A Personal PMP exam experience: Journey towards being PMP certified

Moji reached out to me few weeks to her exam to inform me about her exam. She finally booked her exam date; because she felt she had been pushing it for way too long.

Read part of her email to me below:

“I also started to forget some of the things I had read but I feel a lot better now that I have booked it. It is in 3 weeks and I still have some ground to cover.

I would say the most challenging thing so far with studying is remembering all the different concepts in the knowledge areas.

Thanks for your emails, they have been really helpful.

Please reach out if you have any more tips to pass this new exam system.”

I was glad she reached out to me because I enjoy helping professionals in their professional development journey especially when it relates to Project Management or PMP. I quickly responded with PMP & Productivity tips to help her effectively finish her PMP studying, preparation, and ultimately pass the exam.

Read my response to her:

“Yaay! Glad you have booked the exam!  

I agree, the PMP exam content and concepts are so voluminous, and could be difficult to remember everything. Don’t focus on knowing the concepts word for word or “cramming them”. Rather, try to understand what each knowledge area aims to achieve, why, and how they do it. This way, you get to remember each concept and when you see the options you would be able to identify what the right option is.

Since you have few weeks left, I would suggest you take lots of mock tests to build your stamina and mental capacity for the long duration of the exam and read up on knowledge gaps you identify.

Also, try not to do take mock exams on the day before your exam to reduce stress and fatigue. Have a good rest before the exam. I hope the tips above help.

I look forward to reading that you passed. Please let me know.”

Few weeks after, she sent me the best message ever….she passed! I asked her to share her personal experience about how she passed the 2021 PMP exam and she graciously did.

Read about Moji’s PMP experience: How she passed the 2021 PMP exam

The PMP exam is one exam I had been so afraid to write for the longest time. I heard about it and actually registered to write a preparatory form of the exam. However, the fear of failure prevented me from taking that exam. I chickened out. 

Fast forward 5 years later, I moved to Canada and my friend started to talk about PMP again. He asked that we study and write the exam together, but my fear masked under the statement, ‘I don’t think I need this certification to be a project manager’ made me dismiss his request. He went ahead to write the exam on his own and passed it in 2019. However, he remained persistent as he kept encouraging me to take the exam. I was reluctant but finally gave in after a conversation with someone in the middle of 2020. 

In August 2020; I made the decision to purchase an online PMP course. That decision reinforced my determination to get to the end of my PMP journey. It was not an easy journey taking the online course as I had to do it right after work or wake up in the middle of the night to take it. I finally completed the course at the beginning of December and boy was I grateful to be done.

The next hurdle was gathering my Project Management experience so I could submit my application. This was the single major reason I had been stalling this exam. I was not sure I had enough experience or how I was going to articulate my experience for the application. However, my friends encouraged me and I also got help from those who had written the exam before me. They sent me templates to use in writing my experience. This helped me to complete my application in a day. This was something I thought would take me about a week to complete. 

An article with examples you can use in writing your experience: PMP application – How to write clear project descriptions

I had now crossed 2 hurdles and was heading for the final lap which was the next scary thing for me; scheduling & writing the exam. I was torn between taking the exam at the end of 2020 or taking enough time to prepare and then writing it in the new year. Writing it in the new year meant I would be taking the new exam which was scarier than anything I could think of because I knew I might have no practice questions that align with the new exam version to revise with. I decided to enjoy my Christmas holiday and take the exam in the new year. 

The new year came and it was time to schedule my exam so I could start to prepare but I stalled until I was sure I was ready. I had initially planned to write the exam at the end of March but I moved it to April to give myself more time to prepare. It was a really tough one for me as I realized I kept forgetting information the longer it took me to prepare. I decided on a date for my exam and I went with it. I read as much as I could and prayed. 

Exam day came and I went to write my exam. I took the online exam at 12 am. I have to say that this was single-handedly the most complex exam I have written so far in my life. It was not particularly difficult but it sure was complex as it required you to think critically and bring both your experience as a PM and your knowledge of the PM process to it.

I completed the exam at 4 am and got my result immediately. I passed and that was all I wanted to know. The pain and stress of preparation washed away immediately and I was so grateful to be done. 

I’m grateful to God first for the strength to have gone through this and come out successfully. I am grateful to my friends and family for encouraging me. Finally, I am grateful for every resource that contributed to my success, one of which Ogaga played a huge role. Thank you Ogaga for that email you sent me while I was preparing. I followed her advice on how to prep in the few weeks before my exam and it worked really well for me. 

The PMP certification makes a huge difference and I’m glad to be PMP certified


Wondering how to pass the PMP Exam? Get my FREE PMP Exam Checklist. It contains the 6 powerful tips that I used to prepare, study and pass the PMP Exam with above target in all domains at my first attempt. It has been updated to align with the new version of the PMP exam.


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