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TOPIC: Passed the PMP, April 27, 2012..on the First Try!!

Passed the PMP, April 27, 2012..on the First Try!! 4 years 11 months ago #2814

  • Lindsay Pineda
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Whew! It’s over…I passed on the first try.

I relied pretty heavily on those that had already passed their exams for tips so I wanted to pay it forward and hopefully do the same for someone else.

I took a certificate program with my organization that gave me some good background into the formal practices of project management so I already had a copy of the PMBOK and I’ve been in project management for the last 4 years. That did help some but DO NOT rely on current or past project management experience alone to pass this test!!! It is MUCH harder than that and you will not have the information you need to successfully pass it if you rely on experience alone.

I submitted all of my paperwork and was not audited. After I got the “clearance” to schedule the exam, I did so. Cornelius is right; it really is a motivator for studying. I also told everyone around me, including my boss, that I was studying for the exam and would pass it on the first try. My friends, family, and coworkers would ask how studying was going and they all had the date marked in their calendars. I also had a mentor in a coworker who had taken the exam in August and was a HUGE help. If you have a resource such as that, please use it. It was very helpful (she didn’t give me any inside information in terms of exam content, just how to remain calm during the exam and what it was like).

Study Time:
3 ½ months total- I started in mid-January and took the exam at the end of April.

Study Materials:

PMP: How to Pass On Your First Try (Andy Crowe)– I really liked this book. I read it in tandem with the PM PrepCast and really felt like it helped me further understand the information that Cornelius was presenting. It also was a great interpreter for the PMBOK itself.

PM PrepCast – This was amazing!! I listened while at work, took some notes, but mostly just tried to absorb the information Cornelius was presenting. Thank you for developing such a great tool!! It was extremely helpful.

PMBOK – Ugh, okay so this is just one that you’ll have to “get through”. It’s not a fun read but combined with Andy Crowe’s book and the PM PrepCast, it’s easier to understand. I read through this 3 times. The first was mainly skimming, the second was a much more detailed read and the third was going back to read my highlighted sections and notes I’d made while doing the second pass through.

PM PrepCast Exam Simulator - I took a bunch of quizzes and took 2 – 4 hour practice exams. This was probably one of the main reasons I passed the actual exam. The quizzes and exams are very close to what you’ll find on the actual test. They aren’t the same, but it’s the closest out of all practice questions you’ll find out there. The wording of each question is what I found the most helpful to get used to. I took probably close to 2500 questions (including the two practice exams) and I began doing this about a month out from the exam.

Brain Dump Sheet – DO THIS!! Okay, so I didn’t really use it but maybe twice to glance at during the actual exam but it really helped me to memorize the formulas and important info. I did this literally every day, in the morning before any other studying, for about the last 3 weeks prior to taking the exam.

I spent about three and a half months studying and I hit it pretty hard all the way through. I’d say that for the first month, I was averaging about 8-10 hours a week and then by the second month, I was up to more like 15-20 hours a week. The last month of the exam, I was spending about 20-25 hours a week studying, reading, and taking quizzes/exams. I was very lucky to have a boss that let me study on my down time at work which gave me the ability to balance studying, working and my personal life with my family.

Many of the questions were regarding quality, procurement, and risk. Not too many calculations at all, maybe 10 questions total. I also had about 10 ITTO questions so not that many but it’s still important to understand the process overall and how one output is another’s input, etc. I actually didn’t find the questions to be too wordy but some were asked in a very confusing way. My advice here is to take the time to read the question, twice if you have to.

I didn't memorize all the ITTOs; there’s really no need. You do need to understand the overall processes and how they all work together to create the overall cycle.

As far as the actual exam, mine was at 12:30 so I had time that morning to relax a bit, have a good breakfast, do some minimal review and then head out. Please, please take the day of the test off and the day before is helpful as well. I took a total of 3 days off and I am really glad I did. I also scheduled my exam for a Friday so I’d have the weekend to relax. Don’t study too much the day before or the day of the exam. Your brain needs time to rest. I had a hard time with this concept but, I did it anyway and it worked. My brain was ready to think by the time I got in there. , I was assigned a number when I got to the testing center, and then was signed in. I took a couple of deep breaths and then did my Brain Dump sheet. Once that was done, I did the tutorial and then started the exam. It took about 3 hours to get through it all. I took a 5 minute break about halfway through. I ran to the restroom and got some water and then went back into the exam room. I marked a lot of questions, especially in the beginning when I was really nervous so I went back and reviewed all of the marked questions. I only changed a few answers because I have found that my first gut instinct was right on a lot of the practice exams/quizzes I took so I learned to trust it.

I hit the submit button, up came the white screen, up popped the survey. I completed the survey (9 questions but OMG does it feel like FORVER!!) and then hit “submit”. Another white screen came up and then I saw the words…Congratulations! I had to cover my mouth to make sure I didn’t make any noise. Ha ha.

This is a hard exam…no doubt about it but with lots of practice, practice, practice…you’ll get used to the way the questions are worded and become more confident in your ability to not only answer the questions but also trust your gut on those that you’re unsure of.
Good luck!!!
New PMP,
Lyndsay :laugh:

Re:Passed the PMP, April 27, 2012..on the First Try!! 4 years 10 months ago #2816

  • Judy
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Congrats Lindsay and thanks for the tips!

Re:Passed the PMP, April 27, 2012..on the First Try!! 4 years 10 months ago #2817

  • Frankie Liebengood
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Congratulations!!! You are inspiring.


Re:Passed the PMP, April 27, 2012..on the First Try!! 4 years 10 months ago #2820

  • Lindsay Pineda
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You are very welcome. I hope it helps you out with your exam. Good luck! :)

Re:Passed the PMP, April 27, 2012..on the First Try!! 4 years 10 months ago #2821

  • Lindsay Pineda
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Thank so much for the congrats! I am really glad it's over but am more than happy to pass along my help to anyone else who finds it useful! Good luck to you! :)

Re:Passed the PMP, April 27, 2012..on the First Try!! 4 years 10 months ago #2823

  • LiLi Rasekhi
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