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I am glad to say that I passed my PMP on the first attempt. I was quite confident going in to this exam after reading the lessons learned from most of the other candidates who were kind to share their thoughts. Thank you to everybody for their input, for Cornelius' forum and most importantly for the strict adherence to good practices. Here is what I did and did not do.
1. Went there a week ago to check out the site in Raleigh, NC and to ask a few questions. Was not impressed by the centre and got hardly any information. In fact, they gave me the rules and regulations to read when I went for the exam when they should have given it to me when I went to find out what I needed.
2. Please make sure to take ear plugs as one needs absolute silence when concentrating on the exam. I had people banging away on the keyboard while they were doing some other exams. It is terrible even with the so called ear muffs given. Ear plugs is the answer, period.
3. I took one break of 3 minutes just to wash my face and refresh my eyes as the screen was different from what I was used to on the laptop and the screen distance and angle was further and bigger than usual. The font was greatSo, try to practice on a bigger screen looking UP instead of down on a Laptop. That will set the stage for the initial confidence and tempo required, although (psychological)
Exam Prep: 3 months
PMBOK v5 (twice)
Rita Mucahy's Book v8 (twice) although she herself stated you need to read it 3 times.
Rita's Exam Prep simulator (was invaluable for my specific exam)
Prepared the formula chart and the process chart from PMBOK and Rita's planning process list
Actual Exam: new format Feb 2016
The actual exam was like this for me although it is relative based on one's preparation, understanding and ability to remember and analyze.
Tough 40%, Very tricky 10%, Easy - 50%
As it was my first attempt, everything was new .
1. The exam was at least 65% situational. Almost all questions text (95%) were short - not more than a couple of lines. The reason being the analysis was in the choice of answers. Without the clear understanding of the concepts and principles behind the processes involved, it will be difficult to pick even one word answers. e.g you need to know the difference between Ishikawa diagram and Paretto or Collect Requirements and Requirements document. What they are and when they are used or in what situation would the PM use a specific tool given the situation described in the short question.
2. I experienced a lot of questions on Stakeholder and even those not related to Stakeholder management had the mention of stakeholder.
3. What does the PM do next or what document will the PM find so and so. I believe one needs to have a clear understanding of the tools and techniques and the output of the processes. (Sadly Prepcast's ITTO won't help unless the explanation to the answers given actually tells you why of what the answer actually means or why it is the answer).
4. It seemed that I found many questions on closing and they seemed short and easy but I was not sure about the answers. So concentrate on closing which seemed to have let me down despite my focus was on 'Initiation and Closing' for the exam. In other words, the other process groups were mandatory for me to actually pass.
5. MY entire exam from start to finish had a definite element and influence of Rita's book and thinking. I was surprised that I even found that the thinking process was similar to her advice. That was key to my passing.
6. I had no Critical path questions after all the preparation. Very few calculations to be done and most EVM questions were short, simple and to the point with all values clearly specified.
Note: Thank you to Cornelius and his team for the Prepcast Simulator practice tests that helped me gain confidence and specifically explain many things that are not found elsewhere. I was impressed by the explanations to Simulator Quiz answers. The customer support is outstanding. Thank you to all who work to review and explain things.
What I did not do
1. Bother about memorizing ITTO in the book or in any simulator although I did concentrate on understanding the Tools and techniques of certain specific processes like in KA Quality management and Human Resources and Procurement
2. Listen to people who just talk about reading PMBOK once and doing the exam in a month. That advice is neither for passing or for really learning the subject matter to put to use in the future. I am an experienced guy and I know what I am talking about and what I actually learned from PMBOK.
My advice is not to ignore Initiation and Closing or don't take them lightly. You'd be surprised by the questions or the answers.
Good luck to all future PMP aspirants.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Rabea Hartmann
Last Edit: by Cecil D'Souza. Reason: added a Note:
Congratulations mate. I've read the PMBOK Guide once and a bit of Rita to fill up my knowledge gaps. I'm planning to watch PM prepcast videos and revise my PMBOK notes before I delve into lots of practise questions. Any advise?
Thank you Tracey. I am glad it is over although the exam was not as bad as one would have thought. I was expecting a lot of twists but it wasn't like that. I guess after using Precast and ExamPrep Fasttrack,, our mind is oriented to think in a particular way. The only drawback was not taking ear plugs, the noise of people typing away and the occasional conversation outside the room that could be heard which was quite disturbing. It took me half an hour to try and settle in while the exam was on.
Thank you Adebambo. My advice is to read PMBOK well and try and actually understand it by following up the same chapter immediately with mastering Rita's book, version 8. That is Key. Then do the exercises from Rita's book after the chapter and see how you feel. Then do PREPCAST training and exercises which will give you a slightly different way of thinking (don't miss the explanations to quiz questions which is very good). That's the strategy I followed, although late. I used only Prepcast quiz/Exam). You will need to get the hang of each Knowledge Area, and to understand how it all ties up with Monitor and Control, AND Integrated Change Control. What happens where and what process gets control from those processes based on what happens. Know what takes place in what process. e.g do you know which process EVM takes place?. I did not.
I would concentrate on certain specifics and know key things in each knowledge area (risk and procurement) - E.g. Tools and Techniques for Quality or Inputs for Collect requirements in Scope. For e.g. 7 Tools and their principles and use in Quality, the phases of Tuckmans ladder in Dev Team and the type of Conflict resolution etc. The difference between corrective and preventive action, Quality Assurance and Quality Control. The exercises are key to doing that. Basically, you need to read Rita's book well and understand how she explains things and Cornelius' training material. Finally, read the question part carefully, and then look at the answers to choose from. Some questions require you to choose what the PM does FIRST or NEXT or which document he/she would need to find so and so. Good luck to you and plan it well. Give yourself time to read, time to understand, time to put it all together by which time you will be confident. Go back to the prep material and books as much as you need to.
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.