Thursday, March 10, 2011

My experience with success in PMP exam

Last Monday (March 7, 2011), I passed the PMP exam at prometric centre (Gurgaon), and it was much relieving for me when I saw "Congratulations" at the end of exam confirming me that I have cleared it successfully.

It took me real 2 aggregated months to feel little confident before my exam. How I prepared for it is a long story, but I definitely want to share with you my learnings during the course. That may help you in define your roadmaps who are preparing for same title.

I primarily read Rita Mulcahy's PMP EXAM PREP book (Edition 6), overall I referred to below listed useful references:
  • Rita Mulcahy's PMP EXAM PREP book (Edition 6)
  • PMBOK 4
  • Comprehensive notes on PMZilla
I also tried below listed mock tests:
One thing to motivate you regarding the mock tests is, my average score of all mock tests was less than 60% which is much lesser than to qualify real exam. It was highly demotivating factor for me but I kept trying with a vision to develop my approach to think for right answer while in exam mode. My main motive was to understand several PM processes and groups by their need/timings of required actions. I didn't crammed ITTOs but just got thru them to understand them in such a way so I can identify the right answer from options. I always did my gap analysis for wrong answers during mocks, this was really helpful to improve my knowledge.

Although it was difficult for me, but I always tried to think of correct answer based upon my understandings before looking at answer options (during mocks) so I can do the gap analysis during the preparation.

I'd say if you study 2-3 hours a day, it'd take max 2 months time for good preparation. Longer duration may divert your mind and make you tired. Daily study is an important factor for sure and 2 months are enough.

I planned my scope in 3 portions, and divided to study for 3 days on each portion:
Portion 1: PM framework, integration, scope, time, cost management areas. (most important part of book)
Portion 2: quality, hr, communication management areas.
Portion 3: risk, procurement and ethics/social areas.

I read all 3 portions thoroughly once, and then quick reviews 2-3 times. 2 days for one revision, and cycle goes on until exam. Between every revision I read other materials also (such as mocks, pmbok, wiki pages etc. for additional knowledge).

Also, one important thing: specially in last 10 days, every day 2-4 times, practice writing below items as fast as possible, it'd help you to create your cheatsheet during initial 15minutes on the big day.
  • process areas/processes matrix (page 43 of pmbok4)
  • organization matrix types and roles/responsibilities (page 28 of pmbok4)
  • all formulas etc.
  • 1,2,3,6 sigma %
Last one week is crucial - do overview full book every day. All should be on top of your mind during those days. Leave giving mocks during these days, as it always demotivated me with less scores :(

Plan 2 months for hard study and leave every other work that you do to keep you busy. Give your full mind to it only. I did no evening jog, no product development, no partying, no extra activities after my office, whatever takes my mind away from my PMP plan. Spend 2-3 hours a day to study (morning is better) but do it regularly every day to not break the momentum. Try to memorize all the headings in your book while driving the car/walking/before sleep/nature call times etc., discuss about exam and its advantages with spouse/family as much as you can to maintain interest, be positive, and get it done.

I'd be feeling lucky in case I can contribute to your success in PMP exam, please add comment here with your questions, and I'll be replying as best/early as I can.

The excitement during last 2 minutes drive you crazy coz you are very much done with your exam and survey feedback, and left with waiting for result only. The moment of fingers crossed, eyes on screen without flickering, can listen only heartbeat... and much much better when you see CONGRATULATIONS message on your screen. This was the time when I was hanged to see my computer continuously for 2-3 minutes before I realized I have done it. Then prometric issued me my scoresheet. PMI would be sending my certificate in next few days. I gave a call to my wife immediately I came out of the prometric centre, and I loved that reaction.

I wish all of you see the same message on your screens after your exams. Good luck guys.


sudhire said...

Hi Navdeep,

Congrats, Its means a lot to a PMP Studying person. Even i am planning to write the PMP exam. But the thing is i am not able to read without breaks. Pls let me know how did u study??? Frankly speaking i tried to attend some online exams. It seems no nearer to the study materials. And also ppl say its the toughest exam. Also a guy from my office wrote the exam 2 times and failed in both the attempts. It bought me bit of fear. After reading your blog i got bit cheers.

