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TOPIC: PMP passed with 5AT's

PMP passed with 5AT's 3 weeks 6 days ago #23620

  • Dolon Das
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I passed my PMP Exam on Sep 23, with 5 AT- Above target in all domains.

Study preparation flow:  I Started in around April- May 2019, halted, resumed in Aug, then again halted in Sep and then finally resumed studying since March 2020.Total study span of 6 months- but not uninterrupted, with some days and weeks of gaps in between.
Effective study duration: 4.5 months.Study time: Could not maintain a routine uniform study hours, although planned for 2-3 hours every day, and weekends 8-12 hrs. On an average I think I spent studying 3 days during the week, and 1.5 days of the weekend with these many number of hours till the last 6 weeks
The final 6 weeks prior to exam, from August 15th till Sep 23rd I spent 3 hours every day and 6- 8 hrs every weekend.Study materials used: PMBOK Guide 6th Edition, PMP outline (available online), PMP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (found on pmi.org) PMP reference book, quick reference guide and, flash cards by Sohel Akhtar, Rita MulCahy 9th edition (soft copy: can be downloaded online), Aileen's videos on youtube, Exam Simulator- One was PM Training and the other was  PREP-CAST by Cornelius Fichtner. Phone application called PMP- Exam Mentor.
I also referred to all the lessons learned on this forum and other forums in the internet.Study progress, Exam challenges,  Lessons learnt and Tips:
I kept studying the Reference book, flash cards, over and over again, then studied the PMBOK guide- I did a lot of questions on each of the topics in the book from Sohel's book- both addressing direct and situation based indirect questions to strengthen my concepts. Only once I started practicing on the simulator that I got the sense of time management and the complete mindset that needs to be applied to handle the entire exam.I then alternated my plan between taking a test- analyzing the entire test- both correct and incorrect questions, seeing the logic, then revisiting the book to internalize the knowledge and re-read it from a different perspective. Only once I finished revision with the knowledge gaps and revising all the areas I already knew, I took the next test. The gap between taking the tests and such revisions were earlier 2 weeks and then narrowed down to a week or less as I progressed.
I kept revising, the key notes I made which whenever I had time: This included extracted ITTO's in the form of a chart in my notebook, I also did the same for the contents of all the Project Management Plans (I kept an example of how each of these looked like e.g- Charter, Scope, Resource Plan etc.), and Important Documents ( e.g- Team Charter, Risk Register etc.) Tailoring Consideration, Trends, and Agile Practices for each knowledge domain, and PMP outline for each process.I made a list of the Important concepts that are tested in the exam.  Example: Corrective, Preventive Action-defect repair, Direct v/s Fixed Cost, Risk response strategy examples, conflict resolution strategy examples etc..
From PREP-CAST simulator specifically I did all 8 tests first, and then as the exam approached I kept doing the timed quiz whenever I could squeeze some time. For the tests my scores were 59% (I started by making a brain dump-writing all processes etc. and I lost time so could not finish in the first one, and realized there is no time to do all this), 73.5%, 69% (I barely finished and was below target n many domains) 72.5%, 79%, 61 % (I could not finish the exam) 78%, 82.5 %
I  also solved several tests and questions using the PMP-Exam mentor on my hand, whenever I gathered time.I kept watching Aileen's video- they are quite useful.2 weeks prior to the exam I made a plan of each day what key elements I should revise and when to take the test. I took tests using PM-Training.
In all I have solved more than 2000 questions alone using the 2 simulators and more than 2000 questions while covering topic specific areas from the book and using my phone ap.I made a plan of by when and what time I should reach the 50th question, 89th question and so on.
Even after all this practice while taking the exam I did not find it EASY at all. It was quite difficult and I was struggling to adhere to my original plans of how I will manage time. In my view I found the exam a bit harder than the simulator, but this is only my opinion (could be shaped because of pressure as well) The exam had 95% situation/scenario based questions. I did have some Cost management question about 4-5 questions to actually do calculation, rest to interpret, and 1 critical path question from schedule management. These were nothing complicated.
The exam simulators were indeed very very helpful as they actually guide you through your preparation and give you a real sense of how to build your mindset. The analysis of all the correct and incorrect questions, answers, time taken to answer is indeed extremely helpful.PREP CAST was indeed a very big value addition. in my preparation

TIPS:While studying:1.Study every topic with examples in mind- for every word that you come across- try to relate it to a real time situation and literally try and internalize all words and concepts you come across in the chapters and then specifically marked in the glossary.2. As soon as you have finished studying all chapters in the books, finished practicing questions related to topics, take the  exam on the simulators.3. Take all the time to analyze the tests completely including correct answers, and alternating between revision and studies.
4. Everything you study you should be able to explain it with an example.
5. Rita's book is indeed helpful to understand PMI'sms and 'tricks of the trade' parts. Most of the questions will be situation based, so you should be able to remember the tools not just for memorizing it but in order to able to use it as if its a 'real scenario at work'.
6. Keep working on a time management strategy and focus on identifying key words while reading questions and practicing exams.
7. It will be impossible to remember everything, but when confused try method of elimination to arrive at the correct answer
8. On the day of the taking the simulators, make sure you are not studying too hard as this will make you fatigued.9. 2 weeks prior to exam- have a very planned sustained approach, but not overburden yourself, and the day before do something relaxing and do not study at all.10. The exam is not easy, but a dedicated continuous effort is required--  Lesser interruptions, faster and easier the preparation will be, otherwise you would re-start from scratch each time.
11. Overall- Understand and internalize everything- Constant studying, revising and practicing- That is the only key.

During exam
1. It is important to have a time management plan in mind- This is the key. In case you find you are lagging behind, re-calculate and take the best approach in the given time.  I had the time to review all the marked questions but not review all the answers (which I did not flag).2. If you can not handle a question, just move on and complete the rest- Than getting stressed and doubting yourself, come back to it only once you have finished looking through everything.3. If time is ticking hard- make sure that the questions you are taking time to answer, you dont need to get back to them-Pay attention while answering.4. Minimum 30-40 mins should be kept in hand for reviewing any remaining answer (flagged).5. All processes and knowledge areas will be mixed in one question-I read the last sentence first to understand the main question and then go backward.6. Sometimes the questions will be too long, and answer options might have only misleading 'non pmp terminologies' so for those questions it is easy to narrow down just with a quick browse of the question and looking at the answer with real 'pmp terminologies'.
7. Remain CALM throughout the exam- there will be UPS and DOWNS during the exam. Take the 10 min break to fully refresh yourself.

PMP passed with 5AT's 3 weeks 6 days ago #23627

  • Elizabeth Harrin
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Congratulations, Dolon!
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Elizabeth Harrin

PMP passed with 5AT's 3 weeks 3 days ago #23664

  • Dolon Das
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Thank you :)
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