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TOPIC: 4P1MP 1st try by Osmosis!

4P1MP 1st try by Osmosis! 1 year 11 months ago #4981

  • Alistair Duguid
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Passed today on my first attempt.

My background has less traditional project management, and more Agile methods instead. I decided to do the PMP for two reasons: Firstly, my current employer has a PMO that embraces traditional, PMBOK-style, project management practices more than my previous one. Secondly, even if I am rejecting or at least not fully embracing some traditional project management practices, I need to be able to do so from a position of authority. (In other words, if you want to argue religion with someone, you have to study his holy book first!)

I embarked on my study path about 7 months ago by enrolling in a PMP prep course sponsored by my local PMI chapter. At the time, I didn't know enough about the PMP requirements and the PMBOK itself to be able to benefit fully from it. The main thing I got out of the course itself was a shock - after attending, I realized that I had a lot of work to do to get my PMP! With this course I got the PMBOK in hard copy, as well as Rita Mulcahy's guide. They also had us do the free Lehmann test near the beginning of this course.

After the course, I started attending study group sessions once or twice a week with other students I met at the course. That was very helpful in getting me started in understanding the PMBOK. At around the same time, I found the PM Prepcast and Cornelius, and signed up for the prepcast and the exam simulator, after trying the free simulator for a few days.

I suppose that Cornelius' presentation style isn't for everyone, but I found it very interesting, and I thought the prepcast and the simulator were both very professionally put together products. I especially liked the length of the prepcasts. Work and other obligations would keep on derailing my study plans, but I often found time to watch a quick prepcast video among my other daily tasks.

In addition to the Prepcast and the simulator, and the PMBOK and Mulcahy books as mentioned. I bought the Scordo test book, and every now and then I would google around too to find relevant articles, blog posts, and tips and tricks.

About 3 or four months in (September/October), my study group had kind of fallen apart, as one member passed his PMP already, and everyone else's attendance got spotty. At this point, I was pretty busy at work too, and watching a prepcast video was my only active study. I realized I had to get serious, or I would never pass the thing. I therefore stepped up taking prep exams and other tests. Until then, I had only really done quizzes on the simulator, due my still incomplete knowledge of the PMBOK, and also the difficulty of blocking out four hours in my schedule, and I only started taking full length practice exams in September.

I was generally scoring in the 70 per cent range, and made it my goal to get into the 80's before sitting the exam. Sometime in November, I booked a late December exam date. I had told my boss that I was going to get my PMP in 2014, so I couldn't leave it any longer, and that was additional incentive as well.

The most interesting thing about my method at this stage is that by this point I wasn't actually spending much time at all reading Rita, or the PMBOK, or any other source material than the Prepcast. Instead, I was playing and replaying prepcasts or fragments of them, and doing simulator quizzes and exams. When I got a quiz question wrong, I would read the explanation, and only went back to the PMBOK or Rita if I didn't understand the explanation in the simulator.

And then a funny thing started happening. I noticed it particularly in late November and early December, the four or five weeks before my exam date. My exam scores started creeping up. Not by a lot, just five or ten per cent, but that was exactly the amount by which I needed them to improve so as to start feeling more confident about passing. I didn't really do anything special in terms of study. It seemed that just repeated exposure to the podcasts and to the exam questions was giving me a greater level of understanding of the material, rather than any explicit effort on my part. I started to think I was absorbing the knowledge by osmosis!

Another strange thing happened in my learning too. I had been advised by many folks that I needed to memorize the table of domains and knowledge areas, and to be able to reproduce it on demand as a memory aid for the exam. It was getting to less than one month before the exam, and I hadn't tried more than once or twice (mostly with the study group earlier in the year) to do this. But in December when I started this memorization, I found that I knew most of it already, just from my familiarity with the prepcasts. It took me no more than two tries to be able to reproduce the table at will, and I did it again this morning in the exam room at Prometric. This amazed me, as I expected this memorization task to be difficult, and I was very surprised that it wasn't. Again, I must have absorbed this information subconsciously as I listened and relistened to Cornelius in the podcasts, and deepened my understanding of the contents of the individual knowledge areas in the PMBOK. More osmosis!

By the time I sat the exam, I was scoring in the 80s on practice exams, so I was reasonably optimistic about my chances of passing. I didn't however expect to get four Proficients. The Closing domain was the one I slipped up on, and got only Moderately Proficient. Still, this was a better overall result than I had been hoping for, so I was pleased.

During my study, I tracked all of my exam results in Excel, and was able to observe the slow but steady improvement in my scores over time. I am attaching an image of that spreadsheet. It shows my scores for the one Lehmann and 5 Scordo tests I did, as well as a number of exam simulator quizzes (labeled "PMPEQ") and exams (labeled "PMP Exam").

In closing, I'd like to thank Cornelius, the entire Prepcast team, but also you, the other posters here, for sharing your inspiring stories. The least I could do was add mine.
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Last Edit: 1 year 10 months ago by Alistair Duguid. Reason: adding image file
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