Congratulations! Let us know your lessons learned and how our products have helped you prepare.
Please remember that you are not allowed to discuss any specific questions that you encounter on the exam.
1. Purchased and read Rita Mulcahy’s latest edition study guide. (It contains a lot of good information for project management, but more than what was needed for the exam.)
2. Purchased PMP Project Management Professional Study Guide,4th Edition.
3. Purchased the PM Prepcast and watched all L.00 instructions for using the PM Prepcast.
4. Watched all of the L##.00 top level lesson overviews for each knowledge area.
5. For each knowledge area I then used the following approach:
a. Read the Knowledge Area chapter in the PMP Project Management Professional Study Guide,4th Edition.
b. Watched the L##.## detail videos for that knowledge area in the PM Prepcast.
c. Read the corresponding chapter for that Knowledge Area in the PMBOK5.
6. Purchased the PM Prepcast Simulator.
7. Summary of study activities:
a. Took a total of 76 quizzes from various sources.
b. Took 4 “short” tests varying from 100 to 175 questions.
c. Took 7 full length Simulator tests (6 from OSP and 1 from another source).
d. In total I answered 3,839 questions, of which 2,959 were correct. (Average of 77%)
e. My total study time for reading, flash cards and answering questions was 291 hours.
f. Results from the 7 full length simulator tests:
12/10/2014 PMP Exam Trainer Exam 1: 170 out of 200 = 85.0%
12/12/2014 Prepcast Simulator Exam 1: 158 out of 200 = 79.0%
12/22/2014 Prepcast Simulator Exam 2: 158 out of 200 = 79.0%
12/28/2014 Prepcast Simulator Exam 3: 160 out of 200 = 80.0%
12/31/2014 Prepcast Simulator Exam 4: 157 out of 200 = 78.5%
01/01/2015 Prepcast Simulator Exam 5: 155 out of 200 = 77.5%
01/02/2015 Prepcast Simulator Exam 6: 161 out of 200 = 80.5%
g. ITTO questions were especially challenging for me and by 3 days before the exam, the idea of memorizing all of them was so DAUNTING that the negative psychology rendered my study time unproductive. As a workaround, I changed my goal from learning all ITTO’s to simply raising my score by 9 more questions (4.5%). I knew that would be enough for me to feel comfortable going into the exam. The solution then became as simple as carefully reading the PMBOK guide a second time.
8. During the exam I read each question slowly and thoroughly, which took me a total of 3 hours and 40 minutes with no breaks. I then used the last 15 minutes to review questions that I had marked. (This was 35 to 40 minutes longer than the simulator tests had taken.)
9. I scored “Proficient” in Initiating, Executing and Monitoring & Controlling and “Moderately Proficient” in Planning and Closing.
10. Lessons learned:
a. Don’t waste too much time with resources that are difficult to read or understand. There are many authors with different writing styles and it is WELL worth your time to find one that writes in a style that is easy for you to understand and relate.
b. Buy the PM Prepcast and Simulator as a bundle.
c. Tackle each knowledge area one at a time by first reading the chapter in the study guide of your choice, then watch the corresponding PM Prepcast videos, then read the corresponding chapter in the PMBOK Guide. This really reinforced the concepts for me.
d. Read the PMBOK guide cover to cover a second time before using the simulator.
e. Memorize the 47 processes by writing the chart on paper over and over again. Don’t waste your time memorizing the Rita Mulcahy planning processes. They are good for project management, but they do not match the planning processes in the PMBOK5.
f. Allow a day or two lag between each simulated test so you don’t get burned out.
g. Give yourself enough time to take all 9 tests in the simulator and then carefully read the PMBOK one last time before taking the exam.
h. I recommend taking the simulated tests at the same time of day that you will be taking the real exam to replicate your anticipated frame of mind. For me it was from 8:00 am to 12:00pm. Pace yourself and take a short “breather” break or two without leaving your chair like you will during the real exam.
i. Don’t panic if you have trouble replicating your dump sheet during the first 15 minutes. I did what I could without causing undue stress for myself and then filled it in as new data came up during the exam.
j. I found the questions in the actual exam to be far more vague and ambiguous than those in the simulator. The widespread use of improper sentence structure and poor word selection were a formidable distraction to me.
k. Don’t get used to having coffee or food during your simulator tests because you won’t have them at your desk during the exam.
l. If you need food or water during your break, they will make you exit the test room and sign out. After your break they will make you go through the whole process of checking ID, emptying your pockets, metal detector and signing in again. Depending on how crowded they are, it could easily turn a 10 minute break into 20 or 25 minutes, so plan accordingly.
m. You will not have access to your locker during any breaks.
n. While all of this seems a little daunting, don’t let it be a turn off. It’s well worth it to maintain the integrity of the credential, because the last thing we want is for PMI to make the process easier and de-value our investment.
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.