Student Profile: Susan Iadarola, PMP
I’m a Marketing professional with 20+ years’ experience in the financial & insurance services industry who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina (past 5 years) and is a native of Long Island, New York. I passed the PMP® exam on my first try on September 19, 2015 after four month of study (2-3 hours per weekday and 10+ hours on weekends).
Here’s how I prepared and the lessons I learned:
Study Preparation & Resources
1. Earned my Project Management Plus Certificate with over 100 contact hours through Central Piedmont Community College in partnership with Total Systems Education, Ltd
2. Joined PMI as a member & downloaded a licensed copy of PMP PMBOK® guide 5th Edition by Project Management Institute
3. HeadFirst PMP, 3rd Edition by Jennifer Greene
4. Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification Exam prep, 3rd Updated Edition by Sohel Akhter
5. McGraw-Hill's PMP Certification Mathematics with CD-ROM by Vidya Subramanian
6. Rita-PMP Exam Prep, 8th Edition by Rita Mulcahy
7. PMP PrepCast Exam Simulator (90-Day Access) by Cornelius Fichtner, OSP International LLC
8. The PMP Exam Formula Study Guide (105 PMP Math Questions & Pocket Study Guides & Email Course) by Cornelius Fichtner, OSP International LLC
9. Brain Dumps & ITTO Memory Jogger by Cornelius Fichtner, OSP International LLC
10. Examcentral.com free question bank (you should be able to complete in 2 ½ hours with at least a score of 85)
11. Christopher Scordo questions bank through PMI.org eReads section
During the first week of my exam preparation, I quickly read through the PMP PMBOK guide. I didn’t spend too much time trying to memorize the material. Instead, I just got a general sense of the content. I then proceeded to read the other study resources shown above in the order in which they are listed. Two weeks prior to the exam, I re-read the PMP PMBOK guide since 75% of the exam comes from there.
Most importantly, I did a lot of practice questions to get ready as they were very helpful. Look at as many sources of questions as you can to get new perspectives, and keep track of what you have trouble with to direct your studies. I found the best questions to come from the PMP PrepCast Exam Simulator along with The PMP Exam Formula Study Guide (105 PMP Math Questions & Pocket Study Guides & Email Course) by Cornelius Fichtner, OSP International LLC. The quality, difficulty, and variety of the questions were most similar to the real exam, and using the simulator prepares you in a realistic environment. Beware of searching for free PMP questions on the Internet, as many are not very good and are riddled with errors which will only confuse your knowledge and understanding.
My study routine three days prior to the exam was to review my highlighted content in the study resources and continue taking test questions. I arrived at the testing facility about two hours prior, had lunch at a nearby restaurant and reviewed specific topics in the PMBOK guide that I wanted fresh in my mind before I walked into the testing facility.
• I would not recommend memorizing the ITTOs. Instead, try to understand them and find patterns among the process groups.
• Know the basic EVM formulas. Even if you dislike math, you don’t want to leave easy questions on the table.
• While answering any question, think from PMI and PMBOK’s perspective, not from your own general project management experience.
• Pick an exam date! You need to have a goal to work toward and chart your own course for success.
• Drive to the testing facility one week prior to put your mind at ease of not getting lost the day of the exam.
• Don’t worry if you don’t pass the exam, as you will have not lost but rather gained in improving your project management knowledge and skills.
Best of luck!
Susan Iadarola, PMP