I have not posted on this forum before but regularly visited to get guidance on PgMP exam prep. Happy to report I passed the test yesterday which I must admit was a relief not knowing if I was adequately prepared.
At the end, I agree with the folks who took this test that practical experience truly comes into play alongwith the value of the Program Management Standard from the standpoint of understanding the terminology. I would also recommend that aspirants focus on time management. Despite taking several practice tests at home and completing it comfortably in the alloted time, it does not really substitute for the real thing. Most of you know this if you have taken the PMP before. Target time for practice tests at home should be 3 hours or so. I struggled during the first half averaging little more than 2 minutes a question. Luckily was able to make it up at the back end as I started to get more comfortable with the environment.
Some of my struggles in preparing for the test was lack of adequate information on readiness. The information in this forum was helpful but limited. Several books sugested I should be getting 80-85% of my questions correct in my practice tests. Given the weighted scoring approach and based on how standardized tests are generally administered, the rationale did not quite resonate with me. I have to admit I was not close to meeting the recommended thresholds; in fact the night before I did not score very well in one of the practice tests which raised some alarms. Contrary to other approaches,I scheduled my exam before I started preparing as it fits well with my learning style and ability. Much like a phase gate, I had my go/no go decision point about 5 days before the test. Glad I went ahead because looking back I’m not sure if I could have done any better by holding off.
Coming to preparation, while I bought the books around early Dec, focused preparation was around 3-4 weeks with the last 2 weeks being the most intense. I did not take any classes which is more to do with my personal preference consistent with my PMP prep 6 years back. Much like another post on this forum, I prepared about 1-1.5 hours on week days and about 3-4 hours on weekends. The practice tests in the last week consumed more time as you can imagine. Apart from the Standard and the Exam Spec book,I relied on Fact Training Solutions, Crosswind and ESI. Frankly, the questions from the Fact Training practice tests most closely resembled the questions on the real test followed by Crosswind which was helpful for the more quantitative type of questions.
The ESI book measures your ability to “memorize” the Standard which helps in the foundational prep but does not necessarily simulate exam type of questions.
Please don’t discount the value of the Exam Specification Guide which when I read couple of times started to reveal a pattern of what PMI considers as a tactical approach to going through the life cycle. It helped me map specific tasks to the life cycle phases and process groups. At the end of the day, whether we admit or not, it is all about passing the test, right? In presenting my opinion on the exam preparation collaterals, I want to ensure that everyone understands that I have no affiliation with any organization and this is primarily an independent observation from personal experience.
My scores ended up being Proficient in three areas and Moderatly Proficient in the other three. Giving due respect to the ethics policy I am unable to share more details or contents related to my preparation/performance but will be happy to answer questions on preparation approach and strategies for the test. In closing, I will underline that without the experience that PMI mandates for qualifying, passing this test would have been difficult. The value and adoption of this credential is in it’s advocacy to the broader project management community. Let’s do our bit. Ok now,bring on the MRAs!