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TOPIC: Passing PMP by learning from mistakes

Passing PMP by learning from mistakes 2 years 4 months ago #14097

  • Joern Meier
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I recently passed the PMP exam above target in all five domains after a seven-week study period.
I had been a member of PMI for a few years, knowing that at some point I would seek the PMP certification. However, life and job kept getting in the way. When I did put my mind to it, it turned out to be a less intimidating endeavor than what I had anticipated. Subscribing to the PM Prepcast and the PMP Exam Simulator made the learning relatively easy.
I began with the pre-course self-assessment. To my surprise, I did not do too poorly in that. Upon reflection, I realized, that as practicing project manager and recent MBA, I already were familiar with a lot of the material covered in the Prepcast and the PMBok Guide. I decided that I should be able to take the exam within two months or less of studying.
Self-discipline is key. I committed the time. Every day I dedicated time to the effort; on some days I had only half an hour, on others I could give it three hours. I listened or watched the PM Prepcast lessons, from the couch, in the car, on the trail, or while doing dishes; due to distractions, sometimes had to go over sections multiple times. However, the flexibility that a podcast provides helped me to find the time I needed to ingest the materials. Heeding the advice given, I took the high-end first lessons per chapter in the recommended order, skipping lessen 4 about project integration management and come back to it after 13.
The Formula guide and formula test questions proved to be a fantastic resource. Going through the questions and finding the answers helped a lot to solidify my understanding of important concepts like earned value, and it helped me to address formula questions in the exam promptly and with confidence.
Another crucial tool was the PMP Exam Simulator. I seem to best learn from my mistakes, and the exam simulator accommodates that learning approach really well. The recommendation was to take as many 4-hour simulated exams as possible to prepare for the real thing. In my case, having a four-year-old in the house, this was just not practical. I did manage to get two full-time tests in; all others were ½ hour to 2-two hour timed tests. I did a lot of them. When I started my test exam scores were in the 60% range, close to the exam, I hit between 75% and 90%. After every test, I reviewed my errors and researched the correct answers.
Especially early on that meant listening to more in-depth PM Prepcasts. I also made good use of available resources on the web. As recommended, I took other freely available online tests. The further I advanced the more I began using the PMbok Guide as a reference.
I believe that concentrating on the tests to identify my weak areas and using the Prepcast and other resources to plug the holes, was an excellent way to blend pre-existing and new knowledge.
In my test quizzes and exams, I always finished with time to spare. The real exam was different. The wording seemed to be different, and with the first twenty questions or so I had real problems. I got behind and for the next three and a half hours had to catch up. Knowing my formulas and having gone through many formula test questions really helped. I finished with one minute to spare, and when I received my results half a minute after pressing send, I was above target in all domains.

Passing PMP by learning from mistakes 2 years 4 months ago #14101

  • Petronella Palmertree
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Congratulations and thank you so much for sharing. I have never been a quick reader and finish the practice tests with maybe 15 minutes to spare. Can you perhaps elaborate on "the wording seemed to be different"? More ambiguous, more PMI jargon, just lengthier or different how?

Thank you!

Passing PMP by learning from mistakes 2 years 4 months ago #14130

  • Rochelle Martinez
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Congratulations and thank you for sharing your lessons learned with us.
Best regards,
Rochelle Martinez
VA Team Leader

Passing PMP by learning from mistakes 2 years 4 months ago #14231

  • Anonymous
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I found that particularly in the first 20-30 questions the wording And sentence structure were not clear to me. I had some problems identifying what the question was actually looking for. In the test exams I had not really run into this. I had followed the advice and tried free exams or quizzes from a few other sites, but I had no comprehension problems with their questions. I had also signed up with a couple of IOS PMP essay trainers, but those were simply junk. Anyway, in the exam, after 20-30 questions things became more clear. I hope this helped.

Passing PMP by learning from mistakes 2 years 3 months ago #14235

  • Petra Palmertree
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Thank you so much!
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