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TOPIC: Passed on first try - 4 weeks studying

Passed on first try - 4 weeks studying 4 years 2 weeks ago #3550

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Ok, so the intense study schedule isn't for everyone, but being on a timeline for the 4th edition of the PMBOK, I went for it. It also helped that I have studied in areas where you need to know 95% of the material 100% of the time, so my brain was already geared to injesting large amounts of info in a short period of time. I also studied in an area where exams were very similar to the PMP exam in that they were also multiple choice where all answers could be correct, but one best, so you had to learn quickly to trust your knowledge and not doubt yourself.

Tools used:
- IIL PM Flashcards App for iPhone >> Learnt 2 ITTO processes/day on the bus on my way to work. On my way home, I reviewed ALL the processes I had previously covered including that day's + had a friend quiz me on weekends using the flashcards
- PMP Exam Simulator >> Did 50 question quizzes after work, 2x full 200 question exams each of Sat and Sun
- Achieve PMP Exam Success eBook >> read this not in learning/memorization mode, but in a relaxed manner and more as an explanation of the concepts to ensure that I got another perspective
- BrainBok >> great paid service with cue cards to learn your ITTOs and how they are related, lots of quizzes you can take, a practice exam, an all equations/cost exam
- Wrote down page 43 and all Equations on paper EACH day, so that they became innate
- Did a few free exams, including: Oliver F. Lehmann's free 75 questions self-test, a 75 all math exam (can't remember the name, but they were really hard questions)
- For all the exams I took, I would note down as I was doing the exam: all terms I did not understand/recognize, noted the processes that I had difficulty with. After the exam, I reviewed the questions I got wrong making note of what topics they covered, so I could focus my learning on these topics, as well as looking up all the terms and processes that threw me off while taking the exam
- Every day after work, I would review concepts that I was fuzzy on or processes that confused me to ensure that I was able to clearly differentiate between the different processes.

Exam day prep:
- I took Cornelius' advice and went to the testing centre prior to my exam, about a week prior, to ask any and all questions I had, which really does help, as you know what to expect before you get there, which truly does remove a load of stress
- I took the day of the exam off (also suggested by Cornelius). My exam was in the evening, which for me was great, as I'm a night owl, so I work best at that time.
- I slept in; basically woke up without an alarm clock when my body had enough rest. Had breakfast and went about my day including going to the gym and generally just relaxed the whole day.
- the day of the exam, the only "studying" I did was in the morning when I write down on paper the table on page 43 and the equations to reassure myself that I remembered them; did this right after breakfast and then forgot about it for the rest of the day
- I left the house earlier than I needed, just to make sure I wasn't late

The Exam
- as mentioned above, I left my house early and got to the exam centre a good 35 minutes before my scheduled appointment
- the testing centre basically had me sit the exam when I got there, not at my scheduled time, so it was nice to not have to wait and be able to sit as soon as I got there
- A few things at the prometric centre I went to differed from what I had read. For one, if you were wearing a sweater and wanted to take it off, you had to notify the staff monitoring the exam, as it could not be on the chair and had to be in the closet; if you wanted to put it back on, you needed to ask the staff person again. The centre had headsets with white noise at each station, which came in VERY handy as there was construction going on just next door (yes, they were working well into the evening), so as Cornelius mentioned, be prepared for anything while you're writing your exam.
- During the exam, for many questions, when I wasn't sure, I logically walked my way through the question and answers, one by one eliminating the answers that just did not make sense based on the question and how the processes work and are applied as per PMI standards.
- I found that I took more time to answer questions on the actual exam than during my practice exams and did not have enough time to review all questions; most likely die to nervousness, so keep that in mind and pace yourself accordingly.
- for all the practice exams I took, the wording on the actual exam was quite different, so keep in mind that that will be one of the "elements of surprise", but after a few questions, you get the hang of it, so don't stress about that.

4 weeks is an extremely aggressive schedule that is not for the faint of heart. I wouldn't recommend it, but if you're like me and have no choice and can be rigorous, dedicated, and disciplined in your studying, then you need to know that you will have to make sacrifices during that time. 4 weeks of intense studying was well worth it for me, but if I had to do it all over again, I would take a good 3 months, at least, and take in the material much slower.

The best advice I can give for the exam is trust your knowledge, as if you are confident in what you know, you WILL be able to answer the question correctly; you know more than you think, so trust in your abilities and knowledge!!
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