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on 14th of december I have passed my PMP exam in Munich, Germany with 4 MP and 1 P at the first try. I am so, so glad, that I have reached the destination and the goal of my journey and want to share my experience and lessons learned with you. I especially want to thank my family for all the support and for the time that they went without me. I also want to thank Cornelius and his team for his products and their support around the PM prepcast. The way Cornelius explains the contents of the lessons helped me a lot and encouraged me every time to go on and not to give up. Also thanks a lot to this community for your support.
My lessons learned for sure is not the glossy, shiny showpiece but nevertheless might help other aspirants in a similar situation and it is my true and honest feedback.
My study-environment and influencing factors for studying:
I am working on a full-time job including business-trips and I have a family with two little kids. The initial idea of studying in the evening times didn't work for me, because my personal bio-rythm didn't make this possible for me after taking care about my family and my kids. So I had to study in the very early morning hours begining on 4:00 am and on sundays. I found it quite hard, taking care about my family and to fulfill the job requirements. My experience was, that actually both are impacted by the studies and that my family and I had to find a lot of compromises.
There was no financial or timely support from my employer, so I had to conduct this endeavour completely on my own and with my holidays.
Materials used and my timeline:
PMBOK (I admit, I didn't read from cover to cover, just cross-checked occasionally during prepcast lessons)
PMP head first prep-book
PM prep cast
PM exam simulator
PM formula study guide
PM ITTO jogger
study time: 4 months
braindump 47 processes and important formulas
My way of doing:
I made a plan like a mini project and planned my progress for studying with the help of PM prepcast student workbook chapters and tried to stick to the plan. I went through every chapter of the PM prepcast and my prepbook and distributed the time needed on all the days that I could invest. During the whole prepcast and learning period I actually felt very confident, since I understood everything quite naturally and I was able to answer about above 80% of the questions in the chapter tests of the prepcast and the Head first book - but that changed.
I have started with taking the simulator exams around 5 weeks before the actual PMP exam and quickly found out, that I had the most weaknesses with getting the processes in general in the right order and most of all getting the ITTO's straight. So my results were only around 70% in average - that was quite demotivationg and this experience took a lot of self-confidence. I didn't went on doing exams but concentrated on the learning quizzes and shorter timed quizzes, because that helped me, gaining self-confidence back.
Two weeks before my PMP exam I was able to braindump the 47 processes of the table 3-1 from PMBOK in a couple of days without an error, which helped a lot, because it gained confidence. I also braindumped the most important formulas by the hints of Edward Designer and added some more from the PM formula study guide.
In the last week of studying I concentrated completely on studying ITTO's with the dedicated simulator exam. I answered each question in advance and checked the correctness afterwards, by checking a mindmap collection of the ITTO's. That also helped a lot and I passed this simulator exam with 82%.
I have studied especially the 47 processes and EVM with written flashcards, which worked really good for me. I tried to memorize ITTO's with the LOCI technique and the PMP ITTO jogger and I could actually memorize the whole Integration Management process in a relatively short time. But going on and work on memorizing all the remaining ITTO's would have been an effort, that was impossible to fulfill in only one week. Doing the ITTO exam and cross-check my answers against a mindmap was more effective for me.
Checking the PMP exam location and especially the parking situation in advance was a good tip, I recommend that as well.
Lessons learned, what would I do different or the same way, if I had to do it again:
sign up for PM prepcast and the exam simulator
put in my mind: Never give up, stay tough, it will pay off!
set up a real project and compare the progress against planning recurrently in order to see if I am on track
use the formula study guide
try a different, additional prep-book, maybe Rita's. Head first didn't work so good for me, the way of teaching is interesting, but in my opinion far away from the current used terminology in PMI's exam questions, so that was no help in the end
start earlier with the exam simulator, use the categorization option for learning quizzes
delve into the ITTO's in every single chapter at that time and create my personal ITTO mindmap and try to fully understand (not memorize!) them right from the beginning and not afterwards
right from the beginning, create my own flashcards by simply writing them or using a free online creation tool
use the loci technique simultaneously - the PMP ITTO jogger is a great introduction into that
I could use a meeting corner in my company after-works, but I had that possibilty only in the last week of my study. But anyway that worked also very well for me, compared to the early morning times and the weekend times, with family noise around me, so I would try to use that much more next time
My bottom line is, that it was a great experience and I expect the real pay off in the near future, maybe not right now. I learned a LOT, that I already could apply on my day job and improve my working behaviour. It already gives me the confidence to prevent myself from a burn-out problem, since I now am able to do my job way more efficiently.
(you can find me on LinkedIn or on XING)
" knowledge is the only thing that increases when shared"
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.