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My PMP Certification Exam Success Journey (November 2019) – Mr. Karthik Narayanan


PMP Certification Journey:

Hi, I’m Karthik Narayanan with 12+ years of professional experience in the various industries ranging from IT-BPO, E-Commerce & Specialty Chemicals & I’m certified Project Management Professional. I thought, I’d pen down my experience of cracking PMP certification, which could help prospective PMP aspirants. This post could be lengthy, and I am sorry for that. By now, you would have gone through various articles, blogs, videos, etc. of passing PMP exam and this will be one among many, so here I go:

1. Initiation:

Image source: Google

In the last 4-5 years, I’m involved only in Projects in my organization. Many as Project Lead/ Project Manager & some as a project team member. None of my organisations had or have PMO nor they have heard about it (except a few senior executives). The idea of PMP came into my mind when I interacted with senior executives within my organization, who also my customer/stakeholder. I noticed one common thing among them. They all were interested in knowing “Cost, Profit, Quality (Customer Satisfaction) & potential Business Impacts (I call it as Risks) & how early it can be completed (Delivery)”. Frank & honest admission, I was struggling to meet my stakeholder expectations. I’ve heard from my friends, senior leaders about PMP, which gives guidance to address all these points. That’s when I decided to pursue PMP certification. I had included in my Developmental actions for 2019.

2. Planning:

I started doing my research on the PMP certification program. I went through various blogs, articles, YouTube videos, etc. I started my research to know PMP exam passing criteria, how difficult exam is, the success rate of passing, any easy way of cracking the exam, etc, followed by costs rather than what PMP offers to professionals in terms of skills & knowledge. I even went to the extent of giving mock tests. All it did to me was to only demotivate & have a big impact on the confidence level. I strongly encourage not to follow this approach.

While I was searching for PMP training centers, I came across many test centers and one among them was ProThoughts. I carefully validated what they offer and how I’ll be benefited, my best case of enhancing skillset & of course to crack the exam. It ticked all my requirements and I had a long discussion with ProThoughts coordinator, clarified all my queries, and got enrolled myself July 2019 batch. For me personally, the best thing about ProThoughts as an institute, they instill self-confidence, positive attitude in cracking PMP exam. This aside from study material, contents, etc.


3. Execution & Monitoring my Preparation:

Classroom session spanned for 4 days (2 Saturday & Sunday) and batch had aspirants from various industries, and it was a very interactive session and all concepts were clearly briefed and explained. Most importantly all queries were explained and answered. If I’ve to mention about Study materials, I never referred PMBOK even once. This should give an idea, the quality of study materials provided by ProThoughts.

I submitted my PMP exam application and got the confirmation within a week. I then paid my examination fees and scheduled my exam in November 2019. Not to forget, ProThoughts also helps in the submission of the application (write-ups, templates, validation of 4500 hours, etc).

My approach to preparation for the exam was simple. Complete 2-3 Knowledge areas every week by dedicating minimum 1-2 hours in a weekday & 3-4 hours during the weekend. First, I went through presentation slides (blue book), then Rita & vice versa depending on knowledge areas. I went through all “Tips & Tricks” mentioned in Rita Mulcahy’s book. Target was to complete reading the book in 30 days.

ProThoughts provides 4 Mock Tests. Remaining 30 days, I started to focus on my improvement areas basis on results from mock tests. I consistently struggled in Quality, Risks Management Knowledge areas a whole, here and there in Procurements, Stakeholder engagement & other knowledge areas, Monitor and Controlling process groups & tools and techniques of all knowledge areas. One plus point & motivating factor was with every mock test, my score was improving. 2 days before the exam, I again went through complete study materials, attempted all questions provided at the end of each knowledge area chapters in Rita book. I tried to memorize “Tool & Techniques” but failed miserably. Never recommend memorizing as it confuses more. Apart from the above points, the major challenge for me was to concentrate for 4 hours. I realized immediately after my 1st mock test. Long story short

  • Complete Rita book & other study materials in first 30 days
  • Focus on areas of improvement basis on outcome of result from Mock test in the next 30 days.
  • 2 days before the exam try to refresh complete study materials
  • Attempt all questions provided at the end of each knowledge area chapters in Rita book
  • Never memorize any concepts except Formulae.
  • Practice mock tests for improving concentration level & focus. This can be a serious factor to fail in the exam.
  • Not to put extra stress & pressure by over-preparation thereby studying 5-6 hours every day. Remember this is not your graduation exam or entrance exam. PMP is a set of best practices.

4. Closure:

Mission accomplished. I’m Certified Project Management Professional. I attempted an exam of this nature, after a gap of 13 years. It took a while for me to get back to the exam frame of mind, but I enjoyed the journey. Treat Rita & other study material as a reckoner and also try to refer this book whenever you encounter a problem in your project. I can see quantum leaps in my confidence level & approach towards handling projects now. Initially, it will be difficult to understand, but very soon, your mind will get adjusted to the lingo.

Wishing you good luck for the exam. If I can Pass, so can you!!


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