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Certified on May 26- Second Attempt
2 years 5 months ago #5682
On May 26th, it was the best day of my life for I felt that all my hard work had finally been paid off.
As you may have seen with the subject line, I took the PMP once before in January and did not pass. I had thought that being a very good "student" and my experience would have been enough. I've taken MANY standardized test like the MCAT, GMAT, GRE, etc but this PMP such was THE HARDEST test I've ever taken. The biggest shocker for me was the time. Not really the length of the test because I've had finals and other standardized exams that long but I was shocked at the fact that THERE ARE NO REAL BREAKS! You have to depend on yourself to PLAN, EXECUTE, and MONITOR/CONTROL your breaks. (Its a bit fitting that you have to use the same skills you learned about that is on the test to pass the test in real life )
So, the first time around I knew that you had to know everything by the PMBOK and not base your answers on real world experience but what I didn't know was the test should really be called PMP+. You can't just read and memorize the PMBOK and expect to pass this exam. In fact, there are things on the PMP that isn't in the PMBOK! On that note, the first time around, I did EVERYTHING wrong. I memorized all the knowledge areas, all the key terms, all the processes, and thought I would be good to go. I use my 15 mins before the exam to do a brain dump of all the processes and formulas and obviously it didn't work since I didn't pass. My biggest lessons learned was that you DO NOT HAVE TO MEMORIZE! In fact, some places will even say DON'T MEMORIZE those 48 processes. Instead UNDERSTAND them! Know where they exist in the process groups, know WHY you qualitative comes before quantitative in risk, know WHY you VALIDATE the deliverable in Control quality and accept the deliverable in Control Scope. These are the things that I wish I knew the first time around. Therefore, on the second time around my brain dump was more about concepts that I've seen from all the practice tests I took or areas that I knew I kept forgetting and would be crucial to know for the exam such as: Who is Deming, Kaizen? Where are deliverables validated? When do you use a contingency budget? What does CPI <1 mean in terms of performance on a budget? These were items that I knew going into the test but wanted to make sure that it didn't slip my mind when the pressure was on because they will ask you about CPI <1 but they were use every verbiage in the dictionary to trick you and question yourself; and it you are getting tired you might not realize that <b>under</b> budget is the same as >1! (I sure lost time the first time around reconfirming which way that sign should face.)
Luckily for me, I went on a venture to find other materials to help me study. It wasn't until came across the PM Precast prep emails that all my studying habits changed. Receiving those periodic emails about the various formulas, major concepts, and even TEST TAKING STRATEGIES was the MAIN reason why I passed. They were able to explain very well in every-day terminology why and how to use each formula and even give you hints on exam taking strategies which the first time I took for granted assuming I wouldn't need it.
For all those who have test anxiety or are just bad at test taking, I'm one of those as well. The first time around, I was too afraid to take a break so by the end of the exam I was STARVING, TIRED, and exhausted. The second time I didn't care if I was afraid didn't have time and instead trusted my planning. I knew that I practice the breaks and having the apple during my break, so I figured it should work at the test; and it did! One item that really worked for me was the apple right before the exam and a "diet" shake. Basically as you know most "diet" shakes are designed to burn calories and such BUT they are also designed to keep you full and energized without jitters. So this time around I drink that prior to the exam instead of my fav frap coffee which made me anxious and crash from the sugar rush the first time.
All and all, I hope these inputs help those who are currently studying for the test and that you can learn from my mistakes. Trust your self, trust your studying (if you put the right effort into it), and don't be afraid to just take it once just to get all the jitters out. You have three chances in a approval cycle so don't be afraid to try and see what works for you learn from it as I did. On that note, good luck to everyone and you can do it!
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.