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TOPIC: Passed on Friday, 18.03.2016.

Passed on Friday, 18.03.2016. 1 year 1 month ago #7176

  • Christian Winter
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Preparation: I started 'real' preparation end of September after I bought the PMBOK and Rita's Workbook as well as The PMPrepcast, The PM Study Coach, The PM Formulars and the Exam Simulator. I followed the advice from Cornelius and took the whole material wherever I went (drove). I committed myself to listen only to 'Cornleius' during my 2hour commute to work until I pass the exam. I paused all my other podcast subscriptions and just had the Prepcast and the Study Coach. As I was driving I did not watch the slides, but just listend to the audio. Therfore the additional pdfs where quite supportive, even if I would love to have had the slides as pdf as well ;-).
I run through all the mp3's at least three times - later also with 1.5x speed. In the evenings I read the PMPOK and Rita's workbook. I completed all the sample questions included in Cornelius and Ritas material. The study coach was very helpful to check off all the suggested training actions. I did them all, but was not able to stay on track and slowed down little bit. Finally I run out of sync with the mp3 and the written material - meaning that I worked on different chapters in the evening that I heart in the car during my commute.
I think this was not a bad thing - as it prepared my to switch context, which is also required while taking the exam.
Study Coach was very helpful - even it is is very static, but that's in the nature of the system. I human, indivdual coach will of course adjust to your current situation and won't ask any single time to schedule your exam in case you have done that already couple of weeks back ;-) But that's ok and of course you can also switch to 2x speed for such passages.
I activated my 90day PM Simulator access in October - as my initial plan was do the exam before Jan. 15th. Unfortunately this did not work out as the Testcenters in Hamburg and Frankfurt did not had any free slots in Jan before 15th. So I choose March, which allowed me to adopt to the new content outline. PM prepcast was updated smoothly with some new episodes and also the Simulator was updated with some new questions. I did all the Simulator exams until end of 2016, I did not do many of the quizzes. Due to time limitations I was not able to spend four hours on each and therefore quit some already after 100 questions. A very nice thing of the Simulator is that even after your 90 days period you still have access to your results - so that you can still review all of the sample questions, answers and explanations. This turned out very helpful for me. Another helpful thing was having access to the beta version of the new PM Simulator. There are quite some good improvements done, so I can highly recommend.

For the final preparation I used also some other free sample tests as I completed all of the PM Simualtor. I did not spend time for a second shot on 'old' questions, as I recognized the old ones pretty well and just looked up for the "right" answer and only read the question half way - this is not helpful ...
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I also went though a couple of Lessons Learned in this Forum as well in Andy Kaufmanns PM Prepcourse forum. Andy gave me some good tips during his Leadership Fasttrack Program as well later on during preparation how to attack the PMP exam. Thanks Andy!
Exam Day: Anyhow I sticked on Cornelious Prep material and really got nervous on the exam day. I arrived the night before in Frankfurt as suggested by Cornelious, but did not had the chance to visit the testcenter before. I took the Lean approach and did not 'waste' too much time on this activity. I arrived one hour before the scheduled time. And surprize there were seven people also taking the PMP exam. Wow! Four of them had just gone through a 4 day bootcamp, the trainer was also present. I was getting little bit nervous ... I was studying 'just' with little Cornelious in my ears, was this sufficiant?
The prometric staff welcomed all of us in front of the testcenter door and explained the procedure. Single Check-In, Security Check one after the other. Ladies first. It took 5 min per Person. Security check will be taffer than at the airport the guy told us - and it turned out to be right. You had to empty your pockets. We were only allowed to take the locker key, our passport and some handkerchief (without the foil). Taking a break was not suggested as we have to pass the security check again in case we want to go back to the PC. In case of other people queueing up to enter the test room for other exams or finishing their break - we have to queue, and time ticks .... So, no breaks ;-)
We were handed a simple calculator, two pencils and some light red scratch paper (8 pages?). I had some difficulties with writing and reading my notes on the red paper with the hard pencil especially has the light in the testroom was not that good. (Reflexions on the paper, dark paper).
Ones on the PC you had to confirm your name on the screen, then a 15 min tutorial started. I went quickly through it and was surprized to see features like strike through of text and text selection - as I have not seen in simulators so far. But ok, I did not use them anyhow. So I started with the braindump, and keep the 15min counting down. Then the test software popped up a message box saying that I run out of time, I had to press ok and then the first question appeared in the screen. Better say the same question apperead twice. On top half of the screen in German and on bottom half of the screen in English. Surprize! I asked for language aid during scheduling the exam. I was little bit frustrated as due to this a lot of questions and answers did not fit onto the screen and I was required to scroll a lot. I just read the English part. Even the "right" answer was also only possible to choose in the English sections. I completed all the 200 questions after 3,5 hours and have ~20 marked for review. Most of the time I was fine just with the English text, few times I had a look into the German translation. For review of the 20 makred questions I read the German text first, here some of the answers sound very close to the correct one. Don't ask me why, but I had the impression there were some hints in the German translation. Or it was just, because you are used to your native language. So to conclude I am not sure if I would recommend the language aid. It created lot of 'scrolling waste' and also made it difficult to find the correct answer if you can only see three of them on the screen. I believe I also would have done fine in the review round in case I had read just the English text.
I had a close eye on the countdown timer on upper right corner of the screen whole time. I completed the first 100 after 1:45, closed my eyes and take 5 deep breaths and then finsihed the other 100 after 3:30. As I did not had a plan to review all my answers, I spend the time required on each question. I read them all from beginning to end, somtimes even twice. For me all the question looked not that long (the similators include much much longer) - so no need to start with last sentence first. The font size on the screen was also very big - maybe twice or three times big as a normal sw-programmer would choose ;-)
The lasst 15 seconds I just looked at the countdown time. "You run out of time", OK that was what I wanted ;-) Finally done. No stop, I had to fill in 10 survey questions. There was the option to cancle, but I completed the questions (choices and freetext) and pressed next, next ...
I was quite confident and without long waiting time the result was shown on the screen. "Congratulations, bla bla bla ...." But guess what ... the Congratulations was just the beginning of a four lines textblock. No fireworks, no red blinking bold text - just a black text ( I assume with smaller font size than used for the exam questions). I looked at the screen for a minute and then had to press again OK, OK... Then the system was shutting down. I left the test room, and another guy was already ready to take my seat. The prometric staff was working with the new persons and just asked me "Ah completed successful, congratulations". I handed him back the calculator, scratch paper and pencils and got in return my results on paper stamped and embossed. I had to sign the check out paper and left the testcenter after picking up my jacked from the locker.
I called my wife and drove home while listening to a nice English podcast (not produced by a Swiss guy :P )

Payed material:
In case you need to choose I recommend to go for PM Prepcast first, then PM Simulator, then Study Coach and lastly the Formulars. Number one is a must have from Cornelius. The other material you might find also on different places.

Special Thanks to Andy, Cornelius & Justine, Yazmine & Herbert
Last Edit: by Christian Winter. Reason: typos
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