I am happy to share the news with my fellow PMP professionals and soon to be PMP’s that I was able to clear my PMP certification exam in my first attempt on August 22nd, 2009.
I started my preparation around june 2009 and was aiming to give the exam before the new PMP format.I started my reading with head first labs book and took almost a month and a half to complete the book, 2 hours a day.. ( which of course gave me a solid idea about many of the concepts I didnt knew before). By then I had only 2 weeks for my exam and 2 more books- PMBOK 3rd edition and many recommended Rita Mulcahy to read. I was very nervous and had to do a fast pass on these books in a week. One Week before the scheduled exam date, I Started giving exams( simulated ones) including Oliver Lehman’s 175 questions and was constantly getting less than 73%. I was paranoid and decided to postpone exam to a later date from June 23rd to August 22nd.
By Then I knew that my method and approach towards PMP is wrong and first of all not to underestimate the exam( thought my job experience will be good enough), not memorize things but understand the basic concepts, at the same time practice taking tests . Time to START FRESH!!!
I made a timetable with a fellow PMP candidate to track our progress in knowledge area and process wise. Started my studies from July 15th.We also made sections for the books we had( PMBOK, Rita , Andy Crowe( bought this one new) with a progress metrics.This helped to put a bit pressure on each of us whenever we see that we are behind our completion date on chapters and chapter tests.
1. I read PMBOK 4th edition first, except for the professional responsibility part.
2. I gave one free simulated exam I found on Web to see my progress( It was not bad..)
3. Started reading Andy Crowe 4th edition( highly recommend this book)and gave chapter tests provided at the end of each knowledge area.
4. Gave Andy’s Simulated Exam given in the book( 200 Q’s ) in 4hr time period and noticed that I am scoring better to my relief.
5. Meanwhile I enrolled myself in 20 days PMStudy classes to get free simulated exams for 99$ which as very helpful, they have this important concepts section for knowledge area along with tests ..recommend this only if you don’t have any other book other than PMBOK.
6. My fellow PMP candidate gave me Rita’s book but I didn’t go though the chapters.. just took the tests ,i got roughly 17 Q’s correct in a batch of 25Q’s and the ones I got wrong I looked for her explanation..( I kinda feel Rita’s book make you very nervous and I didn’t want to break my confidence and so didn’t want to read her tricks and tips.. This is a personal thought…you might have a complete different notion..:)
7. Got oliver Lehman’s 75questions based on 4th edition when I searched , and I got only 57 correct and many of them I didn’t understand too as there was no explanations.
8. Now with 1 more week for my exam I started taking 4 simulated exams I purchased( starting on 17th) , one each daily and reviewed the wrong answers.On 20th night I made condensed notes on formula’s and certain areas I got wrong on exams for a quick review ..and also re read the inputs, outputs and tool/techniques for all the processes. 21st I just read the notes I made and the professional responsibility chapter I skipped in PMBOK( by then i had an idea on this area thanks to Andy and my exams..) and went to bed earlyyyyyyy.
9. EXAM DAY>> had a good breakfast and re read my notes..reached the center 40 minutes early and they let me in( mine was around 12:30).As all the successful PMP bloggers suggested I started my tutorial( 15 mts session) and utilized this time to note down the formula’s in the work sheets they provide..Looks like this confused the gals at the center who was monitoring us through the security camera’s. She came to me and stood behind me for a minute to see what I was doing, We smiled at each other and she went back……duh.. so much for a start
10.My plan was to finish my exam in 3 hrs and use 1 hr for review with a break of 10 minutes…BUT first 100 q’s took almost 2 hrs of my 4( yessssss.. i was stuck on some and recalculated some very sure calculations….hmmm). Completed the second 100 in 1:30 and had almost 50 questions to review and 30 minutes in hand.But I made through 42 q’s as many became apparent in my second review..I only changed 4 answers in my second review.With 1 minute left, I ended my exam and took the survey and there it was flashing ” Congratulations”… I sighed even though I had a feeling I will after giving 150 questions…so me…
Got Proficient in all areas except initiation and time….
Hope my experience meme’s help all who are preparing for this exam …Timing the exam and (understanding the concepts and how to apply them) help you sail though this easily…
Books I recommend – PMBOK, Andy Crowe and if you are a very new Project managment professional , Head first Labs to make things easy..
Exams atleast 6 (time it as you would for real exam), Oliver lehman questions( I felt actual exam is much simpler than his questions…) AND DONT STUDY ANYTHING NEW STARTING ATLEAST 3 DAYS BEFORE THE EXAM).
All the best ..and good luck …
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PMP Exam Prep, Eighth Edition: Rita’s Course in a Book for Passing the PMP Exam, Rita Mulcahy
Rita Mulcahy’s PM Fastrack Exam Simulation Software for the PMP Exam:
A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: PMBOK(R) Guide
Project Management Institute
The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try, Fifth Edition
Andy Crowe PMP PgMP
Head First PMP, Jennifer Greene