I am very happy to share the good news that I cleared PMP exam today. I scheduled for the exam on April 27 and got a slot for today May 19. I started preparing for the exam only on May 1. So, as you see, I didn’t get much time to prepare as I would like.I also found the PMBOK very dry. I learnt about Rita Mulcahy’s PM ExamPrep online and got the material. This book helped me a lot, as also the questions and tips I found in sites like PMHUB. For all test takers that have a time crunch, my suggestion would be you try to understand the logic between why anything is an input or why it is a tool for any process. Understanding the logic helped me understand the concepts. Practising questions is very essential. If you get an exam simulator that would help. I used Cornelius’s exam simulator 3 day trial and PM Fastrack. Cornelius’s tips, tricks and explanation are good. Rita’s and Cornelius’s questions have similar difficulty level with PMP real test. So practising their questions helped a great deal.
The approach I took is this:
1. One full read of Rita Mulcahy’s PMP ExamPrep
2. Practising questions at the end of every chapter. Going back to understand why I get questions wrong.
3. Preparing an ITTO chart, PMP formula sheet to refer to anytime I had a doubt/question.
4. Practising questions posted on PMHUB
5. Reading through Cornelius’s material (PMPrepcast) , listening to his audio.
6. Took the Exam Simulator (To order click this) 3-day trial offered by Cornelius. Real good.
7. Practising on PM Fastrack for every process group and knowledge area and understanding the logic behind every answer. I practised all of the Process group and Knowledge area questions. Because I didn’t have much time, I was able to practice answering only one of a set of 200 questions. This I did on the evening of May 18.
8. On May 17 and May 18, I reread Rita’s material in one full pass and understood the ITTOs. On May 17 &18 and on Sundays, I spent around 7-8 hours and on weekdays, around 3 hours on an average. My exam was at 1.30 pm on May 19 and I went through the formulae in the morning. I spent not more than 1 hour in the morning for this.
During the exam:
1. I found the first few questions difficult and didn’t understand what they were talking about. But because it is not useful to leave the questions unmarked, I marked them anyway.
2. I found only a few questions easy and many questions were difficult for me. I also had questions from areas I didn’t know. This should be because I didn’t spend enough time on PMBOK. I had only verified answers with PMBOK and read some parts that I chanced upon without any specific approach.
3. I felt comfortable after answering around 10 questions and from then on, momentum picked up.
4. Many were situation-based questions and so, for questions I didn’t know the answers, I imagined myself being a PMP, somebody that has her project in control, a strong and confident woman, and plugged myself in that situation and answered the questions. I think being a PM by profession helped me get through here.
5. For questions that had formulae that I didn’t know, and for questions taken directly from PMBOK that I didn’t know about, I took my chances, eliminated any improbable answers and clicked what I thought would be right. The bottomline for my behavior was ‘I came this far, let me not be afraid to try. All I would get is either a Pass or Fail. If Pass, good. If Fail, reschedule.’
6. I didn’t leave any questions unmarked. I completed the test in 3 hours and took 1 hour to review and reviewed all the questions. I used the full 4 hours for the exam.
So my advice and suggestions for anybody taking the test is
1. Understand the logic. Understand why anything would be where it is in the PMBOK.
2. Practise questions. Practise as many as possible. Use good materials.
3. Understand that PMI expects its PMPs to be confident and who knows what he/she does and would not be afraid to stand up to anybody to protect the project to follow the guidelines as provided by PMI.
I got “Proficient” in Planning and “Moderately Proficient” in all other areas. It is a good and happy feeling to see “CONGRATULATIONS” on the screen. I hope my LL would be of use to those preparing for their PMP exam.
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