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TOPIC: Passed PMI-ACP: First attempt, 4AT/2T/1NI

Passed PMI-ACP: First attempt, 4AT/2T/1NI 3 weeks 3 days ago #24240

  • Steve M.
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Welp - I finally did it.

I postponed my exam a few times. Pearson says they'll charge if you change the exam date within 30 days of the date, but I think I was at 29 days the second time. Whatever.

I was allowed to use my neighbor's garage for the appointment, which was less cluttered than any room in my house. The reason why that's important is because the Pearson e-proctors are notoriously picky. In the exam UI there's a small box that allows for use of a chat window to communicate with the proctor, who will cycle through different people throughout the exam. They only ever appear as someone typing in a chat window and you'll never actually see him or her. I was told by one such proctor at least an hour after the exam had started to remove my wristwatch and a pen I had in the area. A tad distracting and also petty if you ask me. When my eyes got tired of looking at a screen, I was told to face forward and not to look around the room. I asked if I could go to a bathroom and she said to wait for a scheduled break. I found out after the exam that there's no scheduled break for the PMI ACP exam. Be careful not to rely on the proctor for such information. It's weird because even though I'm the one paying for the exam, PMI is the customer so my user experience means nothing to them. But I figure you all would care to know.

The exam itself was not too bad, though at times it seems the exam creators cared more about how roundabout they can word a question rather than how well I've prepared. My wife's a music teacher and I explained that instead of asking for the next note in a scale, they instead ask: if you were composing a pre-Classical piece and the court conductor asks for a mid-tempo waltz, which of the following chord progressions would you not consider? It do be like that.

Here was my study plan:
  • PMI-ACP Linkedin learning track for the hours. I don't exactly recommend this route for others. I did it because I was looking for a quick way to meet that requirement at a low or no cost. My company has a license with LI Learning which makes it free, however the materials were not test -driven and do not give a satisfactory overview of the exam. That said, I knew that I would be studying from the book and exam simulator more, so that's where I put the majority of my effort. That said, Cornelius' prepcast helped me pass the PMP exam the second time I took it back in 2015. I remember it being super corny, yet completely engaging on my commute with no visuals. The weird sounding Swiss fella knows his project management!
  • Mike Grifiths book - one read through. I did the end chapter exams once I completed the simulator
  • Prepcast ACP Simulator. The explanations for all 4 answer choices are what sets the product apart and I'm not sure how many of you use the Live Feedback option, but it's not just for challenging questions. Everyone should use it if they have the simulator. I remember one time I thought a question's answer was insufficient and I started a separate conversation with Stan Po that I thought didn't explain the answer but the ensuing conversation solidified my understanding no less. Sometimes you don't have a study group because of how few people are taking the exam. Stan and Donald are career professionals who receive your questions and can knowledgeably respond and I can't recommend that aspect enough if you have access to the simulator.
  • I also invested in the Mike Griffiths Fasttrack exam simulator, which is surprisingly not as good as the prepcast simulator. I say surprisingly not to suggest Prepacst hasn't put out a best-in-class simulator (they have!), it's just that Mike Grifiths sits on the committee that makes the exam, so you would think he has a leg up in crafting the questions. The questions on Mike's simulator are simplistic along the lines of "the team is participating in fist of five fingers. which stage of the retrospective are they in?" Once I saw this as a pattern and suspected that it is not reflective of a real exam question at all, I discontinued use of the FastTrack product. Though looking back I probably could have ran through the Super exam containing only hard question at least once.
  • I took the exam in the HeadStart book. Better than FastTrack and the questions in the Griffiths book, not as good as Prepcast.
  • Hon. Mention: If I could go back in time, I would have purchased the 2 practice exams on Udemy by Joe Griffiths (no relation to Mike). Many testtakers have commented say they're really good (read: realistic) and there's currently a promotion on 2 exams for $15 that I saw last week but didn't bite. Not a paid spokesperson, but as Mike says in his book and Cornelious says in his posts: not all exams are created equal and the good ones are worth the investment. Related story: I took out a book from the library of PMI ACP exams by PMtraining.com that retails for $30. They asked questions about ATDD, which is NOT on the list of PMI ACP topics. I returned the book the very next day and left a negative review on Amazon. The products put out by the exam prep industry for PMI-ACP are not all the same, so if I can impart one thing to you, it's this: spend a few hours of research on the materials you'll use and plan to invest at least about as much as the exam registration fee itself on them.
  • Before my first readthrough of the Griffiths book, I decided to construct a text file of my knowledge gaps to insert into a flashcard app like Anki or Quizlet. Having it on my phone was a great way to practice on the go and reinforce. Feel free to reply to this thread if you want me to share my flashcard file. It may be helpful, but in my history of studying for exams the process of making your own customized flashcards is as beneficial as practicing off them.

My 4 week plan was to read the book and take a new 30-question timed quiz every day for weeks 1-3 and a full exam every day on the final week. Incorrect questions would be drilled about 30m/day via the flashcard app (see 5th bullet above). My NI area was Team Performance, which I was aware was my weak area going into the exam. I could have studied more in that area and risked failing as not many people pass with an NI area on their results, so don't follow me there. Otherwise that's it. Feel free to ask any questions. I'll check back for the next week or so.

Steve

Passed PMI-ACP: First attempt, 4AT/2T/1NI 3 weeks 3 days ago #24242

  • Stan Po, MBA, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM
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Hello Steve,

Congratulations on passing your exam!

Thank you for sharing your success and lessons learned. I remember the valuable inputs that you submitted through our simulator’s Live Feedback™ support feature. We are glad to hear that our products helped you prepare for and pass your exam.

Good luck in all your future endeavors.
Regards,
Stan

Passed PMI-ACP: First attempt, 4AT/2T/1NI 3 weeks 3 days ago #24243

  • Mohammad Alharbi, PMP, PMI-ACP
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Hi Steve,

Congratulation on your great success !

It is interesting, the way this proctor is monitoring. I have never taken a home exam but I presume at least a communication with the proctor should be introduced before the exam watch is kicked off, perhaps as apart of the introductory instructions.

Best luck in your next chapter
Mohammad Alharbi, PMP, PMI-ACP
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Passed PMI-ACP: First attempt, 4AT/2T/1NI 3 weeks 3 days ago #24250

  • Steve M.
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Mohammad and Stan - thank you for the positive words.

Indeed, communication was set up before the exam but only via the text chat. The proctor who was present during the beginning of the exam rotated out at least twice, perhaps more. The introductory instructions only relate to the UI itself, without specific instructions on the structure of the exam (i.e. 120 questions, no break). Those people reading this should be keenly aware that the proctors are primarily there to police your behavior. Ask them anything else and you may get an unreliable answer as I did.

If anyone has any other questions for someone who just recently took an electronic exam, I'll be checking this thread in the week ahead. AMA!

Passed PMI-ACP: First attempt, 4AT/2T/1NI 2 weeks 6 days ago #24316

  • Michelle Ramat
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Congratulations Steve! Is there a strikethrough function in the choices?

Passed PMI-ACP: First attempt, 4AT/2T/1NI 2 weeks 5 days ago #24335

  • Steve M.
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Michelle - NO! There isn't. I definitely tried too. It's probably the most useful feature in the simulator, certainly more so than the ability to mark questions. I missed having it there, but not having it didn't cause any issues.
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