Great job and thanks for sharing!! I had a very similar experience with the Simulator and was pleasantly surprised to score above target in most areas during the actual exam. It is easy to get discouraged through the process, but as my husband told me before the exam, "you got this!".
I started the Prepcast in Nov '17 and would listen to the lessons on my way to work (1 hour) and sometimes on the way home. I thought I would be certified by Dec. However, I did not finish the course until the end of January. Used the Simulator from Prepcast. 9 exams consisting of 200 questions each. It is recommended that you score in the 80's prior to the exam. I started in the 60's and finally made it to the 70's. Never did a complete test that exceeded the 70's. However, the certification test was scheduled for Tuesday Mar 20.
I was off work Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon and today. Studied most of the day Fri and Sat. Studied some on Sunday. Then studied all day Monday. By the end of the day on Monday, my brain was fried. Took test 8 for the first time and scored a 66%. Realized that I was making silly mistakes. Had not taken test 9, which is all ITTO. Did not want to take it on Tuesday, so I started it on Monday evening. After 10 questions, I had to stop as my brain could not take any more.
I figured that I needed to stop studying and let my brain rest. Either I knew it or I did not. The only document I looked at on Tuesday was the chart from Chapter 3 with the 47 processes on it and that was for a total of 2 minutes. All of the testing thru the simulation was all over the place. Some tests I did wall on some of the processes and not so well on other processes. However, there was not consistently.
Went to see Black Panther at noon, grabbed lunch at Chipotle and arrived an hour early for my 4 pm appointment. I was able to take the test immediately. I brought in some chocolate candy bars that were left on top of the locker. I took a break every hour, ate some candy and used the restroom. I marked about 40 questions to review. Statistically speaking, your first choice is usually correct. So unless I was sure about another answer, I did not change it. Ended up changing about 6 questions.
Initiation, Planning, Executing and Closing were 'Above Target'. Monitoring & Controlling was 'Needs Improvement.' Overall I was at Target and very close to Above Target.
This is just to encourage you all out there who are struggling with the practice exams. Good luck!!!!!