PMP Experience

PMP is one of the best certificates I have ever done. It has less than 70% pass rate for first-timers and I was one of those.

The application requirements and process were a pain.

Studying took up more time than it should have. The exam itself was in an exam center and took 4 and half hours.

You need to renew the certificate every 3 years. You need to achieve 30 PDUs and pay a fee (which I get my company to pay for).

Why do PMP?

The reason I chose to pursue the PMP certification is because a mentor recommended it. She was a digital project manager and was always on top of everything. Knew what to ask and how to manage people to set expectations.

I recommend any aspiring digital project manager consider doing the PMP exam. Even if you work in an agile way of working it will improve your PM capabilities.

The soft skills and tools you learn are invaluable. You are adding much-needed skills to your PM toolbox.

It helps to understand the process and reporting expectations in traditional project management. I personally learned new techniques for…

– Scoping Work

– Scheduling

– Assessing Risks

– Managing Teams

– Contracts

– Reporting

Applying for PMP

You need experience leading projects. Projects cannot overlap so it needs to be a sequential experience. When I filled out my form I explained my role and responsibilities for the project. I ensured to use PMP lingo in the descriptions.

you need to be aware you can get audited and people will need to confirm that the project existed and your role. I never got audited but had large descriptions.

Studying for PMP

First time round I used the PMBOK as study material. This was a huge mistake. I failed.

The second time around I bought a study book and then did a large number of practice PMP exams. I kept doing practice exams and reviewing what I got wrong.

Recommend getting Prepcast for online studying. They have a large number of practice exams. In person be careful who you choose. I would actually go for a live virtual option to ensure getting a quality teacher.

(The reason I say this is because I was an in-person teacher for a large organization. I only needed to have PMP cert to teach for them. They provided no training and had zero care factor about students or teachers)

PMP Exam Notes

The exam is at Prometric center which is a strict exam center. They have supervisors and exam stations where you can’t take phones etc in with you.

What helped me was creating an exam day plan. I chuffed at this when reading about it in a blog the first time around but after failing I was willing to try anything.

When I race Ultras (50km+ runs) events I create game day plans. I make plans on what to do prior (check the map for aid stations, elevation etc). Have a nutrition plan while racing (eat every 30mins, take salt tablet every hour).

PMP exam is an Ultra exam event. A whopping 4 and half hours.

The exam day plan was when to take a toilet break. When to take a food. When I need the first pass done to do a review etc. This helps as you take guessing out of the equation.

It helped a lot vs the first time it was all a bit rushed.

Career Opportunities

Having PMP on CV has helped me land important roles in large organizations. In Australia, PMP is listed as nice to haves. Some other countries look for PRINCE2. Even interviewing people, when I see PMP I immediately know what they went through to get it.

Personally, haven’t got bumped in salary just because have PMP accreditation. I have received salary increases because I can excel in organizations that struggle with traditional and agile ways of working. PMP has helped me with this unique skill set.

Failing PMP Learnings

In April 2015, I walked out of the Prometric Center dazed and confused after failing the PMP exam. 4 stressful hours of reading and rereading questions and answers only to be heading back to the office dejected after failing a multiple-choice exam!!!

Speaking to the HR manager I was trying to explain that even if I did again…

….I don’t think I would pass cause every answer I selected seemed right.

I was after reading the PMBOK. The questions they asked in the exam seemed to be from a different book altogether. Besides the embarrassment of telling Barry, my manager. I also had messed up a 3-year goal that I was working towards.

To even apply for the PMP exam I needed to have 3 years project management experience. 30 hours of learning done and fill out the application form with past projects. On the plus side, I did avoid the dreaded PMP audit with my all my efforts.

The most frustrating thing was….

Apparently, 80% of people fail the first time!!!

Not because it’s so hard but because the questions are double negatives. It’s not about selecting the right answer but the best right answer.

I took the summer off from extra learning and focused on recreational cycling as I was super annoyed with the whole ordeal.

6 months later I had calmed down and said would try again. This time I would create a blog to help me learn and improve my SEO skills which is another pastime. One of the main changes to my studying strategy was to focus on practice exams.

I started writing up articles on:

Then I purchased a study book How to Pass PMP on First Try by Andy Crowe. Andy doesn’t actually have an update to date version for 2023. I now recommend the highest-rated book on Amazon by Andrew Ramdayal PMP Exam Prep Simplified.

This includes a free video course so little wonder it was 1,400+ ratings. The other leading study book comes from Rita Mulcahy. Rita is on her 11th edition of PMP Exam Prep at the time of writing this so ignores the lack of reviews. This lady knows what she is talking about and has helped thousands of people pass the exam.

Having a study book really helped me focus on just passing the exam. That is the goal.

Study books go through concepts while having questions at end of each chapter. Helps keep focused on what they ask on the exam not every aspect of the chapter REMOVING ALL THE NOISE

Also, study books come with full-length exams to help you prepare . I took the one in the book 3 times till I was getting 90%+ right.

The other option to study books are paid courses which give you the extra 30 hours of training. If you need it and are generally video required, with instructors available to answer questions. It really depends on budget and time. If your company is paying for it I would recommend getting the best of the best. The best by a country mile is Prepcast which includes their top-class exam simulators.

Then I started the jewel in my crown

My own version of a PMP exam….

What I did was…

  1. Gathered the hardest question I came across while studying
  2. Grouping them per the domain percentage

so it helped my learn on topics that they would be asking about while also creating a bank of PMP questions.

To make the exam accessible for others I took my master spreadsheet and put them all into a Google form so it could be taken as a quiz. I’m immensely proud to say I have had over 2000 attempts at my PMP practice exam quiz which makes all the hard work worth it.

To be honest you couldn’t do enough exams. Its simply the best way to test yourself and predict how well you will get on at the PMP exam. Try take as many as possible.

I have listed a bunch of free exams in the pmp study guide!!!

BUT if you refer to one of the books or courses you will get access to the latest and greatest practice exams.

You pay for what you get so accessing free vs paid online you should have that expectation.

After going to all this work I did indeed pass the exam walking out with my head held high proud as punch.

It wasn’t till after passing I realized the most daunting thing about my PMP exam experience. I actually will never use the PMBOK processes as I work with agile teams. So I started studying the PMI-ACP exam.

Scroll to Top