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I first took the exam August 6th , which I failed (miserably). My assessment to why I failed was as follows:
1- ineffective preparation.
. I spent too much time focusing on ITTO.
. I used too many prep sources.
. I took some practice exams that lead me to underestimate how hard the real exams (these commercial practice exams were unrealistic. they were too easy compared to the real exam)
2- Poor exam taking skills (mainly time management.
. Although I read a lot , I never took a full length practice exam. instead I used to take 20-50 questions at a time. I though the time I made on those pilot-sample practice exams could be extrapolated to a full-length exam(I was wrong!!).
I started preparing for the second attempt the moment I stepped out of the exam center. I went back to my office and rescheduled for September 17th. shortly afterwards I bought prepcastR subscription and began studying , starting with my areas of weakness. I immediately noticed the difference between prepcast and the material I used the first time , the precast is more comprehensive, elaborative and really geared towards the real PMP exam , it can be a very effective stand-alone prep material. Since I had been preparing before I had my first attempt, going through the material the second time was much easier and more focused. The material itself is very effective regardless of your prior level of preparation. I was selective in my studies and practice because I knew my weaknesses. Yesterday I took the exam and passes it with ease. My take home tips:
1. time is your #1 enemy , so prepare well to manage your time effectively during the exam.
2. if this is your 1st attempt go through the whole material systematically (based on the prepcast course design).
3. Rather than focusing on memorizing the material one should focus on using the material to develop an attitude or a common sense directed towards problem solving in a scenario context.
4. Never underestimate the exam , it is really hard and you are expected to approach your preparation with this spirit.
5. Don't spend too much time on memorizing ITTOs.
6. make sure you know your calculations and that you are able to do them quickly. there will be situations in the exam when you will need for fish for the information you need to plug into your formula , other situations are straight forward (plug and play type of questions).
7. although there are some tricky questions (e.g tricky wording) don't assume that all questions are traps.
8. Start reading the question at the end (it worked very well for me) , train your eye to immediately go for the sentince with the question mark "?" , sometimes all you need to know is in that sentence! and of course if you need to go back and read the full paragrapg , you will read it with the question already in mind which will help you process it faster (this well save you valuable time).
9. if you notice a very lengthy question (one or more long paragraphs) or overly complicated diagrams , the real question is probably much simpler than it appears to be. so read the last sentence to save time.
10. don't worry about complicated calculations , but make sure that you know which formula to use (there are often more than one formula to chose from).
11. the prepcast simulator exams are very very realistic. make sure you do the full exam with the clock ticking. taking the full exam not only will it give a wider range of exposure to the material or help you manage your time, it will also help you manage anxiety , mental and physical stress.
12. don't used too many perp sources.
13. don't feel tempted to skip on studying small groups (initiation and closing) more question/process are awarded to these groups.
14.finally: time..time..time.. keep it in mind, practice monitoring it, maging it and controlling it.
Thanks for such an open post! Congratulations for not losing your motivation after your first attempt and getting right back to studying. That must have been a very tough thing to do. I think your advice is spot on.
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.