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TOPIC: Many lessons learned from passing PMP on first try

Many lessons learned from passing PMP on first try 5 years 5 months ago #2447

  • David Glasgow
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My study plan (sort of made it up as I went along)

1. PMBOK - had several copies laying it around. Tried to read it, but it is a cure for insomnia. In retrospect, the idea of reading this thing is crazy. It's a standard - not intended to be read like a book. It's a waste of valuable time that could be used looking at ITTOs or something like that. If you ever need it, it's there for reference.

2. 4-day PMP prep course. This was money well-spent, not only for the personalized instruction, but also for the excuse to take 4 days and nights away from work to completely dedicate myself to PMP study. I know many are not a fan of the "boot camp" approach, but I believe it complements other methods nicely.

3. Read Andy Crowe's book twice. Again, I would recommend this 100x more than wasting time reading the PMBOK.

4. Tried to read Rita Mulcahy's book, but I didn't really dig the whole "process chart" or "process game" approach. I don't think studying processes with a methodology that doesn't follow PMBOK naming conventions is doing yourself any favors. You have to know their exact names for the exam, because they will be intentionally combined with processes named incorrectly. IMO, the Crowe book is much, much better.

5. Of course, listened to the PM Prepcast. Absolutely invaluable as another source of explanation and in-depth coverage of each area. I would use this in many areas, whether driving to and from work, working in the garage, etc. You just can't underestimate the value here.

6. Took many sample tests. The free ones available are next to worthless and even incorrect. Do yourself a favor and pay for quality. I was lucky enough that a 30-day sim came with my prep course mentioned above. However, I have heard nothing but good things about Cornelius's simulator. Based on the quality of the Prepcast, I would wholeheartedly recommend it. I also downloaded the ITTO game for my iPhone just for a useful thing to do while waiting in lines, in meetings, etc.

For the exam, just remember: 4 hours is a long, long time. You will be fine in the amount of time you need to answer questions (I finished in under 2 hours and used another hour to review every single question), but you will be mentally and physically drained afterward. In addition, take frequent breaks just to stretch, and dress comfortably. I also got really thirsty, so bring a drink for your locker.

Controversial topics:

Brain Dump sheet: Also next to worthless. Just memorize the formulas up and know the concepts behind them and you'll be fine.

Memorizing ITTOs: Maybe the most worthless of all. Again, you should know the concepts and understand the processes enough to be able to nail these down in your normal course of study. If you can't answer ITTO questions by the time you're ready to take your exam, that's a pretty good indication that you're not ready.

In sum, take a class, read a prep book, listen to the Prepcast, and do sample exams. Leave the PMBOK on the shelf. You'll make the most of your time and good things will happen.
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