My Journey towards the PMP Certification

Know your Stakeholders:

Stop all the crap:

So, Stop all that crap, make a decision, reset your goals & put your own plan.

Studying for the PMP:

  1. PMP Exam Prep Seminar – by Joseph Phillips
  2. Other course given in my native Arabic language PMP Preparation Course 6th Edition includes 42 PDUs – Arabic by Waleed Elbasyouni

Therefore, it’s very important to carefully select your instructor (not the venue).

Red Learning Institute – Dubai:

  • Attend
    life sessions (2-3 times/week) – Boot Camp
  • Allowance
    to attend classes with the regular patches currently attending the course
  • Access
    to online study platform (LMS) – Videos/Audios/PDF notes/Many assessments.
  • Unlimited
    access to exam simulation – I spent the last 4 days before the exam in their
    center J

Thank you Red Learning.

Preparing for the Exam:

  • Read
    PMBOK carefully at least once, in addition to any other available book (most
    people prefer Rita),
  • Set
    a 30/60/90 days plan, to deeply study the 49 Process in; 10 Knowledge areas
    basis, then Process Groups basis.
  • Read
    the Exam Content Outline, understand what’s PMI expectations from a PM to
    undertake under each Project Management Domains.
  • Practice
    as much as you can from the available Exam simulations. I would recommend ‘PMP®
    Exam Prep Sample Questions and Mock Exam’ (

Exam Tips:

One more advice, DON’T STOP LEARNING, I’ve registered myself for PgMP course with Red Learning, wish me luck and I hope that I’ll be writing about my new success (InshaaAllah) very soon.

Mahmoud Amin, PMP, PSP
PMP Certified through Red Learning

Top 10 Reasons for Failing the PMP Exam

The PMP is a very important certification to have in the United Arab Emirates, whether you are looking for a better opportunity or a more fulfilling responsibility at your workplace, this certification will definitely help you achieve the same. PMP exam is considered a difficult exam. Every year many people fail the exam. No one knows how many people apply for the exam or what the failure rate is PMI does not provide any statistics. Some experts estimate that failure rate could be as high as 40-50%.The reason for me to write about the reasons of failure for the exam is to help aspirants avoid the pitfalls when they do their preparation.

There is no intention to scare you away from your journey. I want you to understand the reasons behind the failure so that you can develop an approach for attaining PMP certification.In last few 10 years I have conducted many PMP workshops and have imparted 35 hours education to thousands of students. Most of my students, who take the exam, become PMP certified. However, a minuscule percentage of candidates do not get through. This has given me an opportunity to analyze the reasons that lead to failure. Let us discuss the top reasons.

Top 10 Reasons for Failing the PMP Exam

1) PMBOK Guide

Many aspirants dread reading the PMBOK Guide. They either read it casually or skip it altogether. You would find numerous study guides in the market but PMBOK Guide is the most important reference point of study. It is PMI’s publication and there is no substitute for it.  The format of the questions depends entirely on the language written in the Guide.

2) Ignoring the Exam Content Outline

Many aspirants have never opened the Exam Content Outline (ECO). They believe reading the PMBOK or any other study material is good enough to pass the exam. The exam outline has clearly stated that the PMP exam is an examination of your abilities to perform certain tasks per Domain (not process groups) as mentioned in the ECO. The PMBOK is divided into Knowledge Areas, not Domains. You should always analyze if you have the ability to perform these tasks mentioned in the ECO.

3) Selection of the Training Academy for the 35 Hours Mandatory Training

35 hours of formal education is mandatory to apply for the exam. Although there are options available online, the best way is to go for a PMP workshop. Many aspirants do not give important to this workshop as they think it is a formality towards the application process. I think you should think of it as an investment and not as cost. The selection of the training center is an important one. Reach out for those institutes that focus on PMI Certifications, have dedicated student support and more importantly a trainer/faculty who is a practitioner of the subject.

4) Attend a PMP Exam Course not Project Management Training

It is very important to understand the difference between the two. PMP Exam Prep course focuses on the exam content outline and helps you with tools and tricks to help clear the exam. The course should be build on knowledge required, understanding of domains, trips and tricks to help answer the questions and a clear road-map to pass the exam. Generic Project Management Training helps acquire a good understanding of the exam but may not necessarily help you pass the exam.

5) Customized Learning Plans

Every student is different and so are their abilities and constraints. One learning plan does not fit all. If one student works flexible hours the other student may get face a daily traffic situation for over 3 hours, so it becomes mandatory for the training institute or the faculty member to device a learning plan that is suited to that student. While this may seem hard work, it is what prep courses and counselling sessions are for. I firmly believe that many students who do not clear the exam fail due to wrong mentor ship and lack of confidence due to the missing learning plans.

6) Free Study Material

There is a lot of free study material available on the web. Many aspirants use this as a primary source of study. While some free material is good, but a lot of it is old and sub-standard also. Secondly free study material does not give you an upper hand as almost every other aspirant studies from it. You should complement the free material with some reliable paid material. I would recommend Oliver Lehman’s Prep Guide as one of the best ever written guides on PMP Exam. Rita Mulchaly comes next for me.

