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I passed the PMP exam on December 15, 2015. This was a dream come true and I am happy to be part of the PMP community. I started studying in April; however, I was not consistent due to my schedule, personal and family commitments. However, with exam date changing I pushed myself to prepare. I tried to figure out the easy path to prepare; however, I began to realize that everything that I read online regarding preparation is absolutely true. We have to put the time in and study and take tons of practice exams. Below are the highlights of my preparation process and lessons learned.
I began studying about 2 hours a day, during the week and 4 hours per day on the weekend.
- I had to go to a library to study as I get very easily distracted in the home environment. When you see other people studying you get inspired.
- I tried not to read the PMBOK. However, I began to realize how important it is to read it. Therefore, I read it once and did not take notes, I
just read it and got a sense of the framework. I then read it a few more times during my study process and took notes to develop a better sense of the PMBOK purpose and structure.
- I did read and study both Andy Crowe "Pass the PMP on your first try" and Rita Mulcahy PMP Prep book. While both are decent, for me I preferred Andy Crowes . It is more direct and I personally found Rita's book was very wordy and over explained some concepts.
- I did watch Cornelius Flchtner's videos which were invaluable. I am a visual learner and his video spoke to my learning style so it was a definite asset to my learning plan.
- I also signed up for Cornelius' PMP Exam Simulator. I initially signed up for 90 days but had to extend it for one month to align with my test date. You absolutely have to take numerous full practice exams. There is no way around it. I took all of the exams twice. In total I took a total of 17 practice exams at 4 hours each so you get a sense of the time commitment. The first exam I took, I was a bit disappointed as I got a 61% after reading and studying for months. Therefore I stepped it up a notch and after each exam I studied the results. Essentially, I did a lessons learned for each exam. I studied each answer explanation for each question whether I got that question right or wrong. As part of the process, I did provide a lot of feedback to Cornelius's team on small issues with the questions like confusing wording or grammar issues. They were fantastic and responded straight away and either agreed and updated the question or the explanation. This was great as I felt like I was helping the Cornelius team improve their product and helping other people who were taking the exams. I strongly recommend providing feedback to the questions as it does build the PMP aspirant community.
- I also used Mind Mapping software on my IPAD to build a semantic mind mapping diagram to help visually depict some of the key concepts.
- I also bought five poster board and put all of the ITTO's on one and to have a large poster in my home to look at and help me get a visual depiction of the process flows.
- You absolutely do need to understand all 47 of the ITTO's. I did know all of the ITTO's in terms of the concept behind it but I could not memorize every single ITTO inputs and outputs. Therefore, I focused on some of the major ones. For example, Work Performance Data comes out of the Direct and Manage Project Work process and into the controlling processes. I would recommend getting a sense of the process flow of the most active process flows. Focus on Integration, Time, Cost and Scope.
I am happy provide other advice to others but I will tell you that you can pass the test but the test is no joke and you have to put the time into it. This is coming from a guy who is not a great test taker but I was relentless and pretty much became like a cloistered monk and removed myself from the world during my study time!!
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.