How I aced my PMP exam on the first sitting

4 min readJul 27, 2020
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Hi there, my name is Adeola, a project engineer at one of the fastest-growing downstream oil and gas companies in Nigeria. I recently aced my Project management certification course from PMI and I would like to share with you a bit of background, my study experience, how I went about registering for the exam and aced the course on the first sitting. I hope this inspires you to go ahead to get that certification you have been longing for…


Just so you know, there are different certifying bodies for Project Management courses around the world. The most popular ones are Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI) and Prince2. The image below shows the region-wise preference of different countries to the project management certificate.

Region-wise preference of the Project Management certifications

“Both the certificates are valuable within the project management fabrics. However, they can be preferred over the other based on geographical distributions. Both the certifications have been tested for years of project successes.” — GreyCampus Blog

PMP Exam Qualification

I initially took the project management training sometime in 2014 as a student (I have always been keen on project management *lol*). But I could not write the exam cos I did not have the experience, however, I could have written CAPM. CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) is for individuals who have taken Project Management Education but do not have the sufficient work experience to qualify for the exam

To qualify to write the PMP certification exam, you need to meet the 36hr Project Management Education (PME) and 4500hrs work experience requirement. I earned my 36hr PME from Harry Baker Institute, Lekki sometime last year in September last year. (The training was very helpful and they shared a couple of resources that were helpful for exam registration and preparation) and I already had over 3 years of work experience so I was good to go.

I finally decided I was ready (financially and mentally) to write my exam earlier this year and It took me 1 month and 16 days precisely to prepare for my exam which I wrote and passed on March 2nd.

Study experience and Registration

My exam was Pre COVID era (I was still working from the office) so I literally spent a minimum of an hour every morning and an hour at night after work, making a minimum of 2 hours daily. During weekends I spent about 3 hours on Saturdays and about an hour on Sundays.

Like I mentioned earlier, it took me 1 month and 16 days to prepare for the exam I wrote on March 2nd. The major resources I focused on and used to prepare for the exam were the;

1. PMBOK, 6th edition- the Holy grail *lol*. This one is a must-have cos no matter the amount of other fancy resources you get, they must still make reference to PMBOK, plus the exam would be based on the knowledge from PMBOK.

2. Head First PMP Brain friendly guide (4th edition, written by Jennifer Greene and Andrew Stellman) — Highly recommended, this book literally broke down PMP terms in very relatable ways. Please plan to read the entire book.

2. — Very awesome resource too for practicing questions. I used it a lot towards the D-day.

3. — The questions on this website are almost inexhaustible. This was my on-the-go exam prep plug, I literally was answering questions on my way to work, during breaks and on my way back home in the evenings.

4. — I did not use it as much but it came in handy.

5. While I was preparing for the exam, I registered for the exam on the PMI Website. It was quite seamless for me but the tasking part was collating my work experience over the years. Thankfully, I had an excel sheet from Harry Baker institute that made it easier.

The registration is quite straightforward but requires you to be detailed while filling in your experiences.


Just in case you have been wanting to take this course for so long and you have battled with distractions or procrastination or some sort of delays, I would like to encourage you not to give up simply because you are not alone, I also had a bit of struggle to achieve this feat.

In Feb 2019 — I joined PMI (Global membership registration)

Sep 2019 — Took the PMP Cert Training (Though I took the training in university 5 years ago, I figured the syllabus had changed and that I needed to refresh and re-learn)

Feb 2020 — Registered for the exam (4 months after cos I saved up for it)

March 2020 — Wrote my exam and aced it. (yaaay)

So you see, it took me about a year from when I set the goal to when I finally achieved it.

I hope you found my story insightful. Feel free to share with anyone who might need this. I would be very much excited to answer any of your questions in the comment section or via email