Episode 354: PMP Exam Lessons Learned with David Kornaros (Free)
This episode is sponsored by The PM PrepCast for The PMP® Exam:
Today you will be treated to another PMP exam success story. I proudly present to you David Kornaros (https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidkornaros) who is one of my successful PMP students. He has used The PM PrepCast, which is my PMP training videocast and also The PM Exam Simulator in his preparation.
As always with these interviews, they are intended for those among you who are currently preparing for their PMP Exam because the in-depth knowledge that I can take from someone like David who has passed their PMP exam will help you understand how to prepare for PMP.
This PMP exam lessons learned interview reviews David’s journey from start to finish, including many tips and tricks that he picked up along the way.
Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.
Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to Episode #354. This is The Project Management Podcast™ at www.pm-podcast.com and I'm Cornelius Fichtner.
Before we start, please don't forget that we are a listener-supported podcast. If you enjoy your interviews then please visit www.pm-podcast.com/premium. Your subscription will help keep us going.
Today, you will be treated to another PMP® exam success story. I proudly present to you David Kornaros who is one of my successful PMP students. He has used PM PrepCast™, which is my PMP training videocast and also the PM Exam Simulator™ in his preparation.
As always with these interviews, they are intended for those among you who are currently preparing for their PMP® exam because the in-depth knowledge that I can take from someone like David who has passed the PMP® exam will help you understand how to prepare for your own PMP® exam. These PMP® Exam Lessons Learned interview reviews David's journey from start to finish including many tips and tricks that he picked up along the way.
And now, here is what he has learned! Enjoy the interview.
Female Voice: The Project Management Podcast's feature interview: Today with David Kornaros, PMP, Business Informations Program Manager.
Cornelius Fichtner: Hello, David and welcome!
David Kornaros: Hi, Cornelius! How are you?
Cornelius Fichtner: I'm very well, thank you. It's quite warm here in Southern California.
David Kornaros: As it is in northern.
Cornelius Fichtner: Well, Congratulations, on passing your PMP® exam!
David Kornaros: Thank you very much, I appreciate it.
Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah, you did the impossible, okay. Let's me explain this for our listeners when you take the PMP® exam, you don’t just get passed or failed. PMI gives you a little bit more information. So the exam is divided up into the 5 domains --- Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing. And for each of those domains, you get a proficiency level. You are either proficient; you are moderately proficient and you are below proficient. And oftentimes when you read lessons learned, people say: "Oh I had 3 P's, three times proficient and 1 time MP, moderately proficient." But no, David goes and he's got 5 P's, he's got 5 'Proficients'. How did you do that?
David Kornaros: It's a great question because honestly, I would have been perfectly satisfied with just passing. Because I had learned of the PMP certification and PMI just 6 months before I took the exam.
Cornelius Fichtner: Alright!
David Kornaros: A friend of mine turned me on to it and I started researching it in the summer, July, August timeframe, realized I may have the necessary hours to become certified and I have an opportunity here to add a certification to my professional experience because I really didn’t want to invest 2 years of my life in an MBA. But I knew if I can give this a real go and invest heavily for a couple of months, I think I can do this.
So I spent the month of September just doing some research, the month of October really looking at my professional experience and realized I do in fact have the hours. So I invested all of November and December into studying and I was so thankful for the work holidays to come in those 2 months because I was able to really push through and in that 8-week to 9-week period and about 250 hours of studying get those 5 P's. Now frankly while I took the test, I was not very confident that I was even going to pass believe it or not.
Cornelius Fichtner: So you didn’t think it was an easy test then?
David Kornaros: No.
Cornelius Fichtner: You thought that it was difficult and you still got the 5 P's?
David Kornaros: Yeah! I thought it was very difficult. The first hour, I only got 30 questions done. Having taken the PrepCast-Simulator test, I knew I need to be focused on getting 50 questions per hour. That's going to get me the 200 in the 4-hour period. I took no breaks at all because I knew I was going to be behind if I didn’t really push through it.
So while I was taking the exam, I was hitting questions that were not very wordy. They didn’t take a long time to read but they really forced you to think. The answers were pretty much what I was expecting. I would either hit one, see one or two that were obviously wrong and either two or three that could be right answers but as we all know, we had to pick the best one. And I wasn’t sure if I was picking the best one on many of those situational questions. So I wasn’t confident that I was going to pass until I finished that survey and the results popped up.
Cornelius Fichtner: Wow! Okay!
David Kornaros: I was shocked to see 5 'Proficients'. I really, I was shocked.
Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! Let's go all the way back to the beginning.
David Kornaros: Sure!
Cornelius Fichtner: August. You learned about PMI only back then. So you would call yourself therefore an accidental project manager. You didn’t even know you were a project manager.
David Kornaros: Yes! Based on the PMI's description of project management, I had no idea that I had led a number of projects but they were back years ago. That was my biggest concern was how far can I go back?
So I contacted the PMI and I said: How far can I go back? They said: "8 years." I said: "Great!" So I started looking through 8 years worth of work emails and that took me almost a month just to document what have I done and what projects have I worked on and thank God, I kept all that stuff because it allowed me to go back and search every single project I worked on and how long and when did it start and when did it end and what role did I have. And that allowed me to start building my application if you will, although I did not answer it all at once. I transferred it in a spreadsheet first.
Cornelius Fichtner: That indicates to me that your role obviously, your job description didn’t say project manager. Your business card didn’t say project manager. What did you write in your application? What title did you give yourself?
David Kornaros: Well I wrote my current title which is a Senior Account Executive.
Cornelius Fichtner: Okay.
David Kornaros: I have a tech sales background. Most of my career has been either focused on high tech sales and partner management or business operations and now I would characterize it as business operation/project management. Although my role was more of an executive administrator in a nonprofit but that role included two main areas --- business operations and special projects, and that's where all my project management experience solely rested in.
Cornelius Fichtner: Right and so your role was project manager but your title wasn’t project manager?