PMP & ITIL Foundation Exam Lessons Learned from Shaik Wahab
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- After I read PMP®BOK 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!