Congratulations! Let us know your lessons learned and how our products have helped you prepare.
Please remember that you are not allowed to discuss any specific questions that you encounter on the exam.
I started studying for the PMP in October 2013 using a computer based training provided by my employer. Besides this computer based training I tried reading the PMBOK guide but I could not read more than a couple of pages before my mind started drifting away. After 20h of studying I came to the conclusion that this method was not going to work out and that is was time to take some corrective action.
I started looking for alternatives and based on the numerous positive comments I found on the internet I purchased the PM PrepCast together with the PM Formula StudyGuide and the PMP Exam Simulator. Watching the PrepCast things started to make sense to me. I watched the PrepCast on my laptop, summarizing the essence of each process on a mind map. This helped my structuring my ideas and forced me to stay attentive. I did not come back to these mind maps too often but drawing them was an important step in getting the big picture. Besides the PrepCast, may mind maps and the PMBOK guide I also had Rita’s book and a spreadsheet with the process areas, process groups, processes, ITTOs that I could filter to quickly find which process produced a specific output as an input to which processes and so on.
Lots of sample tests
Six weeks before the exam I started with free (Oliver F. Lehmann, PMP Bank, free.exam-simulator.com, examcentral) and paid (PMP Exam Simulator, Simplilearn) tests and answered more than 2’000 questions. I carefully reviewed all results; re-reading relevant sections of the PMBOK guide were my answers had been wrong. This not only helped me in improving my knowledge and understanding but also in becoming accustomed to the different styles of questions.
The real exam
By the time I took the real exam in May 2014 I had studied close to 200h.
The real exam was almost exclusively composed of situational questions, and luckily hardly any ITTO questions. Regarding the formulas there were just a couple of questions where you really had to apply a formula. The formulas seem to be overhyped anyhow, there aren’t that many formulas to remember and the formulas involve only basic mathematical operations. (Hint for interpreting Earned Value: it’s good if you earn more than you spend and it’s also good if you earn more than you’ve planned)
After 3h I had answered all questions and for a moment I was about to hit the “End Exam” button but then decided to spend the last hour reviewing all the questions and I indeed found some questions which I hadn’t read properly the first time. Finally I clicked the “End Exam” button 2 Minutes before time ran out. After having impatiently watched the spinning wheel on my screen form some seconds a survey came up to my surprise, asking me about the exam booking procedure, the friendliness of the staff and so on. You can imagine how I rushed through the survey before the liberating “Congratulations” appeared on the screen!
What has worked for me
There is no silver bullet, preparing for the PMP implies a lot of studying. Almost every advice has already been given in this forum. Here what has worked for me:
Talk about your project with your family/your partner – preparing for the exam will take a lot of your spare time and you will need their support
There is no learning technique that fits everyone, choose one and change if it doesn’t work
Watch the PrepCast attentively, not just as a background noise
Fix your exam as soon as you can reasonably estimate how long it will take you to be ready for the exam
Take plenty of test exams and review your answers, re-read your books, your notes where wrong or in doubt
Thanks to Cornelius and his team and good luck to all of you!
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.