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TOPIC: Time management on the exams

Time management on the exams 1 year 8 months ago #5361

  • Anil
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Hi,

I recently took three mock tests (PM exam simulator) and scored 78% average with almost no review time. I clearly noticed difficulty in managing time on the mock tests (unable to concentrate after two hours which is mostly affect the scores, with three two-minute breaks overall), although I answered all the questions during the mock, only had around "5 minutes remaining to review around 40 marked questions".

How did you manage time on the exam/mocks ? I would really appreciate your experiences in managing time on the real or mock exams and any tips which could help me improve.

Thanks in advance,
Anil

Time management on the exams 1 year 8 months ago #5362

  • Craig Arcuri
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Hello Anil,
I found that there was certainly a mental stamina that needs to be built up by taking some 4 hour practice exams. It gets better through repetition. Keep your brain hydrated!
I think my strategy was a bit different from the norm but it worked for me. Doing the math you find that over 4 hours and 200 questions you have on average a minute and 12 seconds per question. On my first pass through an exam (practice and then the real exam) I wanted to move quickly. If I could answer the question in under a minute, of course I would do so. If it seemed to require a bit more thought I would mark it and move on. But the 30 seconds or so I spent reading the question was not wasted as I would have a familiarity with the question on the second pass and on the second pass they generally become less daunting. I found on the practice exams that I could get through roughly 75 questions in the first hour. To be clear, not all answered, but most answered and the rest marked and read once. Hitting that milestone consistently on the practice exams gave me confidence that I had enough time. With this method I found that I was marking more questions for review (50 to 60) than I'd heard others were marking but I think a personal strategy is important. I automatically marked any questions involving calculations for review and moved on. These questions generally would take longer than the average time. I wanted to keep moving fast, answer the questions that took less than the average time and in doing so, build up a surplus of extra time for calculations and the more difficult questions. Like I said, it worked for me. I'm sure you will get other helpful responses to this question and you can find the strategy that is best for you. Best of Luck!
Craig Arcuri, PMP, CSM
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Time management on the exams 1 year 8 months ago #5363

  • Ayo O
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Anil,

You can also develop a strategy e.g. answering all 'simple' questions first and leaving 'wordy' questions for the 2nd run. Pacing yourself also works - Since you have 2 hours for 200 questions, you should try to answer 50 questions in 30 minutes or less - that sort of thing. Lastly, practice, practice, practice! I got better at managing time after taking so many full-length practice tests. Good luck and all the best.
MSc, PMP
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Last Edit: 1 year 8 months ago by Ayo O.

Time management on the exams 1 year 8 months ago #5364

  • Dawn Upperman
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Hi Anil,

I had the same problem when was taking practice exams. I found that the more I took them the more stamina I built up. During my live exam, I marked all my math questions for review and came back to those later. Creating the "brain dump" sheet at the beginning of the exam really helped too. I took two 5 minute breaks..one halfway through the questions and the other after the last question so that I could be fresh to review my answers. As Craig mentioned, hydration is so important as well as plenty of rest. Hope this helps and best of luck!
Last Edit: 1 month 1 week ago by Cornelius Fichtner.

Time management on the exams 1 year 8 months ago #5365

  • Andre Roux
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Hi Anil,

One definitely struggles to concentrate after an hour or two. In my case, when I found myself re-reading a question 2-3 times without taking it in properly, it was a sign that my concentration was shot. This usually happened after 75-80 minutes in my case. I then developed a strategy to force myself to take a break every hour, or when I reached 60 questions, whichever came first. I knew that I only had to do 50 per hour, so I could gauge my overall progress by the hour. If I managed to get to 60 questions before the hour, I also knew I was well ahead of schedule and could relax a bit during next section, and if below 50 after an hour, I knew to push on a bit during next session, and always managed to catch up during the next session, whenever this was the case. Each break I took was a stand up/walkabout for about a minute, with a proper comfort break after 2hrs. Just note that during the exam there is quite an elaborate check-in/check-out process, so allow 3-4 additional minutes for this if you need to leave the testing venue.

