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TOPIC: Question When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. 2 years 2 weeks ago #7384

  • Lloyd
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I understand that some people prepare for the PMP with a minimum amount of time and effort. If you are one of those people, I salute you. I am not among you. For me, I realized early on that preparing for and taking the PMP would be…a project; a project that would require patience, persistence, an open mind and time.
My first formal purchase of study aid material was OSP’s PM-PrepCast and Exam Simulator. I did this after oodles of research showed satisfied customers and testimonials. My initial belief was that the PrepCast would be a good introduction to the exam, and that it might ease my transition into the “dry” PMBOK.

The PrepCast videos were great, however, I quickly realized that I needed to pace myself with the amount of information that I could absorb at one time. I was tempted to press “play” on one more video, only to lose focus on the topic if I did. My body and mind soon told me when enough was enough. And, regardless of where I was in the syllabus, I stopped and allowed myself to recharge.

After my first pass through the videos, I was not confident in my knowledge. Still wary of the “dry” PMBOK, and feeling ill prepared to tackle it, I decided to purchase “The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try” by Andy Crowe, as a second piece of study material. This is a concise preparation book of which many PMP aspirants are aware. While reading Andy Crowe, I recalled concepts from the PM-PrepCast and saw the value in them applied and explained from another author. The two resources, helped my comfort level and familiarity with the material, but, at this stage, I did not have proficiency in recall.

At this point, I got the “dreaded” PMBOK and give it a read through. The PMBOK was not the monolith I was expecting. While it’s not Pride and Prejudice or The Brother Karamazov, and it does have a repetitive format, the PMBOK is…well…essential. And unavoidable. And the illustrations really help. It was reading through the PMBOK and cross referencing it by re-watching episodes of the PM-PreCast and chapters from Andy Crowe that began to allow me to synthesize and retain what I learned.
A big lesson learned was not to avoid the PMBOK for as long as I did. If I could do it over again, I would read the PMBOK and then watch a corresponding PrepCast video. I think that kind of pairing could be very potent.

My preparation reached its peak when I purchased a subscription to BrainBok, an online product of very high acclaim. BrainBok has an excellent ITTO Explorer tool that allows for quickly and easily seeing the dataflow between and inside processes. Again, I found that pairing BrainBok with the PMBOK increased my feeling for the interrelationships between processes. However, the PM-PrepCast became more vital than ever, as my knowledge really got consolidated after cross referencing the PrepCast videos with progress report from BrainBok. The human touch of being guided by Cornelius sewed all the knowledge together. His humor helped as well.

While working with BrainBok exams and quizzes and the PrepCast, I activated my PM-Exam Simulator. I began taking PrepCast exams. I purposely took exams in the reading rooms of public libraries to simulate a quiet type space that would still contain some level of movement and noise. This was a very good idea. I noticed that I was troubled by the noise and motion. I was also nervous as the PM-Exam Simulator clock ticked down. I was constantly adjusting my ear plugs and had trouble concentrating. I noticed that it really impacted how I reacted to the test. I rushed through the first test.

I found that by taking multiple timed quizzes, I gradually reduced my sensitivity to time pressure. Also, taking exams in less than perfectly tranquil conditions had its own benefit: I soon became oblivious of those around me – ringing phones, tapping fingers, soft music…none of it bothered me anymore.

I must also mention the very helpful user support from the PrepCast’s Exam Simulator Team. They responded swiftly to my feedback about exam questions and answers. This was a great study aid, as our conversations helped to illuminate points of misunderstanding. Thank you PM-PrepCast support team!

My scores on BrainBok and the PM Exam simulator began to rise. I hadn’t yet formally applied to take the test! Lesson learned – apply early! While I had my documentation ready, I held off because I wondered if I would ever truly be ready for the exam. As I was getting into my testing groove, I realized that I’d better apply to take the test because I might be audited, and I wanted as little delay as possible while my knowledge solidified.

I applied. There was no audit. Whew!

Lesson learned – Book your exam early on. I live in a major city. I thought testing seats were readily available. Boy, was I wrong. After paying the fee to take the exam, I was horrified when I went to schedule it. Slots were extremely limited. Prometric continually updates availability, so I began checking Prometric’s site. I’d see a new date pop-up and quickly try to organize my calendar. These appointments got filled so fast that by the time I confirmed my schedule, the appointment was booked! This is an added stress that the test taker does not need. Please book your exam early.

I booked my test. I studied. Test day arrived. I had an early morning exam and got to the testing site a full hour and 20 minutes before the test.; it’s a good thing I did because there was already a line out the door of the test site! Lesson learned – get to the testing center very early! The line moved without incident, but I was confused about the layout and process. I tried to follow Cornelius’ lesson on visiting the test site before test day, however my testing center does not allow visitors – only those who are there to test, so this was impossible.

Soon, I found myself in front of my computer station, foam ear plugs firmly in place, while other people clacked away on their keyboards. I dutifully output my “braindump” on paper after watching the perfunctory (and timed) computer tutorial.

The exam began. Wow. It was the hardest of all PMP exams! The questions were very, very situational and different answers seemed to have merit. This was a real test of fine knowledge. The confidence I had developed during my practice exams wavered. I must have marked the first seven of ten questions. I continued. It was like a boxing match. I noticed the time slipping away. I was taking longer to answer questions. Then, there was a light through the fog and some clarity. I passed through several state of mind during the exam: shock, dismay, confusion, focused attention, belief, clarity. About halfway through the exam, I took a very quick break and gobbled down a banana (check to see if your test center allows food). The sugar perked me up and got me through the rest.

I started looking over marked questions. I debated changing answers. Painful. I did what I could. I reviewed as many marked questions as I could. Then, I looked at the clock…under two minutes. Then a minute. Then ten seconds. I took my hands off the keyboard.

It was done. Pass or fail. I wasn’t sure; and, at that moment, I was a bit too tired to truly care.

I dutifully filled out the survey. Finally: the results. A PASS! And a job well done. I got my print-out, thanked the employees and left.

I urge PMP aspirants to balance taking their time studying with the need for a structured schedule and set exam date. While a student needs to take their time to process information, there comes a point when having a fixed date provides the energy and clarity to focus study efforts.

If I had it to do over again, I would read through the PMBOK first, and then pair each chapter of the PMBOK with the PM-PrepCast. I think I unnecessarily slowed my progress by avoiding the PMBOK for so long.

I can’t emphasize enough how much help practice exams (from the PM Exam Simulator, BrainBok and other online sites) are vital to exam success. Knowing the ITTOs, the concepts and the formulas will be of limited help if the student can’t apply that knowledge to hoards of scenario based questions.

I don’t think there’s one “right way” to prepare for an exam like the PMP. Each person needs to find their own way. However, guides can help. With guides like Cornelius and his associates, you can do it! When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. 2 years 2 weeks ago #7393

  • Tracey South
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LLoyd: Congratulations! Out study journeys were very similar. This is a testament to honouring our own study habits.

Enjoy your new designation.

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When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. 2 years 1 week ago #7418

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Hi Tracey,

Thank you for your kind note of thanks. Congratulations to you as well! Yes, I agree that keeping up with studying even when the outcome is uncertain is a must. Just keep going!


When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. 2 years 1 week ago #7424

  • C. George Morris PMP CSM ITIL
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Congratulations Lloyd.

Your comment and trepidation during the exam as well as some of the preparation, mirrored my own experience. A relief to get the final result for sure. :)

Perseverance and determined effort will always win!
The following user(s) said Thank You: Manoj Parik
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