After working as a digital project manager for fifteen years in the fast-paced dot-com world, I made the decision to apply for certification, broaden my horizons so-to-speak. Had it figured out at this point, right? After all, I should be teaching these courses, not attending. I knew how to manage, how to implement, execute, monitor, and close. Oh, and here comes the yet. Yet, I did not know the philosophy, the standardization, the why to the how. That is what I learned. And here’s how I did it, passing the exam on the first pass, above target in three out of the five processes, target on the other two.
Aside from the PMI-requisites, I went right to the source and took one of Dan Ryan’s weekend coaching cram sessions. While the instructions were direct and dead-on, what truly helped were access to the resources provided. Spreadsheets filled with the ITTOs (and you got to know these, brother), PowerPoint decks and PDFs breaking down the ins-and-the-outs of the Knowledge Areas, and best of all, access to test exams. These were the true compass points.
Go through those exams, and pace yourself. Do thirty questions. Then fifty. Then one hundred. More importantly than answering enough multiple choice questions to be dreaming in a, b, c, and ever-loving d, is going through what you got wrong. Making notes. Studying what you missed. Going deeper in understanding. Memorizing those equations. Rinsing. Repeating. Every night. And on the weekends.
Finally, stay positive. At the end of Dan’s coaching weekend, questions were raised all about what to do if you have to re-take the exam. Dan stopped that talk immediately. “Why are you guys talking about failing? Stop it,” he said in that thick Long Island accent. “You’re going to pass. You know this stuff. You’ll pass.”