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I recently passed the PMP exam on my first attempt. I took a long route to this finish point. My test was 8 days before my PMP approval expired.
I used multiple study tools during this journey. I would like to recount the journey and share my lessons learned.
1) I used the PMP Prepcast to obtain my pre-certification training hours. It was very useful and provided an overview of the terminology, PMI mindset, and a good way to break the ice with the PMBOK methodology.
2) I then studied directly from Rita's book (4th) and Crowe's book (3rd). They present the materials very differently and found them both useful to see and learn the topics. It took the self-tests and made details notes by subject (this is my way of studying - write it down - it seems to ingrain it better for me than highlighting in the book).
3) I took invested in electronic sample test. Two were online and one was a PC program. The PC program was badly translated and gave some incorrect answers, but I learned about the "generic" questions and trained in the mind-set. I found an online testing that offered 14 tests for 60 days at a small price with good feedback for answers.
4) I pushed hard to be ready for the exam, but delayed the test due to the holidays. This caused a major set back for me both for retention and momentum. As I attempted to re-apply myself, I took a new job and had to delay further to focus on the new position.
5) With the clock running out, I set a 60 day study window to review all the materials (Advanced topics for the Prepcast) and re-study paragraph by paragraph Rita/Crowe. This gave me a very solid background of the concepts and all the related/supporting data.
6) I capped the hard review with online testing at another center that built up endurance through multiple topic 50 question tests with mini-reviews. This allowed practice endurance.
7) On the day of the test, I did a review of my hand notes, researched multiple topics, and worked all the formula equations.
I took the test straight through and pretty confident that I was in good shape. You don't have to mark ?s for review, there is an option to review marked items or mark all items. I had about 1.5 hours remaining and reviewed more than 50% of the exam from the beginning. I new nothing more, but made several changes to previously answered ?s. Submitted the results and received a PASS.
1) The comfort with the topics is based on your overall work/education experience, but if you study hard and literally you can pass.
2) Set the date and build a schedule to get there. Backward schedule 60-90 days back to study.
3) You can start out casually, but the last 20 days I was doing 2+ hours each night with a couple of rest days. I tried to average one chapter a night. My goal was to complete book study 5 days prior to the exam, so I could take online tests and study the incorrect?s.
4) You need lots of 'good' practice exams to build confidence and for a change from book study. I saved this for the last 5 day as a change. I was facing burnout.
5)I found a formula sheet online, and it matched every formula in Rita's book. The trick was knowing how to use each. You can use common sense, but must know the abbreviations to know what is being asked.
I don't recommend that start and stop that I did. It helped with recall, but the process is hard and get to "ready" twice is a lot of work and painful.
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.