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TOPIC: Passed PMP with Two-Month Study Plan

Passed PMP with Two-Month Study Plan 5 months 1 week ago #7674

  • Marcy Chartier
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At the end of April I decided to commit to taking the PMP exam. It took me a few days to do some research into what materials and/or courses I wanted to pursue to study. There was a ton of information out there, and it was hard to figure out what the right combo of items might be. There were also huge variations in pricing- several thousand dollar courses down to several hundred dollar online options. After reading many reviews, and deciding that I'd rather start with a small budget and see how my progress looked after a few weeks, I purchased the PM PrepCast, PrepCast Exam Simulator, the PMBOK Guide and Rita Mulcahy's "Course in a Book" guide.

Per the instructions of Cornelius & Rita, I sat down and wrote out a study plan. I decided that I wanted to be done with it all in 2-2.5 months, as it was going to take a significant part of each day to prepare. I have two elementary school-aged kids, and work full-time in a pretty demanding job, so figuring out where to fit studying in was a bit of a challenge. I wanted to condense that as much as possible!

My plan involved first reading the entire PMBOK guide once through- that took about a week. Then I broke out the month of May, to focus on 3-4 chapters from the PMBOK guide/Rita's each week. I used all of my study materials to focus on the selected chapters- starting with re-reading the PMBOK chapters, listening to as many PrepCasts from Cornelius as possible from those knowledge areas, and reading Rita's chapters & completing the exercises. I had to get up a 5am, and study after work, while listening to the PrepCasts during my commute to fit it all in. Then each Saturday I took the 3-4 quizzes from Rita's book, plus the PrepCast quizzes, to evaluate my progress. I also set a hard deadline of applying for the PMP Exam by June 1st- that gave me a month to document my PM experience and get ready for the application process (which was, in itself, pretty daunting.)

At the beginning of June, I decided to schedule my exam date for June 28th (it was either that, or wait until August, as all dates in July at my exam location were full :/)

I spent the next 1.5 weeks reviewing one chapter/knowledge area per day. That included re-reading each PMBOK Guide chapter, Rita's chapter, and listening to any PrepCasts I'd missed or needed more practice in. I also re- took the appropriate chapter quiz from both Rita and Cornelius each day. Once that was complete, I started using the PrepCast exam simulator, taking 20-50 question quizzes throughout the next couple of weeks. 2 Saturdays were reserved for full 4-hour exam simulations.

After all of that, I was feeling OK. I was roughly scoring 80% on quizzes and exams at that point- although I'd have a few where I'd score lower (which started to freak me out as I got closer to exam date!) I spent most weekends in June reviewing gaps in my knowledge, based on my quiz/test results.

June 28th was quickly approaching, and I started getting worried that I hadn't spent enough time focusing in ITTO's. All advice so far had said not to memorize them- but no matter how thoroughly I felt I understood the processes, the ITTO questions were the ones I consistently got incorrect on quizzes. It seemed like I could make a strong justification for including at least two of the possible ITTO choices for each question. The morning of the exam I was panicked, sure I'd fail due to my lack of ITTO memorization.

The exam itself was tough- mostly because there were consistently two answer choices that I felt could be correct. That was a change from the exam simulator, where I felt more confident in many of my answers. There were MANY situation-based questions on the actual exam- and I only felt confident in about 50% of my responses. Needless to say, I was pretty nervous when I hit "end exam". Luckily, I passed with 4 Ps and 1 MP (closing domain.....boooooo.)

If I had to do it again, I would probably give myself a couple additional study weeks, and I would have practiced quizzing specifically on ITTOs a bit more. I honestly don't think it would have mattered, but it might have saved some last-minute panic :) I loved the PrepCast- being able to listen in my car was great, and I started to feel a connection to Cornelius and his lilting explanations (and even to Justine...... who/what is Justine anyway??) I did strongly feel like PrepCast was an excellent value, and crucial to my passing the exam on my first try. I definitely did NOT feel that I should have spent thousands of dollars on an in-person course- the materials I used and my study plan were sufficient to pass.

That's my story- and good luck to everyone else out there still waiting to take their exam!

Passed PMP with Two-Month Study Plan 5 months 1 week ago #7679

  • Mark Wuenscher, PMP
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Congratulations on passing the exam and thank you very much for taking the time to share your PMP preparation and exam experience.
Mark Wuenscher, PMP
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Passed PMP with Two-Month Study Plan 5 months 2 days ago #7712

  • Lashan Wanigatunga
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Congrats on passing the exam and taking the time to write about your experience. Did the actual exam include many ITTO questions? i.e. What is an input of Develop Project Charter? What is a tool and technique of Collect Requirements? etc etc. ITTO's are also an area where I don't feel too comfortable with. Especially remembering for example where OPAs and EEFs are not an input and where Meetings, Expert Judgment etc is and is not a Tool and Technique.
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