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TOPIC: Passed the PMP Exam - 1st Attempt

Passed the PMP Exam - 1st Attempt 1 month 3 weeks ago #23052

  • Nicole Kikta
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Greetings Folks - I know I read a lot of posts of personal experiences to help prep me for what to expect and what others felt helpful in their exam preparations. I hope this post helps someone like so many other posts helped me!

A huge part of my job is project management. I am the VP, Ops for a behavioral health company and I launch a lot of new programs and open hospitals and clinics. I wanted to invest in myself and was considering Six Sigma vs. PMP. I decided pursuing the PMP track made more sense with what I do. I made this decision in February to work towards acquiring the PMP credentials and on 8.23.2020 I earned my credentials. Below is the path I took:

- I took Purdue's online Project Management Essentials course. It was ok. I thought the workbooks were great and the assignments were good in testing your knowledge. The tests are not structured like a PMP exam - they are more focused on the ITTO's, but not applying the ITTO's which you need to be able to understand and apply the ITTO's to pass the test. I also didn't love that though there was a teacher, none of the classes were live. You could certainly ask questions and connect/work with the teacher, but if you are looking for a live learning environment, you're not going to get that here. I finished the course with a near perfect score around May.
I read the PMBOK as I worked my way through this course
- I wanted more exposure so I then enrolled in PMTraining.com PMP boot camp course. I did the pre recorded course because it just fit better in my schedule. I felt the content was helpful because it took the PMBOK lingo and expressed it in simple terms. The tests were tough and the information was good, but it had some additional equations that never appeared in the PMBOK, were not questions on the PrepCast exams, and didn't show up on the PMP exam so I'm not sure if they were really necessary. I'm glad I didn't spend time memorizing all the extra formulas as they didn't appear to be necessary based on my experience.
-I then went through the PMBOK (started in June and ended this process mid August) and made ITTO note cards for each process. I studies a process a day and retook the tests from the PMTraining.com workbook once I finished a knowledge area. I felt that this was a VERY IMPORTANT step to successfully pass the exam. I learned and memorized all the ITTO's, focused on understanding how the processes were connected to each other, the order/flow of the processes, made sure to understand WHY these elements were necessary and made sure I understood the equations. The equations I really focused on were CPI, CV, SPI, SV, EAC, ETC, VAC, and TCPI (as well as communication channels).
-Once I finished my studying I took to PrepCast to start mock exams. For a two week period I would wake up extra early (I perform on exams better when it's first thing and my mind is fresh) and spent anywhere from 1 to 2 hours each weekday morning completing practice exams and then really spending time on what I didn't feel like I mastered (reading the reasons for responses and then reading more in the PMBOK and watching YouTube videos.) On the weekends I did a full practice exam - I did this three times. I got an 86%, 86% and 88% on the exams. I answered just under 900 questions in total prior to the PMP exam and average 85% 1st time correct response rate. It took me about 3 hours to complete the full mock exams (all 3 times.)
-Real exam - definitely more vague than the PrepCast exam though close. The PrepCast exam provides more content making it more obvious where you are at from a process perspective. The exam is broken down into two parts 1-89, break and 90-200. Honestly, 1-89 felt awful. I don't know why, maybe the 25 questions that don't count are in the first batch, I don't know, but it was really hard. I felt 90-200 was much easier, but certainly not easy. I had about 4 equations (EAC, CPI, SPI, and a contract one where I had to say what you owed the vendor on a CPFF contract) and 2 Critical Path questions. I did the online exam and took 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the exam, did not take a break as I wanted to power through, and didn't go back and read any of my answers because I find that my first answer is usually the correct answer (trust your gut.) I honestly didn't know if I would pass or fail as I was completing the exam. On PrepCast I found that I could narrow it down to 2 answer, reread the question and be pretty confident on the final answer. On the PMP exam, I could also narrow it down to 2 answers, reread the question and not always know, confidently, which answer was correct. As I said earlier, go with your gut because my results came back - all areas above target.

I felt that the most beneficial parts of my prep was the memorizing and understanding one process a day and using the PrepCast exams. The PrepCast exams are very helpful in testing your knowledge, but also getting comfortable with what the actual test will be like because it's very close. If you are doing the PrepCast exams and not performing well - I truly believe that you shouldn't take the PMP exam until you are performing consistently well. Also, I also suggest that you don't try to ID the critical path on paper because you don't have the option to do that during the real test. I was using Microsoft Paint and Notepad on my computer to simulate the real experience. Glad I did because I had 2 critical path questions.

Good luck on your journey!
Last edit: by Nicole Kikta.

Passed the PMP Exam - 1st Attempt 1 month 3 weeks ago #23064

  • Elizabeth Harrin
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Brilliant news, well done Nicole!
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Elizabeth Harrin
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