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TOPIC: Successfully Passed PMP June 29, 2018 (3AT, 1T, 1BT)

Successfully Passed PMP June 29, 2018 (3AT, 1T, 1BT) 2 years 6 months ago #14520

  • Arumoy Chakravarty
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Where do I begin. Let’s say, I grossly underestimated the exam.

My journey began early 2017. I attended a PMP prep course over five all-day Saturdays in the Raleigh, NC area. Tony Johnson's book was the reference of choice in the class. I planned to prepare over after-house and weekends....guess what, didn't happen. Then came family cross-country relocation from NC to the SF Bay Area in the 4th quarter; all plans were out the window.

First Attempt
Reengaged over the new year, with enthusiasm, began preparing hard. It was about 3rd week in January when I realized the exam was changing March 26, 2018. Had to cram and get ready for it....did it, but did not understand the importance of practice exam - I am old study the book nice and hard, and you will do just fine. I fell to my face.

Second Attempt
I did not want to re-take exam with old resources. Bought new books, this time, decided to get the new PMBOK (which BTW is a must) and Rita Mulcahy (the reference and their exam simulation.) Some things were happening in my life, lost focus for a little bit. Did not read PMBOK well, or Rita Mulcahy reference in complete, did just two Rita exams, got 68% and 60%. Failed the second time.

Third Attempt
Dejected and demotivated, decided to give it one more try before hanging up the boots, thinking may be the certification was not for me...I wasn't really learning anything new anyway. This time, I decided I have to know what I was doing wrong. With review of forums and websites, decided to do the following.

- Read PMBOK in detail and revise at least two times.
- Practice simulated exams in full length, several of them, from at least 3 different providers. (1) had Rita Mulcahy already, got (2) PMtraining by Richard Scordo commonly called greenbook (3) PMPrepCast by Cornelius Fichtner.
- Review PMBOK in detail second time over.

Prepared one last time, and gave it a go. Passed exam June 29, 2018.

3 Above Target (Initiating, Executing, M&C),
1 Target (Planning) and
1 Below Target (Closing.)

Man was I surprised!! After the first hours, I was more than confident I was going to fail, honestly. I am glad I kept going, probably just for the experience. I had great insight on questions since I had really prepared, but the style of questions are just different than anything I had done. As the exam ended, and I was going through taking the survey, I was sure I had failed. And then the congratulatory notice came on-screen. I couldn't believe my eyes!!

Following includes my insight and tips.

1. Knowledge-wise, the exam means nothing to me.
2. Can't overstate it - DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE EXAM. Probably my biggest mistake. This exam is like nothing I had done in the past, and I have three undergraduate and graduate degrees.
3. The exam requires a concentrated exam, 4 hours daily and 6-8 hours over both days over weekends. Studying with such a regimen, will prepare you in about 3 months.
4. This is my personal preference and no not criticize my choice. Do not schedule an exam date till you are prepared to sit for it. The time pressure at end as the exam date approaches, gets you well. You can always postpose by paying 70 bucks, but it just bothers you. And remember, the cutoff is 2 days before the exam, midnight EST!! which means 9 pm PT. Due to choice of date when I wanted to sit for the last exam, I happened to get a center located about 80 miles away on a Friday. Did not bother me to drive 2 hours before taking the exam.
5. Read PMBOK in complete end to end. Highlight, take notes, mark-up and flag. Simulated exams from at least 3 providers. PM PrepCast in my view is in the top tier A) in level of difficulty, and B) getting in tune with exam, duration-wise.
6. Reviewing what you did wrong on exams - review takes longer than the 4-hour exam, at least initially. Just as important as anything else about the exam.
7. Style of questions. After doing about 10 simulated exams from the three sources I chose to go with, I sat for the exam and noticed right away, there is something different about the style of questions on actual PMP. For one, the length of questions is shorter than PM PrepCast, but questions are thought-provocating requiring you to think deeper. As one can see, if you do well on practice simulated exams, you will do just fine.
8. Process of elimination will help you rid of 2 of the 4 choices easy, on most questions. Now, selecting one out of the remaining 2 is what may be difficult.
9. I made a list of all the project management plan components and project documents before I started simulated exams, and kept adding details about 1) what it is about, 2) what is included 3) what is not included. Was great having a list like that, makes it easy to think.
10. I made a list of the 49 processes, and added significant outputs (mainly documents) the process produced. On some processes, added tools and techniques. Memorizing inputs was a little too much for me.
11. Emphasize PMBOK Part 1, and X3, X4, X5 and X6. Unsure of the importance of Part 2 of PMBOK. Review Agile Guide book, but probably not as critical as other important parts of the PMBOK.
12. Make good notes (digital copy paste worked for me) so you can review day before the exam.
13. If you happen to not be successful, get up, dust yourself, and right back at it. 3 to 4 weeks of additional preparation will get you there.
14. Keep yourself motivated in ways that works for you.
15. Reading PMBOK the first time is brutal. But keep do it. Go through simulated exams, and then review PMBOK once again. Works like a charm, and you will enjoy reading PMBOK. The notes you took while reading first time, helps you bring back the memory.
16. While reviewing incorrect responses on simulated exams, very important to cross check with references. What I did and worked well for me, say when practicing on PrepCast, was to have PM PrepCast and digital PMBOK up on my screen so I could search with keywords. Also, updated my notes based on reasons provided by PrepCast.
17. More than 90% of questions were situation based. A about 4 math problems. Agile, can't remember if I had any.

So what caused the delay? For me, as with everything else in life, not knowing what I was getting myself into just tripped me up. Now that I have the certificate, I think I will have a little more respect for the recently-certified PMP professionals. And it will allow me to look my wife eye to eye, my spouse had her certification and I didn’t….not anymore!!

Successfully Passed PMP June 29, 2018 (3AT, 1T, 1BT) 2 years 6 months ago #14523

  • Jenikka Ebias
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Hi Arumoy

Congratulations on passing the PMP Exam! Thank you very much for sharing your experience and insights with us. I'm sure other project managers aspiring for the PMP certification would find it helpful.
Jenikka Ebias
Customer Support
OSP International LLC

Successfully Passed PMP June 29, 2018 (3AT, 1T, 1BT) 2 years 6 months ago #14524

  • leon
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You didi it. What a tremendous effort you put into. Thanks so much for sharing in details. Cheers!
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