Received my PMP certificate- sat for exam on 9th Jan 2012

Bold proclamation on the pmp certificate from PMI reads in part: 

'This is to certify that [insert name] has been formally evaluated for demonstrated experience, knowledge and skills to lead and direct project teams and is hereby bestowed the global credential PROJECT MANAGEMENT PROFESSIONAL . . . ' 

When I first read these words I felt very proud of my accomplishment and thanked God for having passed the exams on 9th January 2012. I initially hoped to do my exams in August 2011 before the advertised change in exam format. However, after rescheduling three times I finally resolved to take my exams though I wasn't feeling very well prepared.  

I went through the requisite 35 contact hours in June/July 2011 took some simulated exams- mainly scored 53% but felt confident enough to sit for the real deal. Unfortunately (or should I say, fortunately), I has to reschedule due to work related travels. I rescheduled two more times since I was never able to study until the last week of December 2011. 

I started studying on 26th December 2011 by mainly going through Rajesh Nair's notes (; counter-checking anything that was not clear against PMBOK V4. I wasn't working for the 2 weeks so I went through Rajesh's notes twice. . . always checking against PMBOK anything that wasn't clear- I never read PMBOK cover to cover. Let me pause to give my sincere thanks to pmzilla, Rajesh Nair and Chowdary! You're the best!! 

For the first week, I made sure that I UNDERSTOOD (not crammed) the basic principles, formulae and concepts. . . I made sure that I fully understood the order of process on page 43 of the PMBOK. I never memorized ITTOs but I made a great deal of effort in understanding why the ITTOs were associated with each process.  

The next week was focused on revision of notes and principles. I NEVER used Rita's book but I heavily relied on pmzilla and google to clarify any concepts that didn't make sense. I took more tests like Simplilearn (moderate difficulty this time round), Leahman (quite hard; 175 and 75 questions) and pmstudy (quite good!! moderate difficulty). I only managed over 70% in pmstudy, I scored 60% - 68% in the others. My main focus was in making sure that I revised ALL tests and cross-referenced the PMBOK to know where I went wrong. Most people recommend that you have to score 70% - 80% on the simulated tests to be able to comfortably sit for the exams- I was therefore very worried that I would not pass!  

On the day of the exam, I arrived at the testing center 1.5 hours before time. . .I guess I was anxious to get it over and done with. I accessed the exam center's library to go through   When I finally got to sit for the exam, I felt quite tense at first. The first 50 questions seemed so hard! Most (>95%) of the questions were situational and seemed to be mostly from Quality and Risk. . .quite a number were mathematical questions. I made sure that I marked any question that I had any doubt in. The last 100 questions seemed easier, or probably it's because I was more relaxed. I was unable to pause the exam to go for a short call but was allowed to quickly rush to the loo which ate into the very precious time I had!

I finished with 1 hour to spare- I had made sure that I answered ALL questions. I then decided to re-do the first 100 questions and was shocked at how wrong my inital answers were! I wish I could've re-done all the questions! Time ran out while I was on question 108. Very nervous! When I saw 'CONGRATULATIONS' I almost screamed!! Results: 

Initiating: Proficient 

Planning: Proficient 

Executing: Moderately Proficient 

Monitoring & Controlling: Proficient 

Closing: Moderately Proficient 

Thank you God for my understanding wife, pmzilla, Rajesh Nair and Chowdary!! 

Wishing all the best to aspiring candidates! I hope I've inspired just one more of you as I was by those who went ahead of us and were gracious enough to share their lessons learnt. My lesson learnt is; make sure you UNDERSTAND the principles behind PMBOK, take credible practice tests AND MAKE SURE YOU REVISE ALL THE TESTS!! My approach was more focussed on quality study than quantity. This worked for me, find out what works for you.

admin's picture

Congratulations on your PMP and I agree with your conclusion here.



Thank you pmzilla!

Congratulations on passing the exam!! Did you only do the sample tests listed here or did you do more?


Yes I did about 500 more questions which I received from my training center. I mention that I focused on QUALITY rather than QUANTITY because in my opinion, the main reason for doing sample tests is:

- To judge whether there are principles, concepts or terminologies that you might not have grasped well if at all. That is why you have to make sure you take time to REVISE ALL the tests you do. My advise is, do as many tests as you can revise.

-To know how it feels/what it takes to sit for the 4 hour exam. At first I thought the 4 hours were too much time for just 200 questions!

- To get a rough idea of how the real exam questions will be framed. None of the tests REALLY reflected the actual exam but they come pretty close. I personally expected questions with '. . . which one is NOT', '. . .which is the LEAST. . . ' kind of wording but didn't find this in the exam. What I found was that most questions were situational and you had to select the BEST answer; you can easily eliminate two answers, so you always need to find the one that best answers the question WITHIN THE GIVEN CONTEXT.

-To get into the exam mind-set. I dedicated the last week to doing tests so that I could get 'in the zone'. . .it helped more than I earlier imagined.

Hope this helps.