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2 months 2 days ago #25899

Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth Harrin's Avatar

Congratulations! Thanks for coming back and sharing your tips, especially how to get the best experience with OnVue as I know lots of people are worried about how that will work on the day.

When you are ready to start earning PDU’s for PMP recertification, check out the PM PrepCast’s offerings, The PM Podcast and the The PDU Podcast which will help you keep up with PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR’s) and maintain your new certification.

I've also edited the subject of your message so your personal email address is no longer viewable.
2 months 3 days ago #25880

Passed PMP Exam - Proctored

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I took the PMP Exam (first attempt) at home on December 21, 2020, proctored by PearsonVUE, and passed with 4AT/1T. I'd like to share a few things:

Here are my high level suggestions, and more below if you'd like to read my detailed assessment and experience.
  • Schedule your test before you are ready! It gives you a goal to push you to study
  • Read the PMBOK, more than once if you can
  • Watch the PM PrepCast videos
  • Take the practice exams, as many as possible, and do not get discouraged with the results - just keep practicing
  • Make sure all of your equipment is charged, connected properly, in working order before the day of the test
Proctored Exam Tips
  • You can have your phone in the room with you, turned on, out of hands reach. You are directed to do this so that they can contact you if needed.
  • The test may not start on time - it may be 30 minutes or more - do NOT close the OnVUE window
  • You can communicate with your proctor, but you can only request to chat with them. You cannot directly start a chat. You request to chat with them, and then they will reach out to you in a chat window

My experience
I have been working for 26 years, with at least 20 years in some sort of project management. I think having real world project management experience actually hurts you with his exam. You need to try to forget how you'd handle situations (specifically what you'd do first), and learn the PMBOK textbook answer instead. There may sometimes be a match between the two, but more often than not, you need to ask yourself, what would the PMBOK say, vs. what would I do in my job today.

Cornelius gave advice to apply for and schedule your PMP Exam, no matter how far out. I highly recommend doing this, because that is what pushed me to start studying in earnest. I had completed watching all of the PM PrepCase videos before I scheduled my Exam, but I had not taken any of the test simulators or read the PMBOK. The videos were really helpful, and the ability to watch/listen to them on my phone make it very easy to do on to go. I read the PMBOK twice, taking some notes, and flagging pages that I thought I needed to come back to, with definitions of terms I may not be familiar with. I found some YouTube videos (I think they were PMP with Ray), and the ones that reviewed Situational Questions were most helpful.

I took 2 of the 4 hour Exam Simulators, and to be honest, I was a little discouraged with how I did on those - I was at 78% to 79% on each. I didn't have time to do more 4 hour simulators, so practiced others only through 100 questions. This was still very helpful, especially highlighting that I had most of my issues with the Closing process. I then started taking then 10 minute timed tests on the Closing process, which was helpful. I probably took 50 of the timed 10 minute tests, and that was helpful as well.

The Test
First of all, I was trying my best to stay calm, take deep breaths, and tell myself that I had done everything possible to prepare for this exam. I had my family leave the house because I did not want to risk any noises that would cause my proctor to end my exam (based on what I read about the rules of proctored exams). They left, and I sat down to start my check in, 30 minutes prior to my exam time. My exam was set to start at 12:30, so I started the check in at noon. I noticed that my keyboard battery was low, so I decided to put new batteries in the keyboard. Then the keyboard would not connect to my computer! I started to panic a little - by this time, we are 20 minutes prior to exam time and I hadn't started the check in process. I decided to get a wired keyboard from my son's computer, plugged it in to my Mac, and it would not recognize the keyboard because it was a gaming keyboard! Now I really started to panic. I messed with the batteries again, and got it to connect, but my plan of starting the exam calmly was not working anymore!

Check in process - I started the check in process. As part of the check-in process, they send you a text with a link. When you click on the link, you are directed to take pictures of your room from all angles. You submit and then go back to the check in. I finished all steps, and then the browser window crashed. Stress goes up again! By this time, I am 5 minutes out from my exam time of 12:30. I launch the check-in process again, and luckily all of my previous information was still there, including the pictures I took. I was then put on a page that asked me to wait, usually no longer than 15 minutes, for my proctor to contact me and start my exam. At this point, the camera was on and recording. I sat there for 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and then received a message that said "We are sorry your exam has not launched. Click here for help or to reschedule. Do not close the OnVUE application unless instructed." To say I was upset is an understatement! I tried chatting OnVUE with the link provided, and also eventually tried calling Pearson as well. I never got anyone on chat or on the phone. Luckily, I did not close the window, even though I was tempted. I sat there for what seemed like forever, not believing that after all of the prep, all of the sleepless nights, the keyboard fiasco, kicking my family out of the house - I was not going to be able to take my exam. Then, miraculously, at 1pm, I got a message stating that my exam was about to start, and sorry for the wait. Thank goodness I had not closed the window!!! I quickly hung up, closed the chat, and put my phone out of reach, and tried to breathe, and the exam started. My plan of starting the exam calmly WAS NOT the case.

Taking The Test
When I finally started, I reminded myself again that I was prepared, and would be fine. The first question appeared, and I had no idea how to answer. The exam was a struggle mentally, to say the least. There were many questions I knew right away, and many that I spent a good bit of time on, where the logical answer to the question was not presented, so you were left trying to decide between 2 reasonable answers. The key here is to always determine what process you are in by looking at keywords in the question, and remember (from reading the PMBOK for me) what things do and do not happen during that particular process. I did take the 10 minute break after 89 or so questions, and was able to leave the room to go to the bathroom, etc. You cannot look back at any of the questions you've answered, so don't take the break if you want to be able to review them again. I marked at least 40 questions to go back and review. There were very few questions with formulas, and most of them were to interpret the result of a calculation, not to work them out.

I finished the questions and my review with about 20 minutes to spare, and to be honest, was convinced that I did not pass, so I did not want to end the exam so that I could delay finding out that I did not pass. I started reading questions over and let the time run out. To my surprise, I received a single line of text immediately, stating Congratulations, I had passed. It seemed like I was not seeing it correctly because it was a single line, small, uneventful line of text, and then you are done and that screen goes away. I then found myself wondering if I really saw what I though I saw!

I did, in fact, pass, and found out within a few hours that my results were overall Above Target. I was really surprised, but elated! So do not be discouraged, prepare your best, and you will do well and surprise yourself!

Training for Project Management Professional (PMP)®, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®, and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®