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TOPIC: Passed PMP first attempt AT/AT/AT - May 24th (2020 prep, test center)

Passed PMP first attempt AT/AT/AT - May 24th (2020 prep, test center) 3 weeks 4 days ago #27474

  • Natasha Gorski
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I purchased the Prepcast video lessons to prepare for the previous exam format, but ended up getting delayed to prioritize a cross country move. I restarted my preparation late January 2021 and supplemented with the 2021 Exam Booster Course. Once I completed both the original video lessons and the booster course (and had my application accepted and exam scheduled), I purchased and used the Prepcast Exam Simulator.

I've read the PMBOK three times, the first was before taking the course (cover to cover), the second was during the course (chapter by chapter with the lessons), and the third the week prior to taking the exam (read the summaries of each knowledge area and process, and reviewed unfamiliar details). I found the third read through to be most helpful, as I was better able to see how the knowledge areas tied together and understand important concepts. I also read the Agile Practice Guide from PMI twice, the first before the booster course and the second a week before the exam. Again, I found the second read through to be more helpful because the lessons and exam practice helped me grasp the practical application of the knowledge better. I highly recommend reading the Agile Practice Guide more than the PMBOK, it's easier to understand and has more practical knowledge in it, especially given the exam changes moving away from processes and knowledge areas. I am hopeful that the 7th edition of the PMBOK in August is more reader friendly and practical.

The Exam Simulator was hands down my most valuable preparation tool. This was how I learned to translate the 'book' knowledge into 'how to answer a multiple choice question' knowledge. There's a mindset you have to get into to choose the best answer and the simulator is a great way to do that. I took a practice exam once a week for the month leading up to the exam, which was a good pace for me. It really helped me understand what the exam would feel like and build up the stamina to comprehend 180 questions in one sitting. It also helped me build confidence so I didn't panic during my exam because I was used to getting questions I wasn't confident on but still seeing a decent score at the end. I didn't struggle with time during the practice exams (I was averaging around 2 hours including breaks), but I ended up taking about an hour longer during the actual exam. I was nervous that the actual exam would be vaguer than the simulator, but that wasn't my experience. I felt that the simulator questions were very comparable to the exam in details provided and topic matter. The actual exam has a spectrum of predictive to agile questions, with hybrid being a major component. This might be why some people say there are more than 50% agile questions. I didn't utilize the quiz feature, I found the time in between practice exams was better spent reviewing incorrect answers and problem areas.

Personally, I found it instrumental to have a study plan. I broke down the lesson video spreadsheets into one week segments and checked them off as I went. This kept me motivated and made the whole process less daunting. I also kept a spreadsheet of my practice exam scores with a breakdown of knowledge area results. This helped me understand what areas to go back through and listen to again, not just by % but also by # missed (for example, getting 2 of 4 right (50%) has less room for improvement than 18 of 24 (75%)). It was also incredibly motivating to see my score improve each time, I started the first exam ~75% and finished the fourth exam ~90%.

I'm glad that I took the exam in the test center because I did end up using the provided pen and paper for earned value related questions that would have been difficult for me without. However, they didn't let me wear my cardigan into the exam room which meant I was pretty cold by the end! I highly recommend taking the breaks and bringing a snack and some water, and don't let other people's stress at having issues with their check in process impact your mood. My center provided noise cancelling headphones which was really helpful, I definitely wasn't used to the sound of so much typing. I was so nervous and worried but it was all worth it! Keep on preparing and good luck with your own certification journey.

Passed PMP first attempt AT/AT/AT - May 24th (2020 prep, test center) 1 week 4 days ago #27576

  • Elizabeth Harrin
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They didn't let you wear a cardigan? :huh:

Regardless, congratulations on earning your PMP!

And thank you for sharing your Lessons Learned. They are very helpful, and we appreciate your kind words about the exam simulator - I'm glad it was helpful for you.

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.
Elizabeth Harrin

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