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TOPIC: Passed with AT in all 5 areas, 2nd attempt

Passed with AT in all 5 areas, 2nd attempt 2 months 1 week ago #22991

  • Carlos Mancuso
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Hi everyone! 

I have passed the PMP exam on August 11th, 2020. I took it in a Pearson VUE center in Guadalajara - Jalisco - Mexico, where I live today (exam in English). It was my 2nd attempt, but the 1st was quite some time ago, in 2013, still with the 5th edition.

About lessons learned, I'm not sure my experience will add much to what has been already shared here, but I have certainly taken a different path. My home is pretty chaotic today, and I have difficulty learning in this environment. I'm not currently working as PM, but I have lots of stuff to take care of every day - including the remodeling of our house and some illness in the family. Study plans had to be reviewed every couple of days, a PM's nightmare. 

With that context, the PM PrepCast video lessons and the PMP Exam Simulator were key to me. Before having these tools available I was struggling with the Guide - to the point of picturing myself like the Office Space movie guys in the printer crashing scene. Cornelius' good humor and well-designed materials really saved me. I cannot thank this team enough!

My basic method was to have the PMBoK Guide open with the PrepCast lesson I was studying, alt-tabbing, pausing and rewinding the lessons a lot. I also had around the Exam Outline (very important!) and some screenshots from the guide; tables 1-4 and 4-1 were favorites. I used different media to save whatever I found "interesting", or wanted to review later, and especially anything different from my work experience: Word documents; Excel spreadsheets to map KAs, PGs, Processes, ITTOs; paper sheets (when I was studying at the dinner table versus a couch).

I did not take the lessons in order. I did follow the PrepCast suggestion of watching the intros and overview lessons first (actually, I loved it**), but after that I think I followed to Agile, Scope, Integration, Schedule, Resource, Stakeholders, Communications, Cost, Risk, Procurement, Integration again, Quality, and all extras. ** I loved studying the intros and overviews before diving into KAs. I have studied the 5th edition before and I worked for two multinational companies with strong PMOs and supporting OPAs, so the PrepCast lessons told me what the PMI is looking for in the current exam, vs. my experience and "preferences". Also, I found a lot of "wrong" stuff on the web. After some time I decided to look only at the PMBoK and PrepCast materials, since I wanted to nail the exam, not enter debates or learn alternative approaches. 
I have listened to the lessons so many times in four months that my dogs know Cornelius by his voice, I'm sure. Some days I would wake up, go downstairs and immediately start playing a lesson while preparing breakfast, organizing the kitchen and living room. For my learning style, it was what worked best.

After studying each Knowledge Area, I would take the PrepCast self assessment and go for simulator Learning Quizzes. In my previous exam attempt I knew I was answering most questions right, but I could not finish more than 60% of the questions in time. So, this time I knew I had to practice understanding the questions quickly and choosing not only the best answer, but when to move on and when to mark a question for review. Strategy! 
And here is where you may get a bit shocked: I took many learning quizzes - to the point I was seeing many familiar questions and my score was consistently above 80%, but I did not take any full, 4-hours, simulator exams... I planned to, but when I finished all areas in mid-July, I was feeling confident enough to set an exam date. I reviewed my notes for weak points and decided to schedule the exam. And I passed with Above Target in all five areas.

About the exam itself: as I mentioned above, I realized it would be very risky to take it at home because it's not quiet enough. I'm glad I could find an open test center nearby. I had the room all for myself, windows open to ventilate, pretty nice. After the sanitary and identification checks, I was told I could use the bathroom anytime I wanted (with the clock running) and that I could take a break in the middle of the exam to have a drink and snack if I wanted. The center person was not sure when exactly the break would occur, but told me to read the initial instructions and call if I needed any help. Also, they provided a letter-size plastic board, marker and eraser for notes. Detail: it was a thick felt tip marker, so I had to write/draw big. Not very practical, but it worked; I used it for 6 or 7 questions if I recall correctly.

After question #140 or 150 I had the impression that nothing new was being asked. It became a resistance and speed test. I was tired and thirsty (even after the break). At some point I noticed that I had just about 1 minute per remaining question if I wanted to be able to go back and review the non-answered and flagged ones. Time management again was key, so, the LL is to practice until you feel confident and reach an average 80% or better with the simulator. 

Cornelius: you are awesome! I hope to meet you in person someday.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Bibhas Sarker

Passed with AT in all 5 areas, 2nd attempt 2 months 1 week ago #23005

  • Gabriella Dellino, PMP
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Congratulations, Carlos!
And thanks for sharing your journey here: I really enjoyed reading about it! :)

Gabriella Dellino, PhD, PMP
PMPrepCast Community Moderator
The following user(s) said Thank You: Carlos Mancuso
Moderators: Yolanda MabutasMary Kathrine PaduaJohn Paul BugarinKyle Kilbride, PMP

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