Simone Perch, PMP(r), Success Stories – Meet Simone Perch. After completing the ExamsPM’s training program, she took and passed her PMP (r) certification. We met up with her to discuss her lessons learned. Here is her advice to test takers:

1. Why did you want to get PMP(r) certified?I chose to become PMP(r) certified as the fulfillment of a personal goal on a course that I set upon years ago and to fulfill a company objective to get as many managers/project/program managers PMP(r) certified as possible.
2. What is your current job? What are your past roles? I am a Health IT Quality Assurance manager in the federal government subcontracting area with 25 years experience, 20 of which were in QA. In order of my past positions: Senior Configuration Management Specialist (Systems Analyst), Project Coordinator, Senior Technical Writer and Technical Publications Lead.
3. It took you nine (9) months to become PMP(r). I started the process on January 1, 2018, and received my certification on September 5, 2018. I took the exam in two (2) formats. The first was the fifth edition in March. (above target for Initiating and Closing; bombed everything else); the second was the sixth edition of August 9th. (Passed Planning and Initiating but did poorly; bombed everything else); and the third and final edition was September 5th.
I took breaks from May to June to recover after each failed attempt and to earn my Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. Although it seemed crazy, I found the LSSGB to be very instructive and helpful in my PMP(r).
4. What did your study plan look like? What was your study time per day? I used the ExamsPM study model. I studied 2-3 hours per day, six days a semaine (Mondays through Saturdays), with short bursts of more intense study time.
I didn’t focus on the PMBOK(r), unless or until my foundation support was required. Instead, I focused on exam preparation materials.
5. What study material did your use? I used ExamsPM’s online training, instructor led boot camps (one for the 5th and one for 6th editions), and the corresponding materials (e.g. their videos and notebooks). I found that the combination of materials and approaches helped me in different ways at every juncture: initial understanding and absorption, as well as the ‘ah-ha moment’/application.
6. What tips and tricks would your advice to someone going through this certification process? I would recommend that you do a lot of practice tests. Not just 20 questions at once; try 50 to 100 to get a feel for how to recognize component questions (e.g. are they sequential, situational, or calculations). ).
This helped me to see patterns when I actually sat for an exam. Candidates should also focus on language triggers like authorize = initiate, etc. Focus on how the pieces of the five process areas fit together.
Before initiating, one must conduct a needs assessment, business case, benefits management plan, and other related tasks. I found it helpful to learn the ITTOs, as well as the steps involved in each KA. This helped me understand how each predecessor flows to its successor in a cyclical fashion.
It wasn’t my goal to memorize the ITTOs, so I concentrated on the inputs that led to the KAs and the process areas and their logical outcomes.
After I had learned the percentage of questions in each topic (Initiating 13%; Planning 24%; Executing 31%; M&C 25%, Closing 7%) and realized that I would only be answering between 5-10 calculation question, I made the executive decision to stop memorizing calculation and problem solving and just focus on what was important: how to answer questions without having to calculate them.
RATIONALE: While all questions are equally valuable, not all require the same amount of effort. That’s why you need to use SV and CV.