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TOPIC: My Lessons Learnt from the PMP Exam

My Lessons Learnt from the PMP Exam 11 years 8 months ago #40

  • Harwinder Bhatia
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I passed my PMP exam on 11/27/2007. I know it's been a while, but most of the lessons learnt are still relevant.

I'm not going too much into the details of what I did to pass the exam because what worked for me may not work for you. So, I'm cutting the long story short and would highlight some important points only.

Most Important:
  1. Know the terms and definitions in the PMBOK very well and don't forget the glossary. This alone can help you answer about 20% of the exam questions correctly.
  2. I opted for the Whizlabs PMP Exam Simulator (about USD 100 or so) to earn my 35 Contact Hours of PM Education. However, this product has been discontinued. An excellent option that I discovered after I passed my exam, is the PM Prepcast. Recently, I had a chance to evaluate the new video PM Prepcast. You can read my detailed review here .
  3. Two books - PMBOK and Rita's book - are sufficient, except for the topics mentioned below.
  4. Contracts (majority of exam questions put you, the PM, in a situation where you are working under a contract).

Study the following topics from sources other than PMBOK and Rita's book:
  1. Delegation Chapter 4 - Important Issues in Project Organizational Design

    The Human Aspects of Project Management: Organizing Projects for Success, Volume One
    by Vijay K. Verma
    Project Management Institute © 1995

    Available under "eReads and References" with PMI membership; It will be sufficient to answer most delegation questions on the exam.
  2. EVA
  3. PTA (numericals)
  4. Conflict Management (explore sources other than Rita's book - it is not sufficient to answer the exam questions and cost me dearly).
  5. Negotiations
  6. McClelland's theory
  7. Seller fee related numericals.
  8. Contracts (if you can find other good reference material).
Some other thoughts:
  1. EV numericals are straight-forward. No traps. Double check your answers and don't lose out on some easy scoring opportunities.
  2. No questions on drawing a network diagram or calculating critical path. So, know you basics well and don't get carried away with chapter 6 on Rita's book.
  3. There are "out of the blue" questions, which you cannot answer no matter which book you study from. So, expect to see such questions on the exam. Remember, there are 25 "trial" questions, which are not scored. So, who knows ?
  4. You'll have to "guess" on a lot of questions, even on topics that you thought were your stronghold.
  5. Do as many mock exams as possible, but watch out for question fatigue.
  6. I had many questions where the problem statement was exactly the same as in lot of mock exams, BUT the answer choices were different, and most of the time the answer choices had a "twist". No questions straight from the sample exams :(
  7. Many of the questions make you think and some just leave you amazed!!
  8. I did a brain dump during the 15 min tutorial, of the process chart and EV formulas but didn't find any use for them during the exam. I would have been better-off saving some extra energy for the exam. To me, it was a waste of time and effort.
  9. There are a plenty of straight-forward questions - at least 40. If you have studied PMBOK and Rita's book very well (I read both these books at least 3 times each), these should be in your bag.
My score:
  • Initiating - 65%
  • Planning - 86%
  • Executing - 73%
  • M&C - 83%
  • Closing - 90%
  • Prof Resp - 100%
Note: The score report doesn't specify % score anymore. Now it displays proficiency levels - "Below Proficient", "Moderately Proficient" or "Proficient".

All the best to all PMP aspirants !
Harwinder, PMP
My Blog on PMP Certification: Deep Fried Brain
Last edit: by Harwinder Bhatia.
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