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TOPIC: Question Passed It! (BP, MP, P, MP, MP) Lessons Learned

Passed It! (BP, MP, P, MP, MP) Lessons Learned 2 years 6 months ago #6624

  • Nik
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Final Score: BP, MP, P, MP, MP (BP = Below Proficient, P = Proficient, MP = Moderately Proficient)
Study Time: 3 Months (Took the test in early December 2015)
Study Materials Used:
Rita Book
PM PrepCast (To get the 35 hour certificate)
PMP Exam Simulator

See the entire lessons learned here, including how the exam compares with the PMP Exam Simulator. If someone could take my link below and properly format and repost it here in the forum, that would be appreciated. I tried to do it, and then got a server error. It then erased all my formatting work, which demotivated me from trying to post all the text here...

Passed It! (BP, MP, P, MP, MP) Lessons Learned 2 years 5 months ago #6740

  • Cecil D'Souza
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Congratulations Nick. I had a chance to review the contents of the link provided.

Your feedback was quite informative and a good guide. I also noticed many people saying that they had numerous CPM questions with diagram on the test. The one you described in your link seems puzzling to me. First you had circles which were numbered and then you had alphabets along the arrows. I did not understand the diagram. Can you elaborate on the example given?.

CONTENTS of the link sent by Nik.

tudy Materials Used:
Rita Book
PM PrepCast (To get the 35 hour certificate)
PMP Exam Simulator

My review of the Materials above

Rita was a great book to read, but it is 600 pages. As I read a chapter, I typed shorter notes on that chapter. By the end of reading all of Rita, I had 45 typed pages of notes. I really recommend typing out these notes as these are the ones you’ll refer to. You don’t want to have to re-read a 600 page book twice.

PMP Exam Simulator - This was my favorite resource to study from. There are 1800 questions and you can break up the quizzes by category. I only started using PMP Exam simulator after I read Rita. If I had to do it again, I would use PMP Exam simulator while reading Rita. I would read 1 chapter of Rita, take the practice quiz for that chapter in Rita, and then take small quizzes on that category in PMP Exam Simulator to really understand that chapter. PMP Simulator gives you situational awareness regarding topics, which is hard to pick up just by reading Rita or PMBOK.

BrainBok - I signed up for the $29.99 plan, which features the use of ITTO Package explorer. My mistake was that I only signed up for BrainBok 1 week before my actual exam. This product really is amazing. If you want to understand the flow of inputs, outputs, tools, and techniques, BrainBok is probably the fastest way you’ll “get it”. It actually tells you why you need a certain input or output in a process. It is worth the cost. Because I had Brainbok, I did not memorize Rita’s process chart. The process chart seemed complicated. I instead understood BrainBok’s steps that they used in their process breakdowns.

How I would study if I had to retake the exam

Read a chapter in Rita, and do the practice exam for that chapter in Rita. Once you read that chapter, do PMP Exam simulator quizzes (make them 10 or 20 questions each) on that category and let the knowledge soak in. Once you’re scoring pretty well on those quizzes, move on to the next chapter and repeat.

Taking the PMP Exam Simulator
I took one full 200 question exam on PMP Exam Simulator (60%), and I also took one on (64%). I didn’t so hot because I still had gaps in ITTO’s. What saved me was taking PMP Exam Simulator quizzes by category and digesting them in smaller chunks. BrainBok will also help you understand ITTO’s really well. I took another 100 question PMP Exam Simulator quiz about 2 days before the actual exam and was able to score 88%. Nice.

I really recommend taking a full timed exam at least twice. It will teach you how to pace yourself and when to take breaks. I took a 5 minute break every 50 questions, and at the end, I had ~23 minutes remaining. On the real test, I barely had time remaining after finishing all the questions.

When you do the PMP Exam simulator or the quizzes, make sure you go through every question and read what the correct answer is and WHY. Understanding the why is the most important thing. Let’s that why soak into your brain.

On the Exam Day

Your routine of knowing when to take breaks during questions should be solid because you did at least 2 fully timed 200 question practice exams before.
Go visit the exam facility a couple days before so it becomes familiar to you.
You’ll want to use earplugs. If you can bring your own, and I recommend doing that. These are the ones I used because they are soft and comfy for extended intervals.
Bring two water bottles with you to drink. You can bring granola bars, but I noticed that when I eat during the exam, it messes with my focus, and I make silly mistakes afterwards. At each 5 minute break, I would step out, drink from my bottle of water, use the restroom, and go back to the exam. I did not eat anything during the exam.
Take a sweater or jacket with you in the testing room. I took a jacket and felt quite comfortable. It is air-conditioned and it will chill you during the four hours you sit there.
I finished the exam the exam with only 1 minute remaining. Yes, make sure you look at that clock as you go through the exam and pace yourself.

