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I have been an Oracle EBS Consultant for the past 15 years and never had to have the PMP certification; nor the time to study and prepare for the test. When the projects dried up earlier this year, I was let go from my previous company and soon realized this was one of the slowest periods in recent times and it was going to be a while before I started a new project. So, I started to think about obtaining my PMP certification. I anticipated taking the test in November/December which are normally non travel months and a lot of projects slow down for the holidays. Since I was not employed by the middle of the summer, I accelerated my plans and scheduled the exam for the first available time, it was within 3 weeks which was sooner than I wanted as I was hoping for an open slot in the middle of September. So, I had to really concentrate on the material and prepare for the test After taking the PM PrepCast lectures, I reread the PMBOK Guide and took practice tests on a daily basis.
Initially, I used the test questions from the PMP Exam Prep: Questions, Answers & Explanations, 2016 Edition by Christopher Scordo because I wanted another authors viewpoint. Since this was not a test simulator, I created my own using excel. For every question I missed, I read the explanations and reviewed the appropriate section of the PMBOK Guide. I don't remember the nitty gritty details unless I write the topic down. So, I would create my own flash card of the important details/topic; not the exact question. Two weeks from my exam date I started taking the simulated exams in the PM Exam Simulator. Since my exam was in the afternoon, I arranged my studying to simulate my exam date. So, I would study my flash cards, take a break and then take the test starting around noon. I created a new brain dump for each test and on average it took me 18 - 20 mins to complete. During the practice exam, I would mark any questions I was not 100% sure of and leave them marked when submitting the test for results. I would finish the practice tests around 3 hours. After the test I would review all misses and marked questions. During a typical practice test, I would mark 50 - 60 questions; and would get about 50 -60 percent of my marked questions correct. Some of these were topics that were "new" to me or what I would consider nice to know tidbits of information most people would not be too concerned about. I was studying ~6 hours a day and consistently scoring in the mid 70's to low 80's. I did take exam 9 (ITTO) mid way thru my training and scored the lowest on that exam; in the mid 60's but I anticipated this being difficult as I did not try to memorize all of the ITTO details. I took this one early because I wanted to be confident going into the test and not have this as my last test result. I would group the test question in the following broad categories; knowledge based, scenario based, input/output (x is the input to what process or which of the following is not an ITTO of process z.
The day of the exam, I reviewed my flash cards, Since I still had a few hours before taking the test, I took a quick 20 question quiz as a warm up. This practice helped me get in the testing mind set and was and boosted my confidence for the upcoming test. I passed the exam with 2 Proficients and 3 Moderately Proficients. My test consisted of scenario based and knowledge based questions; more scenario questions than I anticipated. I don't recall a question that asked the ITTO topic the way the PM Exam Simulator did. I'm glad I had these type of study questions as it forced me to really understand the concepts.
1. Determine what training method works for you. Just listening to the lectures and reading the PMBOK Guide was not enough for me. The concepts didn't sink in until I took notes and rewrote the information in my own words. I used note cards so I could shuffle the information to ensure I knew the material.
2. Don't be afraid of the scores you receive on the simulator, if you are consistently doing well and can determine why you missed a question, you know when you are ready. Figure out why you missed the information, for me it wasn't lack of knowledge but either misreading the question or questioning the PMI answer. Some I would do recommend doing two or more of the answers but not in the exact sequence or manner PMI recommended.
3. Read the question and answers slowly one word can change the content and if you miss it, get the wrong answer. The actual test has a highlight function and ability to cross out answers, use them to ensure you focus on the actual question and details and not the distractions.
4. Try to finish your practice exams in 3 hours. This eliminates the clock from the actual test. I knew going in that my memory dump was going to use some of the test time but time was not an issue for me. I also forced myself to take my time and still had 25 mins left on the clock after reviewing the marked questions.
5. Know the Process and Process Groups and what they are used for, then you can determine what ITTO makes sense without having to memorize everything.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Mark Wuenscher, PMP
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.