I am happy to announce that I passed my PMP exam on 17/06/2010, that is to say this Thursday. I can not describe that feeling when I saw the “Congratulations” message on my screen. My studying process and technique was rather simple but the PMP exam itself was more challenging.
So here is my story for PMP aspirants:
Originally I scheduled my PMP exam for the 07/06/2010 but had to postpone it due to other work obligations so finally I moved my exam date to 17/06/2010 for 9:00 AM. I was lucky enough that I could take nearly 2,5 weeks break from work so I concentrated on studying for this time 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. I had a very simple but effective study approach. I used Rita’s exam prep materials such: “PMP® Exam Prep, Sixth Edition”, along with „Hot Topics PMP® Exam Flashcards – Sixth Edition” and finally „PM FASTrack® PMP® Exam Simulation Software – V 6”
First of all I red the PMBOK Guide and tried to follow and understand all PM elements. Then the real part of the preparation started when I started to read “PMP® Exam Prep, Sixth Edition” by Rita Mulcahy. I completed all the Exercises, I did not skip any of them! When I finished the relevant chapter I answered all of the sample questions. There are 35-40 sample questions after each chapter. My scores were around 85%.
After reading each chapter and answering the sample questions “on paper” I answered the „PM FASTrack® PMP® Exam Simulation Software – V 6” Knowledge Area questions. There are cc. 80-150-240 pcs of sample questions in this program for each Knowledge Area. My results were between 65-80%. What I am trying to point out that it gave me much better results when I answered 35-40 questions on paper, than when I had to answer 100-130 questions on the computer. After 40-50 questions I had the experience that I have to read each question at least 2-3 times to understand what it really is all about. My mother language is not English. During my break sessions I used „Hot Topics PMP® Exam Flashcards – Sixth Edition” to memorize certain basic principles.
What was so important for me that I took very seriously all the suggestions for the PMP exam which were in Rita’s book. I also purchased Cornelius Fichtner’s PM Prepcast and listened to this material after each chapter. I prepared a PMP Exam formulas “Brain dump sheet” with all the formulas. Actually it is part of Rita’s book but I made my own version of it.
The PMP Exam day was rather challenging. I arrived to the Prometric center around 8:00 AM. The exam supervisor staff arrived around 8:45 AM and let me in the exam room at 9:00 AM along with two another exam takers. It was a very rigorous security check. I had to put my bag and all personal belongings into a locker and I had to empty my pockets as well. They gave me 4 sheets of special color scratch paper and 2 pcs of pencils. Do not be surprised that you are not allowed to take with you into the exam room your glasses box but your glasses alone. I had to answer some security questions such as my home address, e-mail address etc. I had to sign a check in protocol as well which shows what time did I enter the exam room.
The room itself was very simple but very professional. There were 12 workstations each of them separated with a small wall from each other. Before I touched the mouse I wrote down the entire necessary formulas to my scratch paper. It really freed my mind so I did not need to worry that I would forget them. I went trough the tutorial and started to answer the exam questions. I felt okay, although the room was extremely quite. I have finished the first 45 questions when something happened that I did not expect. While I was reading a rather difficult and very wordy question my PC switched off! It turned out that there is a power outage in the test center. The entire building was dark not only the test room. No lights, no computers, no air-conditioning, nothing but safety lights only. It was a bit scary.
The Prometric Test Center staff was very professional. They came in immediately into the test room and informed us the Prometric official processes. We had to make a decision whether all of us stay in the test room or we leave the room. According to the official processes we had to wait 30 minutes. If the electricity would come back within 30 minutes then we can continue the exam. If it would not come back, than we would be provided a problem report and we have to schedule for a later date a new exam.
It is very hard to describe how I felt. Nobody could tell us how long the power outage would last. After 10-15 minutes waiting time someone came with the news that we have to expect 2-3 hours waiting time since a high voltage cable was cut. This was a moment when I felt, okay my PMP exam is over. But according to the Prometric processes I had to wait 30 minutes. Guess what has happened? 29 minutes 10 seconds the power came back. I thought what else could come.
We were told that the exam could be continued from that point where we stopped, but we have to go trough the check in procedure again. The funny part was that the Prometric test center people had to restart all the workstations which took additional 10-15 minutes. It turned out that we can not continue the test on the very same workstation but on a different one, although from that point vhere we wore stopped. I said to myself that Okay no problem. This is like in real life some stress, some unexpected changes but I have to focus on the exam questions.
The exam questions were very similar to my „PM FASTrack® PMP® Exam Simulation Software – V 6” The only problem was that the network diagrams were rather tricky that is to say nothing what I expected. There were some calculations questions where I had to figure out that there is cca. 80% distracter information and the calculation is very simple. Up to 150 questions I felt okay, but suddenly I became very tired. By that time I was alone in the room. The only thing was the air conditioner’s noise that I could hear and I started to wonder that I take a break. By that time I had 1,5 hours time left so I said to myself NO break!. I took a deep breath and carried on. I finished the last 50 questions within 45 minutes then I reviewed the marked questions.
YES this is very important! Mark as many questions as necessary during the exam. It frees your brain and allows you to concentrate on the next question. So I reviewed the marked questions which seemed to me much easier to answer this time.
Than I hit the “Finish Exam” button and closed my eyes. I waited for 15-20 seconds and it turned out that there are additional feedback questions about Prometric. I answered all of them and hit the finish button. I was presented with my examination result with those magical words “Congratulations on passing the PMP exam” I felt great!
Laszlo J.Kremmer, PMP
Budapest – Hungary