7) Mock Tests

How does one know that she/he is ready for the exam? By steadily scoring well in the mock tests. PMP is a tough exam and it requires deep study. The study should include book study as well as solving sufficient number of mock tests. Unfortunately many aspirants just read the book and do not do enough tests. Before taking the exam, you should do mock questions from 3-4 different sources. I would recommend Rita Mulcahy’s PM Fast-track Simulation Software. It’s the best that is out there.


Many people believe that learning PMBOK Guide’s ITTO is the most important part of the exam prep. They think that they will definitely pass the exam by cramming the ITTOs. The bulk of PMP exam has situational questions with an odd ITTO question thrown into the mix. You cannot pass the exam unless you conceptually understand the underlying project management concepts.

9) Personal Experience

The PMP exam is based on the PMBOK Guide. It is a test of project management concepts and theory as described in the Guide. Many experienced project managers fail to appreciate the concepts explained in the Guide. They think that their experience has taught them everything. They think that what worked in their real life would work in the exam as well. This doesn’t always work in the exam.

10) English Language

The PMP exam is administered in the English language. It is a handicap for many non-native English speakers especially in the UAE which is has a majority of Arabic speaking people. It is important to note that the PMBOK has been written in multiple languages including Arabic. It becomes important for you to read the PMBOK in the language of your choice as the exam questions will relate to the same vocabulary. Also make sure that you select the language support option during your application process.

This is my analysis of reasons of student failing the PMP Exam based on my 10 years of teaching on this subject.

I hope this blog will improve your chances of cracking the exam.

Good luck.

Top 10 Reasons to Get a PMP Certification

The Project Management Professional (PMP)® is a globally acknowledged professional certification that validates a professional’s education and experience in project management. This coveted credential is offered by the reputed Project Management Institute to professionals who qualify in the PMP Exam conducted by the Project Management Institute (PMI)®.
Why PMP Certification? Here are the top 10 reasons you should consider getting PMP certified:
1: Globally Acknowledged
Who should become PMP certified? Anyone who wants the freedom to work anywhere in the world. The PMP is one of those credentials whose reputation precedes them, recognized and sought-after the world over (there are more than 760,000 PMP certified professionals worldwide). Achieving the PMP certification helps professionals demonstrate and showcase their skills and expertise to potential employers across the globe.
2: Salary Bump
If you’ve wondered why to get a PMP certification, you should know that PMP holders typically enjoy a dramatic and steep hike in salary once they have attained the PMP certification. On average, PMP certified professionals earn 17% more than their non-certified counterparts, according to the Project Management Salary Survey, Eighth Edition. According to the PMI’s Project Management Salary Survey released in July 2017, PMP certified professionals earn a median salary of $111,969 per year in the United States.
3: Expand Your Market Reach and Scope
PMP certification holders are a global yet close-knit community. There are many Project Management forums and online communities that attract PMP professionals from across the world who are willing to share tips, insights, and pool their experience—helping everyone stay abreast of the latest industry developments and trends.
4: Better Job Opportunities
PMP Certification opens up better career avenues and provides professionals with greater job opportunities in the project management world. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, 80% of high-performing projects use PMP credentialed project managers; according to the PMI Pulse of the Profession study, organizations with more than 35% PMP certified project managers demonstrated much better project performance than those without a certification.
5: PMP Professionals Get The Most Challenging Projects
The PMP Certification earns a professional a challenging and important role since the certification demonstrates an individual’s dedication to project management and attests to that person’s knowledge and experience in handling challenging projects. Additionally, since even the eligibility to take the PMP exam includes both education and experience, the PMP Certification validates one’s skills and experience leading and directing projects.
6: PMP Professionals Demonstrate Better Project Performance
Not all project managers are PMP certified. Consequently, project managers who lack the credential perform less efficiently than their certified peers. The standards for the rigorous PMP exam are higher than other project management certifications, testing professionals on five project management processes: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling, and closing, providing the Project manager with a detailed, standardized, actionable set of project management best practices.
Further, in order to qualify for the PMP exam, aspirants must have an in-depth understanding of nine knowledge areas of project management, including project scope management, integration management, human resource management, time management, cost management, quality management, and procurement management.
7: Greater Visibility To Recruiters
Research across industries suggests that organizations prefer hiring PMP certified project managers rather their non-credentialed peers. The PMP certification is a standard that demonstrates a professional’s expertise in project management and it immediately catches a recruiter’s eye during profile evaluation.
8: Applicable to Most Industries
The PMP certification is an ideal bet for all project managers in various professional fields, including IT, telecom, business processing, commerce, finance, research, and more.
9: A Great Investment for Your Future
The exam itself falls into about the middle range in terms of cost. While not as expensive as many of the high-tech, very specific exams, it isn’t something you are likely to take lightly. At $555 a test (unless you are a PMI® member, in which case it is $405), it doesn’t seem too expensive.
The passing rate of the PMP exam is estimated to be around 50 – 60%. Once you consider the pass/fail rate, you may decide that you need formal training. These types, of course, can cost between $1,500 and $2,000—not counting the cost of the exam.
10: PMP Professionals are Secure Even During Economic Downturns
With the economy yet to get back to where it was 15 years ago, there is still plenty of uncertainty. While no one is immune to layoffs and downsizing, 80% of executives around the world believe that having a PMP certification demonstrated core competencies that made the certification holders valuable even during a recession.

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