Reply: I failed my second attempt

Your e-mail address will never be displayed on the site.

Topic History of : I failed my second attempt

Max. showing the last 6 posts - (Last post first)
2 years 10 months ago #22458

Gabriella Dellino, PMP

Gabriella Dellino, PMP's Avatar

Thank you, Shweta, for sharing your specific experience here! I'm sure Abdulrazaq will benefit from it!

2 years 10 months ago #22434

Shweta Iyer

Shweta Iyer's Avatar

Hi Abdulrazaq,
I failed my first attempt and had studied so hard i gave up and thought PMP is not for me but after few weeks i said to myself how about giving my best shot and studying again and do things right which i felt i missed the first time. I started again by re reading Rita Mulcahy twice and paying attention to the processes the way they integrate and flow. Then i studied the PMBOK once for more understanding. I also created the ITTO sheet for my knowledge. After all this knowledge dump i decided to answer Prepcast questions. While i answered the questions i realized what you study is one thing but how you apply the basic fundamentals is totally another thing. the explanation for answers on Prepcast really helped me. I spent most of my time analyzing why i chose the answer instead of the other.
When you answer a PMP question remember what is given and what you are asked to do, which plays a key role in picking the right answers. Eliminate the wrong ones and rethink between the 2 confusing answers. Choose the best answer for that question and situation.
Do not give up. Follow the process that you have received in response to this post and you shall pass. I passed the 2nd time so i know the stress and anxiety you go through when you answer the questions. Also recommend you to watch Ricardo Vargas videos which would make you understand the entire integration of all process groups. Solve as many questions as possible which would improve your ability to pick the best option in the exam.
2 years 10 months ago #22413

Thiago França, PMP®

Thiago França, PMP®'s Avatar

Hi, Abdulrazaq,

I am sorry to know that you failed in your second attempt. Please don't give up! It's not easy to get the PMP.

My suggestion is you to figure out some opportunities to improve your weak points. You mentioned that you become very anxious during the exam, why not take a calm pill a day before the exam? Passion fruit drink is also great to reduce anxiety. I use both options mentioned when I am feeling anxious.

Regarding your grades, an average score of 75% may not be enough. Raise your bar to achieve 85% as an average score in the PM Prep Cast before scheduling your next PMP exam. Find attached in my profile my grades here, I did the PMP after I got 93% score in my latest test and got the PMP in my first try.

Some tips:
- Did you study the book PMP Exam Prep 9th edition of Rita Mulcahy?
- Did you follow any memorization technique to memorize the PMBOK?
- Are you able to explain any PMBOK content to anyone? If not, you have to reread and memorized it until you can do it.
- Did you answer another PMP questions outside here? You got to answer as many questions as you can.
- Are you practicing physical exercises? This releases stress and increases your performance in the studies.
- When using our PM Prep Cast simulator, did you follow this strategy? For wrong questions, reflect and understand in detail why you made a mistake and which answer is the correct one. For questions that you are not 100% sure of the solution, flag it, and spend some time reviewing and understanding why you had this question and how you should have thought.

I hope my tips would help you to move forward and keep working on getting the PMP.

2 years 10 months ago #22404


Devin's Avatar

I got AT (above target) in all domains except Initiating where I received just on Target. Leading up to the exam, I didn't review the Initiating domain because I thought 'oh, I've got that'. So just kills me that I didn't get AT in all domains.

Let's assume you feel you can take a PrepCast exam and score in the mid-80s. To me this means that you have:
  • Have memorized the process chart (high-level)
  • Know the formulas and when to apply them.
  • Can perform critical path calculations/sequencing
  • Feel very comfortable with ITTO: MAJOR inputs, UNIQUE tools, MAJOR outputs.

That's what scoring well on the PrepCast simluations affords you. Hopefully, you've also used it to help learn to eliminate answers. You should be using the strikeout feature and when reviewing your tests the next day, you should see if you were getting it down to two answers.

What PrepCast doesn't do well is give you the longer/vaguer situational/inference type questions where you have to resolve the situations. In many of these exam questions, the answer is never clear (as you may recall from your previous attempts). The key is to (a) eliminate answers that don't proactively move the project forward or (b) has the PM doing some sort of miracle-working instead of just delivering the bad news. Many times the best answer is what is called the least-worst. It may not feel right, but its the best answer from those given.

