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2 years 10 months ago #12632


Charles's Avatar

I PASSED TODAY!!!!!!! My Path to the PMP is a little circuitous but ended with me getting 3 Above Targets and 2 Targets on my PMP exam.

I bought the Prepcast and Simulator package in April 2017, intending to take the exam near end of summer. It had been 20 years since I took a standardized test so I wanted to give enough time. I also bought Heads First PMP. My study plan initially was to try to go through each PMBOK chapter at the same time I did the Head First chapter and listened the relevant Prepcast video. I quickly found that keeping myself in sync across the 3 was difficult, and I was moving through the book faster than the prepcast videos. So I just progressed through them as I completed and let them go "out of sync" so to speak. I did not read the PMBOK front to back, but I did refer to it for clarification or confirmation. I watched the prepcast videos wherever and whenever I could.

I did not memorize the ITTO's. I did memorize the formulas and the processes. My main goal, per the prepcast recommendation, was to "understand the concepts".
Heads First helped me with light intro to topics. Prepcast gave me the detail, and the PMBOK gave me the "official" stuff. I spent 2-3 hours every weeknight and 6 hours on weekends from May-August. I took 6 full length prepcast practice tests, about 6 quizzes, and a ton of shorter quizzes online from Head First and a bunch of other places.

I was feeling prepared by the end of summer to schedule the exam and almost immediately on feeling that way I had a bicycle accident and was injured. I'm fine now, but it basically took me totally out of study mode. I didn't study for 2 months. I made so many adjustments to exam date planning and surgery planning, and then of course they introduced the new version of the PMBOK and that a new test was coming. I was so stressed! I returned to studying in November and scored 79.5 on my practice test. I found that I scored high 80's consistently on times quizzes and chapter tests from the books, but I kept scoring in the mid to high 70's on the simulator tests. I wanted to hit that target of 80 consistently. I never did. I was very worried about that straight up until the moment I saw the "congratulations on passing the PMP exam" screen. I also made myself flash cards in the last month with the formulas and the processes. I did regular brain dumps of the processes and formulas in the last month as I found spare time.

In the last 2 weeks before the test I did a light review of the intro chapters to each knowledge area on the prepcast and also skimmed Head First. I relaxed the night before the exam. no study. no brain dump. This morning I ate a large breakfast and drank too much coffee. I highly recommend not doing that! :)

I did not do a brain dump or look at the material at all day of test. The test itself was *so much harder* than I expected. Oh my gosh there were points where I was certain I was going to fail but I just kept my cool and thought the questions through. The absolute best tool for the exam was the PM Prepcast Simulator.

I strongly recommend the following to anyone preparing to take the test:
* Study for a few months, using multiple sources. Whichever ones "feel" right are good but I absolutely cannot recommend the prepcast and simulator highly enough. Honestly if I had only done Head First I'm fairly certain I'd have failed. The prepcast videos are so well done and logically organized. They really helped me dig into the detail in a convenient way. I listened to them in the car, listened to them while doing chores, sometimes on lunch. just regular every day listening as much as possible. I only focused on the "core" episodes.
* Know the formulas inside out, upside down and backwards. I was presented with formula questions in some bizarre visual ways I'd never seen. If i hadnt known them cold I would have struggled. I could never remeber that darned ETC and sure enough I got that one! :)
* unlike others, I DO recommend memorizing the ITTO's but ONLY after you are 100% confident that the concepts make sense. On practice tests and the real exam, knowing the ITTO's cold would have made me much more confident. I wish I'd memorized them, but again *only* after totally understanding the concepts and how the processes work together
* know the processes. be able to recite them in your sleep. knowing what they are and how they interact and where they fall in order will be very helpful.
* be prepared for situational questions that are unlike anything you've seen. I swear during the test there were times where I was saying to myself "what in the world are they talking about?!?!"
* I saw very few charts! But I got tons of questions about them all. Know the charts and their many uses!
* My best suggestion is relax, be calm and be confident if you spent a few months studying.
* Use the prepcast, the simulator and follow the directions and you will do fine.

Thank you Cornelius and the Prepcast team. I'm confident I couldn't have done it without you! I wish future students and exam takers the best of luck!

Training for Project Management Professional (PMP)®, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®, and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®