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Mukundan: PMP is not easy and is not tough

Rita Mulcahy is the best author for PMP. I certainly agree with most people comments here that Rita Mulcahy book is the best way to clear the exam. If you are a person going to write the PMP let me share with you the strategy that worked for me.

Struggles and pit falls I came across:

Before going ahead I want you to pause on the mistakes I made and the troubles that I met. I have started reading the chapters from Rita Mulcahy and well understood the introduction chapters etc.., when I came down to framework it was good. However when I came to third chapter it was horrible and time taking it’s because it has the knowledge from the all the upcoming chapters and it took lot of time for me to grasp a little. I was depressed that I couldn’t get fully. However when I came back for the second glance after completing the book it was a piece of cake. So be careful here, it’s very very obvious even a business guru going to have gaps in PMBOK and Rita in his first glance and we should not stop wasting time by not moving forward at first try.
Simple mathematical calculation: Let’s say you are a nominal reader in terms of reading speed. So it takes a good 5 minutes for you to complete a page in Rita Mulcahy. Therefore for most of the chapters you need a good 3 hours to complete. For some of the chapters involves calculation it may take even a bit longer. So you need a dedicated 15 continuous days just to complete the Rita Mulcahy unless you want to spend a full day with extra hard work. Apply the same for PMBOK and calculation tells you that it needs at least 10 continuous days to complete. Add 5 days for simulated practice exams and revision.

So you need a good one month dedicated time to complete PMP. If anyone says that you can complete PMP in 10 days or 20 days then be careful about the practicality of it. Practically look at the possibility of putting 3 hours every day and then promise your boss or your wife about the completion date

1) PMBOK suggests 42 process of effectively completing the body of knowledge (4th edition) and all those processes are heavily interrelated. Therefore always bear in mind that on your successive glance’s everything going to make more sense.

2) Page 43, PMBOK 4th edition 5 process groups vs 9 Knowledge areas are very very important, stick that on to your study table and relate every interrelated concepts according to that table.

3) There are lots of videos on youtube regarding Earned Value calculations and other than classes if you forget after a long time, youtube is always there to help on calculations.

4) If you wanted to have a little more in depth knowledge for your peace of mind on EVM calculations then PMBOK itself released “practice standard for Earned value management” a less than 40 page doc will help you a bit more.
5) Never spend too much time on formulas because you need to complete something more important than that i.e. Input/Tools & Technique’s/Output (ITTO) for all the 42 processes. Out of 200 exam questions nearly 90 of them directly or indirectly revolves around this place. Forget about passing if you are taking exam without keeping ITTO’s in finger tips or at least the exam will be harder.

6) PMP always change their exam strategy and for some reasons they didn’t asked me the questions that has “EXCEPT, NOT” etc.., I had only received the questions what next and best thing to do type’s.

7) Glossary is an excellent way to revise for the exams. Try that as much as you can. If you have soft copy of many books try the glossary for PMBOK, Rita and then on the other books to verify your knowledge. Some words like “Tailoring”, “Tornado diagram” will not appear in Rita but it appears in PMBOK and appeared few times in the actual exam  If you are one of those guys who cannot buy expensive flash cards then the simplest way that worked for me is get to the index of PMBOK. You will surely see more than 20 items that you never came across before. This is an important trick to verify. Please try this and you will find its importance.

8) When you are taking simulated exams use my friend’s suggestion, its working well. Keep your desktop screen of your computer or laptop wait time to 1 minute. So when you are taking simulated exam and you are preparing you will have that one minute timer always running in your inner being. It helped very much in my actual exam.

9) If you always want to postpone your exams then check yourself with Rita’s simulated practice exams. For some reasons I felt her exam styles were unnecessarily hard and do not judge yourself or your overall score based on it. However take the’s free simulated 4 hours exam and see whether you are getting more than 70 % and take at least 4 to 5 full practice exams before the exam day.
On the exam day:

1) People say we only have 78 seconds to attend bugs in the exam. I have marked only 4 questions for review because whenever I have answered the question I made sure I am always choosing the best I can ever choose. I am pretty sure this will differ to individual perceptions and may not work for everyone. Learn your strategy during the practice exams.

2) I have downloaded quickly the page 43 table from PMBOK 4th edition and important formulas during the initial 15mins in my scrap paper and it helped at least 40 questions to conclude quickly. Also not all the Earned value questions necessarily need calculators. Most of them just need common sense with a little time to invest to answer them.

3) Every one hour I made sure I have attended 50 questions and I was 10 mins ahead every hour. So I have taken 4 mins breaks for every one hour to have my chocolates, biscuits, water etc.., That helps to boost my mind for a while and to concentrate. Your total break time may vary to 6 mins to return to your desk.

4) Do not choose more questions for review. It will mitigate your quality time spending on the current questions particularly during the 3rd to 4th hour and decrease your morality. Think twice before you click mark for review. 5) You have the freedom to choose to take survey after the end of the exam. I was in hurry to see the result so I didn’t took the survey. That’s when you will see “Congratulations Screen”. You have successfully completed your PMP certification.
Please take my views only as a guidance and try to find your own strategy that best suits for you and your success. Always remember getting PMP certification is not easy and not tough

Many Thanks & Kindest Regards,

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7 comments to Mukundan: PMP is not easy and is not tough

  • ashok reddy

    Congrats and thank you very much for your valuable inputs, its helps a lot.

    One more suggestion please,Apart from PM study what are the best Paid mock exams for PMP.

  • samuel odemo

    Congrats and thank you for the valuable resources.
    Pls, can one with no prior project experience apply for PMP certification, though with Industrial mathematics background.

  • khanee

    Hi There,
    I am studying for my PMP exams and 2 weeks on , i totally agree with Mukundan’s advice.
    1.I am also finding 3rd chapter of Rita’s book depressing.But I have decided to ove on and on. remember: Keep your momentum going.
    2.The Search the Index suggestion is brilliant. Two days on into my studing, it occured to me that i need to study and learn the terminologies in the index and then study. Working for me 🙂
    3. Whoever invented YouTube is a life saver. Trust me , USE IT.
    4. I have started making my own notes, highlighting the key points as i am going along. That way, retention is better for me at least.
    Thanx and Congrats MuKundan 🙂

  • Mukundan

    Dear Ashok,
    There were many simulated exams. Like I said I have only tried PMstudy 2 days before exam day and before that I was trying on Rita’s simulation. It results from Rita’s simulation will make you shiver and will boost you to put more inputs. However the exams wont be that tough.

    However there is a steep chance that you will postpone your exams unnecessarily.

    Dear Khanne,

    Good to know that your crossed the third chap and I am glad its been useful to you.

    There were some free flash cards app for iphone and it was useful a bit. If possible try using flash cards and it boosts your knowledge and confidence more than simulated exams.
    Simulated exams are meant to be taken before the exam within a weeks time, unless you want to pay more more and more.

    Samuel I think your question has been answered. I dont have any better answer than that and I doubt whether one without the project experience will qualify and besides I doubt whether that person could cross the PMP bar in the exam if allowed.


  • Sarita

    Hi Mukundan,

    Congratulations on passing the PMP exam. I agree with many of your input. I have been studying for a while with lot of breaks and that makes me go back to square one and start all over again.

    Where can I get list of ITTOs to memorize?

  • abdul kalam


    Iam planning for this exam since 2-months now n read pmbok 3-times n feel that not to move on other’s book as could lead to confusion.

    Pls tell. Do we need to byhard itto or understanding is enough? If understanding is enough than t&t will get missed as i & o can b build once v draw 43 b4 exam.

    Pls help me.
    Ab kalam