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I’ve been working as a project manager for a few years as I approached my exam. I completed my application, and of course, having listened to Cornelius’s prepcast on the third addition of the PMBOK I knew there was a chance that I could get audited, but with Cornelius stating it was about 1% that got audited, I never thought twice. I completed the application, and hit the submit button and WHAMMO!
I’ve been selected as an audit. This was an easy process as I had prepared all my sponsors in advance and had them preview the material prior to submission so when I got my audit package, it took me just one day to get the signatures I needed and send it off. PMI was quite prompt in processing the paperwork and I would say no more than ten days had passed since my audit selection and my approval to take the exam.
That was in October 2010. I knew I had lots of time, so I completed a small plan in MS Project to track my studies. While a good plan, I followed the strategy of it only. I would suggest I did not follow a lot of the lessons learned or guidance from people, I did not use a ‘brain dump’, and I used many, many different books and materials to get a broad spectrum of view points and found them all valuable. I had at my disposal. I’ll list them here in the order that I read them, however please remember, before I got into the below material, I had read the PMBOK 4th once.
1. PM Process Posters which I purchased on Amazon and placed around my upstairs on the bathroom door, bedroom door etc…I used them only sparingly so I would not suggest they made any material impact.
2. PMP in depth (Sanghera) – This was a valuable book as it took you through the processes as they would be executed, which is to say it was organized by process group VS knowledge area
3. PMP Study guide (Kim Heldman, part of the Sybex Package) – This was also valuable to me, and expanded on what I had learned in the previous book since it had a similar organizational structure to it.
4. PMP Certification Math (Subramanian / Ramachandran) – This book focused only on the math and provided not only examples but also a good CD that had a number of tests on it.
5. Project Manager Street Smarts (Zaval Wagner) – While I know I read this book, I don’t remember it’s content since by this time, there was nothing new I had gotten out of it.
6. PMP Exam Review Guide – As part of the sybex package, it was a review of material I had already learned.
Reading all the above took me till approximately mid-January when I decided that I would start to take notes. After a couple days of note taking, I did the math on my progress and the remaining time and determined it would not work, I was being too detailed in my notes and losing quite a bit of time. I was going through each book jotting down all the different points I could.
I changed course, and opted to go with a read only strategy, with lots of practice questions. I dived into the PMBOK guide for a second time. As I came to the end of this guide for the second time, I decided to get some additional materials so I picked up the “How to pass on your first try (Andy Crowe) w/ flash cards, informational fold out and the Achieve PMP Exam Success (Chu/Altweiss/Preston). Having been through so much material prior, and having confidence in Cornelius, I picked up the study coach to ensure I stayed focus and steer me through the final weeks.
I went through the study coach work using the “how to pass on your first try” book as my study guide reference. Prior to my exam I took two weeks off and studied about four to five hours a day and really relaxed taking my mind completely off work. I didn’t mind at all taking the additional time given the time invested to date and the life long journey ahead of me.
With two days prior to the exam, I read the guide once more, and went through the PMP math certification book. I did travel to the test site a few days before just to know where it was and to locate parking, and that was worth.
I arrived at the test centre, all full of nerves and read the Code of Ethics portion one more time and strolled in to take the exam. I was surprised at how quiet it was, and how seriously they took it. I sat down and really moved through the exam. I took one drink break for three minutes at Q137, and a pee break for three minutes at Q175. After going through all 200, I had about 90 minutes left, and about 40 questions I had marked. I went through those 40 questions, and only changed three of them. Whenever I got distracted during the exam and started to lose focus, I just stopped, and took three very deep breaths with my eyes closed. That brought my focus right back.
As I ended the exam I took the survey whipping through it as quick as possible just to get the waiting over and done with…had I passed…or was I to face more studying…I felt normal anxiety with confidence, but not arrogance.
Congratulations….proficient in all areas….how happy was I….so happy, that I could feel it all leave my body. Since I passed the office, I had to go in to tell the boss…he shook my hand and said…I’m paying for that aren’t I?...You sure are I said…and then put the three letters behind my name…PMP…the only one in the company. It was April 21st…seven months.
I would recommend items 2,3,4 from above as well as the work from Andy Crowe, they all helped me, and Cornelius kept me focused and on track. Thanks to all of you.
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.