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TOPIC: Passed After Failing on the First Try

Passed After Failing on the First Try 2 months 2 weeks ago #22699

  • Chad Nevills
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Sorry .... I went off on a tangent about my whole experience. Scroll to the bottom for the lessons learned only :).

My first go ended up being unsuccessful. I purchased the “Head First” book some time in the middle of January 20’. Probably my first mistake. I decided on Head First because all the reviews I read stated something to the nature of the fact that it was geared more towards visual learners. I consider myself a visual learner ... or at least I thought I did. Anywho ... my goal was to get through this experience spending as less money as possible. After the Head First book, I purchased Joseph Phillips PMP Exam Prep from Udemy and went through that slowly. I was on the fence about purchasing prepcast at first because I had a few friends tell me they successfully passed without it. One mentioned PMmasterPrep ... it was cheaper so I went that route. I got through the baseline test. It consisted of 50 questions, you needed an 80% to pass. I made a 76%. Took a few more 50 questions quizzes over the coming days and could not score over 75%! I figured 75% was good enough.

As my test date approached, I got more and more nervous, because in that time, I stumbled across reddit where everyone praised prepcast. I figured I’d be safe so I purchased it and backed my test up to a later date. I struggled... in 5 full exams, my scores ranged between 62% - 67%. After each exam, I would review the questions that I missed . My scores on quizzes were a bit better. I struggled with time during tests, I would run out at around 180 questions so I would speed through the last 20.. I was frustrated, my grades weren’t improving so I purchased “How to Pass on Your First Try”. I got through it fairly quickly. I started taking more 10 - 50 question quizzes to boost my confidence a bit. My scores were typically above 65% doing those. I thought their was not much left for me to do so I gave the test a shot.

I scheduled to take the test from home as opposed to on site. The actual exam honestly felt like it was easier than prepcast. At the halfway point (question 90) I recalled having 133 mins left. A few posters suggested having at least 130 mins left by the halfway point so I thought that was good. I didn’t try to move the panel at the top center of the page even though it was annoying. I’d read that doing so led to technical issues. I was afraid to death of EVM questions, thankfully I only came across 2 and they were simple. About 10 agile questions from what I remember. I recall near the end of the test, the proctor sent a message warning me to not touch my face which threw me off. I had 26 mins left at question 185.... but after that little incident, I lost concentration. I ended up having 1 min remaining on my last question. I hit submit and got the “sorry, unfortunately you failed” message and I was destroyed ... confused. I felt like I did enough to pass but apparently not. My scores were AT/AT/NI/T/NI

Took about 5 days off from studying. I was eager to get back to it. I borrowed a copy of Rita’s book from a friend. Got through about 10 chapters ... came across a group of folks who were in the same boat as me (failed the first time around) and established some study groups. This was helpful. I felt a bit more confident. Instead of focusing mainly on my weak areas, I basically started over.. My next prepcast exam I scored an 83% then a 68% (ran out of time AGAIN!). I even gave the PMI practice exam from the pmi site a shot. Scored 72%, shocked the heck out of myself. A week went by, I took small quizzes daily to keep myself fresh. Then decided I was not going to schedule the exam ahead of time ... because the last time I did that, I didn’t get ANY SLEEP the night before. So this time, I basically woke up, discussed it with my wife and scheduled it for later that evening. Test time came, I felt like I was prepared but after the first 3 questions .... I started to wonder again what the heck had I gotten myself into. The questions were HARD, WAYY harder than the first test. The questions were a mix of prepcast type questions and PMI practice questions. I spent a lot of time thinking on this test .. by question 70, I was already thinking to myself that I would have to schedule it again. I thought it was over and I failed. My main mission became getting to the half way point so that I could take a breather, gather myself. Finally, 129 mins left at the halfway point. I reviewed a few questions I was unsure about then went to my break. Got back to the test and to my surprise ... I don’t know if I just needed a break or if the questions got easier but .. the questions weren’t as difficult. Still hard, but not as difficult. I found myself running out of time around question 175. I literally had a minute to answer each question, thankfully around question 190, the questions got super simple. Like literal definitions for answers. I finished with 2 minutes to spare ... in those 2 minutes, I took the time to review a critical path question that I ran through b/c I needed to use the whiteboard to draw. Clicked the finish review button with about 30 seconds left and got the “CONGRATULATIONS” . Wasn’t expecting it AT ALL. My scores were T/BT/AT/T/BT

Lessons Learned Summary:
  • if nothing else ... focus on Execution phase! Your score is weighted heavily on it. I’ve seen folks score 2 NI’s with an AT in Execution and still pass
  • Focus on time!
  • Build test taking stamina! Take the prepcast full exams to help build stamina. Sitting for 4 hours answering questions can be draining
  • Don’t try to memorize ITTO’s
  • If you fail, don’t get discouraged, use it as a learning experience
  • Do some of the quizzes in learning mode on prepcast, not every test has to be a full exam
  • Try to get a good nights rest the night before the exam
  • When reading questions, try to figure out what phase you’re in.
  • Review questions you’ve missed after prepcast exams
  • Take at LEAST 4 full exams
  • Use process of elimination when choosing an answer (I was able to eliminate at least 2 answers every time during the test)
  • Check out Vargas vids
  • If you can score consistently 70 or better on exams, you’re ready
  • Good luck! You can do it
The following user(s) said Thank You: Alexandra Van Praag
Last edit: by Chad Nevills.

Passed After Failing on the First Try 2 months 2 weeks ago #22704

  • Mike Cheung, PMP
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Congrats Chad!!! It is such a huge weight off your shoulders to pass!

I agree that I was also so nervous in preparation for the exam and barely had any sleep the night before! I like that you scheduled it on the day of as opposed to in advance. I had considered on multiple occasions to pay the money and move the exam up to an earlier date so I wouldn't have to sit there for 2-3 more days just waiting for the exam date.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chad Nevills

Passed After Failing on the First Try 2 months 2 weeks ago #22708

  • Alexandra Van Praag
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Congratulations!! Question, did you use the whiteboard to do a brain dump or was it too hard? I've heard it can be tough to use

Passed After Failing on the First Try 2 months 2 weeks ago #22720

  • Chad Nevills
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Thank you so much :-). I did not use the white board for a brain dump. It would have been a huge waste of valuable time. I did however use it for a critical path question. But even that was terrible. It’s basically Microsoft paint. If you absolutely need a brain dump, I’d suggest start practicing in Microsoft paint. Good luck!

Passed After Failing on the First Try 2 months 2 weeks ago #22733

  • PATRICE WALLACE
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Congrats! So encouraging!
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chad Nevills
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