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TOPIC: Lessons Learned - Passed PMP Jan 11

Lessons Learned - Passed PMP Jan 11 10 months 2 weeks ago #6913

  • Brad King
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Some notes on the PMP process:
I started studying on November 7, 2015 and continued to study right up until the course before. I started by reading the Rita Mculhay PMP prep book which laid the foundations for all the ideas. Then I watched the PM Prepcast which solidified the conceptual content and filled in some of the details -such as examples of OPAs and EEV outputs for each of the processes -which really helped.

I started in the simulator fairly quickly, first by doing some learning quizzes and then doing a practice exam each week. Practice exams are gruelling but they are useful in preparing for the full 4 hours for the PMP.

A big lesson learned was to get into the simulator as quickly as possible. For example, after studying a process area, quiz on the area as quickly as possible. Of course, you’ll only be able to complete a full exam once you’ve reviewed all the content, but it’s imperative to get feedback on how you’re doing in the process groups and knowledge areas as quickly as possible.

On the exam simulator, I scored in the low 70% area and progressively moved up to 79.5%. The exams were challenging and they will prepare you to “think” like the PMP exam would like you to do.

When it came time to write the real exam, the questions I encountered were actually harder. They were harder in the sense that I found many of them to be deliberately confusing and unclear. It is as if someone took a straightforward idea like project initiation, an buried the actual question beneath a layer of irrelevant, distracting information. I also found many of the questions to be somewhat ambiguous. “What is the first thing the Project Manager should do?” Well, often our actions are context dependent and much of this context is not represented well in the questions.

The point is that one has to “unlearn” what they’ve learned in their careers as project management professionals, and learn to think the way the PMP exam wants them to. For critical thinkers, this will be the hardest part.

Some Lessons Learned:
1. Read the question slowly. I often found myself rushing through questions misunderstanding what the question was asking

2. Try to extract the question from the distractions. This is what is most time consuming. I often needed to read a question a few times and ask myself “what is this asking me, about risk management? about quality management, about planning, etc.” It’s a kind of abstract thinking that one has to learn to master the exam.

3. Use the process of elimination. Many times I found myself “testing” each of the answers against the question. For example, I would read the question and then “test” it against each of the answers. Based on this I would eliminate the distractors (of which there are usually 2) and select the best answer.

4. Watch the answers as well as the questions. The answers contain subtleties that can mess you up too. I single word can change the meaning of the answer when you read it back a second time. Once you’ve eliminated the 2 distractors, the remaining 2 answers often seem plausible until you read them closely and slowly. So the answers are tricky too.

5. The exam took the full 4 hours. I timed out which is something I’ve never done in a simulator. This has to do with having to read and re-read the questions. The exam take a while.

6. Start exam. Do brain dump, mark questions that have calculations and get them at the end. Use remaining time to check marked answers and review your answers.

Study process for PMP:
- I used the Rita Book to dive into the content
- I used the PM Prepcast to review the material and fill some of the items I did not pick up on in the Rita text.
- I also used the BrainBok web application to learn the ITTOs

Total study time: 2 months

A big differentiator for the PM Prepcast (besides Cornelius's engaging style) is the fact that the Prepcast is mobile. I took it with me to study and review constantly, and this is a big deal for those of us with iOS devices.

Good luck everyone!
The following user(s) said Thank You: Sonia Wei Ching YAO

Lessons Learned - Passed PMP Jan 11 10 months 2 weeks ago #6917

  • Cecil D'Souza
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The understanding is that the calculation questions are not that difficult if the formula is known and rightly applied. I agree that encountering one in the midst of a stressful sequence of reading situations questions, suddenly having to switch to solve a problem may not be the best solution. But how do you get to these questions specifically if you have more than just those marked for later?. After all, doing these correctly is guaranteed a point because there is only one answer. Where as coming back later is risky if somewhere down the line, one is left with no much time at the end.
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