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TOPIC: Passed on First Attempt with 5 "Above Targets". What worked for me...

Passed on First Attempt with 5 "Above Targets". What worked for me... 2 years 2 months ago #14899

  • EHong
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Just passed the PMP on my first attempt about an hour ago scoring "Above Target" on all five areas. Here's how I studied and what I found helpful:

How I Studied:

1. Read Rita's book twice, and answered all the chapter-end questions once.
2. Read the PMBOK twice (second time just skimmed it).
3. Took all PM Prepcast practice exams (except the ITTO one).
4. Wrote down every fact I learned from each wrong answer I got on the practice exams - doing this will force you to read parts of the PMBOK you probably didn't memorize.
5. Typed up all my notes and just memorized.
6. I didn't really watch/listen to any of the PrepCast content. I didn't make flashcards, or listen to any podcast, or rely on any phone apps.
7. Best study advice? Take all those Prepcast exams! I tried practice exams from PMStudy and Simplilearn, but Prepcast seemed the most similar to the actual exam.

What I Found Important to Study (in no particular order):

1. ITTOs. Don't memorize all ITTOs. I did memorize the unique outputs of all 49 processes. For example, for "Define Activities" I would memorize "Activity List" and "Activity Attributes", but not all the other documents that are "updated". This helps reinforce the purpose of the process. Also, I did learn what each tool and technique did - I didn't memorize when they were used, but I knew what they were used for.
2. Project Charter & Business Docs. Know this! Know all the elements of the project charter and the purpose of the business case and benefits management plan. These are easy to skim over, but lots of Initiation questions depend on you knowing everything in the charter.
3. Closing. Know all the activities in the Close Project or Phase process and make sure to remember that closing procurements is different and is performed in Control Procurements.
4. Management plans. Know what is in each management plan. Don't simply remember that they all just include "how to manage stuff". For example, the risk management plan has a lot of items that are not just "how" items. Also, know really well the difference between Manage vs. Control Quality. For some reason I had difficulty distinguishing the two.
5. Change Control. Be rock solid in your understanding of what needs to go through change control, and when change control should be invoked. I had a lot of questions where the answer was simply "Submit a change request", so you need to know why you'd submit a change request.
6. Project documents. Make sure you know what is included in each project document. What is housed in the stakeholder register - like exactly what kind of information? What is housed in the requirements traceability matrix? Etc.

Taking the Test:

1. Testing Site. I arrived about an hour early and was allowed to take my test right away, so be prepared that this might happen to you. At my testing facility there were a bunch of other tests being administered and some of them required a lot of typing. Ask for headphones/earplugs if needed, but be prepared for a not super silent environment. I was not allowed to access my locker until after I was finished. So, depending on your facility, you may not be allowed to eat a snack until you're done with your test. Eat right before your test just in case.

2. Dump Sheet. I did not do a dump sheet at all and didn't find it necessary. I used all but 10 minutes of my 4 hours, so no time for a dump sheet. Anyway, my two cents.

3. Tools. There is a highlight/cross out tool on the exam that were very helpful in focusing on the possible answer choices. The "Mark" tool was helpful too. I marked about 30 questions that I reviewed later.

4. Breaks. I answered about 160 questions and then took a 3-minute bathroom break. That's it. I found once you get into the questions, time kinda flies. I did take a lot of deep breaths in the beginning because I was pretty nervous.

5. Question Types. There were some very hard, ambiguous questions that I had no idea what the answer was. Be prepared for about 10-15 of these types of questions - where it's a 50/50 guess. Also, make sure you read what the question asks for and where you are in the process. If the question starts "While planning..." then cross out choices that are in the other process groups. Also, if the question asks "Which tool or technique....", then cross out all processes and project management plan answers. Also, pay attention to whether the questions asks "What should you do?" vs. "What should you do next?". There were a few questions that could easily be answered by just eliminating obvious wrong choices. Overall, compared to the PrepCast exams, I would say the PMP's easy questions were pretty darn easy, but the hard questions were harder than the PrepCast exams.

6. Results. After you click "End Exam" you can answer a short 9-question satisfaction survey before getting your results. Then within a couple of seconds you see your results.

7. Last Thoughts. If you get several hard/ambiguous questions in the beginning (like I did), just mark them and move on. Do not sit and agonize for 3-4 minutes per question over the first 30-40 questions. You will eventually hit a batch of more manageable questions that will boost your confidence. If you're prepared you will have sufficient time to go back and review.
The following user(s) said Thank You: SHUMIN LONG, Jason Yorek, Sibiraj Kanakasabai, Daniel Dewart, Pooja K, Amy Wong, Purvesh Kothari, Sakthivel P
Last edit: by EHong. Reason: Removed less useful content

Passed on First Attempt with 5 "Above Targets". What worked for me... 2 years 1 month ago #14919

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Hi Erick,

Congratulations on passing the PMP Exam! Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us here in the forum.
Jenikka Ebias
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OSP International LLC

Passed on First Attempt with 5 "Above Targets". What worked for me... 2 years 1 month ago #14935

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Thank you For your inputs .. I'm scheduled to take my exam in a week and I'm really nervous since I'm averaging about 65 % on the 2 prepcast exams I took so far. I'll keep in the mind the points you mentioned
Thanks again

Passed on First Attempt with 5 "Above Targets". What worked for me... 2 years 1 month ago #14937

  • Ky
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Hi EHong, thanks for the detailed feedback. Quick question, did you study PMBOK chapter by chapter or process wise?

Passed on First Attempt with 5 "Above Targets". What worked for me... 2 years 1 month ago #14943

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I skimmed every chapter (except the PM Standard section and the Glossary at the back). I didn't read every single ITTO, but just focused on the ones that were either unique to that process, or if the ITTO itself was unique or something I didn't know. It's not practical to try to memorize all the ITTOs, and so many of them are repetitive.
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