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TOPIC: Passed on the first try

Passed on the first try 1 year 10 months ago #4814

  • Denis Baklikov
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I’ve passed the exam and now would like to share my exam preparation experience.
It took a bit less than 4 months. I started on the first of August and finished on the 20th of November. Rita’s course was used as a main study book. It was quite difficult for me to understand concepts of “proper project management”. For about ten years I studied PM practices. Before reading the book I thought that I am an experienced PM, but suddenly realized that it is not a proper project management. We often do gold plating, lack of planning and change management. Also our team never plan communications and stakeholder management.

Based on this knowledge I’ve decided to share this information with my colleagues. We created a study group to improve PM processes in the company. In the same time I wrote down a list of areas which were difficult for me. After the end of every chapter I took a day or two to analyze why these areas were difficult for me. It was like a root cause analysis and helped me later.

From the very beginning of preparation I’ve created a study plan. Initially only milestones were placed there (like “read Rita’s course for the first time”, “read PMBOK for the first time”, “view PM Prep cast”). After finishing the second chapter I realized that reading takes too much time and placed control points for every chapter on my study plan. This also helped me to be on schedule.

During the fourth chapter in the course (hello, the hardest part - Integration management) I thought that Rita’s course would not be enough to really understand the topic. So I’ve bought second book – Head First PMP. Later I realized that it was a mistake; there is no need of second prep book. I just have to read the material for 3 times (as advised in the book). After that I was confident that I can pass on the first try.

Another mistake was reserving 10 days to obtain 35 contact hours. I have to view PM PrepCast about 4 hours a day. I couldn’t do anything with it because I placed it nearly in the end of my study plan. If I had a second change to plan, I would spend on it at least 3 weeks and place it in the beginning, before Rita’s course.

Now It is time to tell about hints for the exam. Almost everyone who passed the exam said that “brain dump” is very important. I have quite good in math and earned value formulas seem easy for me. I remembered them at once and never had any difficulties to use then. So I ignored this recommendation. It was another mistake. In the middle of exam I forgot the TPCI formula and answered two questions incorrectly.

The second hint is snacks. They are really important. After about 2.5 hours I was starving and couldn’t think anything but food. So I took a 10 minutes break, ate sandwich and felt well again.

Also I found out that many exam takers wrote rhat they tried to answer more than a thouthand sample questions. I followed Rita's recommendation and have only two pre-tests. However, I tried to understand basic concepts of PMBOK and why the exact processes were selected.

Exam preparation is personal. You sould find your own way of preparation, how to study and understand PM concepts.

Hope my lessons learned will help you!
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