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My journey started from Oct 2015. First attempt was failed in Dec 2015. Before the second attempt, I decided to focus on bridging the gaps of the definitions and processes described in PMP with my actual experiences, and I successfully passed the exam on May 28th, 2016.
How I prepared for the exam
I started from a study plan and researched average study time from many blogs and web sites which is about 150 - 200 hours. I read PMBOK and Rita book once, and took RMC self-learning for 35 hours. I spent avg. 2-4 hours every day. Since I wanted to take the exam before the PMP Exam Change before January 11th 2016, it was a tight schedule.
What I learned from there was:
Struggled with time management during the exam
I did not exactly understand what was my weakness of area at that point, but seems like about 150 hours of my total study time was insufficient. Practice time may need more to understand PMBOK well, specially ITTOs.
Practice exams in Rita's simulator was not simplify an expression for me in English so I spent a lot of time to understand the meaning than simple questions. (I could tell you now that questions in the simulator was difficult than a real exam! PMP Exam simulator by OSP worked well to cover different levels of questions - See 'Exam Simulator')
So, for my second attempt, I was allocating most of my time to read PMBOK in January 2016, and I encountered PM PrepCast by chance when I tried to search a free PMP training lessons. I was impressed how PMP Newsletter was useful to break down my issues and PMP EXAM tips was delivered every day.
All of my study time spent with PMP Exam Simulator from February to May. In February, my goal was to exceed 70% in a couple of week, however, it was never be achieved. "My Statistics" gave me insights of my weakness at the end of the test, and I felt that formula was definitely one of areas which I need to improve not only memorizing formula but also understanding purposes of each formula and a real situation what type of calculation requires.
Before the second attempt, I could take 75 % average of pass rate in the simulator.
PMP Exam Formula Study Guide
I referred lots of web sites for formula but Formula Study Guide by OSP was the best. 105 Questions gave me what I did not know to manage projects in real world. There were good examples with detailed explanations, and I got confidence in answering formula related questions, and the questions in the real exam was much easier. Formula Pocket Guide was helpful as well to provide short summary of formula just before second attempt.
Formula (This did not need after having Formula Pocket Guide)
Short summary of weak area such as acronyms, values, conflict resolution, motivation theories
Lists of questions which I incorrectly answered (I repeated the questions the day before the exam)
On the exam day
The second attempt was scheduled on Saturday at 1pm cos I remember I was already feeling tired when I get to the location at 9am on Saturday for the first try - we all work weekdays. I was more relaxing than the first time to take time, even did small study in the morning. Thinking back now, overall, the first attempt was easier than the second, and the first half of the second exam had many tricky questions and I was almost panic. However I learned the time management from the first exam, I calm down and the questions of the second half was not difficult. In the end, I have enough time to review my answers until end of the exam with no break.
Another note here is that I took the test at Prometric Center in Tokyo/Japan and Santa Clara, CA/US (both in English), and noticed that the system in the US is newer and better. Two features, highlight text int the question and strike out answers, did not exist in Japan. These features above was very helpful indeed.
Now I can tell that what I learned from my study during PMP exam prep helps my daily work, which is good and as expected. I was very lucky to know and talk with OSP's people since I was strongly suggested from my co-workers who already have PMP that I should have people who I can ask specific questions if I seriously want to pass the exam.
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.