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My journey towards the PMP certification began in late March. I just passed my exam today with proficient in 4 categories and moderately proficient in the last category. I must admit I took a long time to prepare just because I was not certain my project management experience would qualify due to managing relatively smaller projects. I did not really focus until July of this year when I finally sat down and filled out the application. The application process can be daunting and time consuming but it is the very first thing you should concentrate on. If I had it to do over again I would have filled out the application first and then began my studies. I was much more focused and even enthused about PMI accepting my application for approval. It was a truly a milestone in my journey.
Materials I used for preparation were Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep, Andy Crowe's book and the PMP Head First book. I also used the PMP Prep Cast. I read Rita's book and the PMP Head First book cover to cover. I loved the PMP Head First book. It made the topics easy and fun. Andy Crowe's book came with a voucher code to the Velociteach web site. It provides about 14 hours of video instruction. These 14 hours are very valuable information and I highly suggest it. I did not read the Andy Crowe's book from cover to cover. I did take all the tests in each book I listed here. I went through the PMP Prep Cast twice. The 2nd time I took notes. If I had it to do again I would probably take watch Andy Crowe's Velociteach lessons and the PMP Prep cast and take notes on each and every lesson. It would have probably sped up my preparation.
I also bought access to the PMP Exam Simulator. I took 7 out of the 9 tests scoring between 78 and 82 percent on each one. I would say the question in the PMP Exam simulator are very wordy compared to the actual exam. However don't think that your time sitting the actual exam is going to be shorter because I found myself re-reading many of the actual PMP exam questions over and over again because I knew this counted. So it is a good thing that the exam simulator is that wordy and I found the time to take both the simulation and the actual exams very comparable. The PMP Exam simulator's wordiness is also good because it trained me to look at all the words in the question. There are some trick questions where the questions meaning hinges on one word. This occurrs in both the PMP Exam Simulator and the actual PMP exam itself. One last benefit of the PMP Exam Simulator is that it gave me confidence that all I had to do is go in and sit the exam and I was going to be a PMP at the end of the exam. I really did not have to deal with nerves or uneasiness because the PMP Exam Simulator was able to give me confidence.
Tips for the exam. Memorize the ITTOs for procurement and risk. I am not saying this because I think memorization is the way to go. I am saying this because it wasn't until I started to try to memorize these two tables did I start to identify where my knowledge gaps were. Memorization helped me understand because if I found a gap I went back and tried to understand why I couldn't remember that particular ITTO. The actual PMP test tested heavily on these two subjects. In Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis there are two tools and techniques listed. It is not good enough to know Data Gathering and Representation Techniques and Quantitative Risk Analysis and Modeling Techniques as the processes tools. One must know the actual techniques used under those two techniques. I would tell you what those techniques are but you should really do yourself a favor and look them up and understand them completely.
What did not work for me was the flash card products and the PMP coach. I am not saying these products are not worth it. I bought both. I could not get into the lesson plans for the PMP coach. I also see the flash cards as a memorization tool. I do not believe memorization is the way to go when preparing for the PMP exam. Understanding of the topics is key. Memorization should only be used as a tool initially to measure gaps in your understanding.
I wish you all the very best on your journey. I hope yours is shorter than mine. If you have any question please post them here.
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.