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Please remember that you are not allowed to discuss any specific questions that you encounter on the exam.
I certified this morning. I was in the exam center for a total of 2 hours and 50 minutes.
I had originally intended to certify before v3 expired but work load and one of those pesky PMI Audits conspired to make me stretch my time, cost, and scope. I had to upgrade some of my study material to v4, including the PrepCast.
Things that were invaluable to me:
It was my daily commute companion for months in both v3 and later in v4 formats. Much more expanded info than I found in some of the written material, well produced and wonderfully narrated. I feel that it's almost, almost enough to pass the test without additional study material. One of the most valuable components is the episode devoted to what to expect at the exam center.
I would not have been able to put together the financial resources for the 35 contact hours for any other course in a reasonable time. A heart felt thank you to the PrepCast Team!
PMPrepCast Formula Study Guide;
The best material available to give you a complete understanding of the formulas used in project management. Covers way more than the exam that I took required.
PMBOK; v3 and v4
The v4 update is much more readable and the renamed processes make much more logical sense.
Andy Crowe: The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try
Very well done study material. Clearly presented, logically laid out and the practice exams were realistic as compared to the actual exam.
Harold Kerzner: Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling
Buy it, read it, love it. Takes you beyond just what is necessary to pass the exam. Don't use it as your sole source but rather use it to expand on what other material may not cover as deeply as you'd wish.
Without which the PrepCast wouldn't be available to the masses. Nor would all of the valuable Lessons Learned and other experiences that are shared by fellow professionals.
I am starting to prepare for the same PMP exam -- and I am already in cram mode. maybe, you can direct me where I could buy those preparation/review materials (Andy Crowe's , PMBOK v4, Harold Kerzner's, among others) at their cheapest price?
You also mentioned months of study, how many months would it normally take for one to get comfortable of taking the exam?
I bought all three books from Amazon. I don't really know if they had the cheapest possible price but they were certainly the most convenient for me. You might also want to check with your local PMI chapter, frequently they will have a library for members or have members who'll loan out materials like books to aspirants. If you're not a member of the PMI or a local chapter I recommend that you become one, the exam is cheaper and local resources are always a nice thing to have.
As far as time goes...I spent 2 solid months of steady preparation between the PrepCast, books and practice tests. And by steady I mean more than 15 hours a week. I was ready to take the exam prior to June 30th but was unable to do so. I spent the time between mid June and my test date to completely update to the v4 material. In the two weeks leading up to my exam date I made sure to memorize the formulas for EVM, PERT, and standard deviation. I went into the exam well prepared and confident.
As to how many months it will take...that's highly subjective. A lot will depend on your professional background and your ability to integrate new information and skills with those that you already have. I've been working as a functional manager who also managed all of my team's projects as well as other IT departmental projects for more than a decade. I had a better than average grasp on procurement, quality and HR management than what I've observed in PMs who don't have a background as a functional manager. Even with all of that there were still some PMI specific terminology and focus areas that were important for me to know. The most valuable piece of advice that Cornelius and other educators give is, and I'm going to paraphrase here, "Don't worry about how your organization does projects, worry about how the PMI wants your organization to do projects." You're not being tested on how you do projects but rather how you should do projects.
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.