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TOPIC: PMP passed in 1st attempt with limited time for prep on 28-Jun

PMP passed in 1st attempt with limited time for prep on 28-Jun 4 weeks 2 days ago #29594

  • Sebastien Cote
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I've been granted access to the PMP exam late March. I looked at the scheduled and booked my PMP exam late june (28th). So it gave me 3 months to be ready for it. Without going to much in personnal stuff, what I can quickly say is I'm no longer with the wife of my kids, so we "share" them one week out of two. They are 8 and 12 so they are still requesting time and on top of that, it's important for me to be there for them when I'm with them. Dont want to plug them on a device and then do my stuff... What I'm trying to say here is I was having one week out of 2 where I could really dive into study content for several hours a week, then the other week, with my little daughter and little boy, could not do much... at best 5 hours for the entire week.

Here is what I've done : I went thru RITA book three times. The first reading was a bit arkward honestly. Once the chapter doner, I was doing the review questions at the end. But I was not doing all the exercices within the chapter. Just few of them overall, which represent a very %. I did critical path exersices, it allowed me to really get to it, some cost exersices as well, but pther then that, not that much. So, the chapter review questions... After the first attempt, I was reading my mystake and I was looking to find in the chapter where the good answer was written. The day after (or 2), I was doing the same chapter review questions and I was typically scoring 80-85%. After my complete first reading, I did it again. Another complete reading. Another chapter review questions; at the some, I knew a few of them by heart... but not a big deal, important is all the concepts we should manage to understand. Once this second complete reading done, I did a third one. This time, I went faster on some topics I was more comfortable with.

Thats the RITA part... How my tricky schedule was looking ? The week I had time, it was once chapter (including questions) per evening for weekdays. Break on Friday. Half of the day for Sat and Sunday to do the more I could. So it has basically been one reading a month. However, I went thru it faster the third one of course and this is when I've subscribed to PrepCast in order to get access to real exam simulator. Before the last 10 days or so, I was about 100 hours of prep. I know, it's not that much, but like I said, I had limited time, wanted to stick to my life priorities (which includes my kids of course).

However, I've done 40 hours of prep for the last week and did PrepCast exam simulator, which allowed me to access the next level of final prep. After each exam simulator, I was reviewing all my errors very carefully. I've scored 65% for each simulation I've done. Their stats was saying that 80% students with such results was succeed with the real PMP exam first attempt. At this point, confidence is a major factor of course.

One important thing... Not sure if I should talk about it tho... I've never read any kind of PMBOK !! The time was just not there. I needed to focus on real training material. I would have liked to be able to read it at least once... All my prep has been with RITA and PrepCast.

The day before the exam, I made my own cheat sheet for review (including required formulas). I decided to go to a Pearson site instead of doing it online. I felt it was less stress to handle and I think it has been a good call I've done here. I would recommend to do it if you can be there within 2 hours or so.

Once the exam started... it started very though. I was not sure about many answers for the first 30-40 questions. I lost a lot of time to read many many questions for the first 60 questions bloc. I tried to review them but there was just to many marked. Remaining time was 123 minutes and still 120 questions... I was behind. Decided to submit and take the first 10 minutes break. There was many questions left to come back into the game so I kept this in mind and I told to myself that perhaps I got more then I thought. But even considering this, I started to mind myself a fail result.

I started the second 60 questions bloc in a goal to gain some time. On my exam the second bloc was the easiest one. Many questions were short and I was finding the best answer very quickly. So I backed up 10 minutes which was my goal. Finish this bloc, confidence back, but still minded to fail. I hate false hope... Took 10 minutes last break.

I started the last 60 questions bloc. I was nervous, but I felt it was going not to bad. Once done, I've reviewed some questions and did the only one I went over it. Once completed, there was 50 seconds remaining and hit Finish Exam button. I've been surprised to do not have any questions on critical path nor I did not have to do any calculations. So, hit the button and the little gear appeared for a second or 2 in order to process the exam (I guess) and then a page with PMI logo started with : Congratulations... I was crying. I could not beleive it. I've completed the exam with Process and Business Environment Above Target while People has been Below Target, which overall makes me high on the target bar.

Considering that time restriction I had and the fact that I did not want to pause my entire life for 3 months to study I'm very proud and satisfied. I would ideally took one other week of 30-40 hours to be there and really confident that I could succeed. But that was my agenda and found a way to get it done.

So, in short, and overall, if you had limited time for your exam preparation, you can even succeed. Focus only on what is mort important : understand the content and do questions and questions and questions. Do some exam simulator. 180 questions and 3h50 is a really good challenge. My agenda has been like the following :
  • 3 months to study
  • 15 hours the weeks (one out of 2) I had time and 2-4 hours when I could not study
  • 140 hours overall study time
  • I've focussed a lot on all concepts explain in RITA
  • Did a major push the last week with the PrepCast
  • I've read several exam tips such as : avoid some key words like always, never, etc. These are not part of the best answer. Also, in doubt between 2 answers, instead of doing head or tail, pick the longest answer.

PMP passed in 1st attempt with limited time for prep on 28-Jun 4 weeks 1 day ago #29595

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