Preparation for the exam
On Wednesday, 5.1.2011 after several months of study I successfully passed my PMP certification. I would like to summarize my lessons learned from my preparation beginning my preparation and finishing with written exam.
Everything started in the middle of 2009 when I and several colleagues started with discussion about PMP certification. Few weeks later I officially applied for the exam, successfully went through the PMI audit and I started with study. In the middle of 2010 I attended four training workshops; after that I wanted to continue just with literature.
There are lots of available books for PMP certification preparation. Also, possibilities for training are also satisfactory. Because time is always limited, I did not want to read every available book on the market. All books are very similar so if you use just one together with PMBOK, it shall be enough for you. I decided for following combination:
- Project Management Body of Knowledge – it is simply the base and you must have it
- Rita Mulcahy – PMP Exam Prep + PM Fastrack software
My study plan was set in following order: 1) Read PMP Exam Prep as the first; 2) Study PMBOK 3) Very carefully study PMP Exam Prep 4) Test yourself, test yourself, test yourself,… My advice: do not start with PMBOK; it is too complicated for beginning.
Shortly before Exam I could say that I am sufficiently prepared for the exam. Except PMBOK and Rita I used following resources for testing. I had about 84% average result from these tests.
1. PM Fastrack
During the day of exam – 5.1.2011
On the day of exam I came to the testing center in Prague, Czech Republic – about 30 minutes before planned start. The test is fully realized on computer and there are maximum 3 people in the room. It is luck that the center is situated on a quiet place so there is no traffic noise from the street. Before I entered the testing room, I had to leave all my stuff in the second room (I had to show my pockets that they are empty and I have no crib… I also prepared small snack and bottle of Coke for all planned pauses.
You have 4 hours to answer 200 questions. It sounds like easy task to do it – do not underestimate it. It is really not easy to concentrate the whole time. Before my test started, I had 15 minutes for software introduction. Thanks to knowledge of PM Fastrack I was familiar with this version in a few minutes – so my exam could start.
I decided to make a short pause after 50, 100 and 150th question. When I got 50 questions answered I postponed the first break so my first pause was when I had 70 questions completed. During exam I drank coke, I did several breathing exercises and I could continue with exam. I really cannot imagine doing the whole test without these pauses (another applicant near me went through the whole test without break). Another breaks I had after 120th and 175th question. So after 3 short breaks I needed to finish last 25 questions and some marked revisions. Finally I answered the last, 200th question. I had 9 questions marked for later revision. After short check I changed the answer to one question and after 3 hours and 15 minutes from start I finished the test.
I need to fill also short questionnaire about testing center and about 5 minutes later I saw results of my exam. I was very happy when I saw the word “Congratulations”. I had following result:
Initiation – Proficient
Planning – Proficient
Executing – Moderately Proficient
Monitoring and Controlling – Proficient
Closing – Proficient
Professional and Social Responsibility – Below Profecient
Lessons Learned and my Recommendation
- Do not underestimate the exam. Comparing with available tests on internet or comparing with PM Fastrack it is more difficult. If your successfulness from tests mentioned above is about 70%, you will have a problem in real exam.
- Stay motivated! Subordinate to passing the exam everything
- Use only 2 study books for studying. PMPBOK is a base; as second choose one of following source:
- PMP Exam Prep – from my point of view it is really good book. Thank you Rita!
- How To Pass on Your First Try – several applicants recommended this book in their Lessons Learned
- Head First PMP: A Bran- Friendly Guide to Passing the Project Management Professional Exam – another very good ranked book.
- Test yourself, test yourself, test yourself – you can read theory from books but it is sufficient for CAPM exam. PMP exam is based on situational questions – so you need to test yourself. You can find hundreds of questions on internet – unfortunately very often in bad quality. If you are able to detect the bad quality, you are prepared for exam!
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