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TOPIC: Passed the PMP: Roughly 80% on all Simulator Tests lead to Above Target in all areas

Passed the PMP: Roughly 80% on all Simulator Tests lead to Above Target in all areas 2 years 6 months ago #14173

  • Eric Lundahl
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I passed the PMP Exam 6th Edition on my first attempt with above target in all areas. My experience will sound similar to others, mostly I'm sending giving feedback for the PMP Exam Simulator statistics. (P.S. I couldn't find an easy link or survey form to give quick feedback).

My journey started when my company volunteered to send 3 of us to the local chapter spring review session for 2018 which covered the new 6th edition. Of the 3 of us I was the only one with the hours for the PMP Exam, the others went for the CAPM and to gain more knowledge of best practices.

My study materials were:
• PMP Exam Simulator from OSP International LLC
• PMBOK 6th Edition
• Rita's Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep: 9th Edition
• PMP Exam Simulator from OSP International LLC
• PMI PMP Examination Content Outline - June 2015
• PMI Puget Sound Chapter Spring Review 2018 (with associated materials)
• A study group from the chapter review session

In all it took me 12 weeks of study, I was working full time and had 2 major customer events each lasting a week that impacted my study time. The spring review sessions were held every Saturday for 6 weeks, following that I took an additional 6 weeks of preparation. The review sessions finished up just before the exam swapped to the 6th edition so it was really the first run of that version for the chapter. I needed the 35 education hours, so I applied for my exam just after the class completed, it took 1 week to get the authorization to take the Exam.

The first 6 weeks of the during the review I met with my co-workers 1 a week outside of class to go over questions for about 2 hours, In the meantime I would read the PMBOK prior to going to the class, (about 2 chapters per week). I didn't put in much other study, overall it was about 10 hours/week plus the class. The outside meetings really helped keep me motivated to do my reading and we could hold each other accountable. No one wants to be the person that didn't study and is not prepared in a group setting - for those who tend to slack off a study group is a great motivator.

After it the review sessions ended my study group changed since my coworkers were not taking the PMP (they were either on hold waiting to take the CAPM or trying to rack up more hours). So, I got a new study partner and we kept with the once a week study sessions reviewing 2 chapters per week and doing 50-60 exam questions together using the PMP Exam Simulator and reviewing them. In some ways having a partner to look over the questions was a lot easier since as we answered the questions we'd validate our logic against each other, and then look at the reasoning behind the answer in the simulator. For these study sessions I used Rita's book, basically reading it in advance and doing the exercises prior to each meeting. Again, the study group was a great motivator.

With about 4 weeks to go (before my review session ended) I started taking the exams in the PMP Exam Simulator - I would come into the office on a weekend or after work and go all 4 hours timed I would mark every question I was uncertain on usually about 50 questions. I got 79, 80.5, 83, 79, and a 79 - and I was running about 20 minutes remaining on each which I would spend on review. After that I would read through each Marked question, and each question I got wrong and read up on the answer, on some I was like OK, I see, on other It would lead me back to the PMBOK where I would study up on that section. The simulator is great because it lists the PMBOK page numbers making it easy to find and reread very specific sections. After the 2nd test I had a very hard time picking out weak areas - my strength was Procurement and Schedule, but everything else was about even. I re read Integration, Quality, and Risk since those were my weakest 3 areas (Integration was actually OK, but I did about 65% in Initiating and Closing so I hit the chapter again)

I also practiced my cost formulas... I was slow at first but did questions in Rita's book until I got faster. Watch out for the TCPI formulas, Rita does not focus on the TCPI = (BAC - EV)/(EAC-AC) she only lists out the one TCPI = (BAC-EC)/(BAC-AC) which got me on a few of my simulator questions (it's in the PMBOK).

I did not memorize the ITTO's - Although if you do it will certainly help... mostly I focused on which process created or updated a document - Where is the risk report, risk register, issue log, etc. created. What is the difference between Manage Quality and Control Quality? I did go through each Tool and Technique so that I knew what it was and what it was used for.

In the last week I found out about the PMI PMP Examination Content Outline - June 2015, I’d never seen this document before, but the simulator kept referring to it. I had a hard time finding it on the PMI website... so I finally Googled it and just reverenced it though the link. It's very handy as it lists out the tasks for each of the 5 process groups (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing. In fact, your exam results rate you not only in each of these areas but also based on each of the tasks in the group. My advice finds the document and memorize what the tasks are early in your study process (Week 1 or 2) that will make it easier. It's very similar to Rita's process chart... but the PMI version.

One other thing I found out towards the end of my study which is mentioned in the PMBOK was Stakeholder Power/Influence Grid which lists out how to act on for the 4 major stakeholder categories... I didn't see it in the book (maybe it is there) but I looked it up online based on a simulator question. Which is another element of my study... If I didn't know a graph or needed an example of a Tool and Technique that was not explained well - I would look it up online, find an example, and then think about what I would use if for on a project. I found this helpful for the Tools that I hand not used before or do not use on a regular basis.

So finally, I took my exam... got no sleep the night before due to way too much adrenaline. I knew my process chart and I had my formulas down by the time I took the test, so I only wrote down my EAC and TCPI formulas as a brain dump. You get a 15-minute tutorial on the computer (no writing out a brain dump during the tutorial) which I recommend taking just to familiarize yourself with things and get your frame of mind set. The questions are shorter and vaguer than the PMP Exam Simulator without as much background detail. Typically, just 2 lines long - of the 5 exam simulations I found it most closely linked to Exam #5 in the simulator, similar length questions and answers. There were some questions - I just looked and thought - I'd do all these things or none of these make sense at all... I CHOSE AN ANSWER and MARKED those questions. There were about 12 costing (formula) related questions but most were focused on whether you were ahead or behind schedule... only 2 required a calculator - take your time and get the right answer (don't rush it). There were also 3 network diagrams... again, take your time don't rush it, get it right the first time. Due to the question length being shorter I finished with 45 minutes to go and review my 50 marked questions. Heh... probably only 15 more made sense on a second read through. My advice, take your time on the first 10-15 questions, just relax and realize they'll probably be difficult, after about 15 you'll find your rhythm.

I ended up passing with an Above Target in everything - I felt as if I could have taken the exam about 4 weeks sooner and passed... but who knows... if you've got an extra $405 dollars to burn it might save you 80 hours of study - Anyway it could be a good Cost-Benefit on the off chance you blow it you get 3 chances. :lol:

Good Luck!
Eric Lundahl, PMP

Passed the PMP: Roughly 80% on all Simulator Tests lead to Above Target in all areas 2 years 6 months ago #14175

  • Stan Po, MBA, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM
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Dear Eric,

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