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I scoured the message boards for stories of people who passed the exam, so I leave my simple story for those of you doing the same thing.
I took a 5-day PMP Prep course through my company last year so I had a copy of the PMBOK and the Head's First guide. However, I didn't pick up the books again until I decided to just take the test three months ago.
I submitted all of my paperwork, got audited, resubmitted paperwork, and was approved. The audit isn't a horrible process, just time consuming (especially waiting for final approval). After approval I immediately scheduled the exam; it really is a motivator for studying. I also told everyone important to me that I was studying to pass this exam, to keep me accountable and on my toes. It worked. My friends and family would ask how my studies were going and they all had the date marked in their calendars. Pressure's on.
3 months with two weeks of hard core nose in the books.
Study Materials: Head's First - I liked this guide. It's simple and fun. However, as I started to understand the concepts more, the more I thought it was a bit distracting.
PMP: How to Pass On Your First Try - Great book, I recommend it. I liked the way the information was presented. It was logical, methodical, and easy to understand. Good practice exam too.
PM Prepcast - What a great study tool! Thank you Cornelius for such an amazing product! I stopped listening to music and only listened to the Prepcast. When I wanted to reinforce a topic, I would go back to the Prepcast module and watch the video. Multiple modes of learning are helpful.
PMBOK - I read this once last year during my class. Very dry. However, after I had gone through the various study tools I found the PMBOK to be much easier to understand and the concepts sunk in. Definitely a read you want to do two passes on (even skimming).
PM Prepcast Exam Simulator - I didn't sit for a whole 200-question exam, but I took a bunch of quizzes. This tool was great for overcoming test anxiety (which I get fairly severely). When I started the real PMP exam I was glad to see it was similar to what I had experienced with the simulator. I probably answered 1000 questions over 2-weeks.
Passionate PM Mock Exams - I took all three exams and thought these were great questions.
Lehman's Mock Exam - I tried this twice. It is difficult, but a really good tool.
All together I took about three months to study approximately 8-10 hours a week until the last three weeks prior to the exam; then I got down to business. I am fortunate enough to have a director that let me study on my down time at work which gave me an additional 10 hours in one week and a planned 20 hours the week prior to the exam.
Many of the questions were regarding quality, procurement, and risk. Not too many calculations at all, maybe 8-10 questions. I didn't find the questions wordy, but they did throw in a bunch of numbers and then ask about the process. My advice here is to take the time to read the question, twice if you have to.
I didn't memorize the ITTOs, after a while I just understood how each ITTO related to each process. It's much easier to understand the information than memorize.
As far as exam time, it's pretty much the way everyone explains on the boards. I got there early, they gave the number "3" (my favorite), and I was signed into the testing area. I took a couple of deep breaths and started the tutorial. I debated doing a brain dump, but did it anyway (although I didn't use it). It took about 2:30 to get through it all. I took a 10 minute break, grabbed some trail mix and coffee and jumped back in. I reviewed the first 30 questions because I was nervous in the beginning, and changed about four answers. I finally decided to stop reviewing and just submit the exam...I either knew or not.
I hit the submit button, up came the white screen, up popped the survey. I completed the survey, again with the white screen and voila! PASSED! (what seemed like a long 2 mins) I think I said something out loud but I don't know what.
After all that, my advice is...study, practice, be confident, and relax.
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.