My Success Story - PMP Certification | Varun | Testudaan

SELF-INTRODUCTION - I am Varun Amirthakumar and I am from Bangalore, India. I am currently working in the Pratt & Whitney Canada Center of Excellence for Cyient India Limited in Bangalore, India on aero engine maintenance and overhaul manuals, since 13.5 years. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from R.V. College of Engineering, Bangalore, India. I completed my schooling from National Public School, Bangalore, India.

HOW I PREPARED FOR THE EXAM – For sure, we know the below mentioned –

? Project Initiation has two processes

? Project Planning has twenty four processes

? Project Execution has ten processes

? Project Monitoring and Controlling has twelve processes and

? Project Closing has one process

Therefore, my first aim was to achieve an “Above Target” score for Project Closure and Project Initiation. My next aim was to achieve an “Above Target” score for Project Monitoring and Controlling followed by Project Execution and finally concentrate on Project Planning. I was very much confident that if one scores “Above Target” across all other Process Groups apart from Project Planning, there is always a strong chance for one to pass the exam even in a worst-case scenario wherein one may achieve only a “Needs Improvement” score for Project Planning. I first thoroughly understood the ITTOs for each of the 49 processes by attacking the process groups one after the other in the order mentioned above. I then went on to the Knowledge Areas and read the contents chapter wise to understand as to what are the emerging trends, tailoring processes etc. The only thing that I memorized were the mathematical formulae involved in certain Knowledge Areas as mathematical questions in the exam will have only one correct answer and such questions are easy to score in the exam. I then practiced over 3000 question and answers applicable across all Knowledge Areas (with a mindset that I need to take no more than 72 seconds per question). By doing so, I was able to judge from the questions, four important things –

? Which Process Group the question is talking about

? Which Knowledge Area the question is talking about

? What is the relevant information and what is the distractor within the question

? Whether the question is asking for a specific accurate answer such as the name of a project document or the name of a Tool and Technique etc. or whether the question is asking for the best answer from a list of choices (this is important)


? It is advisable not to revise or memorize any last minute chapter on the day before the exam

? A good overnight’s sleep is essential before the day of the exam

? It is advisable only to refresh your memory with the mathematical formulae in the morning hours on the day of the exam

? On the day of the exam, reach the Prometric Test Center well before time

? Before the start of the exam there is a tutorial for 15 min – it is advisable to read the tutorial with care

? Once the exam starts, do not straight away jump over to question 1 even though the clock starts ticking backwards from 3h:59m:59s

? I spent a solid 5 min in writing down all mathematical formulae on the scratch paper which was very useful for me when the relevant question came up during the exam

? I was able to finish 200 questions in 3h:52m – I used the remaining 7 m to review marked questions and the last 1 m to submit my exam – It is highly recommended that one submits the exam rather than the computer (system) taking control of the exam submission

? It is advisable to choose an answer for every question even though one may mark the question for review later on without choosing an answer – One may be lucky by chance the chosen answer is correct and taken up for scoring at the time of generation of the final exam result if time runs out in order to come back and review marked questions (with no answer chosen)

MY EXAM EXPERIENCE – ? 50% of the questions were lengthy but had heavy distractors (e.g., Project A was having a SPI of 0.7 after three months since start and was having a SPI of 1.2 after six months since start. The manager of Project A concerned over this, decided to consult Project B’s manager for expert opinion as Project B’s SPI was 0.8 after six months since start and since Project A and project B were scheduled to get completed in a year’s time. What was the status of Project A after three months since start – ahead of schedule, behind schedule, on schedule or was schedule not a concern for Project A since it has been only three months since start)

? Some of the questions were too short and of the direst scoring type (e.g., For activity B to start, activity A must be completed in full. What is the relationship involved here? F-F, F-S, SS or S-F

? Some of the questions were specifically framed to test if one as a PM is able to choose the correct Project Document (e.g., Midway through a project, a new stakeholder was identified. Where would you record this information? Stakeholder Log File, Stakeholder Register, Stakeholder Report, Stakeholder Power / Interest Grid)

? Some of the questions were tricky and had to be carefully interpreted (e.g., The sponsor just received an approved Change Request from the CCB and had the same passed over to the PM for implementation. What should the PM do next? Implement the change, Contact the CCB and get additional information, Meet with the sponsor and advise that the change cannot be implemented at this point in time as there will be cost and schedule variances, discuss with project management team and take their concurrence before implementing the change)

? Some of the questions were specifically framed to test if one as a PM is able to choose the correct Tool and Technique (e.g., answer choices had Expert Judgement / Team Judgement – there is nothing called Team Judgement and also answer choices had Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix / Stakeholder Engagement Report – there is nothing called Stakeholder Engagement Report)

? To the best of my knowledge, there were no questions on AGILE practices (but it is wise not to skip reading this section at least once from the PMBOK guide)


? Reading the PMBOK guide is a must (2 times – once in detail and once by fast tracking)

? Make it a point only to memorize only mathematical formulae

? Make it a point to understand all aspects of Project Management via KAs, PGs and ITTOs

? Take more no. of online practice tests (this will give one confidence to complete 200 Q in 4 h)

? Never panic before or during the exam – If a question is tough to understand move on and come back – keep 8 to 10 m for reviewing marked questions)

? While reading questions, straight away attempt to eliminate distracting information before looking at the best answer from the choices given

? Finally, god needs to be thought of just before taking the exam and while taking the survey questions of the Prometric Center when actually the exam report is getting generated


? Read the PMBOK Guide 6th edition twice (end to end)

? Read Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep 9th edition twice (Understood the Q and A at the end of each chapter)

? Practiced the entire Q and A from the PMP Green Book

? Watched Joseph Philips’ videos (end to end) (Understood the Q and A at the end of each video)

? Enrolled myself in testudaan’s website and gained access to 5 simulator exams + 1400 Q / A

CONCLUSION NOTE – Preparing and appearing for the PMP exam helped me in learning new concepts. I am now able to relate every Process Group (PG) and Knowledge Area (KA) to a real-world example and I am able to execute some of the concepts in my day-to-day work as well.

Thanks and Sincere Regards,

Thanks and Regards,

Varun Amirthakumar, PMP®

Cell: +91 9900576255



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