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My Ludicrous PMP Story

edited August 2012 in PM Certifications

I will preface this by saying that until roughly two weeks ago, I had no desire to attain PMP certification. It is generally not required in my field (Organizational Development Consulting), and most projects I manage are transactional/short term efforts for clients.

However, this changed two weeks ago when my company decided to pursue a large opportunity that would double the size of our company, and the prospective client, as part of the RFP, required that the project manager possess a PMP. The proposal was due this morning (Wednesday) at 9am; The PMP exam was yesterday (Tuesday) at 730am. So in the midst of leading a complex proposal effort, I had to apply for, study for, and ultimately pass the PMP with roughly 8 days of preparation time (Monday to Monday) while working more than full time.

If I didn't pass, my company would be unable to submit a huge proposal that a ton of colleagues/teaming partners worked on, and I would be fully responsible.

So no pressure.

My past course work included one project management class in business school 8 years ago and one task management seminar at a former company four years ago (neither of these classes had anything to do with PMP).

My studying included (in specific order):

  1. The 75 question Oliver Lehmann test as a diagnostic (scored a 62) (Monday afternoon)
  2. Quick skimming of the PMBOK (M-T).
  3. 1 relatively thorough reading of the Rita Mulcahy book, along with taking each test at the end of her chapters (typically would score between 72 and 82 on these). This was done during the evenings (W-F).
  4. 11 of the 50 question exams from the practice book in the reference section on the PMI site. I took 3 easy ones (1-6), 3 medium ones (7-12), and 5 hard ones (13-18). I scored around 80-84 on the easy ones, 74-78 on the medium ones, and 72-76 on the hard ones. This was done over the weekend (Sa-Sun).
  5. 1 full length online test (the free one from PMstudy) (scored a 77) (Monday night).
  6. 1 brief skimming of the PMBOK glossary in the car ride to test site and in the parking lot (Tuesday, 6-7am)
  7. 1 five hour energy bottle

And yesterday (Tuesday), I somehow managed to fool the testing machine into scoring me "Proficient" in each of the 5 areas.

I don't think my method of extreme stress and terrifying fear of failure is best, but for whatever reason, it worked for me. And after roughly 120 hours of work and study in the past week, I'm not doing a single productive thing the rest of the week. :)

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