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.
I passed the PMP exam last week on my first try, receiving a rating of Proficient in four domains and Moderately Proficient in the other. It took me two months to prepare, spending 2 to 4 hours each day studying. Below I'll outline who I am and what I did to prepare for and pass the PMP exam on my first try, without opening the PMBOK Guide once.
Who I am:
- I'm 27 year old IT consultant and have spent the entirety of my ~5 year career working on client projects, mostly as a functional lead, i.e. not a project manager per se but having similar responsibilities and performing similar activities. I believe my heavy exposure to projects did help connect the dots when learning the material.
How I prepared:
1) The PM PrepCast
- For the first month, I solely used the PM PrepCast to prepare. I spent about 2 hours each day actively listening to the podcast while commuting, completing the podcast exactly a month after beginning. I took the self-assessments at the end of each lesson to check my understanding and scored an average of 80% on each.
- I kept track of my progress through the PM PrepCast with the use of a home-made Excel spreadsheet that listed each video lesson and self-assessment alongside a planned and actual completion date. This helped me forecast my completion date and keep me to the aggressive schedule I had set.
2) Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep book (8th edition)
- On the second month, I began reading the PMP Exam Prep book, going through each chapter and typing up chapter-specific notes in Word. I only did one full pass through the book, but took my time to learn the material and do the book's exercises and end-of-chapter quizzes. It took me a little over 2 weeks to complete reading and taking notes on the book.
- Once I completed the book, I spent the next two weeks (up until the weekend before the exam) reviewing my notes and making sure I understood all of the QuickTest terms listed at the beginning of each chapter.
- Similar to how I kept track of my PM PrepCast progress, I used that same home-made Excel spreadsheet to track and forecast my progress through the book and the review of my notes.
3) Practice Questions
- On the second month, I began doing practice questions from a variety of sources, my favorite being a paid iPhone app called PMP pocketprep. On average, I did about 30 questions each day that second month. I also purchased the PM Formulas PDF and Cheat Sheet and worked through those questions.
- Guess what? I kept track of all the practice questions I took in that same Excel document, noting how many questions I took, which ones I got wrong, what topics I was being tested on, and what my score was. This helped me identify which areas I needed to return to for review.
4) Brain Dumps
- On the second month, I also began practicing my brain dumps: one for the famous process chart and another for the formulas. I made a habit of trying to write out these brain dumps every day, timing myself each time. After about two weeks of practicing, I was able to confidently produce the brain dumps in less than 15 minutes. I kept up this habit up until the weekend before the exam.
5) The PM Exam Simulator
- A week before the exam, I took one full-length practice exam as part of the PM Exam Simulator, which was part of the package when I initially bought the PM PrepCast, and scored an 80%.
As you can see, I never actually read the PMBOK Guide. By dedicating those 2 to 4 hours each day and keeping to a relatively aggressive study schedule, as outlined above, I was able to feel very confident walking into the exam.
Hope this helps - Let me know if you have any questions.
Good Job - 4P's is pretty impressive. Also interesting that you didn't use the PMBOK and could still pretty much ace the exam. I have 3 primary resources myself and am using the prepcast right now and have been feeling like I need to make a choice between rita and PMBOK. Maybe you have just made my decision for me.
Congrats mr PMP
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chris Preziotti
It was towards the end of my preparation did I decide not to use the PMBOK - I originally had planned to skim through it the last week, but after taking the exam simulation, I figured I was good without reading the PMBOK.
So, I'd definitely recommend to choose Rita over the PMBOK, should you have to make the choice.
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.