Tuesday, June 14, 2011


The good news is that I am a recently minted and polished Project Management Professional. I would like to say I passed the exam on the first try. Unfortunately it took me two attempts, lots of soul searching and ego mending to get it together.

I’m a person who takes exams and studying seriously. I love school! I am the student who will sit in the front of the class, so I can make clear eye contact with the teacher and raise my hand high to indicate that I know the answer or have a very clever, insightful question to ask. These attributes don’t necessarily make me the teacher’s pet, nor, now that I think of it, a favorite classmate. Note to self – work on these areas for the next course.

The PMP exam was challenging (read hard). I feel somewhat vindicated when my best friend from college often mentions lots people don’t pass on their first attempt – I however think, I’m not most people.

I learned of my non-success just before Christmas. Talk about a knock on the head. I was in shock. How could this happen? Did they get the right booklet? Was my name on it clearly? Who graded these papers anyway? I looked at the score and immediately contacted the organization administering the exam and carefully explained that I had passed four of the six parts of the exam, which, in the real world, means I passed. However, in the PMP world that does not constitute a pass. Totally dissatisfied I demanded to speak with the President of the United States but they didn’t have his number.

As I quietly accepted defeat, I had to start telling people because I was extremely loud when I let people I was taking the exam. They now wanted to know the results. I whispered the outcome to a few people. One of them being a lady, Delight, who, took the exam when I did, and laughed when I told her an answer I had selected. Needless to say, she was forced to do the same soul searching I did.

Christmas got a little ugly for me last year. Between my brothers laughing at my discomfort and my husband trying to help me see the silver lining, I was determined to re-sit and pass this darn exam.

Delight, to her credit, found a class for us to take in the US and started the ball rolling. We got to Viriginia in mid-April. The teacher, who explained things in detail before the class, stated that we had to be committed, focused and motivated to pass the exam. I knew I was in the right place. He also added that we only needed to study for 45 minutes each evening and we would be ready.

I’m not sure which planet he lives on but 45 minutes turned into four hours of study each night for me. I had to be able to go over the stuff he taught each day, make sure I understood what he was talking about and then prepare for the next day. Sleep became a luxury that week. I am not sure if I was coming or going most of the time.

I know the night before the exam, I was dreaming (in color) of the difference between quality control and quality assurance. I had formulas floating around in my head and I knew my inputs, outputs, tools and techniques without looking. I was ready.

As I sat in the exam room with a bank of computers and others taking all sorts of exams, I confidently clicked on the first question and read it. My heart sank. I couldn’t understand the question, much less figure out the answer. I wanted to cry but there were no tissues nearby and I didn’t dare stand so, I dabbed by eyes with my shirt sleeve and went to the next question. After the fourth question, I realized I was at the wrong computer, taking the wrong exam. Just as I was about to leave, I decided to look at the title screen – it definitely said Project Management Institute – Project Management Professional Exam.

That sealed it, I was in the correct place, at the correct time, taking the correct exam. Having firmly established this I figured I was losing my mind and had to get a grip. I used all the techniques at my disposal – deep breathing, shoulder relaxation and prayer.

I was now ready – the next four hours were a blur. I know as I clicked on ‘submit’ I was prepared for whatever response the computer spit out. I’m pretty sure I waited three hours for the results but the administrator assured me it was less than five minutes.

Success! I had passed and to add to the accomplishment Delight passed as well. Let me just say for the record, if you ever need a study partner, Delight is your girl. I'm sure she is ready for the next challenge. Yours truly is contemplating a Ph.D. so I can be called Dr. Bademosi Wilson (not sure that is a good enough reason) but I feel that is my next academic hurdle. Yes, you can look for me in the front of the class, I’ll be the one asking the teacher deep and meaningful questions.

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