Hope this helps, and good luck.
André Roux (PMP)
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Time management on the exams 1 year 8 months ago #5366

  • Ahmed Amin
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Hi Anil,

from the number of replies, it is obvious the topic was an issue to everyone (including my self). i will try to brief my advises in the below points:

1- Practice at least 5 full exams before taking the real exam. and take your time to study the week areas and revise wrong questions after each exam. And in the last two simulators try to finish them in 3.5 hours instead of four.
2- Take 1-2 minutes each hour to relax. just close your eyes and clear your mind.
3- Mark no more than 10% of the questions to review. wordy questions and those with calculations worth reviewing.
4- arrive at the exam center early, have a break the night before the exam.
5- practice the above in the simulator exams.


Good Luck (Y)



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Ahmed Amin Abdullah, PMP
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Time management on the exams 1 year 8 months ago #5369

  • Michael DeCicco
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Anil, your question is timeless and I'm glad you have elicited the responses from our community moderators. I find much of this information is valuable most candidates, and is attributable to our own experiences.

I always like to remind PMP candidates to be mentally confident. This ingredient is something only you can measure, but it will boost you to fight through those times when you're sitting at hour 3 with 50 more questions.

The best advice it seems to offer here is make a plan and stick to it. Let it be one that suits your test taking skills. Generally, you should consider two things: Writing down the Brain Dump immediately after you click start on the exam, and completing the test in 3 1/2 hours with 30 minutes for review. How you get that point is your personal strategy.

all the best

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Yours Respectfully
Michael DeCicco, PMP
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Last Edit: 1 month 1 week ago by Cornelius Fichtner.

Time management on the exams 1 year 8 months ago #5375

  • Warwick Kowalczyk
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Hi Anil,

Everyone has given some good tips here so I can't add too much more to managing your time during the exam.

In terms of managing your concentration, I would suggest planning your study time so that you relax completely in the 24 hours before the exam and do no study at all. Leading up to the exam you're likely to be cramming and eventually your brain gets to a point where it can't take any more in. Last thing you need immediately after this is a heavy dose of concentration on an exam. So a good rest beforehand is critical to getting you in the right mindset.

On the day of my exam I mowed my lawns first thing in the morning which was a great distraction and meant that once I sat down for the test I was focussed and ready to go.

Also, try to eat healthy on the day and avoid caffeine if you can. You want to be as fresh as possible. Once you've successfully passed the exam then you can indulge :)

Time management on the exams 1 year 7 months ago #5406

  • Sarah Burden
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Hi Anil,

I found that on the practice exams I was finishing with 20-30 minutes to spare (I did four practice exams), but the actual exam I only had 10 minutes.

I set myself a target of answering a question within one minute, if I could not answer the question then I "guesstimated" and answer and marked it for review. I ended up only doing this on 10 questions.

The reason I clicked an answer is that if you run out of time to review your answers you still have a chance to get it right.

I took a break every hour, bathroom, mouthful of food and a drink (that will take 5-10 minutes out of your time, so practice these breaks too). As mentioned previously leaving the exam room requires quite the process to get back in, but it is worth getting out to clear your mind. It can be intimidating having so much observation for that time.

Good luck, and practice, practice!

Time management on the exams 1 year 7 months ago #5416

  • Rahul Kakkar
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Anil wrote:
Hi,

I recently took three mock tests (PM exam simulator) and scored 78% average with almost no review time. I clearly noticed difficulty in managing time on the mock tests (unable to concentrate after two hours which is mostly affect the scores, with three two-minute breaks overall), although I answered all the questions during the mock, only had around "5 minutes remaining to review around 40 marked questions".

How did you manage time on the exam/mocks ? I would really appreciate your experiences in managing time on the real or mock exams and any tips which could help me improve.

Thanks in advance,
Anil

Hi Anil,

One of the key aspects of managing time during mocks or even the real test is to build stamina. That would come only by taking as many mocks as possible, at least three. Once you start taking your mocks, you would know your own natural "fatigue" times, by which I mean, how long you are able to concentrate until your brain starts to feel tired. This could be anything from half and hour to an hour to two hours even! Once you are aware of that pattern, you can then factor a short break and decide how much time to leave per question knowing you'd have to take that break. Once you have all of that in place and start applying it in a mock, you'll automatically get a sense of feel if you're taking too long for a particular questions based on your time allocated for it. Then you can mark it for review and come back to it later. All this would require trial and error which is why it's recommended to take at least 3-5 mocks to set your rhythm and to come one step closer to better manage your time on the actual exam. Hope this helps. Feel free to ask me further in case of any clarifications. Best of luck!
Rahul Kakkar, PMP, MBA
Community Moderator


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Last Edit: 1 year 7 months ago by Rahul Kakkar.
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