At 8.5 years. With 8.5 years of experience in IT industry, I felt I was going nowhere and that my position was stagnant. I had two options. I could either get an MBA or multiple professional certifications to boost my profile. I chose the First Option. I started grueling preparations for my MBA Entrance exam for one year. I took GMAT and CAT and got a good score in both. I also got a call from IIM Indore, ISB-PGPpro and IIM Indore Executive Program. I was 9.5 years old when I went to those interviews. I had 9.5 years of experience in IT. My past mistakes in engineering brought me back to my core. Even though I had a great profile, and my interview went well, the question about why there was such a low engineering percentage stumped me. I only had one question for them. Although I cannot change my past, it doesn’t mean I am not serious about my future. If I was, I wouldn’t have spent 5-6 hours studying engineering. To pass the entrance exam, I had to study for one year and one day per day. I was rejected by every 3 Elite Institute and I lost all hope of getting an MBA from an Ivy League college.
I was left with no other options than a professional certification that does not discriminate based on past experiences. Now, I knew PMP was the course that would allow me to gain more knowledge about Project Management. I had a plan in place before the 31 March 2017 exam. I knew Mr. Arvind Nahata from my time at Accenture, when he was my manager. I spoke to him on 20 December 2016 and informed him that I needed to take PMP. He immediately agreed and told me when I will start. The New Batch would start in the first week of January, since I was in Hyderabad. I joined the batch and the next four classes with ProThought were very helpful. Arvind had a deep knowledge of PMP, which helped me clear my Basic.
February 1st was the first week of my Preparation. As suggested by Arvind, I had to dedicate 4-5 hours per day. I had to practice the exam every day for 2 months, but I didn’t have two months. I set myself the goal of completing Rita Mulcahy Exam Material 1st Walkthrough by February 15. I began my preparations and by February 16th, I had completed the Book. Arvind suggested that I take up the 1st Mock. I was able complete the entire Mock in approximately 2 hours. 20 minutes, but I scored 117 out 200 questions. Most of the mistake was in Mathematical Question. I only got 4 Correct Answers from 32 Mathematical questions. The Mock also gave me an overview of the areas I need to improve upon and provided me with my score in each Knowledge Area. I set a March 3rd target for my Next Mock. I created a sheet with all the Formulas and made sure that I solved at least 25-30 math problems each day. I also started revising Rita Mulcahy again, paying special attention to topics such as quality, HR, stakeholder, risk, and so on. I failed miserably. On March 3rd, I gave my second mock and scored 147. I was happy that I got at least 70%, which many consider a threshold for passing the PMP Exam.
However, I did notice that this mock was completed in less than 2 hours. It took 30 minutes again. Arvind was kind enough to have a chat with me again. He noticed that my accuracy was only about 80 percent for the first 100 questions, while the accuracy of the next 100 questions was significantly lower. He advised me to take a 5 minute break whenever I feel tired to recharge and to mark any question that I am unsure of. After my second mock, I submitted my application to PMI Official Website on March 5th. Now I am preparing using Mind Maps and Flash-card. They were great help and a ready reckoner for the entire books. I wasn’t good at Mugging things so instead of trying to Muggle up all 47 ITTO, I tried to understand and analyze each ITTO. My Application was approved by PMI almost two weeks later (16 March 2017). During this time, I began giving free mocks from various sites such as PM Zest and Oliver Lehmann, PM Stud, Head First, PM Study, PM Study, PM First, PM Zest, PM Study, PM Study, PMFirst, etc. I also took my third mock at this point. I was able to score between 74-80% on all Tests, so I was fairly confident about clearing the Exam.
When I paid PMI on 17 March, I tried to schedule the Exam. There were only 2 slots available. I chose 28th because I wasn’t ready to move my exam to April. I arrived at the Center 30 minutes before the scheduled time. The people who screened me immediately gave me the locker key to keep my passport and everything else in the Locker. I did have the Flash Card, which helped me to quickly glance over the topic. The exam started and I was able complete 73 questions in the first hour. As Arvind suggested, I made sure to take a short break every 5 minutes.