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Hello Cornelius, Yolanda Mabutas and the entire OSP team,
Started my new year on a great note - I passed my PMP exam on the very first try on 1/5/2015!!
Thank you very much for the great PMP tutorials and the reliable help desk support. The video lessons are outstanding and the exam simulator is superb. The PrepCast explains the PMBOK guide concepts very lucidly. I liked Cornelius’ narration peppered with examples from his experience. Personally I felt that watching the videos, getting 80% in the simulator exams and one pass through Andy Crowe’s book should prepare you just fine to take the final exam
Here are some lessons I learned on my way to becoming a PMP:
1. "Procrastination is the enemy #1" – I should know better for until I finally stopped rescheduling my exams (I pushed it out from Oct'14 to Nov'14 to Dec'14 and finally took the exam in Jan'15) my approach to study was rather casual and laidback. If I would recommend one thing to all aspirants, it would be to schedule your exam at the earliest and don’t reschedule it unless there is a catastrophic event. A hard deadline will awaken the student in you to meet the exam deadline Also be honest with your preparation effort - treat it like a job interview and not just an exam. This attitude helped me in avoiding my ADHD challenged brain from wandering off when the video was playing on my laptop
2. My Preparation steps:
a) First went through Rita Mulcahy's PMP book to get a feel of the topics. I would answer the sample questions at the end of each chapter. My organization has a strong emphasis on PM processes. So it was easy for me to correlate what I read in Rita's book with what I was actually doing in my project. I used to jot down notes for my reference in my own language. My notes served as a concise refresher course before the exam.
b) To get a hold of the formulas, referred to the PMP exam math book from McGrawHill. I borrowed this book from the library and worked through all the 10 sample tests on the CD (about 100 questions)
c) PMBOK hardcopy one glance (highlighted the imp points with a felt tip pen for refresh before the exam)
d) The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try, Fifth Edition by Andy Crowe. I borrowed this book from the library based on Cornelius' recommendation.
e) Watched all the videos in order. I tried using my IPAD but soon switched over to my laptop since I hate ITunes. So, I created an excel sheet with hyperlinks to the videos on my desktop folder. Clicking on the hyperlinks would open the video in my favorite player .I would color the row green after watching the video which also served as a visual dashboard on my completion status.
f) Completed all the 9 simulator exams in the PM-Prepcast exam simulator once. Even after I started scoring more than 80% from the second exam on, I persisted through all the remaining 8 exams. This was crucial to develop the ability to sit on a chair for 4 hours and remaining focused on the exam. I practiced the simulator exams just as I would take the final exam - use the first 15 min for a brain dump and then take the 4 hour exam in once stretch.
And now for the final exam:
As Cornelius suggested, it is ideal to carry at least two forms of IDs. I have a really long name due to which my driver's license has only my last name. So I carried the Indian passport as my ID. But in the end, the Prometric folks felt comfortable using my USA driver's license for identification! And do plan to reach the venue at least an hour before the exam. My exam was at 8 in the morning and I started at 7 and covered a distance that normally takes less than 20 min in about 50 min due to the snow and icy rain. Still I was in time for the exam.
The exam is not very difficult. If you have managed projects and have a decent grasp of the processes followed in your work, working through the study aid will definitely help you pass the exam. A good command on the English language is definitely beneficial.
The exam had a lot of situational questions that were a bit confusing. Even though I could eliminate two of the 4 options easily, both of the remaining options seemed correct (also the countdown timer at the top right corner of the screen was a bit intimidating) for such questions I would make a selection, mark the question for review and moved forward. I had a good one hour to review the 30 questions that I had marked. In hindsight, I might have fared better in the exam if I had revisited the study material after each simulator exam to reinforce the concepts for the mistakes I committed in the simulator exams.
As regards the (in)famous ITTO topic - PMBOK guide has ITTO summary for each chapter at the beginning of the chapter (page 65 has it for Integration management) I stapled the ITTO pages from all the chapters and looked through them just before I started from home with the hope of regurgitating at least some from memory. In reality though I didn’t need to recall anything from memory in the exam. I could figure out the ITTO by eliminating the wrong choices and then reconstructing the required ITTO from the remaining choice(s). So don't fret if you can't memorize the ITTO. If you still are keen on mastering ITTO, take the exam 9 in the simulator a few times!
For three months straight if you can dedicate about 1.5 hours each day reading the materials and watching the videos followed by one week exclusively on simulator exams you will be more than ready for the final exams
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.