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I have not done much forums postings, and so bear with me,if write up is not upto your expectations.
I have 4 years PM experience. Luckily for me, i happened to have PMBOK on first year, and because, i was not so busy, i read the PMBOK edition-4 once in the first year of my career. I understood nothing!!..
Later after 3 years, when i realised the importance of PMP, and i wanted to study PMBOK again(this time 5th edition!), i was lot dizy... It was at that moment, i got "Headfirst PMP for 4th edition". - One of the most awesome books... It is like PMP comics.. It broke the mental barrier i had about PMP and helped me understand important concepts. More importantly it gave me confidence, that i have learnt lot of things from my experience. Because in our company, they do a lot of things without using the terminologies used by PMBOK.
After finishing Headfirst, i gave a mock PMP, and got just 120. Back to square-1!
So after browing long hours in forums, i found a lot of books, but many prasied about Rita's book. For me, it looked like a epic novel, and i dared not to touch it... However one more poor performance in mock PMP gave me the motivation to read Rita.
I admit Rita is not quite interesting as Headfirst. But once you get a feel of Rita's book structure, you will start to enjoy it. Very important is to read the introduction, preface etc. Because, she discusses the strategy that you can take to study.
I took the below strategy:
1-read the entire book from first to last page like a novel once without answering practice questions, as casually as possible,
2-read integration management again
3-start answering the practise test for each section, and then study respective section (helped a lot -and then doing thing to get out of that situation )
4-At last answer integration management practise questions. You should be able to get at least 70% right. Which means you are on decent scale.
After this excercise, i took one more mock PMP, and scored 140... Still low!!!!
So i started taking sample PMP exams, as i needed to improve my timing and understanding. So started taking tests like mad. forums like PMZilla, PM PrepCast forums were of great help , as they provided many links for free PMP exams .
During tests, focus was on understanding why a particular question was right or wrong. So my typical exam would last something like 5-6 hours(4hrs for exam, and 1-2 hrs for review), basically eating my sunday!!!
In total, i took 7 tests, and scores were 120, 125 , 140, 140, 130, 140,160( all rounded!).
Then took the PMP actual exam, and passed!, by god's grace...
In analysing the preparation, it took total of 8 months. I had to spend a lot of time studying, and practising, especially on weekends.
In retrospect, I would have the following advise to PMP aspirants.
Again, these are just my opinions and you may wish to differ
1- Better start with Rita book first, if you dont have mental fear or barrier about PMP exam - Dont waste time like me reading PMBOK(i nvr remembered anyways!!) or headfirst(Good book, but lots of fluff.. )
2-Follow Rita strategy
3-Plan your full PMP tests properly, to gauge your performance improvement - Take atmost 2 or 3 in a month. Be honest and not take mock tests when having other problems in mind. You dont have many free mock PMP, and so "Use it well"(as Dumbledore said to harry after giving invisibility clock!!!)
4-During test, remember to take ear plugs, and be seated for full hours. You may finish early, but still sit there and review all answers.. Few questions corrected at the end may mean the difference between pass and fail.
It is a great feeling to have passed the PMP...
Now thinking, what to do next...
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.