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I had just completed my MS in Project Management and was pretty confident. I took a bootcamp prep anyway, just to consolidate the 2 years worth of academic study. After the bootcamp, I studied for about 2 weeks and again, was pretty confident, however, the review was nearly useless to the exam. I finished the exam in about 2 and a half hours but knew from the start it was a wash, so, now what? My confidence was down, I was scared of trying again. Even though I had the idea of what the exam entailed I was shaken. I took about a month off and then signed up for the Prepcast which really helped in organizing the studying and learning all of the formulas, not just those several people said were highly testable or not testable at all. I also grabbed the Head First PMP book and utilized the sample exams from a book we were given at the bootcamp.
This time, I was more methodical. I went through the Heads Up book page by page and used the PMBOK on the side and the Prepcast info in order to combine everything. The PMBOK actually isn't complete. I found several questions where PMBOK would list maybe two items out of a list and use the word etc to show there was more, yet, on the exam, there were answers that asked for the sequence of the correct four items. There were also a few questions straight out of the PMBOK ed 3 where the info wasn't in ed 4. The only reason I caught those was because my academic program crossed both editions so I still had a copy of ed 3 to verify.
I studied roughly three weeks this time and took 4 full length exams plus about 10 process specific exams. Each time, I went over the wrong answers to understand how the author arrived at the answer. As well, I made sure I had the processes memorized and could create the entire process chart in about 5 mins flat. This kept me from having to try and mentally picture the processes and their order. I went into the exam still only fairly confident..after all, this was attempt number 2, the exam was changing and this was my last shot before the new version. I did not want to have to fail again and then have my third possible on the new exam.
This time, it took until 3 minutes before time was up to complete everything. Very few surprises this time but I was still holding my breath until that "Pass" came up.
If you are on your second or even third attempt, the important thing is to relax. You know more than you think you do and I think that 50% of the problem with the exam is pure nerves. Read the questions and make sure you really understand what it is asking. I was amazed at the number of questions that droned on and on with all these numbers and scenarios only to have the actual question be something like name the process where all the above is done. Most of the answers I got wrong on the first exam were because I missed the "not" or because I found the answer, such as A: Deming, and instead of answering A as the correct choice, the D (for Deming) stuck in my head and I put down D. I figured this out in the practice exams and double checked each of my answers on the actual exam to make sure. I caught more than one instance where I clicked on the wrong answer for just that same reason.
It is almost ridiculously easy to cross off at least two of the answers in each question as wrong..they are pretty obvious. Then, it is a matter of a little further evaluation to try and figure out which is the best correct answer.
Congrats Lynn!! You provided some great advice. You cannot rely upon your PM background alone to pass the PMP AND you must carefully read the questions on the exam. Good tip on being careful to not associate the letter of the answer with the letter in the answer's word. I almost did this as well!
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.