I've give another exam candidate some help in trying to figure out these questions on this forum thread: www.reddit.com/r/pmp/comments/htl80s/prepcast_vs_pmi_free_exam/

Hope this helps.
2 years 10 months ago #22401

Ken Rsh

Ken Rsh's Avatar


If I may ask, how close were you to passing? I also failed my 2nd attempt and was anxious the whole time and not prepared for the online exam format. I am going to be taking my 3rd attempt and am averaging around 78% on simulations.
2 years 10 months ago #22290


Devin's Avatar

It can't hurt to take it again. When I went through the PrepCast course I wanted to score about 90% on all the tests to make sure I had the information down. To me, 75% can be marginal depending upon how good we are at taking multiple choice tests. I'm terrible at multiple choice tests, so I felt I needed to have a solid mastery of the material before attempting the exam. My suggestions is to:

Step 1: 2-3 Weeks
(1) Read the PMBOK and take notes. I did this in Excel, separating each chapter into the PMBOK by Excel Tabs. Your notes should be in the form of a question (so you can test yourself). I didn't have more than 30 questions per section. Examples from my notes (on Integration):
Who owns integration management? Project Manager, cannot be delegated.
Is a project charter a contract? No, no consideration.
What are the change request types? Corrective, Preventative, Defect Repair, Updates.
What is Salience Model? Classifies stakeholders based on power, urgency, and legitimacy (PUL). The salience model is useful for large complex communities of stakeholders.

Step 2: Ongoing, Nightly.
  1. Step #1, may take several weeks because we want "SPACING". Which is a technique to remember information through spacing out our learning. We also want to print out the processes (see example 5-15 Validate Scope). I put these on note-cards and reviewed them at night. Only remember unique inputs, outputs and tools. You'll see trends that all processes have data analysis, expert judgement and data representation (charts). Note if a particular process uses a particular report. Estimating processes have estimation tools, so many of the processes are intuitive. Again, just learning the outliers.
  2. Also be able to write out the process chart (Knowledge Areas by Process Group).

Step 3: 2-3 Weeks
Now that we have re-read the PMBOK, started to quiz ourselves from our notes, understand the big inputs and outputs of processes, can write down the knowledge process chart and formulas, we can re-test. Based on testing and spacing theory of learning you should see improvement. Redo all the PrepCast tests. For each test eliminate answers (strike-through). Try to get the answer down to two. Review the test the next day or the following day. For each question, did we a) know the answer, b) not know the answer, c) got it down to two but guessed wrong, d) got it down to two and guessed right). If its b/c/d - see if the information is in our notes? If not add it (in form of a question). So we are review notes (quizzing our self), going through the process chart, studying ITTOs, formulas, taking tests, reviewing tests.

Sounds like you have a solid base, but need some additional work to get to a place of mastery of the material. And finally, we need to think of the philosophy behind PMP exam questions and how you elminate answers. Here is a question (I made up), to show you how to approach the PMP exam:

Question: Is it is company policy that only the scope and cost baselines are configurable items. Changes to the schedule baselines need to be signed off by the functional manager who directs and manages the scheduling department for the company. Due to a delay in a vendor delivering a required component, the schedule has slipped beyond a critical threshold and a new schedule baseline must be approved. The functional manager is away on vacation for a week. What is the best course of action for the project manager?

a) Wait until the functional manager returns to get approval of the new schedule.
b) Issue a change request.
c) Escalate to the project sponsor.
d) Get approval from the acting scheduling functional manager.

The goal of each question in the PMP exam is to get it down to 2 answers. The PMP has some "trap" questions as well, like we read something about risks and then see risk register in the answers, we are drawn to that answer without fully reading the question. The best test taking strategy is to: think about what proactively moves the project forward, solves problems, with the tools you have in the current scenario.

How to eliminate answer(s:)
Eliminate a) project managers are proactive. Waiting around doing nothing is not proactive.
Eliminate b) the schedule is NOT a configuration item, thus changes do not go through the change control. (need to go against what the PMBOK generally recommends and read the question).

You are down to two answers and you have to pick the "best" answer between C & D.

(C) is problematic because as PMs we don't run to the PS every time something goes awry, we are proactive, we fix the problem. Plus think what can the PS do to solve my problem? This is just procrastination in another form.
Thus, we are left with (D).

This question requires you to think about the configuration management plan and OPAs effect on project policies and processes. There is nothing in the PMBOK that you can actually memorize to figure out the answer, but you use some intuition and think getting approval from the acting scheduling manager is probably the best answer as it seems there is a department whose sole responsibility it is make these changes and keep them updated (probably for the whole company) and there is probably a process in place for secondary approvals if the manager is out of the office.

I think you've got all the tools, but just need another final strong push through the material. I am a pilot (for fun) and failed a check-ride once (the examination includes a written test, an oral test and an actual flight test). I was pretty dejected because I knew I was capable of passing, but just not that day. My instructor told me that if you put all the people in a room that never failed a check-ride (or an exam), it's a pretty dull party.

Hope this helps and best of luck.

Training for Project Management Professional (PMP)®, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®, and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®