PMP Bootcamp Experiences

About the course:

Dates: January 27-30, 2020
Duration: 4-days (35-hours)
Location: San Diego, CA (Little Italy)
Instructor: Joe D
Organization: Project Management Academy (PMA)

My thoughts:

So this course (PMP Bootcamp from PMA) is an experience that I have been postponed for long while. When I mean a long while, that is nearly 10 years… Since passing my Scrum Master (PSM) and Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) certifications I have felt a strong motivation to finally get a PMP. This motovation lead me to purchase a hard copy the PMBOK 6th edition which revealed to me how INTENSE the actual working material is for the exam and the Project Management Profession in general. Previous to attending the course, I signed up to be a member of to assure I was heading in the right direction, towards passing my PMP exam. Actually, after becoming a member, I completed an online video course that I found on This course did not stick with me well as I did worse on a practice exam after completing it. So finally, I decided to take the in-person bootcamp which I would rate a affective at 8 out of 9.

The course was held at a location just down the street from my home, just 1 kilometer away. This location, I am sure, was by happenstance or perhaps perhaps by fate! Whatever the reason for the awesome location for the course everything in alignment for a fantastic experience.

There were 15 individuals in my class with some that had been working as a PM for many years and others that were completely new to the profession. One individual that sat immediately next to me had completed the course prior with the same instructor a couple years earlier yet did not get a chance to schedule is exam. As he was not able to find a time to complete the exam he opted to take the course again as a refresher. Overall, I believe I had the most practical experience as a PM among the students and certainly the only one with significant Agile (Scrum) knowledge.

During the course the instructor (Joe) supported nearly all of the knowledge areas with practical experience from his many projects. These practical excerpts supported us (the students) in seeing that nearly all of the materials had real world applications while also illustrating that not every organization applies all aspects of the PMBOK. This was excellent to know and hear however it was also frustrating because having a defined rule book does help. From my personal hands-on experience running projects is most effective when Senior Management buys into the methodology even if the methodology is flawed in nature.

On the practice exam, during the course, I scored better than on my previous practice yet not as well as I had hoped. Joe mentioned that I was right where he expected me to be for the practice test and that studying and taking at least 2 (or 3) more practice exams would be optimal. His suggestion was to take the real PMP exam between 1 and 4 weeks from completing the course. This will keep the topics fresh, allow for immersion into the knowledge areas, and give time to take additional practice exams.

Four things I noticed from completing my practice exam were as follows;
1) It is best to read the last sentence of each question first and then go back and read the complete question. This method ensures any irrelevant information is not taken into account in your answer.
2) I need to ensure that I do not miss key words like ‘only’ or ‘not’ within the question as I did three times in the practice exam.
3) It would be best for me to remember the formulas for Earned Value. Since I often use Microsoft Project, the application handles the calculations for me so taking a step back to do some memorizing is a good idea.
4) The TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) are paramount to have as a solid part of my vocabulary for the test. These can be a bit cumbersome as there is often duplicate TLAs among different industries or companies.