I am Happy to share that I have successfully passed the PMP exam on 7th July 2020 with an overall AT score. Below is my lesson learnt from my preparation and from the actual test which might be useful to you. In case you need more details please let me know.
Preparation Time : I spent overall 5 months preparing for the exam as I was doing self study for the exam and did not take any bootcamp so I did have to course correct multiple times till I settled on the final approach. Also I had some weeks where I could not spend much time studying and had to focus on office work. Also the COVID caused situation caused me to reschedule my exam as the test center got closed and my test appointment cancelled.
So out of this 5 months I can say around 3 months of dedicated study time with 3-4 hrs on weekdays and 6-8 hrs on weekend (at times more) made me prepared for the exam. Key thing is to study everyday and be consistent, if you want to be successful at this exam then a lot of commitment and discipline is required. You will have to give up on part of your social and family life also for it. This is something I took sometime to achieve initially. My 2 year old also knew that dad is studying and busy during these 5 months and she also tried to not disturb me much. After establishing regular study hours I was able to move faster through the preparation phase.
Preparation Material and strategy: Its different for every person so pls use it as a guidance only -
1. I used Izenbridge PMP course videos for the 35 contact hours
2. Read PMBOK 3 times also the glossary part and made notes
3. Read RITA 3 times and did Questions at end of each chapter and made notes
4. For a test series I asked many people who passed the exam recently and they recommended PM PrepCast PMP Exam simulator (only test series) by Cornelius Fichtner. This is the only test series I took and did. I did 1523/1610 Questions in this and gave 4 full length mock exams and many timed and learning quizzes.
5. I used to review all incorrect and marked answer after each test and quiz and also made notes on them. Its important to review all 4 options to understand the difference in each option. This approach will only help you in passing the exam.
6. I also had a few doubts on when should I feel I am ready? So again reading through online forums and talking to some people who recently cleared the exam made me realize that a rule of thumb that can be used is – “if you are consistently scoring 75 to 80% in the PM Prepcast exam simulator and also reviewing all those results then you can go ahead and give the exam”.
7. When I started getting 80% consistently in the mock exams and the quizzes in the PM Prepcast then I decided to schedule the exam 1 week from that date.
8. Another doubt I had was whether to give other test series (free or paid one’s), however due to the time constraint I finally just decided to go with the PM prepcast test series only. I have not taken any other tests, free or paid. Only extra tests I gave were the exercises at the end of each chapter of Rita book. After having given the exam I feel the Rita questions are pretty old.
9. One more thing I did was take the free 200 questions series from PMI. A warning here is that those questions are very old and very difficult. So you might lose some confidence while answering those. I did 100 questions out of them and felt really demotivated, I would have scored around 65% in that. You should read through 50 of those questions just to get an idea that such questions can come on the exam also. There can be upto 10 questions on the exam which are almost impossible to answer. So this PMI test can prepare you for that. I know a lot of people who never gave this PMI exam and still passed the PMP with good scores. So giving this is your choice.
10. The PM PrepCast test series is great and I could pass PMP only due to the practice I did on this simulator. The questions on the actual PMP exam were not exactly same as the PM PrepCast simulator however they were similar. The PM PrepCast questions are more relevant to the current exam format and you do not feel unprepared on the actual exam. However it is v imp to review all questions while practicing in the simulator. This will help you a lot on the exam.
11. I gave the 4 actual mock tests by sitting straight for 4 hours , this helped me a lot during the main exam. I was able to finish my exam 20 mins before and was able to review some questions also. Even if you are giving timed quizzes do keep an eye on the clock this way you an develop the speed for the main exam.
Actual PMP Exam :
1. The actual PMP exam was tough and there were many questions which were very difficult to answer
2. I just had 3 numerical questions related to CPI, SPI and Critical path. They were very easy to solve and not difficult
3. There were around 5 agile based questions, which were similar to what I had prepare din the PM precast exam. I did not read the Agile Guide separately
4. There were no direct ITTO questions so no need to memorize them. Only remember some key outputs for some of the processes.
5. I did brain dump the process group and knowledge area Mapping chart on page 25 of the PMBOK. This was useful for me for the exam as I always tried to first think which process, we are in before answering the question
6. You will find repetitive question on the exam with same answers , as PMI does it to check your concepts again and again
7. Its always best to answer each question on its own merits, take one Q at a time and answer it. Its important to read each Q carefully and answer it. Again PM prep cast helped me with this approach and I was an expert by the time I gave the actual exam.
8. I did not mark a lot of Q on the exam as generally the first time you ans a question is the best answer, so I did not review a lot of Q on the exam after answering them
9. After a lot of preparation also I felt the exam was tough and will still manage to surprise you, however if you prepare well using the above approach then you will definitely pass. Just be confident and answer one question at a time and do not worry about how many are left. Its difficult to stay focused for 4 hrs on the exam, however if you give atlesat 4-5 mock tests you will be better prepared and calmer on the exam.
In case you need any more inputs then I will be happy to share them with you. All the best.