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TOPIC: I passed - here are my thoughts on study and exam.

I passed - here are my thoughts on study and exam. 1 year 3 months ago #6462

  • Alastair Schwier
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I wrote the exam Nov 10th 2015 and passed it first time. I essentially studies 2 months This is what I did:
• Read Rita’s book –1 chapter per day took light notes (2-3 pages per chapter) did the practice tests and reviewed answers I got wrong. It took me 2 weeks ~ 3-4 hours per day.
• Then I read 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. I did this over about a week.
• Then I signed up for the PM precast (the cheapest option with no exam simulator) I read a chapter of the PMBOK guide then watch the prepcast integration videos. I took very detailed notes and essentially wrote my own ‘cheat sheets’ I spent 8 hours a day doing this over 2 weeks. Yes I read the whole book.
• I submitted my application to PMI, which took 4 days and scheduled myself to write the exam 12 days later (PMI confirmed app on the 29th, I booked the exam for the 10th)
• 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. I felt his questions were a little too easy
• I did every free practice test I could find on the internet and generally just filled in the gaps.
My thoughts on the exam: - I went in to it very confident.
• Once I started if I didn’t know the answer within about 20 seconds I marked the question and skipped it. After the first 75 questions I took a break for 5 minutes. Then after 150 questions I took another break. That gave me 2 hours left to finish the final 50 questions and review all the skipped questions (I skipped about 60 of them) – If in doubt just mark the question – even if you are 95% sure – mark it anyways.
• I then did few passes of the skipped questions – I to 60 and narrowed it down to 40, then to 20 then to about 10 – the final 5-10 I just guessed. When I really had to think about it I would write down A, B, C, D for each question and then cross off each one as I decided it was not likely the answer. Usually you can cross of 2 quickly. I ended with about 25 minutes left to spare.
• I passed with 4 proficient and 1 moderately proficient in closing - it took about 1-2 minutes to pop up the score after the test ended - It felt like an eternity.
• I felt the exam was very hard. There was a point where I skipped about 15 of 20 questions and by question 160 or so I felt maybe I would fail – but I just had no idea. So don’t get discouraged. I didn’t feel that good but scored well in the end.
• I thought that every question in the exam was suitably covered in the PMBOK guide. Maybe I was lucky, but I don’t understand people who say there is material on the test that is outside of the PMBOK. I didn’t experience that. I felt it was 99.99999% PMBOK based.
• The questions were short – direct and to the point – none of this trying to be funny or playing games or trying to trick you business. I liked that.
• Some say you get easy, medium and hard questions – I agree with that. Probably equal on each - but I felt the math questions were all easy
• Most questions you need to understand what your next step should be - or what you should have done - its not easy the videos are right - you really have to understand what the PMBOK is trying to get across. You don’t need to memorize the ITTOs (does not hurt) but you should understand their patterns – understand most planning requires expert judgement and meetings and control processes usually have the same 5 outputs, understand what can go wrong if you forget to do something or forget a process.
• Be careful of online practice exams – I found almost all of them to be too easy, but they were good at helping direct me to where I was weak.
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I passed - here are my thoughts on study and exam. 1 year 3 months ago #6469

  • Tracey South
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Congrats Alastair! Thank you for such a thorough set of lessons-learned.

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