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TOPIC: Passed ACP on 6/26/18 - first time

Passed ACP on 6/26/18 - first time 10 months 2 weeks ago #14613

  • Sarah Mandrekar
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Hello!! I hope that my journey to passing the ACP and other information is helpful to you. I passed the ACP on June 26, 2018 with Above Target in 5/7 areas. The Prepcast was definitely my saving grace to guide me through studying and preparing for the exam.
A little bit of history about me… most of my professional history is as a Business Analyst. I passed the PMP in 2012 after studying with the PM Prepcast, however didn’t have much practical application through paid employment at first – I volunteer with a local PMI chapter and that has been a wonder application of my PM’ing. I earned my CSM (Certified Scrum Master) cert in 2015 and began working on hybrid Agile projects in 2016.
Attending a CSM certification class was a great foundation to begin using and studying for the ACP. However, Cornelius and the Agile Prepcast staff go above and beyond to ensure that everything you need to know is part of the prepcast.
I purchased the Agile prepcast in June 2017, with the intent to study and pass that fall. Other priorities took over and I allowed my application with PMI to gather dust. Even the March exam update didn’t encourage me. Then, I attended a leadership conference in April where many of my fellow PMP leaders encouraged me and offered guidance. Soon after, I opened my preparation binder and began planning.
Here is what I did:
I printed of every single reference guide, outline, resource, etc that is recommended in the first lessons of the Prepcast. I organized a binder with all the material in a manner that worked for me. I sat down with the directory of the modules and lessons, scheduled out each day to cover 1-2 hrs of material, added dates to each day, and had a target date for completion. I began studying in early May, setting aside 1-2 hours a day to study.
When listening to the prepcast, I listened to each lesson, took a ridiculous amount of notes since writing out the material is how I learn best when listening. I listened to a lesson first to take notes and look at the visuals, then I would re-listen to the lesson while out walking, driving, etc. – any time I could have to re-listen to a lesson that I thought was beneficial which were those on the Agile Manifesto and Scrum, and Communication Concepts for me.
During the last 2 weeks of the lessons, I began taking the simulator exams. Honestly, I didn’t do very well on those and really started to panic. After each simulation, I went through each question that I had marked and all those that I missed. I really think it took me longer to review the exam than to take it. I noticed that I was taking the simulated full exams in 90 minutes, yes, I was rushing even though I didn’t think so. I also paid attention to the areas that I scored poorly on. For the poor performing areas, I first took some dedicated simulation exams – choosing 30-50 questions for a single content area. Then, I identified the lessons that covered many of the items that I missed and rewatched/listened to each. I took all the full simulation exams and scored worse on each one. Yep, I was nervous!!
About 5 days before the exam, I focused on adding memorization of the Manifesto Values and Principles, formulas, some key dates and terms. This was my brain dump.

I listed to lessons until I walked into the test center.
On the day of the exam, I took Cornelius’ advice and took the day off. No outside distractions! I ate a normal meal, exercised as normal, and tried to follow my routine. I purposely scheduled my exam to begin after my lunch time so I wouldn’t get hungry during the exam.
The exam…. I arrived about 60 minutes early, used the restroom, and settled all my items in the locker. I was then offered to chance to start the exam early. Yes, please. Let’s get this over with! I sat down, went through the tutorial – I am glad I did this. Cornelius can’t duplicate every aspect of the exam and there is some key functionality available that helped me (ex. The ability for me to identify which answers are clearly false in my opinion). I used the provided headphones to block out the noise, there was a lot of opening and closing of the exam room door which was distracting. I honestly ready the first 10 questions and thought ‘oh no!’. So, I told myself to think of this exam as a learning experience and to walk away with areas to focus on for the re-test. I told myself this same thought through the entire exam. I read and reread questions. I took time to focus on the true question that was being asked. I marked about 30 questions to revisit. I finished about 30 minutes early so I took that time to go back through the marked questions, using every single minute available to me for the exam. When I clicked the Finish button, I told myself ‘well, that sucked’ and then filled out the survey….. and waited…. And waited. When I saw the Congratulations on the screen, I had to read it a few times since I was sure that I didn’t pass. I said ‘WOW!’ out loud …sshhh, don’t talk in the exam room.
For me, the questions are mostly situational as it relates to an agile experience, roles, and responsibilities. As for a specific methodology, I would say most spoke to Scrum. I don’t remember any on Kanban, XP, DSDM, ASD, Crystal, or formulas. I do use my gained knowledge on these at work though!
Cornelius and his staff have put together a stellar program that prepares the serious learner. I have recommended the PM Prepcast to many friends and colleagues, now I am adding the Agile Prepcast to my recommended study guides. I am not sure if I personally would have gained any additional, useful information by reading all the recommended material. The Prepcast contained everything necessary.

Passed ACP on 6/26/18 - first time 10 months 1 week ago #14621

  • Jenikka Ebias
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Hi Sarah,

Congratulations on passing the PMI-ACP Exam and for sharing your lessons learned here. I'm sure it'd be helpful to other project managers aspiring to pass the PMI-ACP Exam.
Jenikka Ebias
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OSP International LLC
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