I recently passed my CAPM exam on my first try. It was a long study process which involved several hours of reading a night to fully understand the PM methodologies and processes. At first I was bogged down by the amount of material (Over 12 chapters, 42 processes, 9 Knowledge area, and plenty of ITTOs), but I approached it one day at a time, and nearing the exam it all came together. I would just like to share my method of preparation.
1. Completed a REP Exam prep course at Humber College (6 Saturdays)
2. Gather Study Materials and Resources – I did a lot of reading, while googling multiple opinions from people who studied for these exams and asked classmates (I am sad to say I found PMHUB closer to my exam date). From what I gathered there were two books which I chose to use. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge 4th Edition and Kim Heldman’s PMP: Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide 4th Edition. (Mind you I had practice questions given to me in class as well). The reason why I chose these were simple. I required The PMBOK since the CAPM was 100% directly based on its material and Kim’s book as a supplementary guide to understand how the processes are used in a project. She has written her book in a way which explains the processes and tries her best imo to mimic the project.
3. Booked the exam 2-2.5 months prior to beginning – This should allow adequate time to not only understand the terminology, methodologies and processes, but to learn how they interact. There is also some buffers in case there are days when you just cannot get proper study time (I work until 11 pm sometimes…).
4. STUDY STUDY STUDYY! I believe I overdid this phase but I felt it better to feel over-prepared then be in a state of uncertainty during the actual exam. I had to make a high level schedule leading up to my exam date. It breaksdown as follows:
I dedicated the first 2 weeks to reading the PMBOK Guide twice. The third week I wrote out all the ITTO’s and had drawn the data flow which links the processes together. By this point I had a certain understanding of the processes, and where they belong within the knowledge areas. I also could recall in what order they existed. The fourth week I began reading Kim’s book which explained the processes as they are being used throughout projects and it also consisted of M/C questions to test understanding (Highly useful). I ran through the book and marked down how well I fared in the knowledge areas. This gave me a benchmark to beat the next time around.
The fifth week I worked through classroom m/c questions and found them to be more of a challenge. Same thing here I marked down how well I fared and would revisit later. The 6th week I re-read Kim’s book and many things came together in terms of processes, knowledge areas and ITTOs. I understood the similarities and differences between similar Tools and Techniques and could remember in which processes they were used (very helpful for the exam). I also could recall the sequence of the processes (which helped me a lot in my exam). The last two weeks were all studying m/c’s and using exam simulators (Thanks PMHUB, the forums guided me to these). I was averaging around 75-80% on these compared to the 55-60% before. A definite improvement .
Conclusion and Remarks – I was extremely happy upon passing as I had put in a lot of effort. The exam questions felt pretty straightforward, but as I said I think I over-prepared. In general, I think the key to my success was sticking to the schedule as it definitely helped keep me on track while also pushing me to study. I really suggest adding an adequate buffer of time when scheduling your exam just incase you might fall behind. Understanding of the processes, sequences, terminology and ITTO’s was crucial to success in this exam.
I am really looking forward to writing the PMP exam once I have gained adequate experience in the next few years. A lot of the questions I practiced were meant for the PMP exam and I fared very well on them (Maybe it was just luck ). I apologize if this post was a very long read… Thank you to those on this forum, I really want to wish all here good luck with your exams . Thanks for reading.
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