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I am first of all happy to report as the title says that I passed my exam the first try!
I have been doing project management roles in the Army for about 6 years. I didn't know much about PMI or the PMP certification, but while in Afghanistan last year I heard about it so I did a little research. I purchased a copy of the PMBOK from Amazon, and I got a few pages in and would fall asleep. It worked because it is hard to get a good nights rest.
So my interests were sparked and so I knew I needed something more to help me study. When I got home I started doing more research. I knew I should take a class from what I read after a few Google searches. One day on LinkedIn, I found a webinar by Matthew Weaver that was two days a week for about a month plus or minus. It was affordable and at a good time so I went for it. It was great in giving me a foundation in the concepts in the PMBOK. I however was going through major life changes so I could not focus on studying on the off days or after the class.
As part of this class we received an account to the PM Perfect test bank. This test bank was great and since I had it I used it alot. I also had purchased another Kindle book by titled PMP Exam Prep Questions, Answers & Explanations by Christopher Scordo, who coincidentally is one of the people from PM Perfect. From what I can tell at least. The simulator on PM Perfect was what I needed. I enjoyed the fact that you could create your own test by knowledge area and how many questions. So quite often I would take a quick 20 questions and call it a day. This was a good techniques while taking the webinar.
While taking the webinar my average test was about 60% and they recommended 70-75% on all test, knowledge areas, etc. I took a 200 question test and the score was ridiculously low. So I was not confident enough to take the test after the webinar, and I did not have time to study.
I happened to find The PM PrepCast and since it was even more affordable, and self paced I signed up. So I started listening, and I really enjoyed the way Cornelius presented the information. I got about halfway through the podcasts and I had to stop, I took another 200 question test sometime in here from actualtest.com and did better but still not passing.
Then about 3 weeks ago I got very serious. I listened to The PM PrepCast more or less for 5 hours a day. I would not recommend this to someone, but my situation allowed and required it. I was burnt out, but by the end of all the lessons my test scores were over on the knowledge areas were over 70%. I found an area I was low in a I could go back to Cornelius' lessons and repeat until I felt better about that area.
Once I felt semi-confident I scheduled my exam, and Cornelius guilt tripped me into that He mentions setting a date so you have a goal. So I did that and then I got really scared. I buckled down even more and took as many lessons as I could. I took at least one 20 or 50 questions test per day. I treated the 3 weeks like training for a marathon. I couldn't do 200 question tests every day, but if I did small amounts I would be ready. I also signed up for the daily sample test emails that Cornelius sends out, if you sign up.
Finally, I took a 200 question test the day prior to taking and passed. I knew I was ready for the test. Clearly I was because I passed.
Here are a few things I would suggests to everyone. Do as Cornelius suggests and do a little bit every day for a month or more (whatever your schedule allows). Listen to everyone that I have seen write or talk on the exam, take as many sample tests that you can. Seriously do that, it took me about 3 hours to complete the exam and I was mentally exhausted after. Make sure you review the answers for at least the ones you get wrong, but it doesn't hurt to look at the ones you got right. If you are like me some of the ones I got correct were good guesses, but I didn't know why. So I wanted to understand it.
I also recommend memorizing table 3-1 in the PMBOK and memorize formulas (as many as you can). What I did was every time prior to listening to Cornelius do his review of the knowledge area I would write down the table and the formulas he had taught already. I kept do this, and when I set for my exam I took a second to write it down on my brain dump sheet, even though I had it so memorized I could see it without writing, but a brain dump sheet mentally made me feel more comfortable. As far as the ITTOs, I did not memorize, but I tried my hardest to understand the concepts. I would quiz myself with flashcards, that I found in a Google search at flash card exchange, and try to talk through what I would do based on what the card was asking. about 75% of the time I would get the majority of them write. I didn't care about memorizing them because I wanted to truly understand the concepts.
One last thought that I would suggest. When I took my last 200 question exam I hit F11 on my computer and it went to fullscreen mode. I liked it because I would get easily distracted by emails or the CNN updates. This just helped me focused. It is also a lot more realistic.
So I owe my thanks to Cornelius, Project Weaver, Christopher Scordo, but of all of them Cornelius the most for The PM PrepCast. I really enjoyed it and feel that it put me where I needed to be to pass the exam.
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.