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I was blown away when my score came up and I was PROFICIENT in all Process Groups. I did not expect this, but I have to give significant credit to PM Exam Simulator. It was one of the best methods of tracking my progress.
Some Quick Highlights:
I passed on 7 December 2015 with PROFICIENT in all categories.
I did not read the PMBOK guide cover to cover - more on that below
I used the PM Exam Simulator Extensively
Answered nearly 2000 unique PMP practice questions throughout the course of studying
Over the summer I read Head First PMP, which comes highly recommended from many different sources. I have to give this book a lot of credit for the introduction to the material. The PMBOK is dry as a desert, and I just couldn't get through it. Head First made it far more understandable and readable. For the record, I committed a cardinal sin by not reading through the PMBOK. I have read a great deal of the PMBOK, but I just could not bring myself to read cover to cover, in the time that I had available. I realize that is risky, but my EMV calculations convinced me it was okay. I took the full paper-based exam in the back of the Head First book and got an 83%. That was a good start and a confidence boost for me -- I should note that my time in Head First was quite broken. It was an on-again off-again progression. I took the paper test in October (I started reading in July).
I listened to the PM-Prepcast on my commutes and whenever I had time to listen. I only got through about 3/4 of them, but I would recommend them if you have the money and the time to listen. It helped contribute to the "body of knowledge" that I absorbed over the course of my studies.
For me the PM Exam Simulator was the ticket. If I could make one recommendation to everyone, it is to get the exam simulator and take numerous quizzes to gauge your standing. Study the material and target your learning around your weaknesses. From there start taking full length exams. Get your test-taking time under control -- for me I was able to get all tests around 3 hours (including the real exam). I took four full length exams. I started three weeks out by taking a full four hour exam. I passed with an 82%. I studied the results, read the PMBOK to reinforce and a week later took Test 2. I received an 81%. I studied again in what I call "Exam Recovery Week", then the weekend before my exam (a Monday), I took a full length exam on Friday and another one on Saturday, receiving an 82% and an 86%, respectively. I felt pretty good at this point.
I took other's recommendations and didn't really study the day before the exam.
Dump Sheet - Practice your dump sheet. Put anything and everything on there you think you'll need. You probably won't need most of it in the real exam, but the effort of writing it out, while timing yourself, will help you prepare for those vital 15 minutes. I practiced the dump sheet every day the week of the exam. The day before the exam, I wrote it out twice just to further hammer it home.
ITTO Spreadsheet - Based on some examples I found online, I created my own version of the ITTO Spreadsheet listing and color-coding all of the ITTOs. This ended up being a huge help as I was able to use it as a companion to my studying. Whenever I had a question about where a "Change Request", for example, was used, I would sort and immediately see where it came from and where it went.
PMP Exam Prep App (For Android) - This is a great app. I used this everyday to take their quizzes. I probably answered 200 questions or more using this application. It's free. I'd highly recommend it.
PMP Wallchart - I found a poster sized wall chart on Amazon.com that ended up helping me think through some of the relationships. It was hard to navigate at times, and didn't really start to make sense until much later in my studies, but I did find it useful. I'd put this low on the tools that really contributed to my success.
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.