My PMP Story. Emenike Ezekwesili PMP

My PMP Story. Emenike Ezekwesili PMP

I started this journey during my Executive MBA in 2016 where I had to choose an elective and chose Project Management. It was then I decided I was going to learn more. In the process, I got to know about the PMP® Certification. I dragged my feet between then and 2018 when I decided to take this seriously. I then began to research the criteria for the PMP® Certification, which included extensive project management experience, classroom time and the certification examination. I began to study, but it was like I was hitting a brick wall as a lot of it seemed too complex.

A colleague of mine who was a student of Mr Obalim at Ciel Consulting highly recommended his training school and I came over and made enquiries. The team advised on the specific materials to get and how to go about preparing for the exams. I registered for the classes in December 2018 with the plan to take the exam in March 2019.

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How I passed my PMP Exam. Gerald Ifeanyi Onyemize

Gerald Ifeanyi Onyemije PMP.  Contact on LinkedIn.

Gerald Ifeanyi Onyemije PMP. Contact on LinkedIn.

Hi Obalim.


This is how I passed my PMP exam.


After the 35 Contact hours training at Ciel Consulting, I immediately went into study mode.

I read Rita Mulcahy PMP Exam Prep a whole lot. Twice completely.

I also read Headfirst PMP Exam Prep Book, but for clarity on certain areas, I didn't understand with Rita Mulcahy PMP Exam Prep Book. it was the old version of headfirst and it didn't have the updated facts so I selected chapters consistent with older fact.

 While reading the two, I also breezed through the PMBok Guide. But stopped doing that after the Quality Management knowledge area.


 I practised a lot. I average 400 questions per day. That means after studying I did two practise exams in a day. I never repeated any instead I learnt from my errors.

 I took Rita's advice and did not practise questions after each knowledge area immediately until I was certain I was ready for the exam. It was then I attempted all... A total of about 379 questions. It was mentally demanding. I utilized the whole 4 hours for that.

I also listened to YouTube videos from Obalim on these two concepts,

1, the difference BTW configuration management and change control

2, quality assurance and quality control.

Pmbok did not do justice in defining these terms but Obalim did. He has videos on YouTube that explained these concepts that aid answering questions correctly on the exams.

I also used apps from the Playstore at my free moments to ensure the brain was always working.

There are good ones that are free and have good questions to checkmate your knowledge on each knowledge area and process group. They even analyse your progress.


 I read a lot.



I took my PMP Exam and PASSED on first attempt.

In individual domains I got the following score –

  1. Initiating – Above Target

  2. Planning – Above Target

  3. Execution – Above Target

  4. Monitoring & Controlling – Above Target

  5. Closing – Target

It was a huge moment for me and had to take several hours after the exams to come to terms with the fact that the PMP certification is done and bagged.

In the last quarter of 2016, I enrolled into 3-week (weekend lectures) PMP Exam Prep Course organized by Ciel Consulting, led by Obalim, PMP.

After the training and successful group discussion, I keep my grips on the PMP studies and the enthusiasm and momentum began.

Then in the last quarter of 2017, while reading the success story of an exam taker, I got to know about the PMP HeadFirst Book.

Although my studies were very erratic, this PMP book stimulated my interest and kept me moving forward and I managed to complete the book.

This marked the beginning of my resolve to get the PMP certification.

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What i did differently after i failed the pmp exam during my first attempt?


When you are over 50 and planning to take the PMP exam you need all the support you can get. It gets worse when you are a busy executive and nomadic in your activities.  

I took the class work with Ciel in August 2016 and got busy until August 2017 when I received the notification that I had two months left to take the exam. Was challenging trying to prepare in two months and as expected missed the pass mark at the first attempt. 

My approach was all wrong. I hadn’t been studying for the exam when I decided to enroll in a week-long PMP Course.

After failing my first exam, I took the advice of some of the Testimonials shared on Ciel Consulting website and did the following:

-Studied Rita Mulcahy PMP Exam Prep Book two hours every night. At least 5 hours on a Saturday or Sunday.

-Focused primarily on taking the practice exams from Ciel Consulting and watching some Youtube videos.

-I made flash cards.

-To hold myself accountable, I created a spreadsheet where I tracked what I studied every night, for how long I studied, and my nightly practice exam scores. This helped me identify sections of the exam where I was weak and track improvements. Once I was scoring high enough across all practice exams, I scheduled my 2nd PMP exam.

-One week before the exam, I memorized the formulas. I Googled “PMP Brain Dump” and put together a method for memorizing the math formulas.

-Forget what you know from your own project management experience. You will be tested on the PMI way, so it’s very much about learning as much as you can from the PMBOK Guide.

