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PMP Certification: My New Year’s Resolution for 2023

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PMP Success Story of Nirav Savla

Introduction of Myself:

Hi, my name is Nirav P Savla and I am currently working as a Service Delivery Manager with Noventiq. I have good experience in both Operations Management & Project Management. I had initial exposure to Project Management during my e-MBA days (2012-14) where we studied Project Management as a separate subject however I was not able to apply the learning as I was in a more technical role. As of 2018 I shifted to full-time operations & project management and decided to gain an industry-level certification which would help me professionally and knowledge-wise as well. Hence, I decided to go for PMP and made it my New Year’s Resolution for 2022, although I cleared my exam in 2023. 

How I Managed to Find ProThoughts Solutions?

In 2022 one of my office colleagues cleared PMP and I was also looking for a reliable training partner. Basis his feedback I choose ProThoughts Solutions as I wanted to get the right training and guidance to excel in my PMP exam. And I am glad, it was a good choice.

How ProThoughts Helped Me Prepare for PMP?

First of all, let me thank Sejal, BDM from ProThoughts who showed great flexibility in making schedule changes for me as I was not prepared to attend the training due to professional commitments and travel. Finally, I enrolled in September 2022 training batch and just like most of my colleagues was pretty excited to learn, unlearn and relearn the fundamentals of Project Management.

We were trained by Mr. Saurabh Parikh, an industry veteran; an extremely knowledgeable personality, and a great human being. He made the training look so easy that we never felt the pressure. All 4 days of the training were excellent with small workshops, Q&As, and training downloads which allowed us to intake the right amount of knowledge. We also created a WhatsApp Group to share knowledge and resolve any queries. The entire training was very well managed by the ProThoughts team – right from logistics to knowledge transfer.

Post the training we were given training materials that helped us to clear our concepts and mocks that were lifesaving.

How Did I Prepare for PMP?

The actual battle starts after attaining 35 PDUs. You also have to submit your PMP application and cross your fingers. Fortunately, I got good guidance from Saurabh sir on the same on account of which my application was accepted and I was eligible to apply for the exam. I got the PMI membership in the same month and booked the exam for 15th February 2023 (just to be on the safer side). Do keep in mind the price difference in terms of PMI Membership + Exam and only Exam. Do keep in mind dollar rates as well 🙂

Month 1 – October 2022:

I set the clock on October 1st and started by reading Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep version 10 which is a great book to have your concepts in place. I went easy and as per the target set, I completely read the book by the end of the month. The book also contains excellent quizzes that help you test your knowledge. In between, I also read through the ProThoughts PMP materials as they acted as a pocket book for referring to and memorizing key concepts and terminologies.

Month 2 – November 2022:

This month was planned to take the 5 Mock exams from Prothoughts (1 every week) and give it as if you are sitting for your PMP Exam. These mock exams were really tough and at one point in time I totally lost my confidence. My average of all the 5 mocks was somewhere between 60-65%. If I translate this to PMP Exam standards I would probably be on the border – pass/fail is not guaranteed. But it gave me a reality check as to where I needed to focus – which were my strength areas and weak points to cover up. I also spent considerable time reviewing the wrong answers and brainstorming why they went wrong. 900 questions is a good sample size for getting a lot of your concepts clear. But PMP is very vast as it is a mix of both traditional and Agile methodologies with the recent change by PMI which makes the curriculum lot more interesting and challenging at the same time.

Month 3 – December 2022:

My personal experience states that you need to excel beyond one solution. So I started looking up on the internet for any free mocks available which would have been posted from September onwards (just to have recent ones), read through a couple of blogs to understand the overall exam methodology and the experience shared by other PMP Pass outs, watch videos on YouTube regarding key concepts and do video mocks (yes there are quite a few video mocks available which is a good source for practice) which helped me to gain some confidence. Spoke to a few friends who had given PMP recently and cleared as well just to get an idea. But trust me guys – their experience will only help you to build confidence. PMP exam questions are not the same for everyone hence your exam experience is only yours…you can only make assumptions and feel good about it. So, December was also spent going through PMBOK7 and I took a break after a hectic schedule to spend some time on vacation.

Month 4 – January 2023:

The actual pressure started building up now that the exam was just 45 days away and I felt that I had forgotten everything after the long vacation. Professional commitments also started gearing up as everywhere offices were starting up as Christmas and New Year were over. Suddenly, exam anxiety started and I felt if I did the right thing by investing so much money in this certification which I was not sure if I would be able to clear! But that’s where I took a drastic step. I preponed the exam to 1st February. I challenged myself to overcome this exam anxiety and certification fatigue. I skipped through Rita Mulcahy’s book again, read Agile Practice Guide, and started to reappear for the Mocks available on the internet just to refresh my knowledge. Luckily it was all there in the subconscious and it was only my mind playing tricks on me! This time I scored 70-75% in mocks and finally got my confidence back. Prothoughts Mocks I re-attempted in the last week of the exam day.

Exam Day – 1st February 2023:

I booked the exam at Pearson Vue test center in Chakala, Mumbai. I visited the location a month back just to confirm the route. My exam was at 8 am which meant I have to start at least at 5:30 AM from my home to reach the test center 30 mins early as advised by PMI. I don’t know what it was but I woke up at 1:30 am in the morning and couldn’t sleep thereafter…ended up watching some replays of political debates and completed watching a movie on Hotstar. While traveling by train and metro to the test center I studied EVM formulas and mugged all the 7-8 key formulas just in case. Also, went through some key concepts on google that I felt I had forgotten.

The Prometric exam center experience was interesting. They check everything – not a metal goes inside the test room. You can only speak with the center officials and not with other candidates. If you violate any rules you are booked for a rule violation and might end up forfeiting the exam. So, anyone who is taking the exam from the Prometric center – just follow the rules…keep mum…if you pass go out and shout…if you fail go out and cry.

Exam Itself:

  1. I got 180 questions (no extra 20 questions…not sure why)
  2. The exam had a good mixture of Agile and Traditional questions.
  3. The first few questions were a bit difficult – it gives you goosebumps in the right area.
  4. I followed a simple method – mark only those questions for review that you are 100% sure you answered correctly. If you are 100% gutsy/sure do not review that question just to avoid too much time leakage.
  5. Luckily, didn’t get any questions on EVM. Highly disappointed as had done a lot of practice on EVM.
  6. Lots of good and moderately easy questions on People Domain – if your agile and traditional concepts on people management are clear you will ace these questions. 
  7. Quite a few questions on compliance and risk management so a good scoring opportunity if these concepts are clear.
  8. Tricky questions on contracts (procurement process), stakeholder management & processes.
  9. Overall a moderately difficult exam but if you have studied quite well you will get through. Take all two breaks to clear your mind.
  10. I spent approx. 70 mins for the first 60 questions; approx. 70 mins for the next lot and 60 mins for the last. The last lot was comparatively easy than the other two.
  11. Although I had enough time, in the end, I just wanted to end the exam and cross my fingers. I just had a feeling that I might clear but didn’t know I would ace with 3 ATs.

PMP Life Tip: 

PMP is an exhaustive curriculum hence if you are appearing for the first time ensure you sit for the exam within 3-4 months. This is where the knowledge remains fresh and exam anxiety and certification fatigue have still not knocked your mind bells.

PMP certification is an investment in a lot of areas – financially, emotionally, and mentally. You have to ensure you get it right on the first attempt! And for that, you have to think about how PMI pursues project management. PMP Exam experience is different for everyone and hence please take the above points as references only. There is no set design for giving/passing the PMP exam – just go with the flow…keep an eye on the timer and believe in yourself.

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