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TOPIC: I failed my first attempt

I failed my first attempt 1 year 1 month ago #6291

  • Jay Fitzgerald
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I took the PMP exam on October 9th and failed it. I studied intensely for it and I feel disappointed in myself. I found out right before the exam, that I had been studying all wrong. Here's how I studied:

1. Enrolled in a PMP Bootcamp at a local community college.
2. Studies Rita's book (This was the textbook used for the class)
3. Took multiple simulated exams on examcentral
4. Took a simulated exam from the disc that came from Rita's book.

I took the exam from Rita's disc th night before my actual PMP exam. Once I took her exam, I knew I was headed for failure. The exam on her disc was much more difficult than the exams I had taken on examcentral.

I had studied, uneffectively, inefficiently, and not with the correct material. I am now in the process of trying to start over again and refocus my efforts. I had 4 below proficient and 1 mostly proficient. I had a good brain dump with the 47 processes and all the formulas. My problem were the situational questions. I need help with those.

Those who have taken th exam, what wou,d you recommend for me? I am debating between the prepcast with exam simulator and the PM CoaxhStudy with 10 weeks of recorded coaching. Please let me know which would work better.

I failed my first attempt 1 year 1 month ago #6294

  • Derek Satz
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Hey Jay,

Sorry to hear about your results. The PMP exam is a really difficult one so don't feel that you are alone. Hearing what you went through is not just studying the wrong stuff though, it's studying the wrong stuff the amount of time that you studied it. The way to correct this is have a coach, they can direct you in what type of questions will be on the exam as well as subjects that will only have 1-3 questions vs subjects that will have 5-15 questions.

As far as taking practice exams, you want to take quite a few. Generally speaking you aren't going to be ready for the exam until you score about an 80% on solid test questions. With that said, some people still fail when they score 80% on solid test questions, some people pass with scoring less than an 80%. It's just a rule of thumb and a good milestone.

Full circle, I would invest in a coach they can guide you what to learn and highlight ways to learn the material quickly and efficiently. I would also aim to take lots of practice questions.

I failed my first attempt 1 year 1 month ago #6300

  • Jay Fitzgerald
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Hi Derek,

Thanks for your input. The issue I have is with funding. So, I'm trying to use my PM skills to create a budget and stay under it. I believe the PM coaching I will need from a live coach will be little more than I can afford at almost $90/hr. I believe I would need at least 4 or more 1 hr sessions. Do you think the recorded coaching sessions will work just as well, or will I need to add more to my cost baseline? :)

I failed my first attempt 1 year 1 month ago #6301

  • Derek Satz
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I understand completely. The boot camps are hit or miss. It's lot of information to memorize over a couple days when the PMP exam itself is not about memorization. So from the start, the forces are against you for the PMP. That's not to say that boot camps don't work - but they are hit or miss.

I still think that free advice can be dangerous advice. I would talk to someone that does this professionally - teaching people how to pass this exam. It may well mean that they you need a lot of work but the chances are you have a lot of knowledge and now you just need to know how to sort it out and make sense of it.

At the same time, the longer you go from the exam the more vulnerable you become to forgetting all that you have memorized and will in turn just stretch it out and turn the PMP voyage into a long dismal path that leads to nothing but frustration. It really doesn't have to be that hard.

You you need a handful of things to pass the PMP exam:
1) Drive - have to want it. And good thing for you it seems like you got that
2)An open schedule - it takes time to pass the exam. No matter what way you cut it, it's time consuming. It just doesn't have to insanely time consuming.
3)The right tools. Very difficult to screw in a screw with a hammer. Very difficult to pass the exam without using great test questions, and solid notes.
4) Good advice. Since most people don't take 4 hour exams regularly I would tap a resource (coach) that can tell you how to use the tools, what tools you should use and come up with a schedule to fit into your time because this is what they do.


With that said where do you start? Take a breath, you failed it happens to a lot of people with the PMP exam. Next off, I would recheck your schedule make sure you can commit to it and hopefully you have because you're almost there.

Finally, I would then contact a coach and they can evaluate if you even need their help and how much help you might need if you do need help and make the best recommendations to you. It's worth a phone call/e-mail.

Anything past that, "Use this book", "Do this", could very well be subjective based off what worked for that person. I would go to someone that has helped many people in your same spot.

All of that take it with a grain of salt and good luck with what ever move you decide to do. Let me know if you have any questions.

I failed my first attempt 1 year 1 month ago #6306

  • Jay Fitzgerald
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Thanks again for your input Derek.

I contacted the customer support for StudyCoach. I am disappointed to say that they weren't very helpful. The lady who answered my email just basically brushed me off and led me back here to the Lessons Learned forum. Do you or anyone else know of a phone number or a different email address to the StudyCoach team?

I failed my first attempt 1 year 1 month ago #6308

  • Cornelius Fichtner
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Hello Jay,

I was at the PMI Global Conference for the past 5 days and did not have any time to participate in this discussion until today. I will review in more detail later and get back to you personally.
Until Next Time,
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM
President, OSP International LLC

I failed my first attempt 1 year 1 month ago #6309

  • Cornelius Fichtner
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Hello again Jay,

So I reviewed your situation, questions and also looked at the ticket in our helpdesk support.

Let me first of all say that Yolanda who answered the question you sent to support did not intend to brush you off. I'm sorry if it came across that way. Our support team is primarily focused on the technical side of things. They help mostly with lost passwords and access problems. They are not project managers and they are not PMPs. So your question was a little bit "outside of their league" and from that perspective Yolanda did the right thing by asking you to post the question in this forum where students and PMPs can help you.

My personal recommendation at this time is for you to buy the PrepCast/Simulator bundle.

The PM StudyCoach will not really help you. It is more intended for those students who are just starting out their studies but have no idea where to start. The recorded lessons help them (week after week) to understand what they need to study and in which order. You have already gone through the study-cycle once and you know your weak areas. (Situational questions).

Therefore my recommendation to you would be to get the PrepCast/Simulator. Watch the lessons in modules 1-3, then 5-13 and finally 4. (Watch the others at your convenience). Most modules also have self-assessment questions at the end that you can take.

In parallel to the lessons you can then begin to answer questions in the simulator by Knowledge Area.

One final thought... you want to make sure that you schedule your next exam before Jan 11 2016. The PMP exam will change on that day and about 25% of questions are going to be updated. This is a normal process that happens every 3-5 years and it just falls onto January.

I will also respond to you personally via the ticket in our support helpdesk.
Until Next Time,
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM
President, OSP International LLC

I failed my first attempt 1 year 1 month ago #6310

  • Jay Fitzgerald
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Cornelius,

Thank you for your reply and your incite. I've responded to your help desk email.
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