Sudhir Bhat

Sudhir Bhat

Navdeep Singh said...

Sudhir, I wish you best of luck for your PMP exam. Don't waste a single day to study, doesn't matter how much time you spend each day. Just be in touch of it, so it stays on top of your mind. And every day ask yourself to win this credential.

I'd suggest, you should plan to spend at least 1-2 hours every day (dont so tough) in PMBOK4 and RITA's EXAM PREP books. Online exam for practice purpose is OK, but don't be to worried if you don't score more than 50%, that has been in my case truely. Sometimes even I am more confident that my answer is correct, but result shows its wrong. It happens, so keep moving on. Such results even encourage you to prepare more and more, but that's OK.

Thats true its not an easy exam, but its not impossible too. Be on your toes until the exam day. Please write me any specific question you seek me to comment on... Also, you can share with me those questions also that bother you during the mock exams, we'll discuss over those, if I can really help out in your preparation. Good luck mate. Keep posting your concerns.


santoshpandey23 said...

Congrats, we can feel your emotions and hard work you had undergone through each and every word of your blog...congrats again

I am too planning to take exam by july, through ur blog who had answered lots of my query..just in case i need some expert help..can i bother you email id is

Navdeep Singh said...

Santosh, I wish you best of luck for your PMP prep and exam. Of course, feel free to contact me anytime with your queries.

FYI: PMI is updating PMP exam outline and the changes in questions will be effective from 31-Aug-2011. I'm not sure if they may affect your preparation or not, but still sooner you plan for the exam, is better.

Best regards,

Simmy said...

Hi Navdeep, I request you to suggest from where I can purchase Rita from Gurgaon. I am from Jaipur and next week planning to go Gurgaon and need details for book stores.



Navdeep Singh said...

Seema, You can order it on, here is a link:

I'll also try to get you a PDF version if i'll be able to find it.

Good luck.

Navdeep Singh said...

Seema, You can order it on, here is a link:

I'll also try to get you a PDF version if i'll be able to find it.

Good luck.

Raj said...

Hi Navdeep, good content and motivating. Good job. Is it possible to share HeadFirst material? Thanks in advance.


Hi Navdeep, Many many congratulations dude. I am B.Tech mechanical engineer having 3 yrs of experience. I want to pursue this certification, but the hurdle is I am not having 35 hrs of Project management course. As i am a working professional in a construction industry, please suggest how and from where should i pursue that course without going to class room study.

Kristin Anderson said...

Congratulation! This is very inspiring achievement. I am sure some people take this pmp certification.

Honey Young said...

Wow! That’s amazing experience that you have. I hope this will serve those people as an inspiration to take PMP certification. pmp questions free

Edward Chung said...

Your sharing is very useful and valuable. It gives me insights to my PMP preparation. I also find this article 100+ Tips on PMI PMP Certification Training & Study by 100+ Recent PMPs very useful. Hope this link would also help PMP aspirants to pass their PMP exam successfully!

Edward Chung said...

Your sharing is very useful and valuable. It gives me insights to my PMP preparation. I also find this article 100+ Tips on PMI PMP Certification Training & Study by 100+ Recent PMPs very useful. Hope this link would also help PMP aspirants to pass their PMP exam successfully!

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I have taken a 4 -day classroom boot camp for my PMP Certification at I found it excellent as all courses are conducted in a high-class environment, with all study materials. Thanks to for my success! 

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Kernel Training said...

Hi Navdeep,
I can see in your blog. How much effort you took to clear this PMP Exam. Its not so easy to cleared Certified PMP but you did that, congrats.

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Helena Lui said...

Hi Navdeep, congrats on passing your PMP exam! I recently wrote a post with my top exam tricks and study tips. Hope you can check it out and let me know what you think.

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I am reading your post from the beginning, it was so interesting to read & I feel thanks to you for posting such a good blog, keep updates regularly

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