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Balraj: Passed PMP on 11-02-11

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I cleared the PMP exam in first attempt on 11th Feb. I would like to thank everyone in this Forum for the help that I got; specifically, the lesson learned posts helped me to plan better for the exam.

I used following books and material (used them in the same order) for the preparation.
1. Read PMBOK once. Just tried to understand the concepts, without memorizing anything.
2. Studied Rita’s PMP Prep book thoroughly. Solved questions on the Rita’s book after completing each chapter. I analyzed the questions that I got wrong. – very good questions for understanding the concepts.
3. Skimmed first two chapters of PMBOK guide and memorized Process group-knowledge area chart on page 43.
4. Read Rita’s book, giving emphasis on the things that I needed to remember, such as tricks of the trade etc. Completely understood Rita’s process chart and practiced writing it few times to ensure that I remember most of it. I also memorized formulas on Rita’s book.
5. Read Vijay Verma’s delegation chapter. Did not find much useful from exams perspective as there were hardly any questions on delegation and if there are, they are common sense questions if one has used delegation at his/her workplace.
6. Glanced over Chowdary’s notes from the pmzilla site. Excellent notes.
7. Did Rita’s fast-track questions for few knowledge areas. I did not have enough time to do all of them. Good questions (similar to Rita’s book questions) to practice if one has time to do them.
8. PMStudy Free Test. Very good questions. Good difficulty.
9. Oliver Lehman’s 175 & 75 question. Very good questions. Good difficulty.
10. HeadFirst Free Test. Very good questions. The difficulty was closed to real test. Moderate difficulty.
11. Simplilearn free test. Very good questions. Good difficulty.
12. PMRoadtrip free questions. Very good questions. Moderate difficulty.

My observations & suggestions for prospective test takers:

1. The questions on the real exam were not wordy and the choices were not difficult to pick up.
2. Only few questions required more thinking.
3. The exam was not tough in my opinion. I guess it depends on the understanding of the processes and also on how much do you retain after reading the books/material. Overall, the exam is not tough (it is not easy either) but you are the best person to gauge yourself.
4. I did not memorize ITTOs. Just read them while reading the books. Understand the processes and remembering the process chart will help to get most of these questions right.
5. Get into the attitude of Project Manager, as described in Rita’s book. Go thru PM-ism (in Rita’s book) couple of times to understand this. Few things to understand –
a) Project Manager is responsible for most (not all) of the thing is her project.
b) Pick up the answer that would prevent the problem.
c) Pick up the answer that suggests a solution.
d) Identify the made-up terms. Etc.
6. Practice at least 3-4 full length tests. If you are doing good on the above mentioned tests, you will be good on the exam.
7. Writing the dump during initial 15 minutes of tutorial may NOT be helpful. Do it only if you find it useful. I wrote the process chart and the formulas but did not look at them at all.
8. Plan for the breaks and take them only if you need. If you are doing good and not tired, you could finish the test in one go rather than breaking the rhythm. I completed my test in 2.5 hours in one go. But if you are not doing good, not able to concentrate, or are tired, it is better to take break(s).

Hope this help.

-Balraj

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