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TOPIC: PMP Exam Prep with ChatGPT: A Retrospective Journey

PMP Exam Prep with ChatGPT: A Retrospective Journey 8 months 4 weeks ago #30684

  • Porranee Thanapakpawin
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Appreciation to Cornelius Fichtner, his team, and prior exam takers. Their content, simulator, customer support, and lessons learned threads were instrumental during my four-month PMP exam prep. My study routine varied between 1-3 hours, 3-5 days weekly, with hands-on project practice in between. The final 12 days were for focused study and mock exams.

Exam Simulators: A Comparative Study and Actual Exam Reflection

I started with PrepCast Simulator (1,100 questions, two mock exams), continued to PMI Study Hall (100 practice questions, two mock exams), and ended with Rita's Cloud Simulator (1 mock exam). The PMI Study Hall mock exams mirrored the actual exam most closely. Interestingly, two questions from the practice exams appeared verbatim in the real exam. Yet, if given a chance to restart my study, I would still begin with the PrepCast Simulator for these reasons:

PrepCast Simulator: Knowledge Foundation
PrepCast Simulator’s comprehensive answer explanations, including incorrect choices, were illuminating. They referenced PMI standards, the online PMBOK guide, and the process guide, available through my PMI membership. PrepCast's questions were more straightforward with more complete context. This helped me build stamina for the lengthy PMP exam. I scored 78% and 85% on the mock exams.

PMI Study Hall: Reality Check
The PMI Study Hall mock exam, taken a week prior to the exam, was a wake-up call. I had 20 unanswered questions and scored 49%. Although prepared for the exam's ambiguity and many 'correct' answers, the reality was still jarring. The explanations for the correct answers weren't as detailed as I hoped. Struggling with the concepts, I turned to ChatGPT for clarification (more details below).

After revisiting Rita's book, concentrating on the framework and weak sections, my score improved to 70% on the second mock exam.
Some findings: many answers can seem correct, but they aren't because:

- They are beyond the project manager’s authority
- They address concerns but at unsuitable time (such as discussing budget concern during sprint review)
- They seem correct due to urgency but defy standard procedure
- They appear to be the most logical first step (usually analyzing the situation) but don’t adequately 'address' the situation

Rita's Exam Simulator: Process Master
I took a full practice exam on Rita's Exam Simulator for a full view of the exam's nature. The style diverged from the real exam, focusing more on specific processes/ performance areas. It was more challenging to answer without strong understanding of the input-output process, but the questions were more direct. I scored 71% on this mock exam.

Exam Day: Mindful Endurance
With the mindset that the knowledge gained was valuable in itself, even if I didn't pass, I embarked on the exam. Still, time management was difficult. The first 60 questions took almost 90 minutes. The second set was equally challenging, and I couldn't make up for lost time.

Reaching the final 60 questions, I had slightly less than one minute per question. I stopped watching the time frequently, quickened my pace, and focused on keywords indicating the Project Manager's role. I finished with just 3 minutes for review, staying calm throughout. The real exam wasn't easier, but my mindset helped me focus, avoid panic, and accept mistakes. I passed with above target scores in all three domains.

Learning Tool: ChatGPT
ChatGPT replaced Google search for understanding terminology, comparing concepts, and viewing examples of artifacts. Keywords like “providing examples with fictional details” yielded meaningful examples. Both ChatGPT versions 3.5 and 4.0 provided similar but differently explained answers.

ChatGPT almost always got PMI Study Hall’s medium difficulty-level questions right. However, this wasn't true for difficult and expert-level questions. These were vaguer and more interpretative. My interpretations often aligned with those of ChatGPT 3.5 and 4.0, but we didn't always agree with PMI's answer. Occasionally, versions 3.5 and 4.0 gave different answers, and none matched PMI’s answers. If time is limited, focus on understanding the “difficult” and “expert” level questions in PMI Study Hall.

Being a non-native English speaker from a research and academia background, I had some gaps in business terminology and misinterpreted some PMP exam questions. To address this, I used ChatGPT to generate GRE-level words used frequently in business contexts that aren't specific to Project Management terminologies, repeating them several times. I created a flashcard list of vocabs.

Study Materials
My main resources were PrepCast lessons, PMBOK Guide 7, and Rita's upgraded 10th edition book. Rita’s book provides a simpler "How-to" based on PMBOKGuide 6 and offers insightful details on its alignment with relevant tasks in the Exam Content Outline. It includes free access to online resources and a complimentary mock exam on Rita’s cloud simulator, making it a cost-effective choice.

Instead of reading all chapters in Rita’s book, I employed a targeted approach, using it for reference and focused study, following the analysis of my mock exam results and identification of knowledge gaps.

Exam Accommodation: Administrative Process
The exam accommodation process took a month. Expect a rigid exam date about two months from your accommodation request. The staff was helpful and polite; persistent follow-up is suggested to ensure progress. The exam availability date on the PersonVue website isn't applicable if you require an accommodation.

Final Tips
Use at least two simulator providers (preferably three), one being the PMI Study Hall simulator. Recognize patterns in PMI Study Hall’s difficult and expert-level questions. Often, right answers encompass words like 'Empower', 'Support', and 'Facilitate', emphasizing servant leadership.
When you score about 70% across platforms, that's a good sign. Hope this is helpful.

PMP Exam Prep with ChatGPT: A Retrospective Journey 8 months 4 weeks ago #30685

  • Cornelius Fichtner
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Porranee... congratulations on passing the exam. I am myself a non-native English speaker and so I understand quite well what you went through.

Also... I applaud your creativity in using ChatGPT for the various tasks that you described. That's quite a good approach. I would assume that more and more candidates will start doing that.
Until Next Time,
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM
President, OSP International LLC
The following user(s) said Thank You: Porranee Thanapakpawin

PMP Exam Prep with ChatGPT: A Retrospective Journey 8 months 3 weeks ago #30687

  • Daniel Soerensen
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Congratulations Porranee! I took my exam just this past December and it's amazing all the new tools that now can be used to study for the same material, which I haven't even thought about. Technology is evolving so fast and it would be interesting to see how PMI, the exam itself and the student adapt to what's to come. Enjoy your PMP designation!
Daniel Soerensen, PMP, CSPO
The following user(s) said Thank You: Porranee Thanapakpawin

PMP Exam Prep with ChatGPT: A Retrospective Journey 7 months 3 days ago #30804

  • Porranee Thanapakpawin
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Thank you so much, Cornelius! I enjoyed the course, tips, and perspectives you shared in the lessons and pod casts/ interviews. Always get the positive energy from you. And yes, I am learning to do better prompt engineering at the moment for productivity :)

Thank you so much, Daniel. I also benefit a lot from the lessons learned you've shared.

All the best!
Last edit: by Porranee Thanapakpawin.
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