PMP & ITIL Foundation Exam Lessons Learned from Shaik Wahab

PMP Exam Experience Sharing

It is always great to learn from the experience of others in their certification journey.  Shaik Wahab took the PMP Exam first and ITIL® Foundation later on — both he passed with the first attempt:

PMP Success Story: Passed my PMP exam in first attempt with self-study

It is my immense pleasure to share with you my PMP and ITIL® V3 foundation certifications success stories by self-preparation without any formal training. I hope my sharing helps other aspirants to focus and achieve what they are longing for.

As you all might have already known, before applying for PMP exam, it is mandatory to get 35 contact hours of project management education. I received my contact hours from a course that I took from udemy on Project Management.

edward-designer’s blog helped me a lot to know the PMP process and his story and experience motivated and inspired me to dream for being a PMP. Thanks for all the information Edward.

I set the goal to schedule the exam within three months  as I needed some time for self-preparation. I filled out the application and luckily my application did not require an audit. I happily booked the exam for March 18 2017 and started my preparation.

I spent 3 to 4 hours on weekdays and 5 to 6 hours on weekends. It was very difficult to stick to the study plan with all the work and family commitments. I had a 9 to 5 job and a 5 year old daughter to dedicate time towards. I efficiently used the lunch breaks at work to study. I used Pomodoro technique to avoid distractions and to make sure I take small breaks after each 25 mins of focused study.

Study Material:

  1. I started by reading Head Start PMP book, the book is very helpful for someone like me who has no knowledge of what PMP exam is. I read the book from cover to cover and did all the quizzes after each chapter. The book was very interesting and gave me confidence that PMP is something I can do.
  2. I read PMBOK® Guide fifth edition at least thrice. In my first pass, I just skimmed through the chapters to see what was different from the Head First PMP book. I found that PMBOK® Guide is written in much more details. In my second pass, I read with more focus and made notes and highlighted the text. The third pass was to learn specific topics that were important and needed more focus.
  3. After reading my PMBOK® Guide second pass, I got in touch with a very good friend of mine who acted as a mentor to me in guiding, motivating and helping to prepare the exam. I think it would be very helpful if could find a mentor or guide or a well-wisher who had been through it and inspires and motivates you especially when you are down.
  4. I used PMBOK® Guide’s flow charts after each knowledge area to understand the flow of the ITTO’s and figured that there were few ITTOs that were very important and if I remembered those and their flow it was enough for the exam.
  5. After I read PMPBOK third pass, I am very thankful to my mentor/friend who gifted me the PMStudy Simulated Practice Tests. A very good gift indeed. I took 4 mock tests but couldn’t cross more than 75% in them, the tests were difficult. I quickly reviewed my weak areas after each test and prepared an action plan.
  6. Finally, I was only one week away from the test and my confidence level was still not up to the mark as I was not getting more than 75% in PMStudy Simulated Practice Tests. At that time my wife motivated me to buy another mock test package so that I have exposure to different set of tests. I researched the market and found out from edward-designer’s blog that ‘PM PrepCast™ Exam Simulator‘ is one of the best and the closest to the real exam.
  7. I purchased ‘PM PrepCast™ Exam Simulator’ for $125 and started practicing. I had only 7 days before the actual exam and the package had a total of 10 tests. So I decided to take one mock test every single day after work. I used to take the test from 8.00pm to 12pm every day.
    • First test – 82.3%
    • Second test – 85%
    • Third test – 85.6%
    • Forth test – 80.9% (I was worried with this result)
    • Fifth test – 86.6%
    • Sixth test – 86.5%
      After the above six tests, I got full confidence and I was mentally and physically ready for the test.
  8. A day before the exam, I felt I lacked a little bit of confidence in the ITTO’s. I reviewed my flowcharts that I prepared using the PMBOK® Guide and took the ITTO test included in the PM PrepCast™ Exam Simulator package. To my surprise I scored 92% and completed the 200 questions test within 1 hour. That boosted my confidence, I did not study anything that night and went straight to bed.
  9. Next morning, I went to the Prometric and gave the real exam. Believe me the real exam was way more difficult than any mock tests I did. It was not even close to any (that’s what I felt). If I were to choose one mock test that was close, then I would say PM PrepCast™, the interface was same and the question difficulty was quite similar.
  10. The real exam made me anxious and worried, I thought I might fail the exam. I was thinking to myself that I put so much time and effort and gave my 100%, I didn’t know how to study differently if I failed, as I did not leave any stones unturned. As I finished the exam, I took all the allotted time to answer and review all questions. The results took some time to load, my heart stressed to such extent that I could hear my heart pounding, I thought I was going to fail, but I was ready for the consequence mentally. To my surprise the result came out to be a pass and moreover as an icing on top I got proficient in 2 domains.
    • Initiating – Moderately Proficient
    • Planning – Moderately Proficient
    • Executing – Proficient
    • Monitoring and Controlling – Moderately Proficient
    • Closing – Proficient

ITIL® success story: Passed my ITIL® foundation exam in first attempt with self-study

After passing the PMP exam, I was so much relieved and very excited that I went back to Edward’s blog and read some of his blog posts. His blog post “Why I Get ITIL® Foundation After Being PMP Certified?” inspired me to enroll for ITIL® foundation exam. I took his straight advice and bought the Grey Campus after reading his review “Firsthand Review: GreyCampus online ITIL® Foundation Course + Exam Fee

I prepared for 2 months spending only about 1 hour every day and practiced only 4 mock tests that were available with the Grey Campus study material. Practiced all 4 mock tests until I got 40/40 in all of them by completing each test in not more than 10 mins.

I reserved the test date for 10/7/2017, I opted for proctor exam so that I can give the test from the convenience of my home. I scheduled test for early morning 7.30am while my kids were still in sound sleep.

The exam process was very straightforward. The questions were very straight, no tricky questions. I finished the exam in 28 mins and reviewed the answers for 5 more mins and I marked 7 questions in the scratch sheet that I was not sure about.

Once I ended the exam, to my surprise I had 7 wrong answers and 33 correct, not sure if the same ones were wrong. But I passed the ITIL® foundation exam with 82.5% score.

I hope my above experiences would help someone to achieve their PMP and ITIL® success.

– Shaik Wahab, PMP, ITIL® V3

Thanks Shaik Wahab for his insightful lessons learned about his PMP and ITIL® Foundation projects! If you would like to pursue both the PMP and ITIL® Foundation Certification, you should have found some useful tips from the sharing above!

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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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