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TOPIC: Passed exam, my experience and study method

Passed exam, my experience and study method 1 year 3 weeks ago #6461

  • Alastiar
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I wrote the exam Nov 10th 2015 and passed it first time. I started studying first week of September. There was probably a week or two in the middle where I barely studied. This is what I did.
• Read through Rita’s book - 1 chapter per day took some light notes (2-3 pages per chapter) and did the practice tests and reviewed answers I got wrong. I didn’t really care about the scores. ~ 3-4 hours per day
• Then I studied Kim Heldmans book – very lightly – just read through it to get a different perspective. I felt the questions were harder at the each of each chapter in this book and I preferred Rita’s guide. ~ 1 -2 hours per day
• Then I signed up for the PM precast (the cheapest option with no exam simulator) I read a chapter of the PMBOK guide (integration for example) then watch the corresponding prepcast videos. I took very detailed notes and essentially wrote my own ‘cheat sheets’ I spent 8 hours a day doing this over 2 weeks (I was not working, had nothing else better to do). Yes I read the whole book.
• I submitted my application to PMI, which took 4 days to approve and scheduled myself to write the exam 12 days later (PMI confirmed app on the 29th, I booked the exam for the 10th of november)
• During that 12 days I read Crowes book and did his practice tests, I did the downloadable 175 question and online 75 question Oliver lehmann exams and scored 82% & 78% I re-did all if Rita’s practice tests and generally scored from 72% to about 90% Crow’s book was very good – but summary level and his questions were too easy. About 6-8 hours per day. I reviewed a few of the prepcast videos.
• I did every free practice test I could find on the internet and generally just filled in the knowledge gaps. I didn't pay for any simulated exams. So many of the practice and free ones were so silly and so not at all similar to the real exam that I can't recommend you pay for practice exams - but I would not say you shouldn't. Up to you. If someone else is paying! go for it. But it can get quite expensive and it's hard to know who to trust. The 3 day trial here on this site was ok.

Now – about the exam – I scored Moderately Proficient in Closing, and proficient in all other levels.
• If I didn’t know an answer quickly, I skipped (marked) it – probably skipped about 60 questions. After the first 75 I took a 5 minute break, after the next 75 I took another 5 minute break. Then I had about 2 hours left and finished the final 50 questions and reviewed the remaining 60 questions or so. I finished with about 25 minutes left - I took my time.
• The questions were quite short and to the point (i.e professional) which I liked, none of these long drawn out questions where they try to be cute or funny like you see in some sample tests.
• Although I scored well – I thought the test was challenging – I gave the computer screen a few 'WTFs' and annoyed sighs. When I finished I accepted that I could have failed (which I didn’t) Questions I didn’t know I just used elimination – there were usually 2 you could get rid of quickly. I wrote down the question on the paper wrote A,B,C,D and crossed off each option - I came back to skipped questions 4-5 times. It was an iteration loop - narrowed 60 down to 30, 30 down to 15, 15 down to 5-10, then guessed the final 5-10. Its true that I think you need to go with the PMI izims and really think ‘what would PMI do’ Which is essentially ‘follow the plan, follow the sequence, address and fix the problems’ You do need to understand the idea behind the tools, techniques - that's important. Memorization won't assure you a passing mark - that is true - but It helps to memorize the ITTOs (I didn't but I knew them 85% well). I wish I could tell you more - I can't. Just study hard. Don't get discouraged during the exam either - I had a point where I skipped a block of about 15 out 20 questions - and by about question 180 I thought 'hmm I don't think I'm going to pass - this is tough' but I did pass and did quite well. It's frustrating that you don't get to see what questions you got wrong in the real exam!
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