Working full-time, this is the method that worked for me. I had to gain the support from my wife and in-laws to help support me through the three months of studying. It meant sacrificing a lot of personal time, but in the end - I passed and am happy I did.

Good luck!

Dr Babatunde Obrimah (PMP)

I passed PMBOK 6 Exams. This is how I did it....Anthony Abojeh PMP

I was keen on earning this most coveted credential in the Project Management world. It all started around January 2018 when I started researching ways to kick start my PMP studies.

Soon I learned that it demands lot of commitment, concentration, dedication and hard work.

Actively, I spent 4 months with 2 to 4 hours of preparation everyday. Here is my study plan, resources I used, tips & tricks I learned in during the course of my PMP study.


Rita Mulcahy 9th Edition – I’d suggest reading this book majorly. This book is gold for Quality Management, Procurement Management and Human Resource Mangement. Actually, I started reading only the pointers for tips and ended up reading the whole book. It is so interactive that you feel this book talks to you in person.

Head First PMP – I spent about 3 weeks to finish this book. Even though it was written in line with PMBOK 5, but it was worth the while. This book explains PMP concepts in a pictorial and a fun way, using many memory aids. If you need a light reading of PMP and a fun start, I would recommend you begin with this book.

PMBOK – This is THE book to consider for your PMP study. Majority of questions appear from this book so as much as possible try not to ignore this. It took me 1 month for first reading; took less than a month for 2nd reading; and took about a week to skim through the book for the 3rd time.

Saket Bansel’s Videos – I watched his free videos for the concepts I felt I need more explanation. His white board sessions are awesome.


Mock exams are a great way to prepare for the real exam. They not only helped me identify gaps in understanding concepts, but it also helped manage those 4 rigorous hours of the PMP test. Ciel Consulting provided me with 4 sets of 200 questions during my exam prep class.

Here are my recommendations for free mock tests –

Free Mocks –
SimpliLearn 20
Oliver’s 75 and 175
Head’s first 200
Izenbridge free 100
Whizlabs free 50 and
Rita’s chapter-end around 400 questions. I found this very relevant as the questions were very similar to the exams.


1) Never memorize ITTOs
When I was going through the 15 mins instructions in the test center, I felt as if I forgot all that I did in last 4 months!

But believe me, once I started reading the 1st question, everything simply flowed through and fell in place.

I believe this will happen only if one understands how all the inputs and outputs are connected.

I used to create mind maps for self-study, and explained process to myself by picking a process at random.

2) Be it right or wrong, check the explanation of all the answers when you practice
This is where I spent most of my time. I checked all the right answers to validate if my thought process when I answered the questions was correct. Did I select my option for the same reason as given in the explanation? – This approach will streamline and align your thought process with PMBOK.

3) Extra reading while checking the answers
If I got a question wrong, I checked Rita Mulcahy for the explanation and I end up reading the whole page.

For instance, I got Risk Acceptance question wrong, when I read through Risk acceptance, I ended up reading Risk Mitigation, Avoidance and transfer as well. I know this takes lot of time but it will stand in mind forever.

4) Practice managing those 4 hours
I’m a slow test taker. During mock exams with Ciel Consulting, I ended up reading the question more than 4 times. So I always took few extra minutes and in the end ran out of time.

After few mocks, I practiced reading the question only once and infer the information the very first time. Instead of rushing, I took extra 30 secs in reading the question slowly, but only once. This helped me a lot in the real PMP exam.

I took 3hr and 50 mins to finish all the 200 questions. But I had the confidence that I will pass the exam, because I knew I had read the question carefully and selected the best answer.

5) Stay Positive
Give positive energy to your thoughts. It is like nurturing a plant. I even thought of preparing a write-up about my PMP journey to post in this very blog.


I made a detailed study Plan for last 10 days.

Being a busy person, I was able achieve only 75% of my plan. But I felt confident on my preparedness to take the exam.

I regulated my sleep during the last week of my preparation because I scored well in all the mocks I took during the day time than during nights. 

 As I planned and practiced, I read every questions only once slowly and steadily, and at the end of the 4th hour I was confident that I have correctly answered more than enough to the pass the exam.


I feel this more important – To give back to PMP community. If any part of this post helps you in your own PMP preparation, it would be of immense satisfaction for me. I have earned more well wishers and friends after I started my PMP journey. Sharing is caring- for yourself and for others. Many Thanks.

Good luck,

Anthony Abojeh, PMP

I Scaled Through the PMP Certification Hurdle! - Here's How, by Onochie

I Scaled Through the PMP Certification Hurdle! - Here's How, by Onochie

Certification exams. He succeeded in flying colours, scoring above the average mark in all of the knowledge areas. 

