Tuesday, July 25, 2017

I Am Now PMP-Certified!

25 July 2017: I passed my Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam today on my first try!

Combining my work experience with this certification, I can now be a better project manager and it is my hope to continue to do my best and be a valued member at work. In this post, I'd like to chronicle my journey in becoming a PMP.

I became a member of PMI in August last year and immediately began the PMP® application. It was a long process of gathering and filling out all the relevant information about the projects I've managed, etc. and then wait for PMI to accept the application. Once accepted, PMI emailed me to notify that I was successful and I would be able to submit payment and then schedule the exam. I was also hoping I would not be selected for audit as it's a time-consuming process, but in any case, I was ready for it if it happens. PMI randomly selects a number of applications to participate in the audit process, and all these are outlined in their handbook (important tip: download the handbook and read it should you decide to become a PMP too). I was not selected for the audit (yay!).

I estimated that I would need six months to prepare for the exam. It wasn't until January this year that I made the payment to sit for the exam. Exam slots at the Prometric Testing Center in Singapore were limited and availability was on a first-come-first-serve basis. I scheduled mine for July this year. I know it was cutting it a bit close to the expiration of my eligibility to take the exam (August) but then again, I wasn't planning on failing...

The PMBOK® Guide, I must say, is one of the most difficult and dry read I've ever encountered, but it's a necessary evil. It's not a bad book but I was just hoping and wishing that it was easier to digest. It is also very important to use the PMBOK® WITH the Exam Content Outline, which can be downloaded at the PMI website to familiarize oneself with the five domains (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and control, and closing). I literally eat, sleep, and breathe them every single day. They're, like, my best friends. I also took an online training program to fulfill the exam requirement for 35 contact hours.

It's finally time to sit for the exam. In my case, just two days before THE day, the Prometric Test Center emailed me with the appointment reminder, which also explained the security procedures (remove eye glasses, no watches, etc.) and identification policy (accepted or not acceptable identification document, etc.). I arrived early by about an hour on the day of the exam and to my delight I was told I could start sitting for it immediately! 

So, having passed the stringent security checks (it was like an airport security scan), I chucked my bag into the allocated locker, and carried with me the locker key and my passport into the exam room (those were the only things you're allowed to bring in with you). There were many people in the same room. After the test center staff explained the 15-minute review process (no jotting of notes, please!) and how to use the computer that administered the computer-based test (CBT), I said a silent prayer and started the 4-hour examination.

The other examinees in the room were coughing, sneezing and making intermittent noises, so I reached for the earmuffs that were provided by the test center. The earmuffs didn't completely drown the sounds but it was better than nothing. The mathematical questions were the easy ones (you either know them or you don't but they're all solvable if you know the formulas). The situation-based questions were the tricky ones. You could be looking at a few possible correct choices but you'd have to pick the best correct one. The whole thing was quite intense so I didn't take any breaks in between.

Four hours later... I actually maxed out all the time that was allocated. I had quite a few questions that needed review and managed to do so for 7 minutes before the timer ended the session. Very important: answer every question even though you're not sure of the answers and mark them for review later. At this point after the timer ended, I said another silent prayer and kept my toes and fingers crossed. A few seconds later...

“Congratulations! You have passed your PMP Certification Exam.”

Super happy. The result was published immediately after the test right at the test desk. The Prometric staff then gave me the result printout. I love a happy ending like this!

I had a Japanese beer to celebrate my success!