Passed my PMP in first Attempt:- 19th January 2013


I successfully passed my PMP on Saturday 19th January 2013 in first attempt. I am really happy to share my lesson learned from my Preparation:

I signed up and became PMI Member in February 2012. Due to Consulting Job & Travel, I was not able to start my preparation immediately and had to wait till October 2012. I bought PM Prep cast to get 35 Hrs of PDU. I really appreciate Cornelius Fichtner for providing such a informative Prod cost which gives you a good understanding of PMP. His Ability to explain small things makes a huge difference.

I submitted my application on October 30, 2012, got approved in 3 days and scheduled my exam on 19th, exactly after 2 Months 19 Days and started my preparation. There are many books available for PMP Preparation, but I chose to start with PMBOK, I read PMBOK once and was not able to grasp 80% of Concepts.

I read online reviews and bought “Head First PMP”. I started studying and found this book really helpful, Every Concept is easily explained and very easy to relate to PMBOK.Meanwhile I joined Mile High Chapter in Denver, CO and met one of my Office buddy who was also preparing for PMP. We agreed to study together on Weekends and spent 4-5 Hours every Weekend (4 Weeks). It was really helpful because, we were able to discuss complex Topics and clear our doubts.

Books, I followed

  • PMBOK– You must have it(I would recommend a hard Copy)
  • Head First PMP

Here is my study plan:-

  1. Read PMBOK and Headfirst PMP once and Tried to google the difficult Topics and prepared my Notes.(Thanks to Deep Fried Brain, PMZilla, and other valuable Online  Bloggers)
  2. Practices online Free Tests. I scored 58% in first Test (Oliver Lehman 75 Free Questions). I read many lesson learned blogs online and found all the successful PMPs score 80+ in these Tests. I figured, I need to study more.
  3. Read PMPBOk two more Times(Total 3 Times)
  4. Practiced few more online Practice Tests and my Score Went up 15 to 20%.
  5. Whenever, I needed inspiration, I read this Blog by Noaman Sayed If you are preparing for PMP and doing Self Study and haven’t gone through any formal Training Program, Please go through this. Its very structured and very inspiring Blog


PMI Study 1 – free test [76%]


PMI Study 3 – paid [72%]-Took a day before Exam


Head First – 82%


Exam Central-78%


Oliver Lehman 75 [58%] and 175 [72%]

During Exam on 19th January 2013

I went to prometric centre before 2 hours and they let me start before my scheduled Time. I found the questions relatively easy. My Plan was to finish the Test in 3 Hours and review rest in 1 Hr. I took 3:30 Hours to finish My Test and last 30 Minutes to Review.

When I answered around 100 Questions, I was more confident and I knew that I was getting closer to my TargetJ. However, I kept on going and didn’t take any break

Type of Questions:-

    1. Almost  30 % were Numerical Questions(Cost Control & Project Selections, Network Diagrams)
    2. Almost  20% were Purely based on Tools & Techniques(Take Quality, Risk and Human resource seriously, There were many question around these 3 Areas)
    3. Rest of the Questions, were conceptual, you will not even understand the questions until you understand the Concept behind each knowledge Area/Process Group

Well, After 3 Hours 59 Minutes ended my exam and saw result. I was thrilled when I saw the word “Congratulations”. I had following result:


Initiation – Proficient


Planning – Proficient


Executing - Moderately Proficient


M & C     – Moderately Proficient


Closing – Moderately Proficient

Lessons Learned and my Recommendation:

  • Do not follow others Study Plan, Make your own.
  • Don’t follow all the recommended books; follow whichever books suits your study style and experience.
  • Almost 90% Applicants follow Rita Mulcahy Book and only talk about PMIsm/RM Fast track, I tried reading it and I was really disappointed with her approach–ve approach to teach and brag about how good her book is, It didn’t suit my study style and Dropped It. I am sure, it’s the most succefull book for PMP Exam but you need to decide if it suits you.
  • This is highly recommended:- Create your own Study Material for All the Tools & Techniques and Formulas and review Time to Time, Update it with new Notes/Concepts
  • Study by Topics and practice more.
  • You don’t need to cram the formulas, if you do enough numerical tests you will remember all.
  • Brain Dumps before exam:- I wrote all the important Processes & their T&T. (I didn’t write the formulas)

I thank all of you guys help. Best of Luck to all you fellow PMP Aspirants. If you believe in yourself, you will pass it in first Attempt.

