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TOPIC: Passed PMP 4Ps 1M- Lessons Learned

Passed PMP 4Ps 1M- Lessons Learned 3 years 6 months ago #3223

  • Konstantinos Limas
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Hello everyone,

I am glad I am writing my PMP successful lessons learned! I passed on 26 March 2013 with 4 Proficient and 1 Moderate proficient grade.

It is not easy to describe the whole learning process but I will try, because I believe that it is really helpful for candidates to listen to other peoples stories.

So...I began studying in November and finished early March. I had no previous experience with the material or the actual ''language'' of PMI PMBOK guide. It was new to me. I devoted a lot of time in studying but success depends on the individual as well and the success rate each candidate wants to achieve. By that I mean that I wanted to eliminate any possibility to fail and thus I studied hard. I could have passed it with less effort (the grades show this) but it always safer to study more.

My study material was Rita's book, Exam simulator and flashcards (the whole package except the videos) + Cornelius Video podcasts and exam simulator tests.

In the beginning I focused in Rita's book. I tried to study each chapter and follow the logic of the book. So I studied it 2 times and the second time I started to realize what was going on. Parallel I began to watch Prepcast videos along with the second time reading of Rita's book.

The videos are good and helped me especially in topics that Rita has gaps. There were times that I found them boring but this is something you can't avoid if you study PMP. But the videos with the interviews were the most interesting and you learn a lot even though out of PMP scope. I remember the video with the explanation of the Critical chain method which helped me a lot in contrast with Rita or PMBOK. So I was reading Rita's book and after every chapter I jumped to the videos. That was too much because I was reading/listening to same things but things were crystallizing to my mind better.

When I finished I read the PMBOK guide from the beginning to the end. PMBOK guide is dry BUT it has a lot of valuable information that I couldn’t find in Rita's book! Bottom line PMBOK guide is very important! It is also useful because I started to familiarize with the PMI vocabulary.

Next step Rita's book for third time parallel with PMBOK second time. It may seem that you read the same material all over again but you DONT! Every time you learn new staff, you remember more and you close any gaps in the knowledge of the material. I also used Rita's flashcards for the basics because the flashcards are good but they contain only the basics.

Of course I was answering the questions in every chapter from Rita and Prepcast videos chapter questions and I reviewed all of them (wrong and correct) and I was keeping a record. So the second time I read Rita's book I would answer them again and see if there was any improvement. And there was....from average 68%-74% in my first try, I reached about 75% to 85% in the second.

So time for the 4 hour tests. My results were about 73-77%. Never broke the limit of 80% and never dropped below 70%. The tests are quite good. The quality of the question I would say is good. Some of them are like the real test some of them not so much. Negative point are the questions that have as an answer ‘’all of the above’’ etc which doesn’t apply to the real test. BUT two major positives. First the whole process makes you tougher and in my opinion if the scores are between 73 and 80% you are fine. Secondly the tests helped me understand if I had score well or not. In every test, after finishing and before viewing my score I had a feeling about my result and every time I was correct. This helped me during my actual test because when I finished it I was 99% I had passed. And I had this feeling DURING the test as well which helped me to be calm. The score of 4Ps and 1 MP proved it (this is the reason I mentioned it in the first place).
One more positive thing about prepcast videos is that each test has different questions. On the other hand Rita’s simulation tests are somehow different. Rita’s test CD has the advantage that you can separate the questions by Knowledge area or process group which at first it seems ok but during the last stage of the preparation it is really useful because you know the weak point of yourself (mine was procurement and closing) so you concentrate in that. The bad thing is that in every test you find questions from previous test which is frustrating. There is ONE major quality point here though which I have to admit.

Before my actual test I was a little bit disappointed with Rita. But after the test I changed my mind. Let me explain this. Rita in some chapters and in some questions gives a ‘’strict’’ view of how PMI sees things or how she sees things (which I hated it in some points especially as I was reading explanations of some sample questions of the CD). The bottom line is that if you follow these steps subconsciously you will know how to answer some of the real PMP questions. And this is a benefit. At least that was my feeling.
One more tool I used was my own ITTO excel dictionary tool which I recommend if you have the time to do it… .In this excel I created my own ITTO list as it is in PMBOK guide, by knowledge area and below each activity I wrote the ITTOs. It was a good reference during revision…for example I wanted to know the Outcomes of Closing Procurements with one click I could see the results.

On the other hand I did something I called dictionary. I tried to create a quick reference guide for major concepts according to PMBOK. For example I had the electronic version of PMBOK and I wanted to quickly be able to see the definition of ‘’Influence diagrams’’. Using the e-version and the ‘’find ‘’ tool of acrobat reader I was reading all the passages with the word I was searching each time as a reference. This is extremely helpful because first it is a good way to revise the material and secondly it is the best way to combine all the pieces of the puzzle in to one clear image! What I did is I PrintScreen the page I wanted to have as a reference and saved it in a file, and then in my excel sheet I would write the reference word e.x ‘’Influence diagrams’’ and I would linked it to the image in my file (it is really easy). As I result I created a whole list with the core concepts and every time I wanted to revise I just clicked on the word and the exact page of PMBOK guide with the specific concept was appearing in my screen!! Very good for revision….

Now some comments on the actual test. I wont comment on the test center because each case is different but the best choice of clothes is t-shirt with whatever you want as extra. You never know the temperature inside the room.
In general the test was LIKE the ones of Prepcast and Rita’s. I had the same time management as my sample test (nothing changed) except that I was more concentrated so I did one less break (total 3). The questions might be different from the ones I mentioned but the general feeling was the same. I faced very easy questions and 2-3 that there was no answer ( I am pretty sure about it haha…).

There were tricky questions that tested your critical thinking (questions that could be answered in 10 seconds but if you are not careful you may not even realize what is asking) and in general I didn’t notice LONG questions like the Prepcast (but is good to be prepared). In the beginning it was difficult for me to adapt as I felt that the first 5 questions were more difficult than they really were because I was nervous. During review I realized that the first questions were the same as the rest of them. DON’T panic! I also practiced the same strategy I had in the mock exams. I answered first all the theoretical questions and then all the questions that had numbers. It was better for me.

When I finished I was feeling confident but the white screen you see until the final result is always ‘’tough’’.

Bottom line:

In a short research I did I concluded that the passing rate is about as it was used to be….63% (?). This means that it is not too high. So study makes perfect but my understanding is that you can pass PMP without excelling…..which is good before the exam and not so good after it.

There is no perfect material. Combination is better…including PMBOK.

If you score about 73% to 80% in Prepcast and Rita then you are ready.

Use the Forum! I found it quite useful but it needs more participation.

Well I think that’s all…but if you would like to ask anything be my guest……Good Luck!
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