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I passed the PMP exam on the first attempt by following the recommended guidelines outlined in the PM-PrepCast videos. My total study time was about 3 1/2 months before taking the exam.
I sat for the CAPM exam five years prior and failed on the first try. After the second attempted I passed. With that experience and the information I've obtained from the PM-PrepCast video training, I wanted to change my strategy so I would pass the PMP on the first attempt.
My lessons learned included listening to the videos on a daily basis via iTunes podcast and/or on my computer was key to my success. I created a daily schedule to follow and made time every day to study. After about a month of listening and watching the training videos, I joined PMI and worked on my application. The PMI membership would in turn give me a discount on the examination fee as well as a PDF version of the PMBOK 5th edition guide. I was able to validated my project management experience over an eight year time period as a Project Leader. Once my application was submitted, I continued with daily studies.
In addition to the video training and reading the PMBOK 5th edition guide, I purchased the "Achieve PMP Exam Success 5th Edition" book. About 2 months into my study plan, I had finished the video training and read through the PMBOK 5th edition guide and Achieve PMP Exam Success twice. (I found it helpful to print out each chapter of the PMBOK 5th edition guide and align each chapter with the video training and the Achieve PMP Exam Success book) . I utilized the 45 day trial of sample test questions out of the Achieve PMP Exam Success book. By the beginning of the third month, I had starting using the PM-Prepcast Simulator which had over 1,800 questions to test your knowledge. I began testing out daily on sample test questions varying from 25 to 100 questions at a time. When I was able to allot a 4 hour window without interruption, I sat through a 4 hour test exam. At that time, I had scored a 76%. That score was not enough to pass so I continued with smaller test sets on specific areas of knowledge I was weak in.
By that time, I had already scheduled to take my exam. I had three weeks to continuously test out my knowledge and started testing out consistently at or above 80% on new questions.
Before I took the exam, I had taken the suggestion of driving to the test center to ensure I knew where it was located. I had ask the administrative personnel questions about the facility and what I should be concerned with prior to the exam. The test center suggested to wear loose clothes and no pockets and that they would provide paper, pencil and calculator and a locker to put my personal belonging in but wouldn't have access to them during the examination.
On the day of exam, I left an hour early and arrived 30 minutes prior to my exam. Unfortunately, I didn't start taking my exam until 45 minutes after the start time do to computer problems at the testing center. I remained calm and kept telling myself that it was OK and everything will work out. I had felt a sense of peace because deep down I knew I was ready and nothing was going to move me.
Once I got into the test room, I was given a 4 page notebook and was told that if I needed more paper, I would need to turn in the notebook for a new one. With that in mind, I utilized the "15 minute" tutorial time to do a brain dump of all formula's and mnemonic phases I memorized for the domains and knowledge areas. I wrote in small print to ensure I wouldn't loose my brain dump sheet.
During the 4 hours exam, I had taken one bathroom break and checked about 25 - 50 questions for review. I had thirty minutes left on the clock. By the time I was done checking through the questions I had marked for review, there was 6 minutes left on the clock... I clicked submit and actually took the 1 minute survey to collect my thoughts as my heart was pounding crazily... After I completed the survey, I was filled with enthusiasm to see the words "Congratulations" you've passed the exam.
My biggest suggestion is to make time for daily studies, commit yourself to your study plan and practice, practice, practice new test questions until you can consistently test out at 80%.
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.