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On October 15 I passed on the first try. Here is my road to success.
I started studying in mid-July. I downloaded and printed the PMBOK 2008 from PMI.org. I also purchased Achieve PMP Exam Success, by Margaret Cho. Both books follow the same chapter structure. I also purchased the PMP Prepcast by Cornelius Fichtner. My plan was to first I read the prep book, then the PMBOK. During the commute to work I would listen to the Prepcast. After each chapter, I would do many test questions related to the topic. At the end, I would go to a boot camp to solidify my knowledge.
I pretty much followed this plan. However, realizing that 15 questions per chapter in Cho's book were not enough, I purchased two more prep books: The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try, by Andy Crowe and Head First Pmp: A Brain-Friendly Guide to Passing the Project Management Professional Exam by Greene, Stellman.
After analyzing the styles of each prep-book, I decided that the Headfirst was best suited for my style and continued my studies with it. The other books I used for the chapter end exam questions only or to clarify a point or another.
Each week I read one chapter of the prep book, skimmed through the PMBOK, and listened to as many prepcasts episodes related to the topic as possible. Then I spend most of the time answering test questions related to the topic. I paid special attention to the question I had answered incorrectly. I would refer mostly back to the PMBOK to validate the answer given by the prep-book.
After finishing all chapters, I focused on sample questions. Each prep book had a final exam. Cho's book had only 60 questions, the others had each 200. Cho's book also had a CD with over 1000 questions. I would sped one or two hours a day doing this.
One week before the exam I went to the PMTI PMP Boot camp. Fortunately my company paid for this, since it is very expensive. I would probably pass without it, but it definetly gave me the opportunity to discuss many questions in a group of students with an experienced instructor. Where before the boot camp I was answering 75% of the questions correctly, after the boot camp I was close to 85%. The boot camp was structured in a way that we would go through all topics in a lecture/discussion and also answer 50 exam questions after lunch and 50 in the evening every day. Then we discussed all incorrect questions the people wanted to discuss. These debriefing sessions were the most profitable for me. I learned a lot during those.
The boot camp was Monday through Thursday. On Friday I took the exam. After 2 hours I had all questions answered but I also had marked many for review. I spend one hour reviewing marked questions. After 3 hours I completed the exam.
Proficient in Planning and M&C. Moderately proficient in the rest.
This interview with Simona Fallavollita (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the magnificient Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. We discuss the how, what, why and when of the changes that are coming to the PMP exam.