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TOPIC: PMP Passed - 1st Attempt LL

PMP Passed - 1st Attempt LL 2 years 1 month ago #4695

  • John Winters
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Passed my exam last week, first attempt. Here is what I discovered (or learned) throughout the process.

Study materials:

Used extensively:
PMBOK Guide 5th
PMP Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide, 7th ed. Heldman, Kim
Project Management PrepCast
PrepCast Exam Simulator
Sample Exam Questions: PMI Project Management Professional (PMP), Estrella, Duncan, Zahran, Haner, Jen

Other Material
Heads First PMP
Various WebSites and You Tube videos.
PM Prepcast Flashcards

OK, so basically started listening and reviewing the PrepCast videos. This was an active process as I made notes, jotted down terms and concepts on 3x5 flash cards, I often stopped the presentations and referenced the same information in the PMBOK guide and also the PMP study guide. I think overall I completed about 70% of the PrepCast videos.

Next (this occurred concurrently with watching the PrepCast ), I basically outlined the PMBOK guide, I went chapter by chapter, reading it and making notes on each topic from both the PMBOK guide and also the PMP study guide. If there were areas that I was unsure of or that I wanted more details on, I would go online and find either a more detailed explanation or a You Tube video. This was very helpful for items such as EVM, Critical Path, and Critical Chain. Also I incorporated images from both the PMBOK and internet sites to illustrate key concepts such as graph types, Process flows, and other related information I felt was valuable to me. In all, my notes once completed were about 170 pages and took about 4 weeks.

Now that I had my notes, flashcards, and other related information completed and ready to go, I started taking the PMP exams, both via the books and also through the PM PrepCast Exam Simulator along with the quizzes. I did the first exam in it's entirety to see where I was at and also what was involved. From there, I started to review areas that I was failing in and working on items that I didn't feel comfortable with. In all, I probably took about 8 complete exams prior to the real thing. I was averaging about 70 or so when I first started and got up to around 80-85 on the final ones I took. I also created my "brain dump" sheet during this process, memorizing all the formulas, process and knowledge areas and many of the ITTO's, along with some other basic information that I felt was useful.

So all that being said, I still had some concerns going into the exam. Here is what I learned from that. The exam was totally different than any of the simulators or paper exams that I had taken. I found that the exam was much "trickier" in wording and overall delivery of questions. If I hadn't really worked through the concepts and overall understanding of key areas I don't believe I would have passed. While the simulators and test preps I took helped in time management and getting used to thinking about these areas, it really did boil down to complete understanding of the concepts. As far as my "brain dump" went, frankly I could have thrown it away. While you do have to know all of the formulas just in case, I think I had a total of about 6 questions where I had to use a formula, same with Critical path, I only had 3 or 4 questions related to that area. While it was nice to quickly look and see the correct information, frankly if you have memorized all of that information enough to write it down from scratch numerous times, you can recall it during the exam, unless you just get flustered. It took me almost the entire 4 hours to complete and review my exam. I did not take any breaks during this period, (just how I tend to get when I focus in), the hardest part was of course the wait after you click the submit button, that seemed to be a very long 3 minutes before the "Congratulations" notice popped up. Once that was done, then a quick sigh of relief because I really didn't want to take the exam again.

So that's how I did it, I took about 6 weeks of serious study and like I,and many others, have said the exam really isn't about read and regurgitate, understanding and application of the knowledge areas are the most critical. I would focus on those areas more if I had to do it over again and less on "formulas, calculations, and critical path".
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