Dear All, 

I recently passed PMI ACP certification exam and in this blog will talk about my journey. So, let’s get started on your path to Project Management Institute Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI ACP®). 

First of all, your Why is more important!

Why choose PMI Agile Certified Practitioner? 

Before I answer that, let me quickly take you through my preparation journey of PMI ACP ® certification and exam experience.

PMI ACP Exam Preparation Steps

I chose both online training courses and self study. I took the online training classes through knowledge hut. I also used PMI-ACP Mike Griffiths book for preparation. 

I felt I can take up exam in 45 days and  paid for the PMI-ACP® exam in February 2020.

Started to prepare, but…

Due to so many reasons, the PMI ACP exam preparation was more or less like on and off and I could not take up exam as planned. 

**I am not going into details, but in the interim every now and then tried my best to understand agile methodology in general and agile mindset. I regularly asked questions to my friends who had prior experience in agile work environment. Also posed questions to my work colleagues about Agile Project Management. All of it also helped to develop the agile mindset subconsciously. **

Finally in November I decided to take up the exam. This time my approach was:

Week 1: Reading the reference book for 3 continuous days.

Week 2: Second iteration of 3 days of continuous study of the book.

Week 3: Gained the confidence about the flow, I scheduled the exam in a week and continued my preparation based on time left.

I would have roughly studied the book 3 times. Honestly the 2nd and 3rd time, I skipped topics which I was comfortable about.

It’s about continuous improvement in perfecting your study plan. After-all, the core of the agile practice is to be nimble and quickly adapt.

Note: In the reference book, we have chapters and in the end of each chapter you have sample questions. I tried the sample questions all the three  times which helped me to decided which topics I can skip.

Important Note: Sample practice questions are totally different from the actual exam questions.

Final stage of preparation was trying out the mock tests provided by Knowledge Hut. I took two mock tests and they were taken 2 and 3 days before the actual exam.

It helps in two ways:

1. To assess your time management for the exam.

2.To gain confidence about your understanding of Agile and Understand your mindset.

As I already highlighted, please do not solely depend on these tests and also do not try to memorize the answers because the actual exam questions are totally situational and it will test your understanding of Agile Methodology and Agile mindset.

Incorporate these tips for PMI ACP study plan

1. Try taking these exams around similar time of a day compared to actual exam.

Say you have exam on Wednesday at 9am, try taking the exams on previous week any day but around same time 9am.

Why? I believe, it helps to tune your mind

2. Avoid preparing a day before the exam and on the day of exam.

3. Keep yourself fresh and energetic. If your mind isn’t fresh, the exam will drain you out and you won’t be able to read the questions with clarity. Especially the language used in the exam is not only tricky but also critical to know keywords to be able to answer them. The day before the exam I slept nicely as I know the importance of sleep.

Online Proctored Exam

1. I took an online PMI ACP exam as it was convenient for me. I would suggest others to go for it as well, provided you fulfil the needed requirements.

2. I would advise as per the guidelines log in 30 minutes before the exam and make sure you have stable internet connection.

During The PMI -ACP Certification Exam

The exam began and the clock started ticking.

My key takes away (although, I knew about it) here was – got stuck to a question and soon realized the time was ticking. I did what I should not have done. 

I almost ran out of time for last few questions. 

Some of the questions were short and some were long, so you may need to read 2 to 3 times both – the questions and the answers.

Tips for answering the PMI – ACP Certification questions

1. Be aware that most real work environments have tailored Agile processes to suit their needs. However, in the actual exam, focus will be on the plain-vanilla version of agile processes.

2. Self organization is highly valued in an Agile Project.

3. For some questions, it may help you to understand the responsibilities of the people in different roles working in an agile environment.

4. While reading the questions (considering time constraints), it’s easily possible to miss out the key words in exam ex: which of these is “NOT” related to kind of questions.

5. You must look out for the words that are against the Agile principles in the list of answers that help to eliminate options.

6. Some multiple choice questions, I was able to answer straight away, some needed to eliminate the options in the answers. Even then some places you will left with two probable answer options. Read the question again and see for the key word. You will then be able to find the best option.

Now to the important question, Why PMI-ACP ®?

My dear PMI-ACP® Aspirants, if you genuinely put in the effort to prepare for the exam, I am sure the journey for each one of you will be transformational not only career wise but also in personal life because of the minor mindset shift you will embrace subconsciously.

Good luck for your exams, believe in yourself, you can do amazingly well in this Agile Certification.

Jagadeesh #Purity in thoughts and deeds.

Author: Jagadeesh Babu is a PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®| Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) ®| Certified SAFe® 5 Agilist | Volunteer at PMI Sweden Chapter

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