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I passed the PMP Exam on my first attempt using inputs, and tools/techniques from PM PrepCast, Rita's Book, PMBOK Guide 5th Edition, and PM Simulator. My preparation was a 12 week study plan I created. The PM PrepCast was my first purchase; which I chose based upon high review ratings on internet searches, and I bought PM Simulator with it as a package deal. PM PrepCast served as my foundation, in that it provided me with the advice to choose the additional study materials: Rita's Book and PMBOK Guide 5th Edition. I used the PMBOK Guide 5th Edition as a reference book to tie together concepts and fill knowledge gaps. Although Cornelius suggested several PMP review books aside from Rita's Book, I chose Rita's Book based upon it's high Amazon review ratings. In general, I followed the majority of the advice Cornelius gave regarding study preparation, and I watched most of the videos in PM PrepCast. I customized my study plan by watching each chapter lecture once, then followed that up with reading the relevant chapter on Rita's Book. My next step was to take the chapter exams of both PM PrepCast and Rita's Book. I documented chapter completion and exam completion milestones on Post It notes and a wall calender which i used for motivational as well as informational purposes. Documenting these milestones helped me to break down my goal into small work packages, and provided me with status updates on how my studying was going and if I needed to make some adjustments. I also mitigated many of my risks by establishing a comfortable, and quiet study place that allowed me to focus. I was very particular about the details of my study tools and environment to ensure that I could focus for prolonged periods. For example, I chose a particular desk, chair, paper notebooks, fountain pens, pencils, study lamp, and music to use for my study sessions. I believed that taking the time to focus on the little details of the study process would help me to be more efficient and to enjoy the process as well. After going over Rita's Book the first time, I went over Rita's Book completely a second time while starting to take extensive notes by hand to help me to understand relevant concepts. Once my second pass in Rita's Book was completed, I started taking the PM Simulator which was 3 weeks prior to my exam. I first took a full timed exam as a baseline; then I spend the rest of my study time taking numerous 20 question quiz sessions in "learn" mode. I completed around 70% of the questions in PM Simulator. My idea was that I would study questions in short bursts to keep my attention level high and take breaks in between the quizzes. Most important, I documented the concepts that I didn't quite understand in the questions in my notebook. This manual documentation by hand using a fountain pen may seem tedious and inefficient at first, but I realized that the process of taking the time to write notes slowly and to enjoy the process of writing really helped me to engrain the material in my brain. I believe our brains don't work as simply as downloading info via usb, but requires a slower paced process with some creativity; which i applied through personalized note writing and with different colors and organizing my notes according to my needs. All of this helped me to enjoy the process of learning the PMP material. Although getting wrong answers on the PM Simulator can be stressful and it can be time consuming to take the time to understand why you got them wrong. It's that "mental wake up call" that I believe really helped me to engrain the information. In closing, I am very satisfied with the information and tools/techniques from Cornelius and I would use my study techniques that I learned in future degrees and certifications.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Muhsin Al-kazy
Last Edit: by Mark Wuenscher, PMP. Reason: Changed Prepcast to PrepCast
Congratulations on passing the PMP exam. Thank you for taking the time to post your experience and lessons learned. I concur with your assessment that it is critical to review the questions you miss on the exams so that you understand why you missed them. People that are preparing for the exam must take time to review the exam results, even the correct answers.
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.