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Firstly, I would like to thanks Cornelius (& Justine ). I passed the PMP yesterday on my first attempt with four proficients and a moderately proficient for closing. What I am especially happy about is that I did it without actually reading the full PMBOK (just referred to a few areas for clarification), and just used the Cornelius's PM Prepcast, Formula Guide and Exam simulator as preparation.
I followed the Prepcast recommendations to the letter by doing overview videos first, doing Integration Management last, etc, and I expand on the actual steps and lessons learned below.
1. Overview Videos - took me about 2 weeks to go through all those. I found the going a bit slow in the beginning, but as time went on I actually found that I became more motivated and committed to complete them and the rest of the course.
2. PrepCast Final Exam - I obtained my 35 PDU's after watching the overview videos, and then proceeded to schedule my test appointment.
3. Committing to a Date - I took the conscious decision to put myself under a bit of pressure. I applied & scheduled the test appointment during last week of May for the afternoon of my birthday (4th August), and told everyone at the office what I was doing. I find that the added pressure this creates, brings out the best in me. I was thus committed to a period of 2 months in which I planned to complete watching all the Prepcast videos as well as doing as many simulation exams as possible.
4. Going through the Prepcast - I was able to block out my calendar for an hour and a half each morning, as well as for about two hours at the end of each day. This allowed me to complete all the videos in about 7 weeks. My recommendation is to watch the videos in shorter timebursts, as I seemed to not take as much in if I wanted to do too many in one go, and this resulted in me having to review some videos in order to feel I sufficiently understood its content.
5. Exam Simulator - With just under two weeks to go before my test date, I was ready for my first exam on the simulator. Once again I was able to block out my calendar in the afternoons, and did all eight exams as well as the ITTO specific one during this period. My scores ranged between 74% to 83%, and I was actually shocked that I was being failed for all the results under 80%. After each exam I reviewed the my incorrect answers, in an attempt to try and learn from my mistakes and not make them next time round. During this process I actually realised the value of concentration in reading the question, as many of my mistakes were not due to lack of knowledge, but just missing some subtle nuances in the way the questions were phrased.
6. Day of Exam - Although I felt fairly prepared (Albeit slightly nervous at the fact that I had not actually read the PMBOK guide), the day of the exam came and I arrived at the testing centre in Cape Town well ahead of schedule. What I wasn't prepared for was the fact that the building was undergoing renovations, and that there was intense jackhammering underway on the floor above us. Prometric apologised profusely, and even offered that I could reschedule if I wanted, but I did not want to delay and decided to take the test anyway. About halfway through the test, the jackhammering became worse (so much that the monitor and desk was actually vibrating), and I had to decide whether to abort or continue. I made a conscious decision that I could either let the noise bother me and use it as a valid excuse, or I could decide to not let it affect me. I chose the latter, and once I knew I had made that decision, my mindset clicked into gear and I was able to actually pick up on the pace I was answering at - I actually saw my exam as a mini corrective action to get my answering SPI back over 1.0.
7. About the Exam - Two things I noticed, was that the exam questions seemed to take me longer to answer than those in the simulator. I eventually only finished with 6 minutes to spare, and ran out of time while reviewing my marked questions. In the simulator I always finished well ahead of time, even after completing all marked reviews. Second thing I noticed, was that the questions seemed to be more situational in nature than those I had in the simulator, which made most of them easier to figure out. There weren't nearly as many "what is an input/output to XYZ process" type of questions, although I could pick up that was what I was being asked , but just in a situational manner that the questions were worded.
Thanks again Cornelius - I owe you big time for helping me not ruining my 48th birthday, and can recommend the Prepcast and Exam Simulator to anyone prepared to commit the time required to work through it all.
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.