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Since everyone here basically passed the first time, with flying colors, I will be the odd lady out! (or the one who fesses up!)
The first time I took this exam, I went through the PMBOK, took an online course by Velociteach, did Rita Fast Trak and flashcards. I even took a 4 day bootcamp - paid a fortune; The exam questions were similar to those given in both Fast Trak and PMA's practice tests, but I was not prepared. I realize, in retrospect, I was clueless; I deserved to fail and rightfully so. 5 BPs - That was June of 2015. It was a good smack in the face My respect for the subject matter grew significantly. I also, understand from later interaction, that I had an extremely difficult exam. I didn't finish - Questions were very long and I did not time myself properly. I definitely needed a different approach.
As a member of the NYC chapter, at that time, I inquired about a PMP Prep class. It just so happened one was about to begin. They used Rita and each student was responsible for leading a different chapter per week. Although the Rita scores (chapter end quizzes ranged from excellent to poor) I began to feel that the material was starting to make sense and come together. So November of 2015, I attempted it again. This time I did complete all questions, had a little time to review and overall felt that I was much better prepared. Nevertheless, the questions were the same length / caliber of the first exam. I did remain calm (doing a couple things the Rita book indicated during the exam to relax) and thought I may have passed, but it was iffy: 3 MPs and 2 BPs - FAIL #2! The teacher of the NYC class told me to retake it right away, but I couldn't; I knew fundamentally I was missing something. Then with the change in January 2016, that was it. I am just not PMP material!, I thought. Very positive thinker Although I have never been a good CBT test taker, I did pass 7 architecture licensing exams and LEED. So I thought I could rise up to this challenge. Feeling a little bruised, I read where Cornelius said to let my application expire, so I wouldn't have the pressure of "do or die" on the third try. Expired, it did and in February of 2016 NJ Workforce (I was not working at the time) was offering a class. It was 3 days a week, purely PMBOK focused and a huge focus on ITTOs. That did bother me, a bit but they said everyone had passed from their class, until 2015. Moreover, that was what the class required. Although they were supposed to pay for the exam, I grew very disenchanted with the caliber of the simulator they provided; very little explanation, repeat questions, etc. Thus I was on the path for a different source. I reached out to the folks at PM PrepCast and from the start, something felt very right. There was no push to sell; I had read a lot of good reviews (Edward Designer and others). Plus there were none of these phony promises or guarantees, "Pass or your Money Back". Okay, if you've made it this far, here are my lessons learned. Please forgive the long introduction, but obviously I made a lot of errors:
Limit your material. When I started the Velociteach self-study, the folks said I would be much better off if I used "The PMP Exam, How to Pass the first time, by Andy Crowe" in tandem with the videos. I did not purchase it. Would it have made a difference? I cannot answer that!
When you have your study plan laid out, stick to it. I did not and it's obvious.
DO NOT search the internet. I did and the volumes of material available is mind boggling. I understand it was not always this way. How could I digest ALL this material? I couldn't; very few can. Moreover, each time you turn to a different source, you'll find differing perspectives. My electronic PMP folder has thousands of documents.
Most will disagree with this, but I will explain. Memorize all 618 ITTOs. I already had a pretty good handle where the outputs from one process became Inputs, but doing the spreadsheet 79 or so times drummed each process home. Not only did I know each tool and technique, but I knew how to apply them and when. The patterns became crystal clear and it made perfect sense.
PMBOK and project management is a science; so there is "method to the madness".
Any misunderstood terms or concepts, I researched. At that time, I did search on the web, which I said not to do, but I became very discriminate and limited the research.
I downloaded every standard from PMI; Scheduling, WBS, Configuration Management, Earned Value Management, Risk Management - Certainly not everybody needs to do it. But on one very tough Arch. exam, I did not pass until I went into the referenced material and drove it into a corner. For me, I had to do my due diligence.
BUY THE PM PREPCAST SIMULATOR! I regret not purchasing all the tapes and following the PM Prepcast Way! If I had to do a fourth round (bite my tongue) I would have purchased it.
My scores ranged in the high 70s to mid 80s, except the ITTOs; I actually got 100%
I went through Aileen Ellis' 3 books and did every single problem - "Get Every Critical Path", "Get Every Contract Question" and "Get Every EVM Question" - I also did purchase PMP Exam Simplified (also by Aileen) - Initially I thought Rita was good, but after my history, I like Aileen's style; Down to earth, succinct, easy to understand. She is actually accessible too! I called once on a fluke and she picked up the phone!
All of the studying lasted from February - August. I finally could not take it anymore, I was saturated.
I wish I could report awesome scores, but 5 MPs is a pass. I earned it and own it. That's what feels right.
Admittedly, I did not feel as alert as on prior exams. When tough questions started, I skipped to #200 and worked backwards. I also ran out of time and had ZERO time to review. I might have had a few blank, I don't even know.
I strongly encourage sticking to the test-taking guidelines recommended here and other reliable sources. The more systematic, the better. "Do as I say, not as I did!"
The night before, I removed myself from my home and stayed at some Airbnb, away from the city craziness. A small town and a LOT of land. I let it go - I gave myself that day before the exam to try and build up my confidence and allow the material to steep.
The third exam was eerily similar to the PM PrepCast.
This is my last comment: The folks who work at PM PrepCast forum and deliver "Live Feedback" are the most caring, thorough teachers and instructors. Explanations were so clear and each person devoted as much time as necessary to assure I understood. It is an amazing system and a godsend.
Thank you PM PrepCast.
All my best wishes to aspiring PMPs. If you are here, on this website; rest assured, you've come to the right place.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Mark Wuenscher, PMP
Congratulations on passing the PMP exam!!! I am so happy for you. What a great story of perseverance! 5MP's is nothing to be ashamed about nor is the fact that you had to take the exam 3 times. There is no subscript on the PMP indicating how many times it took to pass the exam. The fact that you had to work so hard at it means that you have very thorough knowledge of project management principles and that PMP suffix carries even greater significance for you. Thanks for taking the time to post your experience and lessons learned. I am sure your story will be an inspiration for many other aspiring PMP's. Best of luck you in your future endeavors. Celebrate your success!!
The following user(s) said Thank You: Deborah Waitzman
Hi there, thank you so much for sharing this, I'm in the same. Boat now failed 2 times that's my third a d last chance because pmbok 5 getting change and I have only one month to pass the exam I'm scared and have no courage to take the exam again i used rita fast track and her book anf pmnok aswell im co fused what i do now any help let me know asap. Thanks. Rose
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.