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Topic History of : Finally - I am a PMP... / Lesson learned...

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5 years 5 months ago #3628

Gavin Poulsom

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OK here is a summary of my arguably lengthy journey that ended up with the PMP certification...

I started studying the PMP syllabus back in October 2011. Initially I went to a 5 day boot-camp and was rather naive about the whole affair, as I was already a registered Prince 2 practitioner, I thought (incorrectly) that the PMP would just be an 'Americanised' extension of the Prince 2 project methodology. How wrong was I?

Cut to the chase I failed the exam first time around. This was a big shock for me and it quickly dawned that the PMP would not be a walk in the park.

Real world constraints aside I adopted the following strategy to pass the PMP exam:

Always had the 'Prepcast' to hand. Especially on longer car journeys (Will I ever get that intro tune out of my head)?
Read Rita's book - although I found this quite patronising. It's good but...
Read 'Head First' PMP book cover to cover - there are a few errata in this so be careful. I would consider this a good 'holiday read'...
Read the PMBok several times - It still has the capability to pack a few surprises.

**Don't over subscribe to alternative 'pass your PMP' exam tools such as are available on Itunes / Iphone - a lot of these just remained dormant on the phone. For me - The most utilised and best value for money was the PMP Exam trainer by DynamicApps GmbH - again this had a huge database of questions and they were close to the real world versions / it tracked your progress.

Then for the final exam:
I booked the exam 6 months in advance - Then...
A few weeks before the exam - I subscribed to '' - this was really beneficial - The site plots your progress over 21 tests. Questions were very close to real world. I clocked well over a thousand sample questions in the 10 days leading up to the exam.
The day before the exam I concentrated learning on the 'brain dump' / 42 processes / EV formulas / Six Sigma / Estimates all sorts of other variables. The brain dump (pencil to paper for the 15min before the actual exam) proved most beneficial to me - especially mapping out the 42 processes. As an easy reference point - It saved a lot of time for me during the exam itself.
The night before the exam I relaxed and tried not to think about PMP.
For the exam itself I chose the afternoon slot - no real reason behind this other than had more time to compose myself.
During the exam I took 3 breaks. For the record I had a can of Monster Energy drink, and some dry roasted peanuts to hand on top of my allocated locker - you are not allowed to access your locker or even take your watch into the exam - only you / your apparel and your ID!
Finished the exam around the 3hr 15min mark and then reviewed my marked questions.
Everything seemed fair - the only area I kept getting confused on was some of the HR stuff (confronting / compromising / smoothing etc) and which Risk strategy was suitable - avoid / transfer / mitigate etc.
The formula questions were straight forward enough BUT be aware you have to reverse engineer a lot of the questions to work out the EV - change side / change sign perhaps?

Clicking the end exam / filling in the feedback / then waiting for the result is the worst part of the overall experience...

Good luck! :)

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