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TOPIC: Seeking correction in my study in prep for the Exam - not confident with progress

Seeking correction in my study in prep for the Exam - not confident with progress 2 years 5 months ago #9402

  • Steven McClaugherty, PMP, CSM
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Hi All,

This is going to be lengthy with many questions. I want to thank you upfront for your time and advice that you can provide to help me overcome some barriers I am facing in my preparation. Thank you for anything you can share to help me address what I am going to write below.

I am hoping to sit as planned for taking the PMP Examination next month on 2/22, unless I push the exam date out. I do not feel very confident at this time with my progress and study at the moment. With having a little over a month left to utilize in preparation, I need to seek advice on how I should utilize the remainder of my time wisely. It has been several years since I have tried to learn vast amounts of information at once (maybe nothing of this amount), and almost seems like I have forgotten how to study, with memory recall not as sharp. I am trying to remain positive and optimistic of being prepared by not getting down on myself, but struggling at the moment unless I can see more hope with this.

Currently, I feel that I am on information overload - mentally exhausted. I took my Exam 4 Mock test, doing not so well. I knew I was feeling tired but also rushed through it. I went from a 79% to a 71%. I have gone back to review each of my missed questions (seems like there are so many missed that I am forgetting what I am reviewing), and noticed that I had nearly 5-7 ITTO or Process Definitions missed on each of my mocks, but that is just a small portion.

On Tuesday 1/3 and Wednesday 1/4, I went through to make note cards for the Process Group definitions, the Knowledge Area definitions, and for each Process with Key Benefits, roughly 64 note cards. I hope that this will be helpful to me as I realize that I am trying to apply and think of ITTO without even knowing what each process really does, other than my own interpretation by looking at the title of each process and thinking I know what it does. I expect to work through these cards by Sunday 1/8. Am I doing the right thing by spending the time on this?

On the ITTO, it feels like I am still not connecting on it. I did acquire the BrainBok application on ITTO to do some practice and questions, but find myself sometimes just guessing at those. I ended up making 47 ITTO Notecards for each of the Processes on a 5x7 for each. Should I study these ITTO by following the Process Group or by Knowledge Area? Does one or the other provide a better connection? Should I put more emphasis on the Tools & Techniques of each process rather than the Input and Output, or need to get it all down? Do I need to use a new method with my Notecards to study the information?

On the Mock Exam questions that I have missed, while I have been reviewing the missed questions, I may not be getting the benefit that I should be in closing my gaps. Should I quickly go through each question again on my last 2 Mocks and create very specific groups of what was missed to see more clearly the gaps? What is a recommended process I can follow for missed questions and ensure that I don't miss them again on the next test?

Once more, thank you for any suggestions, recommendations, guidance, and advice to get me on track to being prepared.

Edit Update:
I found this morning the ITTO Memory Jogger. Has anyone had good success with this? www.project-management-prepcast.com/pmp-...s/itto-memory-jogger

Steven
Last edit: by Steven McClaugherty, PMP, CSM.

Seeking correction in my study in prep for the Exam - not confident with progress 2 years 5 months ago #9407

  • Steven McClaugherty, PMP, CSM
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I ended up purchasing the ITTO Memory Jogger eBook and am going that material now. I just finished listening to the podcast provided just a few mins ago. A lot of suggestions and methods that have been used, just need to find the right one that can work for me.

Seeking correction in my study in prep for the Exam - not confident with progress 2 years 5 months ago #9408

  • Mark Wuenscher, PMP
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Steven,

Thanks for your post. I truly understand how you feel. When I was preparing for my exam last spring I was in a similar situation. I also had not had to study so intensely for a long time and it was a challenge. I had taken my first mock exam just 4 weeks out from my exam date and didn't score very well. I knew immediately that I needed to postpone my exam date. I really didn't want to pay the additional $$, but I rescheduled it for a month later which was the best thing I could have done. I then immersed myself in my studies and the PM Exam Simulator. When it was time for the real exam I felt much more confident and know I would not have passed without the PM Exam Simulator.

