PMP Self-Study vs Study Buddy for Accountability

Ewoolf's picture

Studying. A concept I never really had to do to much of. You see, learning always came relatively easy for me. However, when it came to the thought of having to study for the PMP - - I was lost. It had been so long since I had to study, I didn’t even know how.

I bought some self-study material and decided to read, read, read until the information started to make sense because this is what everyone said was a ‘must do’ to pass the exam.

Reading an almost 700-page book 3x started to take a lot longer than I thought. It was literally the last thing I wanted to do after getting home from a long day at work. Since I was doing self-study, it was my timeline, so I pushed it out further and further. My study habits weren’t consistent, so I was continually re-reading information.

I eventually passed. But it took 8 grueling months when its reality, it could have been a lot shorter and smoother.

Cut to my boyfriend and business partner choosing to take the exam. Learning from my mistakes, we used a more simplified approach. It evolved throughout the journey. But he studied less, took the exam within 4 months and passed with 5 AT’s!

He did a lessons learned if you want to know what he did differently. He shows his plan compared to what actually ended up working.

But the key thing he had, was accountability to me – I was making sure he met his targets, even when they changed. He also attended/co-managed a 12-week PMP accountability challenge. Knowing that he had to be prepared, helped keep him on track with his study plan. In a sense, it was a bit of peer pressure.

In fact, Dr. Robert Cialdini, a well-known social psychologist, often discusses “social influence” and decision-making. His studies show that 1) peer pressure is powerful, and 2) the closer we are to the person or group we are comparing ourselves to, the more likely we are to be influenced by them.

It started to make sense. All of these people joined the challenge because they needed some level of accountability to get them studying and preparing regularly to avoid being the unprepared weirdo in the weekly sessions who wasn’t ready, didn’t know the answers and was falling behind in the challenge.

Everyone started taking the exam and sharing their success stories many of which attributed their success to a once a week, 1-hour sync up. It turns out, these folks significantly increased their chances of success simply by committing to show up to the group each week.

According to the “American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) who completed a study on accountability they found that you have a 65% of completing a goal if you commit to someone. With reoccurring accountability check-ins with a person you’ve committed, your chance of success raises to 95%.”

Wondering how you can find an accountability buddy, you can find my favorites here.

Did you do self-study, group, partner study? What worked for you?