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TOPIC: Passed 1st Attempt - AT/AT/AT/AT/AT

Passed 1st Attempt - AT/AT/AT/AT/AT 1 month 4 days ago #24003

  • Todd Blackwell
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One day later I am still in shock that I passed the test, not only passed it, but passed with all domains above target. In the words of a good friend I crushed it! But how?

Started studying in March right when the pandemic hit by reading the PMBOK cover-to-cover. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. What a boring piece of drivel that really makes no sense without context. I mean it's necessary reading but c'mon. Then, I thought the way to go was a 7-week Cert-Wise class based on the recommendation from a friend. I signed up at Northern Illinois University but that class did not have enough entrants so was cancelled. That was a God-send really because that's when I found the two game changers. RMC & PM Prepcast. I order Rita's book and PrepCast Elite and for the last 13 weeks that's basically been my life. I took one KA per week using the PrepCast study guide, which I highly recommend if you are like me and need to stay focused. Read the RMC chapter, listened to all PM podcasts, and took three quizes at the end of each week: The RMC practice questions, the 15 quiz questions from PM Prepcast and 10 practice exam questions from the simulator. The RMC practice questions are really hard, and not like the actual exam but I think they helped me learn. Once I finished all the knowledge areas I spent the last two weeks taking 6 practice exams. For example, practice exam Monday, review missed questions Tuesday. Practice exam Wednesday, review missed questions Thursday. Practice exam Friday, review missed questions Saturday, and repeat for the next week. All six exams were from the Prepcast Exam Simulator. My scores were: 74/71/72/75/81/78. Not exactly an overwhelming vote of confidence from those scores right? I felt I was right on the edge of passing the real test but was still in doubt come exam day.
Exam day came. No practice day before exam, just reviewed flash cards, brain dump, played RMCs process game (got 95% correct) and spent time with family. Laid out clothes the night before, along with two forms of ID, four confirmations of exams, earplugs, Cliff bar, water, RMC book and PMBOK book to take with me. Arrived 45 minutes early, spent last 15 minutes in the car meditating, and really quick browse of RMC processes and P25 of PMBOK. Checked into the facility 30 minutes early, no problems but still glad I arrived early. Oh and I did a dry run to the facility one week before the test which helped because it was in a big complex of buildings and I didnt find it the first time on the dry run. Plus the attendant there was super helpful in answering some of my questions even if I could not see in the exam room.
Couple of things to keep in mind, mileage may vary, based upon my test center experience.
1) I was given a black fine point sharper and a top spiral bound notebook with 9 grid-based laminated pages for writing. Pre-test I was worried about having enough paper, and too large of a pen to capture my brain dump. That fear was eliminated. I would have preferred pencil and paper, but this worked fine. I left the cap off my pen and it ran out of ink in hour two but I simply followed the instructions, held the pen up in the air and someone replaced it within 30 seconds. If you have a fear of what your writing materials are going to be, a dry run to the facility and asking the question will help here.
2) I was behind time most of the test (based on my practice exams) but I caught up in the last hour as I gained confidence. The questions were VERY close to PM Exam Simulator, I cannot recommend this resource enough, it was a life saver. I mean at times I felt like I might have even had the same question, just worded a little differently on exam day.
3) Break was exactly at Q90, I literally speed walked to my locker, took one bite of cliff bar, one swig of water, one quick walk down to the bathroom to relieve myself, walked backed in. During that time two other people were checking in for the test. OH NO! I was already behind and freaking out but the attendants recognized the situation, moved me to the front of the line, checked me back in, and I sat back down. That was only two minutes right? No, that took 5 minutes! Do not underestimate how long your break will take and give yourself a cushion.
4) Finished all 200 Q's with 15 minutes to spare, so started to review the marked questions. Somewhere around the 11 minute mark my terminal froze. Spinning wheel of death. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW? Then error 404 DNS entry - no internet. WHAT?!?!?!?!?!??! Raised my hand, attendant came over, seemed that this has happened before. She moved me over to another terminal, logged in, and in about two minutes time my screen came back up to the question I was reviewing, with a little bit more time than when it error-ed out. WHEW! It did seem like the multiple choices had changed order, but my mind could have been playing tricks on me.
5) Time's up - waited two seconds and saw that glorious message - you have passed. Just stared at it for like a minute. Smiled, raised my hand, attendant came to get me and led me out of the room. Was handed a piece of paper upside down by the front desk attendant and turned it over on my way out the door. AT/AT/AT/AT/AT. I could not believe it! I mean I felt towards the end that I was going to pass but given my practice scores I would have never guessed that. I'm still waiting for someone to tell me a mistake has been made - but I have the proof in my hand!

I cannot thank RMC and PM Prepcast (and Cornelius!) enough, they were the reason I passed. And after 7 months together, I kind of miss not studying with them every night....just a little :)

Passed 1st Attempt - AT/AT/AT/AT/AT 1 month 4 days ago #24004

  • Stan Po, MBA, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM
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Congratulations on passing your exam!

Thank you for sharing your success and lessons learned. I remember the valuable inputs that you submitted through our simulator’s Live Feedback™ support feature. We are glad to hear that our products helped you prepare for and pass your exam.

Good luck in all your future endeavors.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Todd Blackwell

Passed 1st Attempt - AT/AT/AT/AT/AT 1 month 4 days ago #24005

  • Jonathan Hebert
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Outstanding Lessons Learned!! You did Crush it! Congratulations Todd.

Thank you for the very kind words that I know will touch Cornelius’s heart when he reads them.

I love your description of the PMBOK GUIDE , hilariously accurate. “ Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. What a boring piece of drivel that really makes no sense without context. I mean it's necessary reading but c'mon.“
I’m so glad I didn’t read that with a mouthful of coffee.
I agree that an occasional for example would definitely improve the readability of what is a great collection of project management best practices, artifacts and processes. But then one big reason for purchasing the PM PrepCast would be gone. It’s exactly what you and so many others have expressed, it’s not a barn burner/page turner. No offense to the authors of what is a great resource to refer to and learn from.

Todd thank you for giving back to the community and to those who will learn and benefit from such a detailed account of how you accomplished this important career milestone.

All the best and congrats on accomplishing your goal in style:)

The PM PrepCast Team
The following user(s) said Thank You: Todd Blackwell
Last edit: by Jonathan Hebert. Reason: Spelling error
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