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TOPIC: Self study experience

Self study experience 6 years 5 months ago #1619

  • Kathleen Wagner
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Dear all,

for sure, after successful passing the PMP exam I would like to share my experience with you. My initial situation is best described as being an Expat living in Shanghai and not needed the PMP for my current company (my boss trust my experience and work without any certificate). But I guess, Shanghai will be not my last career station so I checked, what might be suitable to show my capability in future application processes. Based on the assumed future countries I maybe live in I decided for PMI credential instead of IMPA. This decision I already made March 2009.

Then I got assignment for a large project as senior project manager and worked no less than 12 hours at construction site. So no way to prepare further, even I bought Cornelius' course already in July 2009 and started with first lessons. My benefit is, that my construction projects are always that large as required for the easy understanding of processes. I decided for self studying, because I didn't find a course in English language in Shanghai. Was also not possible to find study buddies through online forum in Shanghai.

In January, as my construction site get less stressful, I developed my own studyplan consisting of 78 lessons, mainly follow same procedure: first the lesson in PMprepcast, than the related chapter in Rita's book and finally the review of this lesson in PMBOK.

In my opinion the studyplan is essential, since I had for sure phases with less motivation of learning. My kickoff of intensive phase I had during a single holiday in Thailand after handover of my construction site, where I spent approx. 3 hours a day working in this procedure. Back to work I had a horrible way from home to headquarters (1.5 hours each way), good time to watch the prepcast videos. So time went by and I finished my walk through the lessons on 25th of July 2010. At this time I applied for exam and scheduled it for 31st of August in Hongkong (there is no prometric institute in Mainland China and I did not want to take paperbased exam). The final time I spend solving exam questions. My lessons learned out of this- this phase could have been longer. By the way- sometimes I read the tip, that one should schedule the exam to raise the pressure on oneself. I totally disagree with this! Just apply after finish the lessons is sufficient.

We had a nice time in Hongkong (arrival Saturday, exam scheduled for Tuesday) and I just took my notes with me, no PMBOK, no other learning material and read it again, but maximum half a hour in the evening.

Exam was a little chinese-chaotic, but I was not surprised about this. Finally it starts 9.20 instead of 9.00. Just an online-calculator available, which didn't work very well, sometimes did not register some digits. But already during preparation time I figured out, that I will definately have no time problem, so I didn't worry about this. The other disadvantage was, that the room was too cold (Chinese like A/C in summer, but overdo it). That's my fault, I could have known this.

Finally, the exam itself was o.k.- not stressful, not complicated. Should say, I like taking exams and I always doing better during an exam as I usually perform in tests. Knowing this and knowing that I will not face any time problem was quite comforting. I might fail 2-3 questions because of the unknown vocabulary. During learning process I created out of PMPREPCAST, Rita and PMBOK a list of English terms, which are new to me. The other failures I assumed to get in "Social responsibility" field, which turns true later on. During preparation I found some differences between Rita sample questions and other sample questions and this area has some very "American" aspects to me, for some sample questions I personally could not agree the given best solution. So no surprise to me here.

Celebration afterwards? My husband bought a new computer for himself and I got a new pen and letter paper.

Generally in my opinion self study needs longer time and much more hours than booking a course but if there are constraints by location or budget it's a good way to prepare.

Whish you all success and a nice time on your journey to become a PMP!
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