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TOPIC: Impressions from the Exam

Impressions from the Exam 6 years 8 months ago #1372

  • Orkun Toros
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I passed the exam today and I realized I would pass before I completed it. The PrepCast is a great resource and Cornelius does an excellent job in making things easier by explaining the concepts in sufficient detail. Many thanks to his work, this has been a rather pleasent experience for me.

My advices:

Dos:
-Assess your weaknesses for knowledge and for other factors (i.e. taking a 4 hour test)
-Track your study hours and test scores (I spent 10 weeks and 132 hours). They help with motivating yourself or gaining your motivation back. Besides, making assessments and forecasting on your own performence helps you memorize formulas.
-Trust the PrepCast, it will make things easy for you.
-Listen the episodes by highlighting the important areas and taking notes in your PMBOK.
-Pay attention to the reasons Cornelius explains why an input is there. It helps a lot in understanding the interactions with and within the process groups.
-If you are studying from the Mulcahay book, cross out the “you are in trouble” parts. It becomes annoying especially when you get close to the exam date.
-Study document flow charts in the PMBOK. I can’t stress how beneficial they are.
-Know the contents of important documents (management plans, registers, etc.)
-Definitely know the main outputs and major tools.
-If PMBOK starts making more sense than the study guide, you are good to go.

Don’ts
-Do not try to learn the material by solving questions.
-Do not buy a lot of books.
-Do not panic if you can’t exceed 80% in sample tests. The material will sink in you after a while as long as you keep learning it.
-Do not worry if you are uncomfortable with few concepts or techniques. The test is designed to measure a wide range of knowledge areas and chances are you will get few questions from that area.
-Do not care about the PMPs in the forums saying that the exam is the most difficult in the world.
-Do not underestimate or overestimate the exam, either.
-Do not intend to study the night you pass the exam. Your wife may post that in Facebook ;)

Conclusion: You are a project manager so who else can manage a project better than us? Treat yourself as a high priority project and have a management plan for your PMP preparation.

I will try to answer some of the questions I had in my mind before I took the exam. I hope you find them helpful.

How were the questions?
Overall, I found the questions clear and concise. They do not try to trick you and they do not ask the “between the lines” type of information as some of the sample questions do. It is possible to eliminate two choices right away and make up your mind 80/20 or 60/40 on one of the two remaining choices most of the time.

Do the actual exam questions resemble the sample questions?
The feel and touch of the questions are different than sample questions. It is hard to compare whether they are easier or harder, they are just “different”. Their difference comes from their wording. Since they have been written by a group of professionals (instead of 1 or 2 people) and have been tested on the candidates many times, I found them much better constructed than sample questions. As long as you understand how processes interact with each other and what happens when, you should not have problems.

How about ITTOs?
I was nervous before the exam because of the “memorize ITTOs” vs. “know them” discussions. I did not memorize each and every ITTO. There were direct questions asking the input, output or tools of a process. As I said above, the exam does not try to trick you or test “between the lines” information. I knew main outputs and major tools for every process and I did not have problems.

How about calculation based questions?
They were basic and easy to overcome. If you have basic math skills, you don’t even need a calculator.

How were the out-of-PMBOK questions that people have been discussing in their lessons learned?
Well, I am not sure what people have been referring to. Everything but 1 question was addressed by the Prep Cast. That 1 question was so weird that I still have not been able to find its answer.

Is it true that questions might have spelling errors?
Yes, very true. There were two questions that were spelled wrong. Also, one of my questions was grammatically incorrect and I had hard time understanding what it asked for. I thought it was one of the 25.

I wish good luck to all of you with your studies. Let me know if you have questions.

Orkun

Re:Impressions from the Exam 6 years 8 months ago #1373

  • Cornelius Fichtner
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Orkun,

Congratulations on passing the Exam! And thank you very much for sharing this excellent lessons learned with us.

How do you plan on earning your PDUs?
Until Next Time,
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM
President, OSP International LLC

Re:Impressions from the Exam 6 years 8 months ago #1375

  • Orkun Toros
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Hi Cornelius,

I will start teaching a quarterly "Getting Started with Project Management" class as part of employee professional development. I have not had a chance to check that yet but I am hoping to count it towards my PDUs.

I have checked out the pdupodcast site. The webinar topics are very appealing (especially with the early bird discount) and I will definitely look into that. Is there anything else you can recommend?

Orkun

Re:Impressions from the Exam 6 years 8 months ago #1377

  • Cornelius Fichtner
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Orkun,

Yes - teaching counts towards your PDUs. Take a look at the PMP Credentials Handbook and you'll see it in one of the categories. I use it regularly to earn my PDUs (usually, I have too many).

Looking forward to seeing you on The PDU Podcast at www.pducast.com
Until Next Time,
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM
President, OSP International LLC

Re:Impressions from the Exam 6 years 8 months ago #1380

  • Sonja Streuber
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I totally agree with you--the math was very very easy (I passed on Friday). Wish I had had the $$$ to purchase the podcast to whose free episodes I've listened religiously.

How are you planning to structure your quarterly seminars? I'm in the same PDU boat as you and was thinking of proposing a PMP prep class to our local community college ...

Re:Impressions from the Exam 6 years 8 months ago #1381

  • Orkun Toros
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Hi Sonja,

I work at a large University so that makes it easier for me. The Employee Development Department offers an MS Project class but they only teach how to use the software. I sent an email to the director of the unit and asked if they would like to offer a project management class.

It turned out that they have received negative feedback about the class regarding lack of actual project management training but they did not have anybody qualified to teach.

I am structuring the class towards small projects that have a team less than 10 members, to be completed less than 6 months and involves a few cross-functional areas. I held a focus group session with representatives from Colleges to gather requirements and their reaction has been great. They want to send all of their supervisors to the training so it seems like demand won't be a problem.

I think you might approach the local community college from the PMP prep perspective or offer small project management class as part of their own development.

Re:Impressions from the Exam 6 years 8 months ago #1382

  • Sonja Streuber
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Orkun,

Thanks for the sanity check on my idea. There is one college here that might just go for it, since they do a fair number of professional development; I'm thinking of writing up a simple cost/ benefit proposal; plus, I'd do it for free (well, for the PDUs and for the sake of getting back into the adjuncting part of academia), so all they'd need to give me is a course number, an instance of BlackBoard, and a classroom, and I'm good to go.

So exciting to be done with this behemoth of a test which, in all honesty, turned out to be rather reasonable (despite the v.3 question about preliminary scope statement and a question asking for two inputs, but each of the answers contained either two tools or one tool and one input).

Wanted to agree with you on the Data Flow Diagrams. I actually pulled those out of the PMBOK and pasted them into my review slides. Very very useful!

Thanks,

Sonja
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