My Project Management journey began in my mind several years ago. I researched the certification and discussed my desire to become a PMP® with my supervisor, trying to sell how project management would benefit Morehead State University (MSU). However, life had other tasks for me to complete before such an opportunity presented itself. Last summer, MSU hired The Solarity Group to manage the re-implementation of the campus’ Enterprise Resource Planning system and to introduce the campus community to the benefits of formalized project management.

I was given the opportunity to mentor with Sue Knies and Terry Barnes from Solarity on several campus projects. Hearing talk of the possibility of MSU developing a project management office, I began to study for the certification in August 2016. It had been years since I was in school and I questioned if my aging brain could ever comprehend all of the information contained within Rita Mulcahy’s PMP® Exam Prep, Eighth Edition.  From August to November, I read this prep book about three times. My understanding of the terminology and the processes clarified with each reading, but I continually questioned if I knew enough. 

I attended Solarity’s PMP®/CAPM® Exam Preparation Boot Camp in early December. I felt like I had prepared pretty well, but I have always been an auditory learner and the instruction that I received from this class solidified many of the concepts in my mind. I had questioned if I would have been better off taking the class earlier in my study plan, but now know that the preparation I did prior to the class was very advantageous.

After completion of my PDU credits in mid-December, I submitted my application to PMI®.  Six days later, I received notification to continue my PMI® application and submit payment for the test. However, as I submitted payment for the exam, I was notified that my application was selected to be audited. 

I submitted my audit materials on January 3, 2017. During that time, I continued to study a couple of hours every day. I was taking on-line tests and reading everything I could about the PMP® exam experience. One of the last things I did before testing was to read the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)®.  When I read the PMBOK® at the beginning of my studies, I found it difficult to understand, now, I was able to understand the terminology and realized that this text presented several additional terms and concepts that I had not previously read. 

I compare the process of getting ready for the PMP® exam to having my first child. You never know if you are truly ready, you just have to take a leap of faith. I received notification on a Thursday that I had successfully completed PMI’s audit procedure, scheduled the exam for the next Wednesday and successfully passed.

I did not use a dump sheet before the test as many had recommended. I felt like if I knew the information well enough to be able to write it down, I knew it well enough to recall during the test. Taking previous on-line tests was invaluable. Experience had taught me the importance of taking my time and reading each question AND ANSWER, before submitting an answer. I tested first thing in the morning hoping that I would be at my best. Toward the end of the test, I was marking more questions for review as I began to over-analyze and play the “what if” game in my head. I completed the test in 3.5 hours, taking two breaks throughout. It was almost a surreal experience when the “Congratulations, you successfully passed PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP)® examination” showed up on the computer screen. I definitely took time to celebrate the moment.

I want to thank the Solarity team for the support and guidance provided throughout my preparation leading up to taking the exam and continue to provide. Sue and Terry have been nothing but inspiring and true role models.

About the Author

Amy Moore is the Operations Manager for the Office of Information Technology (OIT) at Morehead State University (MSU) in Morehead, Kentucky. Amy expertly juggles many important duties for MSU, including serving as Project Manager for select, high-impact projects within the Office of Information Technology.

About The Solarity Group

Solarity is a business consulting and training company that helps people and organizations thrive through a practice model that integrates Project, Program, and Portfolio Management, Organizational Change Management, Strategic Planning, Business Analysis and Requirements Management. Solarity offers a broad range of experience and knowledge in a range of different industries that allows it to customize an approach to fit the situation.