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TOPIC: PMP Exam Simulator

PMP Exam Simulator 1 year 9 months ago #5161

  • Farid Hadj-Hamou
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Hello,

Can someone share his/her experience taking the PMP prep Simulator exams? How they benefit the examiner? and the different approaches to know when such person is ready or not?
I have taken quizes on all 10 knowledge areas - 5 process areas - and about to start taking the exams.

Do I need to complete all the 9 exams? what has worked for some of you?

Looking for inputs - and much appreciated:-)

Thank you
Farid
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PMP Exam Simulator 1 year 9 months ago #5168

  • Steve Sandoval
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Hello Farid,

There are several things about the PMP Exam Simulator that help to more thoroughly prepare you. First, the length is important! Just like the real exam, the simulated exams are 200 questions and have a time limit of four hours. This is important! Sitting though that many questions at one time is a much different experience than only doing ten or a few dozen questions. This helps to make sure that you have the mental stamina to keep going for the required number of questions. In addition, by doing 200 questions you can see how you do in terms of time. If you're not finishing the practice exams in four hours, that shows that you need to focus on speed (and perhaps additional studies of the PMP material).

I would also like to stress that covering the entire breadth of the material on one practice exam is important. If you break out all of the subject areas individually, sometimes you are able to determine the correct answer by knowing which knowledge area or process area the question is testing you on. You won't have this advantage on the real exam, so you should not rely upon it!

No, you do not necessarily need to complete all of the exams. You should complete enough that you feel like you are prepared. A good rule of thumb is that you should study until you are able to consistently score 80% or higher on the exam simulations. This is not a guarantee that you will pass, but in my personal experience it worked well as a threshold.

I only completed four of the nine simulated exams. By the time I took the first exam, I had already studied the material extensively and scored above 80%. I completed three additional practice exams in order to build confidence that I would be able to consistently perform at that level.

One thing that worked particularly well for me was to focus on questions that I answered incorrectly. For any question that I answered incorrectly (from the exam simulator, my preparation book, or another source), I would study that question to make sure that I understood what the correct answer was, and why that was the right answer. This helped me to focus on improving where I needed it most.
Steve Sandoval, PMP
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Last Edit: 1 year 9 months ago by Steve Sandoval. Reason: typo
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PMP Exam Simulator 1 year 9 months ago #5169

  • Craig Arcuri
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Hello Farid,
When you think about PMP preparation it's really a project in itself. So I made a Project Plan and stuck to it nearly to the end. I reached a point where I felt like I had peaked in my preparation and wouldn't gain much more in the final 10 days so I tested early. I took 8 full exams but did not take the ITTO exam. I built into my schedule some vacation time from work so I was able to take a full exam every 3 or 4 days. In hindsight, I would have put a bit more time (maybe a week) between taking practice exams to allow more study time on items I missed in the previous exam. I think taking the pm exam simulator exams is an exercise in identifying your weaknesses and working to eliminate them.
I agree with Steve's comments that it certainly is important to prepare for the mental effort required to take a 4 hour exam. That was one of my biggest concerns. And I think accounting for refreshment and restroom breaks is part of the strategy. I also agree that 80% on the Exam Simulator exams is a good rule of thumb. I got 79% on the first test and improved from there. But I was taking an exam every 3 or 4 days and my improvement wasn't as substantial as it may have been had I given myself a week between practice tests.
In hindsight, I didn't need to take 8 practice exams. I think after 4 or 5 I was ready.
Best of luck to you!
Craig Arcuri, PMP, CSM
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PMP Exam Simulator 1 year 9 months ago #5170

  • Farid Hadj-Hamou
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Steve and Craig

Thank you very much for the feedback - I appreciate the time you put to write me back as it means a lot and tells how you care about helping other succeed :)

I think I will use the threshold of 80% as a deciding factor and concentrate on the wrong answers and learn from them.

Now what would you think it is reasonable number for questions to review at the end knowing the exam is 200 questions - 20 or 30?

How did you manage time so you can have enough time for review?

Thanks again!
Farid

PMP Exam Simulator 1 year 9 months ago #5171

  • Rahul Kakkar
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Hi Farid,

To give you my two cents, when you're writing the actual exam, time seems to go a lot faster. That's probably because you know you've to give your best shot, so you tend to be doubly sure before you move to the next question. On an average in my practise tests I was reviewing around 20-30 questions before I ran out of time, however on the actual exam I barely got the time to review 10. So I'd recommend you simulate the same assuming you will not get your usual time to review on the actual exam. This obviously depends on the difficulty of the paper and level of preparation, which is why it's best to go with the flow and keep an open mind assuming least possible time would be available for reviews. Hope this helps.
Rahul Kakkar, PMP, MBA
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Last Edit: 1 year 9 months ago by Rahul Kakkar.