If you need any help, you can reach my at




Congratulations! How did you remember the T&Ts and determine which are important? Did you not memorise and brain dump the Inputs and Outputs too?

I focused on Quality, Risk, HR and Procurement Knowledge Areas and created a Diagram and Identified all the Key T&T(If you atleast remember key T&T, you will be able to understand and Solve most of the questions)

I didnt have to remember most of the Outputs, because, I tried to understand those.

Output:- Based on Process Name`s I tried to relate the Outputs For E.g 

Plan Quality outpoot:-(Keyword is Plan)- 

Quality Mgmt Plan

Process Improvement Plan

Quality Checklist/Quality Metrices:--

Inputs:- Remember Risk, Procurement have most of the Baseline Plans as input.

I had two approach for all knowledge area:

1. Conceptual Reading

2. Input/Output and T&T Reading(Only Key ones). You wont be able to remember everything.

Study everything, but make sure you have some Strong Knowledge Areas(If any question comes for these, you should be able to Answer it confidently)

Again, I didnt remember 100% but I was able to figure out the answers based on my understaning!




This is very useful!

admin's picture

Congratulations dhawan , very good LL. I agree with your recommendations, one should make their own study plan and what suits them the best, make your own notes.... Notes is not something which you can copy.



This is one of the best Project Management Knowledge Base!  Keep up the good work:-)

 Congrats man!. So inspiring!!.


You said it riht chief. I made my first attempt at the exams on that same day. I failed. Only got a moderately proficient in the Closing Phase.

I also found out that four other persons who wrote in the same center as me failed and no one got even any of the process groups. For the most part, I took a little survey as to their study plan, WE ALL READ RITA and the concept behind Rita is quite different from the real testing.

Well, somoene as mentioned Headfirst PMP to me. Please can you tell me the edition to buy in line which is in line with PMBOK 4th Ed.

On a general note, any other advice and resource tool will be highly appreciated.


PS: Can someone explain what the psychrometric analysis mean?

Tonight, I will email you Headfirst/Other important Materials I have.


Dont worry too much about Books, If I was you, This is what I will do:-

1, Revise your study plan, if you didnt score Good in almost all area, you need to change your Study Approach.

2. Spend Minimum 6-7 Weeks to Read Through all the Process/KW/Formulas(I feel)

3. Set Targets. Give your First Mock Test after 4 Weeks. 2nd After 6 Weeks and then decide where you stand.

4. If you feel, you are ready Schedule your Test within a Week, if not Study More and Fill your Gaps

5. No book is perfect! Even PMBOK does not have every Concept Explained(You need to Mix HeadFirst/PMBOk/Other usefull Online  resources)

6. Divide your Study in 3 Parts

   1. PMBOK/HEADFIRST(Or Any Other Books you like) Concepts(Spend your 2 Weeks here)

   2. Input/T&T/Output for All the Process(You need max 2 Days)

   3. All PMBOK Formulas and Their Definition(Dont forget Project Selection Ones:- ROI, IRR, NPV etc)(Max       1 Day)

7. Dont spend Time Talking to people who could not do better than you.

8. Study Hard(Atleats 3 Hours a day and more in Weekends)  

Let me know, if you need any thing else from me. I will try my best to provide you all the reources, I have.


Best of Luck!



Congrats Dhavan on your PMP. Really an inspiring one... I am planning to give PMP exam at coming May 2013. Can you please send me the materials? Please send it to



Hu Dhavan

The day, I had decided to prepare and appear for PMP, I heard only RITA's book & techniques all around and just get to know that now Rita's technique has failed. Thanks to you for clearing the fog.

Please share head first and other study material to me @

Thanks in advance
Naveen Kapoor


Can you please mail me your notes (diagram for remembering key T&T) which you prepared to 




congrats on passing the exam.


I want to know the best mock test/website to practice numerical based questions such as cost control, project selection, network diagram, AOA, critical path, EMV, earned value, PTA, etc?