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It was definitely a journey! I think more than the materials, what helps is the plan on how you are going to study. Meaning, treat it like a project!
Depending your schedule, the total preparation can take anywhere from 6 weeks to as much as a full year. In my case, I took the 40 hour bootcamp class in last week of January 2014. After the class, I took the Final Exam from the classroom textbook and scored around 60%. I then took some free mock exam and scored about the same. That was an indication that I am not ready for this exam at all. I continued to study, but it was hard to stay focus when I had planned vacation and business conferences in place: I went to Las Vegas, Cancun, Phoenix, North Carolina, Georgia, and Philadelphia. Pretty much within March-June, it was like living off suitcase. As a result, the study was not focused even though I carried my study materials everywhere I went.
I remember the last time (since today, Monday, Sept 22, 2014), I went out was on July 4th weekend. After that, yes I had some family/friends pressure, but I tried to refrain from it as much as I could and studied about 4 hours a day after work and 20 hours between the weekends. Family/friends cooperation is highly important to allow complete focus. This was my strategy! You can label it as having no life!
The following are the materials I used:
PMBOK 5 or the Bible for PMP- read once and read few sections many times as I needed more clarification on a particular term. Read another time in parallel with the video content. E.g. I would finish watching the videos from Scope Management. Right after I would read the Scope chapter and then do all the exercises from other textbooks (also listed below). Finally, I would do all the Scope chapter questions from all the textbooks (comes out to be about 150-200 Scope related questions). I would do the questions once again to ensure I totally understand the concept.
In addition (or in parallel), I used the following items:
PrepCast- watched all the videos pertaining to all the knowledge areas, chapter questions
Head 1st Text Book- skimmed through the book, all the exercises, chapter questions, and the final exam
Sohel's a Textbook- read the text book, all the exercises, chapter questions, and the final exam
Crowe's Textbook- chapter questions and final exam
Rita Mulchay's Textbook- chapter questions
ITU's PMP Course (bought from Groupon)- all the videos, chapter questions, and final exam
PrepCast Simulator- 9 mock exams totaling 1800 questions
PMStudy- one free mock exam
Exam Central- one free mock exam
Applying @ Work- established project charter, project management plan, risk register, stakeholder register, collect requirements, WBS, knowledge base
I believe the total number of questions which I studied (not only answered) were about 4000!
I must say this exam probably took the most effort and time that I had to put in any of the exams in my life (more than what I had to do get a undergraduate and graduate degree). Even at answering last question, I still doubt my self whether I was passing the exam! But handwork paid off! I passed on Saturday, September 20, 2014 (on my birthday)!
I believe the content of PrepCast is highly organized and guides in such a way where one can grow heavy confidence. I must admit that it would have not been accomplished without PrepCast materials (both the videos and the mock exams).
In summary, my recommendation is get some wide range of materials (at least the PMBOK, another text book, and PrepCast Video/Exam Simulator) and have a good plan to execute one of the most important project of your lifetime.
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.