PMP Exam Simulator 1 year 9 months ago #5172

  • Farid Hadj-Hamou
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Thank you for the great inputs Rahul - did you have to leave the numerical exercises at the end as they require calculations?

Farid

PMP Exam Simulator 1 year 9 months ago #5178

  • Steve Sandoval
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Farid,

I must admit that I'm not very typical as a test taker. I work all the way through from start to finish, looking at each question only once. I tend to follow the philosophy that I either feel confident that I know the answer and work my way through it, or am unsure and that spending additional time agonizing over it won't increase my chances. In those cases, I make my best guess and move on.

If I'm not confident of the answer, I'm typically able to narrow it down to two likely answers (usually one or two answer is obviously wrong, so that helps to improve the probability of guessing correctly).
Steve Sandoval, PMP
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PMP Exam Simulator 1 year 9 months ago #5182

  • Rahul Kakkar
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Hi Farid,

In my test the numericals were very simple! On par with most of the freely available tests out there and I didn't feel the need to leave any for the end. The situational based "what-to-do-next" questions were a lot tricker, so for those I'd mark the answer I felt best at the time but still mark it for review knowing that if I have the time at the end, I could probably take a re-look at those and see if my original answer still sticks.
Rahul Kakkar, PMP, MBA
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PMP Exam Simulator 1 year 9 months ago #5183

  • Farid Hadj-Hamou
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Thank you Rahul!

Farid

PMP Exam Simulator 1 year 9 months ago #5184

  • Rahul Kakkar
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Most welcome Farid! Let us know if we can be of any further help. Good luck!
Rahul Kakkar, PMP, MBA
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PMP Exam Simulator 1 year 9 months ago #5185

  • Farid Hadj-Hamou
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Thank you Steve!

PMP Exam Simulator 1 year 9 months ago #5186

  • Craig Arcuri
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One good thing about taking 4 or 5 full practice exams is that you can develop the strategy which works best for you. My strategy was to move as quickly through the test as possible. If I thought I knew the answer I would check the answer but still mark if for review. There were some I left blank and marked for review. On my second pass those ones got my first look. I did have a strategy of marking the numerical ones and saving for last. I do agree with an earlier comment that the numerical problems on the test were not too hard. I ended up marking about 55 for further review after my first pass through the test. But the good news was I had an hour and 45 minutes to focus on just those problems. As I stated earlier I did take 8 full practice exams and I had a really good feel for milestones such as having read and answered or marked for review 75 questions in the first hour.
I felt most comfortable developing my own strategy for the real exam.
Craig Arcuri, PMP, CSM
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PMP Exam Simulator 1 year 9 months ago #5187

  • Farid Hadj-Hamou
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Thank you Craig for sharing your exam take strategy and approach - This is valuable information and I think every exam take has his/her own approach.

I apprerciate your inputs.

Farid

PMP Exam Simulator 1 year 9 months ago #5191

  • Jeremy Papp
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Personally, the simulator quizzes were handy to get a feel for the types of questions and format of questions. They help prepare me in that respect before I started studying so I would understand what I'd be quizzed on. Once I began studying, I took the quizzes before and after relevant topics for the same reason.

The actual full length exams, while comprising the same questions, were a different beast. Given the larger set of questions and a commitment to aiming for completion within a time frame, the exams would give a much better idea of where I was at in my preparation for the Exam.

Hope this helps.
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PMP Exam Simulator 1 year 8 months ago #5256

  • Farid Hadj-Hamou
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Yes, thank you Jeremy!

PMP Exam Simulator 1 year 8 months ago #5257

  • Sarah Burden
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I found that the exam simulators were incredibly useful, especially if you simulate test conditions (max 4 hours, no interruptions, no books to help, and using a brain dump sheet at the beginning). They do give an idea of what to expect in the test. However, the actual exam was harder than the test, so be careful if you want to do two passes.
The way I approached it was if I could not answer a question in 2 minutes I guessed an answer and marked it for review.
The reason I guessed was if I ran out of time I still had a chance of getting it right.
The calculation questions are not the hardest, as long as you know the formula and can use the computer's calculator you will get them. It is the touchy feely questions that you have to answer what would be the best thing to do, or what would be the next thing to do.

PMP Exam Simulator 1 year 8 months ago #5270

  • Farid Hadj-Hamou
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Thank you Sarah

In terms of difficulty - how can you describe the level of difficulty comparing Simulation exams to the real PMP exam

- Same
- easier
- Harder

Thank you
Farid

PMP Exam Simulator 1 year 8 months ago #5292

  • Sarah Burden
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Hi Farid,
As I mentioned below I found the simulator easier than the exam, but the simulator does give you a very good idea of what to expect in the exam.

Good luck!

Sarah
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