Here are some suggestions that may help you in your preparations:

- Before taking any additional mock exams I would spend the time to review what you have done so far. Review the questions you missed more closely, but also those you answered correctly. There were many times that I gave my best guess to an answer but wasn't absolutely sure. It helps to go back through those as well to be sure the assumptions you made when answering the question were correct.
- You still have a solid 6 week left to prepare so I don't think you necessarily need to reschedule yet. But if in another couple of weeks you are still not feeling confident you may want to consider it. If you do reschedule, then also consider what time of day will truly be best for you. When I rescheduled I even changed my time from 8 am to 5 pm which also turned out to be a very smart move.
- I think it is good that you are building out note cards etc.. to help you study. Everyone has their own learning style so it can be hard to know what will work best for you. For ITTO's I created some sheets that helped me better visualize the patterns and then make better sense of the process flow diagrams in PMBOK.
- You don't mention it in your note but I assume you are studying / reading the PMBOK 5th edition? The exam is largely based on it and I ended up reading it through 3 times. It is a slog but very important. Of course there are other supplemental books that others have mentioned on this forum that can also be quite helpful to internalize the content and build your understanding.

Take a deep breath and don't panic. In a sense, you are training for a marathon and there will be days and times when the training is just hard and you don't feel like you are making progress. Persevere. Again, I would spend additional time studying and trying to build up your weak areas before taking additional simulator exams. I say that because you only get 1 shot at answering the questions the first time which simulates the actual exam. Also, when you take the remaining mock exams be sure to simulate the test environment as close as possible in regards to the actual time of day you will take the exam, whether you plan to take a break, etc..

Let me know if you want me to email you the examples of the ITTO sheets I created. My email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Good luck!

Mark
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Seeking correction in my study in prep for the Exam - not confident with progress 2 years 5 months ago #9417

  • Steven McClaugherty, PMP, CSM
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Thank you Mark for your responses and for the encouragement to keep pressing on with this, along with your suggestions and advice. I am going to go back to review my previous exams as you suggested and dig in deeper. I will also email you to get the samples of the ITTO sheets you have created to see if it is something that I can begin doing as well.

Yesterday, I went through the Memory Jogger material and audio. I found that to be interesting on the type of methods that can be applied to learning, but more importantly, giving consideration to finding the best learning method that applies to me. I did something interesting that took me some time as I ended up taking my note cards and creating a few spreadsheet views of the ITTO Input & Outputs, and then another ITTO Tools & Techniques mapping. I quickly was able to begin seeing patterns and what is commonly used or rather unique.

I did an exercise with the ITTO Input & Outputs Matrix as I was curious about the flow of Deliverables. Please let me know if my understanding is correct as I never realized this before until last night upon review.

Step 1 Deliverables leave from Direct & Manage Project Work
Step 2 The Deliverables are received by Control Quality
Step 3 Once inspected internally for quality, they are now Verified Deliverables
Step 4 Verified Deliverables are sent to Validate Scope
Step 5 After customer inspects the Verified Deliverables, upon acceptance, become Accepted Deliverables
Step 6 Accepted Deliverables now go to Close Project or Phase
Step 7 Accepted Deliverables are then released to the customer for final product, service, or result transition

By analyzing and doing the trace like this, it made me really think about what is happening and is seems to be something I can remember. I like I think I have a combination of learning style between a rote, symbolic, and conceptual memorization. Do you think it may be worthwhile for me to start documenting these types of flows down on many of the key inputs and outputs first? I am seeing in the matrix that there are just some one offs that may not warrant a lot of attention to, or something to note they only apply in a certain place of the process. Maybe there is some hope for me yet!

I will be in touch later today with an email to you.

