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TOPIC: Passed my PMP exam on 18th December - Here are my 2 cents

Passed my PMP exam on 18th December - Here are my 2 cents 10 months 6 days ago #6687

  • Praveen Chandra
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Hello to all PMP aspirants and to the team Cornelius - the project management prepcast team.
First of all i would like to start with a BIG THANK YOU to the PM PrepCast for providing me the confidence with the podcast videos and making me prepare enough to enable me to pass the exam on my first try.
I appeared for the exam on 18th december 2015 and given the fact that exam is changing in Jan 2016, i didn't really have a choice for a second try.
Here is my way and how i went about preparing for it. (It will be probably a long post so if you care please read on...)

I started my preparation in June 2015.
To begin with i bought the PM prepcast combo of podcast videos, exam simulator, flashcards and formula study guide so that i have all resources.
Books references - Rita Mulcahy, HeadFirst, and ofcourse PMBOK.
Other practice questions: Aileen Eliis (all 3 - network calculations, contract calculations, EVM, available on amazon.com for very affordable price if you want soft copy version), Christopher Scordo (Free for PMI members, almost 1000 questions,), PM Study mock exams (4 full length tests, paid), PM Study Circle (200 questions, paid), PM PrepCast 105 questions for formula usage (comes as a part of package when you buy the formula study guide), Oliver Lehmann free questions, lots of other free exam questions on the web - Now you can understand the importance of practice.
My constraints: Full time Job in automotive industry, Family with a 4 year old kid, and am doing master's in evening classes in college and hence i had to distribute my time accordingly - the reason why i took almost 6 months to prepare.
The preparation time will vary based on your constraints and time available to you.

My approach and methodology:
1- Started with PM Prepcast - Listened to all videos one after the another to clear out my basics for all 10 knowledge areas. Total time taken was around 2 months. I used to make notes while watching videos. The podcasts are detailed explanation of PMBOK and beyond.

2. I used to listen to all other podcasts apart from the knowledge areas when i was driving (bluetoooth on, car speakers :) ). Good to listen to the interviews and understand what is going on in the project management world.

3. After the prepcast, i started with 3 books simultaneously, it might be a stretch for some, so choose wisely based on how much you can handle. I read each chapter of HeadFirst 1st, then PMBOK and then Rita's book and in the end cleared my concepts by practicing the chapter end questions from both books. For some HeadFirst is easy to manage to understand for others it might be too rudimentry.
I was done with this stage by October. Please remember, i had limited time each day to devote to my PMP preparation.

4. Meanwhile while i was nearing the completion of these books, i completed my application on PMI's website. I didn't do it earlier because i was not confident about myself because of my constraints. For some, it can be easier to complete application, schedule exam first so you have a deadline and then start preparation. Again, decide based on your constraints and how you can handle your situation.

5. I finished my application and then scheduled my exam predicting i will need another 2 months for practice and given my MS semester and its exam dates. (thankfully my application was not selected for audit).

6. After finishing the books, i started with practice. It does help you. It certainly does. I started with PM prepcast 105 questions for formula usage. Then went onto purchase Aileen Eliss' 3 books from amazon and completed those. Aileen's books are small, brief explanations and 50 questions each. After that i started with PM prepcast mock tests. In total i took 3 full length tests only, the remaining i used to take tests with 50 questions, or 100 questions or even 25 questions based on how much time i have to practice.

7. With that approach i used PM exam simulator as much i could. Meanwhile i practiced from the vast pool of resources available on the web. I was already a PMI member by now, so used Christopher Scordo exams (link available on PMI website) to take the all his exams. There are 18 tests with 50 questions each approx.

8. I also practiced Oliver Lehmann's questions, difficult, but helpful. It is available for free.

9. Last 2 weeks before the exam - i bought PM Study 4 full length mock tests (due to time constraints, i was able to take 3 tests). I also went through PMBOK once again and Rita's book once again just to be sure if have forgotten items. While i was practicing questions, i used to refer back to the books to understand where i was going wrong and why.

10. In almost all mocks exams (full length ones, i took a total of 6), i scored around 77% to 80% so i was feeling decently confident of my preparation. This was around december 1st 2015.
After this i had no time for PMP, my MS semester exam was on 10th december and i had to prepare for that. Well after 10th Dec, i had 6 more days to do whatever i could for PMP (my PMP was scheduled for 18th Dec)

11. In last 6 days, i went through ITTOs to revise the linkages between various processes. I skimmed through my notes. Revised the formula guide. Did some calculation based questions. wrote page 61 of PMBOK a couple of times (my decided dump sheet for exam). I was pretty confident that i remembered all the formula so i didn't had to write it down before the exam.

12. Night before the exam - relax and relax - watched TV. went for a walk to cool my mind. Staying at home and seeing books would make my feel guilty that why i am not studying, i have an exam tomorrow :). Ate and slept early, exam was scheduled for 8AM next morning.

13. I was at prometric center at 7:35 AM. They didn't even ask me to wait until 8AM. I was ushered inside by 7:45AM so my 15mins tutorial began at 7:46AM. In that time all i did was breathe in and out and relax and dumped page 61 of PMBOK.
Exam started at 8:01 AM.
And boy oh boy, i was nervous, i had to calm my self down. next 4 hours went quick -really quick. It is very important to keep your calm and maintain your focus and concentration. There were some very difficult questions and some very easy. I was taking my time to finish the exam. My strategy was not to rush through it. I was taking my calculated time for each question to make sure i selected the answer which i thought to be correct. Gazing the difficulty i understood i will not have enough time to come back and review all questions.
Again this is not to demoralize you. your exam set question can be different. For me mine was a bit difficult as per my understanding. I marked a few questions. I finished my exam with 5 mins to spare.
In those 5 mins i went back to review my marked questions.
Submitted the exam with a few seconds to spare - (even if you dont submit, after time runs out, it will automatically submit and give your result)

14. Moment of truth:
Kept fingers crossed for almost 1 min while i answering the feedback questions for the prometric test location. You can choose to skip to provide feedback.
Finally the result was on my screen:
I have PASSED the exam.
I was Proficient in Planning
and Moderately Proficient in the remaining 4 domains.

I walked out feeling accomplished and happy.
I had a sense of achievement and hard work had paid.

If you read through and you are here at this line that means you are really interested in your PMP.
My advice is go for it in full swing. Practice a lot and refer back to PMBOK and other references you have to understand.

Well, that was my 2 cents on the approach and my lessons learned for achieving PMP success.
I hope this may add value to some of you aspirants out there.

Feel free to reach out to me if you would like.
Thank you and best regards,
Praveen Chandra
The following user(s) said Thank You: Tajudeen Oyedele

Passed my PMP exam on 18th December - Here are my 2 cents 8 months 3 weeks ago #6936

  • Surbhi
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Can you please share the link for Christopher Scordo tests available on PMI website?
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