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TOPIC: Been managing projects for 40 years - this exam was a shock, but I passed!

Been managing projects for 40 years - this exam was a shock, but I passed! 1 year 1 month ago #27060

  • Robert Grantham
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I graduated from university 42 years ago with an engineering degree and have been managing industrial projects almost continuously since. I first joined PMI in 1992 and studied the PMBOK Guide at that time. But I left that employer and could not take the printed Guide, so was not able to take the exam . Last year as I am getting near retirement age I decided to close out my project management career by finally getting certified... better late than never. I erroneously thought that if I paid my membership fee and presented all my years of experience I would get the PMP certification without having to do the exam. Oooops, mistake!
I had a year to do the exam, but I procrastinad more than 10 months. With the deadline looming in six weeks I quickly searched ads and reviews for a good exam simulator, chancing upon the PMP PrepCast PMP Exam Simulator 2021 and purchased it without delay. My strategy was "crash, burn and learn" so I allocated 3 weeks to study the PMBOK Guide (no other material, such as Agile) and to practice in the simulator, leaving 3 weeks to do the exam 3 times, once per week to run out the clock. So I scheduled the first on-line Certification Exam accordingly and started studying and practicing.
Unfortunately, after one week I got sick and and was hospitalized... so much for the best laid plans!
Out of the hospital I rescheduled the first exam try for one week later than previously scheduled and put as much time into studying the PMBOK Guide (not much really, just skimmed the Part 1 nd ignored the rest) and doing quizzes in the simulator. I found the quiz (and practice exam) reviews with the explanations for the right and wrong answers to be incredibly instructive. This is where I learned everything. I also did 3 of the 4 available full blown practice exams, passing two and just failing one. In total I spent about 21 hours in the simulator, answering 56% of the available 2,500 questions. These stats I thought were reasonable for my first "crash, burn and learn" attempt of the real exam.
I checked my home computer set-up three or four times prior to the scheduled on-line exam time. No problems... until it was time to sign in for good and my webcam couldn't be recognized, meaning I couldn't finish the check-in. I phoned the exam provider (Pearson VUE here in Canada) and was given a case number once they verified my technical problem. Two days later PMI phoned my and said I could reschedule without extra cost, which I did recognizing I now had only 10 days left for my 3 tries at passing the exam.
When I was studying and using the simulator I was constantly amazed at how the profession that I had been immersed in for 40 years had taken on taken on such new methods and language, i.e. agile, hybrid, waterfall, iterative, scrum master, etc., and what a high percentage of the questions involved these topics and not "traditional" ones.
Anyway when I finally did the take the real exam on-line it was a piece of cake, a walk in the park, a slam dunk... the only stress I felt was from the invigilator telling me to remove the pen, note paper, calculator and extra monitor from my desk and ensuring that my mobile phone was at least an arm's length away. Somehow I missed any information provided that said that note taking could be done on the screen and a calculator would be also available on screen. Oh... more stress happened as I neared completing the first block of 60 questions and I felt my bladder was about to burst. But when questioned at the start of the first break the invigilator said it was ok to leave the room to do what had to be done.
There were no questions requiring calculation on my exam or note taking. I estimate the number of questions related to agile or hybrid as being well over 50%. I felt the simulator questions overall were a little harder than the actual exam.
As English is my first language I was able to finish quickly in just 3 of the allowed 4 hours, answered every question in order with no going back or reviewing. I scored "above target" overall and in each domain.
As I only quickly reviewed the PMBOK Guide and used no other study material I must credit using the PMP Exam Simulator 2021 as being absolutely critical to my success. My four decades of project management experience, plus an MBA, might have got me a "needs improvement' grade. Additionally studying the PMBOK Guide thoroughly might have got me to 'below target". So, without the simulator to teach me about agile et al and to practice with the exam structure I know I would have failed the first real exam try. And probably the 2nd and 3rd try as well, because I would not have had time to find and use other study resources.
I am exceptionally pleased with how PMP Exam Simulator 2021 helped me execute my minimalist strategy to passing the PMI PMP certification exam. My next challenge is having my provincial Professional Engineer status re-instated to full privileges after having been non-resident for 16 years. Anyone know of a Canadian National Professional Practice Exam simulator?

Been managing projects for 40 years - this exam was a shock, but I passed! 1 year 1 month ago #27061

  • John Bickel
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Congratulations!

Been managing projects for 40 years - this exam was a shock, but I passed! 1 year 1 month ago #27094

  • Stan Po Admin
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Robert,

Congratulations on passing your exam! Your journey seems to be long, with some obstacles, but eventually very successful.

Thank you for sharing your success and lessons learned. We are glad to hear that our products helped you prepare for and pass your exam.

Good luck in all your future endeavors.
Regards,
Stan Po, MBA, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM, sPBM
Program Manager, OSP International LLC
Last edit: by Stan Po Admin.
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