Thank you Sir,
Steven

Seeking correction in my study in prep for the Exam - not confident with progress 2 years 5 months ago #9420

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Steven,

What you have done to map out the path/steps for deliverables is very good and any time you can do something like this it will help you to better understand the process and ITTOs. Your steps you have outlined look correct to me. Studying the data flow diagrams like that on pg. 101 PMBOK can be very helpful in really understanding ITTO. It may not make sense to do this in every case and probably makes more sense when applied to the Inputs and Outputs. I will look forward to receiving your email later.

Cheers,

Mark
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Seeking correction in my study in prep for the Exam - not confident with progress 2 years 5 months ago #9422

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Hello Mark, I'm also preparing my exam on 2/2. I would like to email you also for the ITTO sheets u have, thanks very much

Seeking correction in my study in prep for the Exam - not confident with progress 2 years 5 months ago #9437

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Hi Mark,
Thank you for sharing me some of your ITTO sheets. I am going to follow with doing what you have done for some of the ITTO that I am having difficulty remembering where they all appear. I will let you know about my progress after the end of next week. Thank you!
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Seeking correction in my study in prep for the Exam - not confident with progress 2 years 5 months ago #9459

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Hi Mark,

I have been incorporating as many of the suggestions possible that you shared with me in the time I can. I am starting to get a better understanding on the ITTO now after I did the mapping and find a method that works in me learning them. I am still having trouble with some which I am going to use your suggestion to build the ITTO sheets.

I ended up yesterday re-taking Exam 1 as it has been over a month since I had taken that one. I didn't remember too many of the questions which required me to go through them. The first time I had taken Exam 1, I scored a 65.5% on the test without a brain dump. I ended up creating a brain dump with all the processes & knowledge areas this time so I can visually see where things were at. Between creating the chart and dumping formulas, it took me about 16 mins. I was able to do more answer eliminations than previously, and had better understanding on ITTO related questions . I tried reading answers from the bottom up and in some cases trying where I could by reading just the last few sentences. In reading the last few sentences, I found 6 questions I knew the answer to, but because I skipped over a key piece of information in each of those questions, I selected the wrong answer. On 2-3 questions from a review, I reversed my answer from what was initially right to being wrong. I utilized more of the time available to think through on some of these as well. I did take the test at the time I am expected, which is 12:00 pm Noon (12:00 pm - 4:00 pm). In the end, I was able to move that 65.5% up to an 81%. The mistakes I mentioned cost me 4% from an 85%. Nevertheless, I was happy to see some progress.

After this week, I have to make a decision to either push from the exam date or go for it by Monday 1/16. I am hoping there is good indication for me to go for it on Wednesday 2/22. Do you recommend that I go ahead with Exam 5 (as a fresh exam) to baseline against? If I proceed forward, this would leave me with the other 4 Exams. Is there also a recommendation when I should attempt an ITTO Exam? (possibly within a few weeks to give me more time to study on these so I know what is sticking and not?)

Thank you Sir!

Seeking correction in my study in prep for the Exam - not confident with progress 2 years 5 months ago #9464

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Steven,

Great to see that you have been making progress in your ITTO understanding as well as your exam 1 retake score. You are clearly developing a better strategy into how to approach the exam & the questions. If you have time and feel like you are prepared for Exam 5 then I say go for it and see where you are at that point. That will give you a better indication if you are truly progressing and on the right path. Unfortunately, I never had the time to take the ITTO exam. I don't think there is any "correct time" at which you take that exam. Personally, I would wait to take that one until I had done as much as I can related to ITTO study. So, I would agree with your strategy on that one.
If you decide to go forward as originally planned then that would leave you with one exam left per week which would be good. Remember to schedule in some down time the day before your actual exam so you can give your brain a break.

You should be doing your brain dump every day regardless of whether you do it on the actual exam or not. It will help solidify the information in your mind and give you more confidence.

Persevere and please let us know how you progress on your subsequent exams.

Cheers,

Mark
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