Embarking on the journey to become a Project Management Professional (PMP) can be both challenging and rewarding. In this article, we will follow Robert’s story as he takes on the ambitious goal of preparing for the PMP certification exam in just 30 days. Join Robert on his path to success, as he shares his strategies, study plan, and valuable tips that can help you in your own PMP exam preparation.
Setting Clear Goals and Expectations
Before diving into his intense study plan, Robert takes the time to set clear goals and expectations for his PMP journey. He understands the importance of a structured approach and establishes specific milestones to track his progress.
Developing a Study Plan
Robert designs a comprehensive study plan that covers all the knowledge areas and processes outlined in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide. He allocates time for reading the guide, reviewing study materials, and practicing with sample questions.
Leveraging Study Resources
To maximize his chances of success, Robert explores various study resources, including PMP exam prep books, online courses, and practice exams. He highlights the importance of selecting resources that align with his learning style and preferences.
Practicing with Sample Questions
Robert dedicates significant time to practicing with sample questions and mock exams. He understands that familiarity with the exam format and question types is crucial for building confidence and improving his chances of passing the PMP exam.
Staying Disciplined and Focused
Throughout his 30-day journey, Robert emphasizes the need for discipline and focus. He establishes a study routine, eliminates distractions, and creates a conducive environment for learning. He also shares techniques for staying motivated and managing time effectively.
Seeking Support and Collaboration
Robert recognizes the value of seeking support and collaborating with fellow PMP aspirants. He joins study groups, participates in online forums, and engages in discussions to exchange knowledge, insights, and study tips.
The Final Push and Exam Day Strategies
As the 30-day mark approaches, Robert intensifies his preparation efforts. He revisits challenging topics, reviews his notes, and takes practice exams to assess his readiness. On exam day, he shares strategies for managing time, staying calm, and approaching the exam questions.
What made you decide to go for your PMP certification?
“I had been working in the electrical field for most of my adult life, and started in the solar industry when it really started taking off. The company I was in at the time didn’t have many advancement opportunities that would still allow me to get out in the field and I started talking to some friends that were working in another company. The company was hiring project managers for commercial projects but they required a PMP certificate.”
Did you have any doubts about going forward with getting your PMP?
“I think my biggest concern was the functional training and the test itself. It had been years since I got my electricians license and I remember struggling when I went to get my NABCEP. Even though I knew all of the information and had kept my license in good standing with the updates in the NEC, it was sometimes hard for me to wrap my head around the terminology.
Doing it was totally different from taking a test. It was rote when I was working, but when I started studying it sounded foreign to me.
I was concerned that when I started bootcamp it would be the same thing. That I’d know what the scenarios were, but not be able to grasp the language.”
How was the training?
“It was Great. The instructors provided us with materials that were helpful, and scenarios that someone who had been working could relate to. Even the people in the class that hadn’t been working a long time with project management were able to pick up on the information.
They walked us through the knowledge areas, and process groups and helped me to understand the different concepts. It was packed with everything in one week, so I didn’t have time to stress out on my self-doubts.”
Did you feel prepared when you finished bootcamp?
“I did. I signed up immediately for my exam so I could get through it as soon as possible. I knew there were several opportunities opening up at this other company and wanted to make sure that I got my name in the hat. And, to be honest, I wanted to give myself plenty of time to retake the test in case I failed.”
Still having doubts?
“It’s hard not to. Especially, I think, when you’re older than a lot of the people you hear and see that are project managers. It’s like you have all of this experience, but without that piece of paper, you can’t explain it to the decision makers.
I used to watch some of the Project Managers in our company and the two that had PMP certificates were amazing. I remember wondering how they were able to come to the site and talk to us like they were one of us and go back to the board room and talk to management like they were one of them.
At times it seemed almost fake. And to be honest with some of the project managers that didn’t have PMPs, it was fake. But in my experience the PMP project managers, they were genuine. They seemed to really care about the projects and were keeping up on what was going on to make sure the projects were a success.”
How long did it take you to get your PMP certificate?
“Thirty days from start to finish. Once I decided to do it, I signed up immediately. I was fortunate enough that the bootcamp was available the next week after I made my decision. I went through the training and immediately signed up for my test. Two weeks after that I saw Congratulations on the machine at the Pearson Professional Center.”
Did you have enough time to study?
“I made the time. I took one week off to attend the bootcamp and I took the two days off before the day of my exam. I had talked to my wife beforehand and she was awesome. I would come home and study until about 10 PM and then in the mornings, as we were eating breakfast, she would go over exam questions and flashcards with me.
She even took off the two days before the exam so she could help me.”
How close were the real exam questions to the questions on the exam simulator?
“I don’t know what other training programs are like, but when I started the questions on the exam at the center, I felt like I was going over them on the simulator. They were that close.
I think that helped me with taking the test, because it took a little bit of the pressure off.”
How many practice questions did you go over before the exam?
“I have NO Clue!! Thousands?!! Millions?!! Okay, not millions but a LOT. I mean she would literally follow me down the hall and ask me questions, plus I took all of the practice exams from BrainSensei, and I used the exam simulator, and she searched out questions from other sources to throw at me.
To be honest I was as glad that the exam was over so I had the certificate as I was that she quit following me around quizzing me.”
What recommendations do you have for people seeking out their PMP certificate?
“First, Brain Sensei. I can’t thank them enough. I have learned more about things I needed to know that I never wanted to know (laughing) than I could have imagined in one week.
I would tell them they need to read the Project Management Body of Knowledge all the way through at least once. Take notes, use highlighters, use post its. If you don’t understand something, go over it again. I read through it the first time before I even started my functional training with Brain Sensei.
Find a study partner. It doesn’t have to be someone who is going through the process or even that’s gone through it. I was very lucky to have a tireless partner, who followed me around constantly. And she didn’t just ask questions and grill me, either. She encouraged me. If I got something wrong, she’d walk me through the correct answer and we’d figure out Why I got it wrong.”
Sign-up for a 7-day free trial! Try the first two modules of Brain Sensei’s story-based PMP and CAPM Exam Prep courses and a mini practice exam and see how it all works
Sign-up for a 7-day free trial!
Try the first two modules of Brain Sensei’s story-based PMP and CAPM Exam Prep courses and a mini practice exam and see how it all works
Robert’s 30-day journey to PMP certification showcases the dedication, discipline, and effective strategies required to succeed in the PMP exam. By following his story and implementing his study plan and tips, you can optimize your own PMP exam preparation and increase your chances of becoming a certified Project Management Professional. Remember, with the right mindset and a structured approach, you can achieve your goal of PMP certification and unlock new opportunities in the field of project management.
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