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TOPIC: Took Practice Exam 1 - Seeking Wisdom and/or Approaches to aid in Prepearation/Study

Took Practice Exam 1 - Seeking Wisdom and/or Approaches to aid in Prepearation/Study 2 years 6 months ago #9107

  • Steven McClaugherty, PMP, CSM
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Hi Everyone,

During the Testing
Yesterday, I had taken my first practice test (Exam 1). I did not create a brain dump sheet for this testing as I wanted to see what performance would be without it for now. One approach I tried is that I know that I could not spend too much time on any one question. If it was really wordy, I just marked it and moved on. If it involved doing a calculation or schedule, I marked it and moved on. When I went through the 200 questions, I found that I had nearly 63 questions I marked as wordy or was unsure about. 14 of those questions marked/by-passed dealt with costs or schedules. When I went back to review the 63, I felt worn down mentally on the second pass. I ended up with 45 minutes left in my time. Overall, I scored an average 66% (ugg) - not good.

After the Testing
Now that I have a series of questions that were identified as wrong, I need to seek your advice and wisdom on best approaches to using this information as a study guide. Should I just review only the wrong questions first, and from weakest areas to strongest? I want to maximize my learning. Should I be documenting anything down as I review each question that could be part of my brain dump? What questions should I ask myself on each? Is it primarily asking, "Why did I get this wrong?" or other additional questions? Before I begin the process, I would like to gather seasoned advice from existing PMPs to make use of the time and to better prepare myself for the next simulated testing.

Here is the a listing of my weakest Knowledge Areas to strongest:

70% Below
  • Procurement Management (lowest in this group)
  • Scope Management
  • Cost Management
  • Time Management
  • Integration Management (tie) (best in group)
  • Communications Management (tie) (best in group)
80% Below > 70%
  • Quality Management (lowest in this group)
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Risk Management (best in group)

Thank you very much.

Took Practice Exam 1 - Seeking Wisdom and/or Approaches to aid in Prepearation/Study 2 years 6 months ago #9109

  • Mark Wuenscher, PMP
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Steven,

First, don't be discouraged by your low score on the first exam. My initial score on a mock exam was 67%. Part of the benefit of the simulated exams is to help you develop a strategy for taking the real exam and to experiment with different approaches. There is no one size fits all approach for how people tackle the exam. Everyone is a bit different. During the real exam I just plowed my way through it from beginning to end, with no breaks, and I answered every question as I went. I did mark some but I still also marked an answer on each one. I wasn't sure how much time I'd have left at the end, and in my case it was only 7 minutes, so I am glad I answered them the best I could as I went.

After I took the simulated exams I would go through the entire exam, first focusing on what I missed but then also looking at the ones I got correct since I sometimes would take my best guess on certain questions but not really be sure. So, it was nice to go back and see if I guessed correctly and whether my reasoning was correct regarding the choice I made. On the ones I got wrong I would check to see if it was just a simple mistake or if I truly just didn't understand the concept at all. Often, on the EMV or EVM type questions I would make a simple mistake and sometimes do so in a consistent manner. Good to know if that is the case so I could correct my approach.

I think your approach for not creating a brain dump is a reasonable one. As you probably know, you now need to use testing time to create the brain dump so if you can train yourself to get by without it then that would be good. Or at least get to the point where you only need to write down a few key things you have trouble remembering. The most helpful thing for me was the 47 processes (page 61 PMBOK).

Keep up the hard work. You will improve as you progress through the simulated exams. You are training for a marathon. Stay positive.

Cheers,

Mark
Mark Wuenscher, PMP
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Mandy Geier

Took Practice Exam 1 - Seeking Wisdom and/or Approaches to aid in Prepearation/Study 2 years 6 months ago #9192

  • Steven McClaugherty, PMP, CSM
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Hi Mark,

Thank you for taking the time to provide this response earlier. As of Friday 12/16, I had just finished going through another PMP Prep Exam book which has been pulling my attention and focus to that material. I feel like now that I have worked through the materials with at least a first pass, I can begin to dig in to close my gaps.

Yesterday 12/18, I proceeded to take mock Exam Simulation 2 and was able to score a 77%. This was a big leap for me given the previous scoring of 65%. I felt a lot of encouragement of seeing such a jump in my knowledge. I proceeded to not use a brain dump again so I could compare to Exam 1 what I knew in my head. A few things that I had a better grasp on:
  • Knew more EVM formulas & rules for calculations and could interpret graphs/situations better
  • Increased understanding of ITTO for the Executing and Monitoring & Controlling areas
  • Increased knowledge on vocabulary or what was applicable - knowing something didn't belong to the list

In terms of marking questions I did not know, I was very careful on not by-passing or blindly marking. I ended up with less than 10 marked to review compared to 63 last time. I took an approach that once I reached 100 questions, I would close any marks from 1 through 100. Any marks from 101-200, would be handled at the end of the question 200. I didn't feel as overwhelmed. On my next mock exam, I will experiment with stopping at every 50 to close any marks. This approach did not overwhelm me as it did the first time of trying to go back to answer any marked questions from 1-200.

Overall, I feel a lot of encouragement and look forward to digging in. I still have to get a study aid for ITTO as I feel still weak in that area. I am hoping to see continued progress over the next several weeks. Starting today, I will begin reviewing the ones I missed as first priority, begin to do the look-ups and review of those questions/materials, before I do a review over the questions I had received right.

My weakest areas from Exam 2 are Time and Procurement Management as I scored below 70% on those, everything else went above. My highest score was in Cost Management of 85% this time. Compared to Exam 1, it was a great improvement from a failing 56%.

Thank you Sir,
Steven
The following user(s) said Thank You: Mandy Geier
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