“In 2014 I was an accidental project manager. Then I focused all my efforts to becoming PMP certified to beat the March 15 deadline.”

Get Above Target in all 5 Domains

Be PMP Certified in 60 Days


I started as an accidental project manager in 2014. I was working on several large-scale projects as lead business analyst and my PM was overloaded so I took initiative and managed some of her projects. After that, I realized I loved doing project management more than business analysis and so I continued taking over more projects, wearing two hats of business analyst and project manager at once.

Fast forward to 2018, I was managing remote projects while doing a quasi-sabbatical trip in South America when I found out that PMI was shifting to the PMBOK 6th edition on March 15. I had to be PMP certified before the cut-off date otherwise I had to pay one more time for the 6th ed of the book. Time was of the essence yet I didn’t want to throw my travel plans. So I planned my exam date and venue to coincide with my travel itinerary.


While in Bolivia in January, I booked my exam in Rio De Janeiro for February 6, the week of the Carnival. I studied during the day and partied during the night. It was the most fun I’ve had in ages, being able to study, pass the exam and get Above Target in all 5 Knowledge Areas while enjoying the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro!


Here’s the low-down on how I achieved this feat:


Become a PMI member and register for an exam date


Begin with the end in mind. Begin with an end date when you will begin your career as a PMP certified project manager. I registered two months ahead of my examination date, which I think just gives you ample time to prepare for the exam. It’s important to register right away because it gives you pressure to study.


Commit to a study plan


I was on a sabbatical leave doing travel and photography when I took my exam. I was in Rio de Janeiro during the festival and everybody was in party mode but I had to be in study mode. So what’s a traveler to do when she has to study during Carnival? Study during the day and party at night! I studied from 1pm to 5pm daily and then went out and had fun (but not too much fun) in the evening. I made sure to go home Cinderella fashion, though, so I could study again the next day.


Study during the hours of your exam


The reason I studied from 1pm to 5 pm is because my exam was scheduled during that period. Studying during your examination hours helps train your brain to be active for that duration.


Dump Your Brain Daily


I prepared my Brain Dump sheet which is composed of the 47 processes for all knowledge areas across the five domains plus formulas such as EVM (Earned Value Management). Now most people stop at this but I went one step further. To the left side of the processes, I wrote in the tiniest handwriting I could manage, important inputs. Then to the right side of the processes, I wrote the important outputs. Doing so made me see “patterns” or logical flows of the entire project management process.


Target 90% in simulation exams


I took a lot of short exams and about five 200-question simulation exams during the second month. After each exam, I reviewed those I answered incorrectly and took note of why I made a mistake. I took so many exams that I became an expert exam taker. During the last 10 days of review, I was consistently getting scores above 90 and it boosted my confidence for the exam day.


Do these and you shall soon be PMP Certified in 60 days ( or less). Can you envision the word PMP suffixed to your last name yet? ur last name! Good luck! 


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