PMP Tips

Trying to list down and summarize some of the important points and learning’s from my PMP preparation here.

To start with one needs 35 contact hours which can be obtained from any REP (Registered Service Provider) with PMI. One needs to send a certificate from your REP in case you get audited. You also need to have 3 years of Project Management experience for graduates or 5 years in case you are have a Diploma. Now it need not be in the capacity of a project manager, but you should be doing few activities that a PM does.

Steps
1) Register with the preparatory course to get the 35 contact hours.
2) Register with PMI and get the membership ($129).
3) Fill out the education details, details about your 35 contact hours and the experience summary sheet online on PMI site
4) PMI will evaluate your details and come back to you in a 4-5 days time (You will get an email on your registered email id).
5) Now you would be required to pay the exam fees ($405). After the payment PMI, will flag your application for either as “being audited” or as “proceed with exam scheduling”
6) In case if you are audited, download all the summary sheets for all the projects you have filled in. Get the sign on the summary sheet as well as sealed envelope from your supervisor mentioned in the project information. Send it to the PMI. PMI will take a week’s time to verify the details. After verfication your application will be flagged as “proceed with exam scheduling”.
7) For exam scheduling connect to the prometric site, select the exam center in your area and book your day. The exam can be rescheduled in case if you need to prepone or postpone. Try booking early to avoid a last minute hassle.

The keys to passing the exam would be
1) Having a focused schedule of 3 to 4 Months. The more you delay this, it starts getting on your nerves, so have a strict and crisp schedule
2) Read through the full PMBOK guide, its boring but it’s essential.
3) Read through one more preparatory book like Rita Mulkahy’s Book or Andy Crowe’s Book. There are lot of topics that PMBOK does not cover.
4) Give lots and lots of MOCK tests and don’t forget to give at least two to four full length (4 hour) mock tests.

Tips
1) Once you have decided to take up the exam, it’s always recommended to register as a member. This would also create a motivation for you as there is money at stake 🙂
2) Read through the Credential Handbook before filling up the online application form.
3) Always fill up the summary sheet in an excel sheet or on paper before filling up the online form. This will make filling up the form much easier.
4) Make sure all the past Manager’s of yours are reachable. In case any one of the manager is not, find out the alternative person who can authenticate the info you are providing.
5) Make sure you talk with your Managers and share all this information with them before submitting the information to PMI.
6) In case of audit, you would be required to get the experience summary sheets signed from the respective managers and send it to PMI as physical hard copies.
7) Sitting there at the prometric for 4 hours, meticulously reading each question (200 in total) and going though the process of selecting the BEST answer from the 4 choices, using all your knowledge and conviction, is quite challenging. So have a plan.
8) Take minimum two breaks. I took one after 100 questions and one after completing 200 and before starting with the review.
9) Depending on your strategy you may want to finish all the questions quickly and give more time for review (2 and half for test and 1 and half for review) or take more time while answering the questions itself, so that you need to review only a few questions later. I took the second approach, as reading and understanding the question is very crucial and can sometimes even test your English grammar skills as well, so understand the question before you answer.
10) Some of the questions might have an entirely different answer, after changing probably a single word in the question. So make sure you read the right question.

Study Tips
1) I went chapter by chapter, knowledge area wise, read the PMBOK guide chapter and then the Rita’s Book chapter and gave the test from the Rita’s book for that knowledge area
2) There are few people who recommend audio prepcasts by Cornelius Fitchner. They say it’s much more interesting to hear as Cornelius gives lot of real life examples. This is very good for people who want to utilize time while they are travelling etc .
3) Try studying everyday probably an hour, rather than relying completely on weekends.
4) Memorize and try to reproduce the process chart on page 43 of PMBOK guide 4th Edition.
5) A “Brain Dump Sheet” with the list of all the formulas as ready reckoner can also help. All these formulas can be listed down on a sheet of paper before you start exam. You can do that after you have finished the tutorial. The tutorial is for 15 minutes, but gets over in 5 minutes. The remaining 10 minutes can be used for the brain dump sheet.
6) Oliver Lehmann’s site has few good questions as online test as well as downloadable PDF
7) Headfirst also has good questions and can be downloaded in PDF format.
8) Some of the best sites for online exams were..

http://pmstudy.com/2009PMP/sim1/evaluate.asp
http://www.threon.com/en/academy/pmp-certification-prep/pmp-test-questions/
http://www.preparepm.com/mock1.html
http://www.oliverlehmann.com/pmp-self-test/75-free-questions.htm

Here in Polaris, the Nalanda, our corporate university took some initiative and formed a group of 20-25 PMP aspirants. We used to meet once every week for a span of around 2 months. We had few subgroups formed among ourselves and were assigned the different knowledge areas from the PMBOK guide. Each week a subgroup would present a knowledge area. One of the senior PMP people would answer our queries and we might even have few detailed discussion on some of the obscure concepts, a kind of collective studying effort. This kind of interactive session gave us some idea about what PMP is all about. The tests conducted post these sessions could also gave us a bit of exposure to the kind of questions. Few of the advantages that we had because of these knowledge sharing sessions were.

1) We could discuss some of the topics with peers and this gave more insight into the topic.
2) There was sharing of knowledge as well as studying experiences
3) The post session tests prepared by Nalanda could highlight our weak areas and gave us an indication as to where to we stand as of today.
4) Few of the study tips from the senior PMPs were equally useful
5) Nalanda also provided enough guidance in terms of filling up the experience summary sheet while applying for the exam.

Happy Studying !!!!

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