Impressions of the Test and comparison to PMP Exam Simulator
I found the test questions easier than the PMP Exam Simulator. They were more straightforward. As I was going through the questions, I felt comfortable and was looking forward to the next question. I did not feel like that when taking either the PMP Exam simulator exam or PMStudy exam. Remember, the PMP Exam simulator is just a little bit more focused on details. You’ll feel comfortable with the PMP exam if you do enough of the PMP Exam Simulator quizzes and such. I went through about 700 of the PMP Exam simulator questions in total.
When I stumbled on a critical path network diagram question, I immediately marked it and left it to the very end. I felt like they break my workflow and thinking, so I’m better off answering them when I answered all other word questions.
In your practice quizzes and exams, use the computer calculator. I used a handheld calculator, but on the exam, had to use the standard windows xp built in calculator provided in the software. This slowed me down a little bit.

Change Request Questions and Risk

Many questions (about 8) were asked on change requests. These were situational questions. Know that you can’t just take action and change something on a project, unless you first do a change request. If you have an idea, or a fix to some inefficient project system is found, before you do anything, do a change request (control board).
Several questions (about 7) were asked on Risk management. For example, What would you do if a scheduling issue came up, or budget problems were just brought to light? You should first look at your risk management plan.

Situational Questions
The majority of the questions on the exam were situational. You have to think the way PMBOK wants you to think as a PMP. This means you have to understand PMPisms. Rita’s book was excellent in describing these PMPisms that the test will be looking for. The PMP Exam Simulator was great in preparing me for these questions as well. If you do the PM Exam simulator quizzes, tests, and expose yourself to different questions, you will be prepared for the exam situational questions. In fact, I think you’ll be prepared for passing the exam itself.

Procurement Questions

Know common contracts. Know which contract is advantageous for the buyer and which one is good for the seller.

ITTO’s on the Exam
They were presented in situational questions. For example: you collected your requirements, and what is the best thing to do next? Define scope would come after this. BrainBok will get you ready for these questions.

Mathematics on the Test:
Not much manipulation with formulas as I saw in Rita’s book. Read her chapter on cost management and using Earned Value equations. Another book that is inexpensive which I highly recommend is How to get every Earned Value question right on the PMP. Watch her youtube video to get a feel of how she explains things. It is a quick read with 50 Earned value problems. It took me ~3 hours to get through it. If you do this book, just as the author claims, you’ll be good to go for the exam.
Make sure you know what SPI and CPI mean, and what it means when they are less or more than 1. There were several scenario questions on this topic. For example, CPI < 1 means that the project is over budget, while SPI < 1 means it is behind schedule.
I did have to use TCPI equation on the exam, but it was just plugging the numbers in.
I only had to memorize 4 equations, which didn’t make sense to me at the time.
The TCPI equation that uses BAC
The TCPI equation that uses AC
The EAC equation for “atypical” cases.
The PTA equation (Point of Total Assumption) (Also understand what this equation means)

Critical Path diagrams on the Test:
The critical path charts I encountered on the test looked like this. I did not encounter diagrams like this while doing the PMP Exam Simulator, but luckily I did encounter them while doing a PMSTUDY free mock exam.

There was a really big critical path diagram that looked intimidating, but itself had nothing to do with the question. It asked “What is the total float on the critical path of this chart”. Remember, critical path is the longest path, and has zero total float.
To learn critical path diagrams, I highly recommend watching this. You can then start doing trickier diagrams in Rita. I think if you can draw out the critical path diagrams that are on the PMP Exam Simulator and calculate the total float, you should be prepared enough.

Feedback for Cornelius
Please put in some questions into the exam simulator with the critical path diagrams as shown above.
On the exam, I did not have the ability to cross out choices or mark any text on the screen. I heard some other people mentioning this exists on the PMP exam, but in my case, it was not there.

Final Thanks
A big thanks goes to Cornelius and his PMP Exam Simulator. BrainBok was very useful, but unfortunately I bought it a bit late. Rita’s book was well written and provided a lot of PMPisms. A big thanks goes to my willpower and focus for carrying me through the study time and through the exam.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Eric Schnarr

Passed It! (BP, MP, P, MP, MP) Lessons Learned 2 years 5 months ago #6809

  • Chris DeGrane
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First off, congrats on passing. Did you mean to say that you CAN pass with a BP in a process group? I didn't think that was possible. Secondly, YOU AND I TOOK THE EXACT SAME TEST!! Project Charter, Change request, and Risk were common answers. I ALSO had that exact same critical path diagram and freaked as I had NEVER seen it before. I was really taken for a loop, and I know I got it wrong. As a matter of fact, I think I just NOW figured it out! You're review is SPOT ON and prospective test takers would be well advised to read every word gentleman has written.....

I still cant understand how you got that diagram from the test to here...

Passed It! (BP, MP, P, MP, MP) Lessons Learned 2 years 5 months ago #6829

  • Adriana Pravet
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My exam was very similar. I lost precious time on that CPM diagram, calculating the CP length, since it was so big in the screen and I did not scroll down to see the question. After I did the calculations, when I saw the question I knew the right answer immediately. I had no time to berate myself, just had to move on.

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