowledge. I solved over 1,500 practice questions on different platforms, including the Whizlabs mock exam simulator. With this, I felt I was ready for mock tests and started attempting mock tests, which were very challenging considering the time pressure, lengthy questions, and struggling to stay seated for 240 minutes.
I tried five mock tests. I was scoring around 65%, so I worked hard to improve my scores to above 80%. At this time, I felt confident and planned to schedule the exam. Every time I attempted any mock test and reached the 200th question, the duration was close to 240 minutes, which left no time to review marked items.
On D Day
I was nervous but confident. I knew that my biggest struggle would be time management. I set a target to finish 50 questions every hour, which I did during my first hour. But the next 50 questions were more complicated and tricky, and so they took 75 minutes to complete.
This pressure to make up the lost time made me more nervous. The next two hours were now pivotal. Even though I could not afford to take any breaks, I still took a 3-minute break to have water. Since you cannot have water on your desk, you must go to your allocated locker to access your water bottle. Caution, they allow nothing in the examination hall except your ID.
I completed all 200 questions in 235 minutes. I had only 5 minutes to review the marked items, but I could review only ten questions. As I felt confident about the answers, I didn’t change any.
When the time was up, it automatically submitted my answers, and within a few seconds, “Congratulations” was flashing on the screen, which gave me tremendous happiness. My hard work of five months was worth it for this moment.
I want to thank Fahad for his blogs, learning notes, “The A2Z of the PMP Certification Exam” book, and the PMP Question Bank with 400 questions that helped me achieve my goal of passing the PMP exam on the first attempt successfully.