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TOPIC: Passed on 2nd Try (Had to Write a Ton of Notes)

Passed on 2nd Try (Had to Write a Ton of Notes) 2 years 9 months ago #12588

  • Nick Schmidt
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I took the exam on the second try and passed with 3 Ps, 2 MPs. It took me about 5 months of prep including 3 ½ months of intense study.

1. I spent 1-2 weeks crafting my own unique study plan alone. I looked over my weak points from the first exam and determined how to change my study habits. For me, that would be taking very detailed notes by hand with extensive revisions.
2. I went through each chapter word for word for word. I slowly, carefully, and methodically wrote down everything. I needed to understand the "why" rather than rote memorization. I would read PMBOK, Rita, Head First, and Dummies.
3. After writing the chapter out, I would take several quizzes. I would carefully and slowly review each and every question, right and wrong, to understand the "why." I would not move to the next chapter until I was scoring at least 80% on the quizzes. Revisions to my notes were done in a different color pen.
4. I took an online class through PM Study to keep me accountable
4. After ALL the chapters were completed, I read ALL of these handwritten notes again from the beginning (about 550 pages), slowly and carefully, trying to understand AGAIN where the knowledge gaps were.
5. I then moved into practice exams ( 82% and 80% for Prepcast, 78% for Head First, 76% for Aileen Elliis, and 75% for Simplilearn). I reviewed all of the incorrect questions 1 at a time and made revisions AGAIN to my notes in yet a different color ink. Around this time, I started writing my brain dump and committing it to memory.
6. Two nights before the exam, I reviewed the binders again, focusing on those remaining week spots one last time. I got a good night sleep before the exam.
7. I was fully relaxed for the day of the exam. I knew my material cold so there was little cause for panic. My version of the exam did not have questions in at least 2 chapters, and 17 of the questions had “risk register” for the answer, which was very lop-sided. I passed with flying colors.

Looking back my method was not fast or speedy, but it was a proven method. It is not a method recommended by PMP instructors or books. That’s why Step #1 (determining MY own study plan) was crucial. Incidentally, during my studies I went through Hurricane Harvey here in Houston and then an unrelated layoff about 6 weeks ago. I deferred the serious job search until after the exam. A LOT of time had to be spent writing things out by hand. I don't think I will every fully understand this material and it was way over my head. In spite of passing, the PMP is needlessly difficult and always will be. I hope that this credential will pay multifold in compensation over my career. But I'm done studying and don't ever have to look at this stuff again.
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