Why did you want to get PMP® certified?

I wanted to earn PMP® certification to formalize and frame my years of managing projects in enterprise transformations, OpEx, and PMOs.The PMP® standard blends well with my other professional methodologies in organization development, change management, training curriculum design/development, Lean, and 6Sigma/SPC.


What is your current role? What were some past positions you’ve held?  

As a management and organization consultant I design and lead company transformations and enterprise-wide initiatives. I now have better tools to employ for example in stakeholder engagement, earned value management, responsibility matrices, and the iterative ITTOs of PMP®’s 5 Process Groups. 

How long did it take you to get PMP® certified? 

12 weeks total. I studied part-time for 10 weeks (mostly weekends), then dedicated full-time for last 2 weeks, and ultimately met my goal to certify by YE2018!

What did your study plan look like? How often and how long did you study per day? Per week?  

My entire process was in three parts: 
1.Select and enroll with online education program.
2.Get PMI PMP® application approved early by writing/submitting as soon as 35 PDUs were earned.
3.Schedule exam date and Test Center.

Once I ‘scoped’ my approach I then committed study time within my other work-life commitments. I studied intensely approx. 16 hours/week for 4 weeks to make one complete pass through all online study modules, PMBOK® documentation organization, process group models, ITTOs, formulas, and glossary. Followed by 10-12 hours/week for 6 weeks including MANY practice exams and practicing formula calculations.

Then for final 2 weeks daily/nearly full-time leading up to my exam date, working hard on fine-tuning my understanding of ITTOs (nearly memorizing), clearing up confusion, crafting my Personal One-Page Study Guide – and consistently scoring 80%-90% on the practice exams. 

What tips and tricks would you give someone who is currently going through this certification journey?  

#1 Never study outdated materials. Study ONLY to the current PMBOK® Version (now V6).

#2 Don’t go into Practice Exams before studying all the materials. You may be inadvertently reinforcing what you don’t know vs. what you need to learn. Study before Practice.

#3: Select a reputable study provider that is committed to your learning. ExamsPM offers a free online PMP® course (good sell), provides PDUs for the next/1st PMP® recertification cycle which is a great benefit, and also offers an annual online global PMP® forum. 

#4 Get PMI logistics out of the way. Separate the online membership, application, and Test Center administration from study.

#5 finally, do not get overwhelmed. Take control. PMP® certification is do-able!

Walk us through your actual exam date. How did you find the actual exam? 

I scheduled the Exam location and date as soon as my application was approved. This forced me to stay on track with my study plan. I booked a hotel and arrived the day before.

The Center was busy early on a Saturday morning, but well-organized and very quiet. I presented ID/passport, was body wand scanned (?), given instructions and a keyed locker for personal items, and 2 pieces of paper and a pencil, then escorted to a cube.

A Monitor walked around cubes while bringing in other test-takers. I ‘marked’ only a few questions for final review.

At approx. 4 hours, I hit ‘Submit’. Within a few minutes a ‘Passed’ message appeared on the screen. In leaving I was given a preliminary paper certificate.

Advice: Provide an answer on ALL questions even when marking for possible/later review.

What was your overall experience with ExamsPM like? How did their training material help you? 

I like ExamsPM. I would recommend ExamsPM as a PMP® study provider. The materials are thorough, paced, and well-organized,

Can people connect with you via LinkedIn? 

Yes, I’d be happy to connect with PMP®s and support fellow learner efforts:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/mckay1.

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