7 Tips on Passing your PMP Certification

Back in August 2010, Tech Republic listed the PMP® certification among the top 10 IT certifications for 2010. Four years on, this continues to hold true as the PMP certification remains in high demand and the exam tougher to pass. Here are some tips for those preparing for this certification.

1. Read the latest edition/edition of your exam of the PMBoK® Guide

This only needs to be highlighted since many believe that they can get by with only the prep books and attending classes. A very high number of exam questions are based on the PMBoK® Guide hence it should be read cover to cover at-least once.

2. Use only one PMP prep book/course

Most people I have spoken to, have successfully passed their PMP exam by using Rita Mulcahy’s  PMP(R)Exam Prep as their main guide. That said, avoid other preparation books. This does not mean that you only use this book, but rather, once you choose a preparation course or book then avoid using any other as it only leads to confusion.

3. Figure out a study pattern

There are many ways to study. Some, read the PMBok® Guide, then use their prep book. Others may find a chapter wise approach more suitable than a book wise approach. Use the one that best fits your study habits. However, make time everyday and be consistent.

4. Set a date for your exam prior within 1 week of starting your preparation

Nothing works better than setting a deadline for your preparation like an exam date. Within 1 week you should have an idea of your pace and how long it will take for you to prepare for it. Set a date and time with your testing center and work towards it. If you are unable to complete preparation, you can always reschedule your exam.

5. Surf the web for free questions and resources

The internet is a wonderful place with wonderful people who post free stuff. certgear.com, oliverlehmann.com, and pmstudy.com are all great resources.

6. Practice smartly and extensively

The more you practice the easier it will be when you finally sit for the exam. You can use other prep books for this purpose only. Skip chapters, go straight to the questions; when tallying answers, read the reasoning behind both right and wrong answers. You will learn far more from critique than from getting everything right.

Sit for each practice session at the same time everyday. This should be the time you are scheduled for the exam. This helps your mind becoming accustomed to answering questions at a stretch. Gradually extend your practice to include 200 prep questions in one sitting.

7. Jot down what you know, and what you need to recheck

This too is widely suggested by everyone. As soon as you are provided with a pencil and paper in the exam room, jot down all the formulas. This helps later when you are looking at a question that requires calculation. Also, use this paper to note down all questions that you need to revisit later. This helps too.

Thats about it. Let me know what you think of this and feel free to share your tips on PMP certification.

Managing Virtual Software Development Projects

I recently wrote an article for the website Project Management Planet on the topic, managing virtual software management projects. The article came via Elance, a freelance website that I use at times to outsource project work or to work on projects myself. The site owner was very interested in my experience as virtual project manager and needed me to write 1200 words on it. While writing is not my bread and butter, I complied mostly because I did want to share my experience on managing projects virtually and because I can get some Cat-C Professional Development Units (PDUs) from PMI since I needed to do some research to substantiate my article.

The link to the article and website is above, have a read and let me know what you think.


Of direct debits, standing orders & subscriptions in Britain

RBS, Santander, Lloyds TSB, Halifax, Barclays, HSBC

This post has been in writing ever since I came to UK, got my own bank account, set up a direct debit and used my card for online subscription payments. Mind you, it has been a very unnerving experience since even after 6 months here, I am surprised when:

  • a transaction occurs 2 to 3 days before the given date of a charge
  • there is no acknowledgement or receipt sent by the company that has charged you a fee (which they will days before it is set to renew)

Continue reading

Have you ever worked on a successful water project in rural South Asia? What made it successful?

Last year I worked on a rural development project in Pakistan for 30 handpumps and here is my story. 

The Problem
There is a small village (about 500 families) in district Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where Afghan refugees had settled for about 20 years, once they left, the land soil had been utterly destroyed for conventional farming and the wells had also dried. As a result, parents weren’t sending their kids to the local school and sent them off to the closest river about to collect water for farming, washing etc.

The Solution
The village formed a committee (community organisation) and submitted to the local council for handpumps to be installed all over the village. Continue reading

On Using Quora

For information junkies and those who love to enlighten, Quora is a wonderful place to be. It is a world of its own and so far there is no competition on the horizon for it. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn have their own niche uses. Facebook to stay in touch with family and friends, Twitter for sharing links and getting in touch with people directly and LinkedIn to keep tabs on who is doing what. Quora brings Twitter’s ability to connect directly with people to a forum where everyone gets to learn from one answer. Ever wanted to ask an Iraqi what the war meant to them? A detailed first person account is there. How about, asking J J Abrams on how he started making movies? He gives an answer when he has time from making movies of course!  Continue reading

7 Life Lessons from Harry Potter

Coat of arms of Hogwarts, the fictional school...

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I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter series. For me it is a wonderful escape into an alternate world that manages to coexist with mine. It offers mystery, adventure, laughs, some romance and most important of all instructions on life itself. While there are many insights and goodies throughout the series, some are truly thought provoking and downright brilliant. Mind you, these concepts have been elucidated time and again over the course of centuries by various philosophers. For me however, it is the ease, clarity and simplicity of how each is described that makes them standout and get me to write this post here.

1. The Unforgivable curses

In the Goblet of Fire, their new Defense against the dark arts teacher, shows his students the unforgivable curses. Each curse is a fantastic embodiment of our basic human rights i.e. to kill a person (the killing curse), to inflict pain (the cruciatus curse) and to control actions of another human being (the imperius curse). Continue reading

KFC Food Blues: Dine In, Takeaway and Delivery

Colonel Sanders is the official face of KFC, a...

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Early this month I had the misfortune to experience a new ‘low of food standard‘ set by KFC Pakistan. It had been months since I had eaten a KFC meal and as such it had slipped my mind that since last year their food has declined; while it is fairly ok for dine in, it is generally an absolute disaster if  delivered. Anyhow, I called their UAN and placed an order for a Zinger Extreme meal, they gave me a delivery timeline of 30 mins which was acceptable and believable since the KFC outlet is less than a kilometer away from my home. The delivery boy arrived at the 50 minute mark with someone else’s order. Continue reading