I'm sharing this, firstly because it gives us great joy and a sense of satisfaction, accomplishment and fulfillment and validates our existence as nurturers and partners in the professional success of our clients, but also more importantly

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Understanding the ITTOs and 47 Processes is Key, by Micheal Oniya

Understanding the ITTOs and 47 Processes is Key, by Micheal Oniya

It's only normal to get a slight attack of fear or doubt when the date of your exam draws near. You can almost find yourself doing things in a panic and skipping the normal order of how you should prepare and study. You must learn to avoid this.

You must bring your mind to concentrate on what's relevant in your study. Thanks to the Ciel team, I knew what I had to arm myself with. I read through the Rita Mulcahy Project Management Prep book, the PMBok 5 and Whitaker PMP ITTO app. 

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Stephanie Nnenna Eke Advice for passing the PMP Exam

Stephanie Nnenna Eke Advice for passing the PMP Exam

My journey to being certified started when I applied for the certification online. My exam was scheduled for November 5th, 2016.

 In order to share this success story, I got myself enrolled in Ciel Consulting for a PMP Exam Preparation class. I had earlier read PMBOK once and found it difficult to understand. However, when I enrolled in Ciel Consulting, I was advised to get Head First PMP, Rita’s Updated Eighth edition and a simulation exam to facilitate my learning.

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Engr Oluwaseun Alabi. How I Passed the PMP Exam.

Hi Obalim. The pmp Journey has been a very interesting one. I started preparing for my PMP exam in April 2016, I began earnestly studying for the PMP certification – with the goal of passing on the first attempt! On October 17, 2016, I earned this prestigious credential and here is how I did it!

My PMP Study Books

The two resources I used were the Head First Book, and the Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep – updated eigth Edition. I read the Head First book first to gain a basic understanding of the PMP concepts and then I tackled Rita’s book. (Learned Rita’s process chart).

I did not read the PMBOK Guide – Fifth Edition, I only read the glossary. In my opinion, above two resources form the perfect knowledge base for preparing to pass the examination. After all, that is the goal, right?

After devouring these books, in July, 2016, I began to focus on my study notes and learning to write the 47 process grid as I was thought in Ciel PMP class as well as the EVM formulas. A great tip I discovered is that the best way to learn the 47 processes chart is left to right – up and down. That one tip proved to be invaluable as I began to learn to think the PMI way. I practiced writing my brain dump on a daily basis.

I submitted my PMP application on August 23, 2016 and it only took one week to be cleared. I scheduled for the Paper Based Test PBT in Nigeria. The exam held on the 8th of October at Meadow Hall School Lekki.

Some more PMP study material

After I was comfortable with the study materials, I started taking sample PMP tests and keeping track of my test scores. Please use the exams in Rita’s book as well as the sample exam questions that are offered by the authors of Head First PMP. I believe their sample exams are online.

I also downloaded apps on my iPhone with sample exam questions. Additionally, I joined Facebook groups and answered questions there.

I found many other valuable resources for sample tests; however, about 3 weeks before my exam, I paid for the PM Prep simulator by Cornelius Fichtner. Access to this wealth of PMP sample questions cost $125. I never took a full exam using this simulator; however, I did do the quizzes. I also liked the fact that I could target my questions for a particular knowledge area. The PM Prep simulator questions were very difficult. The questions I found that were most like the real PMP exam were Rita’s.

The last two weeks before the exam, I took two full sample exams from Exam Central. This resource is free and you can also take timed quizzes here.

About ITTOs

As others have stated, please don’t focus too much time on memorizing the ITTO. I may have gotten just one question asking about an input….. The test is comprised primarily of situational type question… of the type, ‘What does the PM do next?’

I honestly did not feel that the exam was as difficult as I feared. The hardest part is the preparation….. just make sure you KNOW exactly what a PM is doing in every situation and how to handle the next decision. I did not take a break during the exam.

My PMP certification exam strategy

I had about 5 EVM questions total. My strategy (I HATE math), was to answer every question and mark all the math questions for later. (I went back and answered them after answering the rest of the questions). This strategy worked for me. I completed the exam in 3 hours. I did not go back and change any answers because I was confident that I knew my stuff!

Finally, find a method that works for you, exercise good time management strategies, and gain an understanding of the PMI methodology for managing projects and you will succeed. I studied an average of 3 hours on weekdays and 8 hours total on weekends. This WILL consume your life! However, the reward will be worth it!

Reading others’ success stories on this site also encouraged me… who better to learn from than people who have already mastered this exam?

I know this prestigious credential will help me to further my career goals.
Good luck to all!

