Submitted by: Anita Marshall, P.E., PMP®, Principal Civil Engineer, Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT)

I currently work at the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) in the Materials section. I formerly worked in the Highway Design section at RIDOT and have been a Project Manager for over 28 years. In November, the Training Department notified some of us that there were four (4) openings left in a class offered by Solarity for the PMP® Exam Preparation, so I signed up. I didn’t have any knowledge of the PMP® or the Project Management Institute. The Solarity class was excellent and covered a great deal of material in a short time. I wanted to take the exam and try to get certified, even though it is not a requirement of my employer. I signed up for the virtual exam at the end of December 2020.

We were told that in 2021, the exam would be changing so I decided to take the exam in 2020. I only had about 4 weeks to study. I took the first practice exam that Solarity offers (there are 2 exams), and ended up with a 59 after only a little bit of studying. I then proceeded to read every chapter and answered the questions at the back of each chapter in the PMP Exam Prep book (by Rita Mulcahy). I read portions of each chapter of the PMBOK® Guide but didn’t have time to read the entire book. I also created flash cards for the major terms that were in the slides from the Solarity Class, including the formulas.           

I ended up spending the last 2 days before the exam going through all the modules in the Solarity online supplemental course. The modules go over every knowledge area and have several exercises that are fun and help you to remember what’s important. The exercises have matching, buckets for putting the correct terms into Inputs, Tools, and Outputs, Flashcards, Vocabulary game, a Game Show, crossword puzzles and Practice Questions. Each module contains a few short videos on each topic from project management professionals. Since the questions on the exam are situational,  I had to really think about what would be the best choice of the four options.  

As I was taking the exam, in my mind I didn’t think I got enough questions correct and I said to myself, “I will have to study more and take this exam again”. Much to my surprise, as soon as the clock ran down to zero, a message came up on the screen immediately congratulating me and stating that I was certified as a PMP®!    

I highly recommend the Solarity class and the supplemental online materials as a key tool for preparing for the PMP® exam. My advice is never give up! 

About the Author

Anita Marshall, P.E., PMP®, Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Anita is an experienced Principal Civil Engineer with a demonstrated history of working in the government administration industry. She has been a project manager for Highway Design reconstruction projects, 1R roadway improvements, bikepath projects, safe routes to school, ADA and drainage projects. Anita now works in Materials and oversees the Rideability and HMA Pay adjustments.  

About Solarity

Our mission is to help people, organizations, and communities THRIVE! Our broad range of experience and knowledge in a range of different industries allows us to customize our approach to fit the situation. We work in total partnership with our clients to understand their business needs and the current environment, and then match the right amount of process to meet the culture and the project.