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I had my first PMP exam on Thu, 21 July 2011 and passed on that first try. Here are what I have done and learned from them.
PMP Exam Prep Course
I attended 5-day PMP Exam Prep Course on 21-25 Mar 2011 at one of the PMI-registered course providers. The instructor was good, but I guess there was not enough time to cover everything in the course handbook so he skips several topics here and there. The sample questions from the course handbook are also useful for practice.
I purchased the PM Prepcast on 22 Mar 2011, at the end of the second day of my PMP Exam Prep Course, as I realized the course alone will not be sufficient for me. This is proven to be a very effective solution for me as I commute on public bus and train between home and office for a duration of almost 1 hour per trip daily, in which I could listen and watch the videos. I also compiled the sample questions from the PM PrepCast mailing list, plus the free sample questions from its website. Closer to my PMP exam date, I also played the videos with a faster speed (1.3 or 1.4 times) on my PC whenever I have time at work. Having listened and watched them over and over made my retention of the learning materials better.
I glanced through the PMBOK Guide once as I couldn’t make time to do it for the second time. What I’ve done though, was taking a screenshot of some tables and diagrams and compiled them into a Word document for me to go through from time to time. As also recommended by Cornelius, I memorized the Project Management Process Groups and Knowledge Areas Mapping table and practice by doing a brain-dump on it many times. To make it easier for me, I memorized the number of processes in each Knowledge Area before I start plotting the processes for that Knowledge Area based on the different Process Groups.
Scheduling my PMP Exam
I don’t remember how many times I changed my schedule in order to get the slot when I would not be travelling as well as be ready for it. Learning from this, having a study plan as mentioned by Cornelius is a must. We would need to allocate the time to study on a daily basis and calculate how many days/weeks we will be done with the study. Then we would know when a good time to have our exam scheduled would be.
The PMP Exam
I did tell the officer that I would like to take my time to do a brain-dump before I start the exam, so I started writing down the
Project Management Process Groups and Knowledge Areas Mapping table and some formulas. However, once the officer registered me in the system while I was still doing the brain-dump, he initiated the system to start with the 15 minutes introduction – which gave the online tutorial on how the exam works. When I asked him, he explained that the exam will automatically start after this 15-minute introduction is over. I panicked a little but I decided to do what I can and remain calm. Learning from this, you may want to clearly communicate it to the officer in charge at the exam centre that you want to do a brain-dump and wish to only start the introduction and the exam only after you have finished.
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.