Enitan Awoga Passed after the second attempt.

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Enitan Awoga. Sahara Group. Contact on LinkedIn

My journey to PMP began in July 2013 when I obtained my 35 contact hours. The original intention was to write my exam shortly afterwards. However, I had just started writing papers for another professional qualification in addition to other factors which made it impossible for me to write my exams then.

Finally, in January 2016‎ I completed my other professional exam and was then ready to start the process of writing my PMP exam. I submitted my PMP application on the 4th February 2016 and on the 9th of February, I got a mail from PMI approving my application and allowing me to continue with selecting my PMP examination date. I chose 4th June 2016 (4 months away) in order to have enough time and because I felt I was used to writing exams in June because of my other professional examination.

I soon realized I had forgotten most of what I had learned since‎ 2013 and I also did not have enough time to cover all the required reading on my own with work and all. I could see that I needed a refresher class and would appreciate the brainstorming opportunity provided by being in a classroom environment.

I registered with Ciel Consulting 5-weekend‎ days class for May 2016 with Obalim Esedebe. This meant that the day the classes ended I had exactly one week to sit for my exam. I also barely had time to read and got only 3 days off work to prepare.

I sat for my exam on the 4th of June 2016 at JKK House, Ilupeju. I was sick on the day and finished my exam in 3 hours and left the hall. I wasn't sure how I felt about the exam but I was optimistic. I knew it was either I felt the exam was easier than I expected or I underestimated the exam because I just finished writing my other professional qualification which is deemed to be tougher.

I got my result 6 working days later. I failed!

I applied to resit my examination on the 19th of July 2016 and chose 5th November 2016 (4 months away again!). This time around, I tried to use every spare moment reading and also got 3 days off work to prepare (which I spent reviewing all the practice exams in Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep & focusing on Executing and Monitoring and Controlling Process Groups which were my weak areas in the first exam). This gave me a deeper understanding of what was required from me in each of the questions. I sat for my re-exam on the 5th of November 2016 at JKK House, Ilupeju. I wrote out my brain dump: Process Groups and Knowledge Areas matrix as well as formulas before I began and finished my exam in 3 hours 15 minutes and spent another 15 minutes reviewing my answers and then left the hall before I started second guessing my answers. I felt more confident than my first sitting but still panicked a little when I got a reminder from PMI that my exam eligibility period was going to end in February 2017.

I got my result 6 working days later again. I passed with 5 MP's!

What I did differently: I did not underestimate the exam the second time around. I felt ‎I needed to hear, read and have PMP around me all the time. So I bought Rita Mulcahy's Hot Topics Audio Flashcards for passing the PMP and CAPM Exams CD which I would listen to while going to and returning from work. I also realized a major weak area for me was ITTO's. So I bought Cornelius Fichtner's ITTO Memory Jogger eBook as well as  Fahad Usmani's PM Study Circle PMP Question Bank.

Besides reading the PMBOK, the free tools I used were:

PM Study Circle 400 PMP Exam Sample Questions

Cornelius Fichtner’s/OSP International LLC Free PMP Exam Sample Questions

Exam Central’s PMP Exam Questions

Oliver Lehmann 75 and 175 Prep Questions


Praveen Malik/Gumroad’s PMP Formulas Pocket Guide (very handy for complex Earned Value Formulas)

I also joined “I want to be a PMP” group on LinkedIn and signed up with Passionate Project Management for daily PMP Question-of-the-Day for community support.

Lessons learned:

  1. Don’t jump from a 5 Day Class to the examination hall. The class would provide you with a good foundation but you still need to read a lot on your own!

  2. Don’t underestimate the exam!

  3. Take your time answering your questions correctly. However, if you are finished with your exam, feel free to submit and don’t begin to second guess your answers.

  4. If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself up and try again!

My PMP Exam Prep Experience

My PMP Exam Prep Experience

Dear Obalim,

Here is my PMP exam prep experience. I’m hoping that it will help other PMP applicants.

My PMP journey was a difficult but an interesting one. I work as a Project Manager and my work schedule is a six days a week schedule, which leaves me very little time for PMP study. Moreover, I had just three years of project management experience but I was determined to get certified once I met the minimum requirements PMI has mandated for eligibility.

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My Exam Prep Olu Fakoya PMP

My Exam Prep Olu Fakoya PMP

Hello Obalim,

I really appreciate your efforts in helping me to prepare for my PMP exam. I am a project manager at work and a busy one at that managing about 5 projects all the time. I started training in January this year after I felt the need to take my practice to a professional level.

My exam prep

My training lasted for 5 daysafter which we did a mock test, which I did well in and that motivated me further to take up the exam.

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