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TOPIC: Cleared the exam with 6 weeks of preparation !

Cleared the exam with 6 weeks of preparation ! 2 years 6 months ago #13813

  • Apoorva Revankar
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Below are my study resources
1. Cornelius Fichtner’s PM PrepCast and PMP Exam Simulator – This is a very good study resource if you enjoy learning from videos. Cornelius touches upon every aspect of the exam including topics that are not covered in PMBOK but required for the exam. The exam simulator is highly recommended as it gives an experience of the actual exam and boosts your confidence and makes you ready for the real exam. I also got my 35 contact hours of formal education from here.
2. Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep – This is a very detailed book and is highly recommended if you want to get good hold of PMP concepts.
3. PMBOK Guide – Many people say this is a very boring book but I liked the way the book is structured. This book helped me to study in a structured way.
4. Shiv’s Facebook posts – Shiv is a PMP coach and he has a Facebook page(PMP Exam Notes, Tips and Resources) on which he posts one PMP question everyday. I followed these every day. It helped me in quick revision of concepts and I gradually started getting most of the answers correct. Its a fun way of learning.

My Study Plan
1. During the first week of preparation I worked on the PMP application along with studying. This week was really crazy; I had to work close to 8 hours just on this. My application was accepted by PMI in 5 days. I went ahead and scheduled my exam!
1. I completed first round of studies in 15 days and covered all the knowledge areas. I studied via the PM Prepcast and PMBOK guide. I studied close to 7 hours every day. I also made my own study notes.
2. I did a quick revision in next 2 days and then took 2 mock exams via the PM Prepcast simulator and scored 81%. I went over every question and answer and found my weak areas. The simulator gives you detailed explanation for every question. This helped me in understanding few concepts better.
3. I did another round of complete study for 1 week and took 2 more mock tests and scored 91%. This boosted my confidence and I felt more confident in taking up the real exam.
4. 1 week before the exam, I revised, filled the knowledge gaps and took more mock exams.
Initially the syllabus seems over whelming but it gradually gets better. You have to keep up the pace and trust your ability.

Real Exam
The day had finally arrived and I was fully confident to crack the exam. I did a quick revision from my study notes for 1 hour. I reached the exam hall 1 hour early and I was given to take the exam an hour early.
I started the exam and one by one the questions seemed very tricky and I was marking almost every second or third question to answer later. I started to freak out and I was losing my mind, it was getting difficult to understand the scenarios in the questions. I stopped and relaxed for few minutes and told myself I can do this. I completely relaxed and went over the questions calmly. It started getting better and I was in much better position. I started to recognize the unwanted sections in the question and targeted only on the required section. This helped to solve many questions. I had around 45 minutes to review the marked questions and even those started to make sense during the second round. I was finally content and ended the exam after 4 hours. I was highly relieved to see ‘Above Target’ score. I literally cried out of joy!
I even experienced this during mock exams, initially the questions seem difficult and tricky but as you move foreward you will start recalling the concepts and you will be in a better position. So just mark the questions that you dont understand initially and visit them after you have completed all 200 questions.

Few tips:
1. Exam Application – Be very specific and clear on the activities you performed in your projects and also use Project Management terminologies as much as possible while writing the application. The ‘project management professional exam outline’ (available on PMI) is a good reference for this.
2. Study Resources – Refer at least 2 study resources other than PMBOK guide. Try to gain as much extra knowledge as possible by surfing the internet for blogs, articles and Wikipedia.
3. Mock Tests – Invest in a good exam simulator and take as many mock tests as possible. I took 10 four hour mock tests. This way my mind and body were prepared for the 4 hour action!
4. Make study notes of your own. I made notes of description of certain project documents, certain tools and techniques which I was failing to remember. This helps in quick revision.
5. Real Exam – The questions are all real life scenarios and the exam was difficult for me. There were less than 4 direct questions. Be prepared to read the questions quickly and understand what they are really asking. For problem questions, try to prepare as many indirect questions as possible. Lastly it is very important to stay calm and be able to concentrate for full 4 hours. Have a good night’s sleep the day before and stay hydrated.
6. Lastly you have to trust yourself and your ability to remember things as you study. Initially it all seems very vast and difficult but things will fall in place and you will start enjoying the journey.

I hope my PMP preparation journey will help you in some ways in preparing for the exam. Enjoy studying and crack the exam!
Best of Luck!
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