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I passed the PMP Exam! I was so relieved to see PASSED at the end of the exam and survey. Even though I felt like I had done a thorough preparation, I have heard that many people have failed. This is a hard test. It's hard because you HAVE to study.
My Timeline & Approach
I purchased The PM Prepcast Thanksgiving week 2015 and took the exam on January 7 before it changed. I took a week off at Christmas. Otherwise, I studied 3-4 hours per day (including webinars). I watched all 35 hours of webinars first in order to complete my application reqs. The sample questions at the end of each webinar were helpful, but if I had it to do over, I would use the Simulator Quizzes after each of the webinar process groups were finished. Compressing your study schedule is more painful, but I feel that you retain the material better and are in better "testing shape" than if you spread it out over a year.
After completing the 35 hours of webinars, I moved on to the Simulator. I took two 50 question quizzes (Random) to gauge where I was; I scored 68% on both. At this point, I hadn't ready any of the PMBOK Guide. So, I read the PMBOK Chapter on each of the Process Groups and then took a 25 or 50 question quiz on each process group. I studied each incorrect answer to reduce mistakes. This was a very effective strategy. I answered 350 quiz questions before taking my first full 200 question exam. I took 3 full practice exams, scoring 83.5, 84.5, 85%, scoring Proficient in 1 or 2 groups and Moderately Proficient in 3-4 groups.
PMBOK Guide 5th edition & The PM Prepcast & Exam Simulator
Reading this forum on people's experience and preparation methods was helpful to me in devising a study plan (thanks)
I thought the real exam was harder than the Simulator exams that I had taken, maybe because I was nervous. I was caught off guard by the constant use of "What is the next best thing to do?" in the situational questions on the real exam. I hadn't seen this phrasing on the Simulator and I had tended to get those tricky questions wrong. They made me nervous. I was thankful for the EVM formula questions b/c I knew those were correct.
I made it through all 200 questions to go with an hour left (which was on pace with how I had progressed through the Simulator exams). I took a quick 5 minute break and came back to review the 30+ questions I had marked. I ended up changing my answers to many of these marked questions. I completed the test with less than 10 minutes remaining. I passed with a Proficient in every process group. I went home immediately and updated my resume, LinkedIn profile and FB account, LOL.
The Testing Facility
The Prometric testing office would not let us have headphones, drinks, water, a watch or any of our personal belongings. I read different rules from other posters, so I just wanted to share my experience. They called the day before my exam to confirm and I was able to learn these rules beforehand or else I would have been surprised. But, I later found the same information in the PMI PMP Handbook.
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.