I am quite pleased to share that I have passed PMP exam on 12/09/2010. To be
frank I was quite tensed until I saw the “Congratulations” message on my
screen. Although I was confident of passing exam after answering 200 questions
but I was not sure about outcome as those 4 hours is all together different ball
game. I guess you are under tremendous pressure to clear exam because of fear of
failure. Also when I was reviewing answers I changed 8-9 answer so that added
bit pressure. I will explain later if this is correct approach or not in my
Here are my LLs:
For me it took more than 3 months of study. I am not big fan of stating how many
hours I have spend every day. But it was average 2 hours daily. Weekends I was
studying 7 hours but quality study time was just 5 hours or so as rest of the
other time I was surfing internet or going out for some weekend activities. PMP
preparation need not be always full fledged war but it should be focused and
consistent. But I have to acknowledge that last month you have to be in full
Although I have planned to take exam last year but I have postponed because of
not finding enough time to prepare for exam. This May I have decided that until
I apply for exam I am not going to start preparing genuinely. In May I have
started reading PMBok and as I have expected it was quite dry to read. Same
month I have ordered for PMPÂ® Exam Prep, Sixth Edition by Rita Mulchay. I have
read all chapters from Rita. Also solved all questions in the book religiously.
I think many people have objection about how talking is done in book but I guess
everyone have their opinions. I liked overall approach of preparation. I was
scoring just 60% to 70% average in Ritaâ€™s exercises. After I finish one
reading, it was June end so I have applied for exam. Remember while applying
application process needs lot project details information, so expect substantial
amount of time recollecting old information and data. Immediately in 5 working
days after applying I got approval for taking exam.
Immediately I set date for 12 Sep, to make sure that there is deadline. Then I
have planned for detailed second revision of what I have read earlier and also
make sure that I am using highlighter so that next reading it will help me focus
on important points. In this phase I was consistently scoring 80% average. I
would suggest if possible start taking your own notes, which helps a lot on day
before exam as you can go through it and have confidence that you are not
After finishing Rita by early Aug I have started solving online free exams.
There are many questions available on internet. I think this was big trick as it
sets the tone and perspective. Now I was scoring 80-85% in simple exams and
Oliver Lehmann score was 70%. I have begun to focus on knowledge area where my
score was poor. I reread only those knowledge areas where I was weak mainly it
was integration and risk, procurement. Because of engineering background I was
quite comfortable with PERT questions as I had studied that as subject. But for
me in exam there were not many questions on this topic. Cost knowledge area
questions I could manage pretty well because of memorizing those formulas.
It is not very tough, go though Rita’s book she has simplified a lot. I think
one needs to be careful about Risk and procurement as I think that have some
challenging questions. Usually IT companies have CMM processes implemented and
I happen to work on SixSsigma project so Quality questions were not that bad for
me. Anyway last one week again I focused on Rita’s book as I was drained of
solving exam questions everyday and gone through self prepared notes again.
Personally I did not memorize those ITTOs as I think if you understand topic
then it should be sufficient. I think Rita’s chart is quite impressive. It
helps a lot decipher information as what goes on and relate to our real life
experience on projects.
What I could have done better:
-Solving more questions. It helps a lot as it sets tone of your preparation. It
converges attention instead of way warding everywhere in the process if reading
-In July I took 8 days break from studies after restarting preparation I was
thinking whether I read this or not.
- Initially when I have solved questions all choices used to look correct but
later realized that my understanding of topic needed to be refined.
Exam day :
The PMP Exam day was rather challenging. Before exam day although I went to bed
early 11AM, I could not sleep until 2 AM and my exam was scheduled for 8 AM.
Somehow I got tense as I did not have taken any real exam in last few years. I
would have loved to have sufficient sleep, otherwise it feels cranky.
I set 8 AM as exam time as I donâ€™t like to read on the exam day and usually I
wake up early everyday for office.
I have arrived to the Prometric center around 7:30 AM. I had to put my
food/water and keys in 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. I had to sign a
check in protocol as well which shows what time did I enter the exam room. I did
take sweater with me as many people have suggested and I am thankful as it was
really chilly out there.
I marked first 10 questions as I have previously observed that as in the
beginning we are not in exam mode so I used to make mistake. Usually after every
30 questions I used take deep breath and close eyes for 20 seconds as it relives
little bit of pressure. Donâ€™t think earlier questions be in present qiuestins
while answering. Up to 140 questions I felt okay, but after that I became very
tired. I was slowly gaining confidence that exam questions are not that bad and
there is good chance that rest questions will be ok. I finished the next 35
questions and by that time it was almost 2.5 hours I have decided to take break
for bathroom. I took only one break it was for 10 minutes, I ate cookies as well
as I was feeling hungry. After coming back I solved rest 25 questions and by
that it was 3 hours. I have decided to review all questions again. That was my
BIG mistake. To finish reviewing all 200 questions I have to complete 50
questions in 15 minutes so I started reading and changing answers. I believe
first time I may have used 1 minute to arrive at answer, and now I was changing
answer by spending just 20 secs. So after going through first 50 questions I
have deiced that this strategy is not going to fly. So I changed course and
focused only on calculation questions. After 3:45 minutes I decided to end exam
as I feared I will change more answers.
Then I hit the â€œFinish Examâ€ button and closed my eyes. I waited for 15-20
seconds and it turned out that there are additional feedback questions about
Prometric. I did not answer and hit the finish button. I was presented with my
examination result with those magical words â€œCongratulations on passing the
PMP examâ€ I felt relived!
What I could have done better:
- Sleep better before exam.
- It is really important to pace exam as its 4 hour and you need to have
strategy I think I wandered. Spend average 1 min for 1 question and I think 2
hours and 30 minutes if you finish first round you are good.
- I think first guess on complex questions is usually correct so in second round
just go and change answer left and right.
- Forget about all talks about those dummy 25 questions, give merit to all
questions and solve.
Even though certification process is rigorous and grueling but I feel that its
worth as it puts many things in precise perspective. And thanks to PMHUB.net and
PMHUB yaho groups.
All the Best!!
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