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TOPIC: Passed PMP Exam on Aug 29, 2018 on first attempt

Passed PMP Exam on Aug 29, 2018 on first attempt 2 years 1 week ago #15010

  • Ariya Khamvongsa
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The lessons learned help me pass the exam as much as any study aids as they gave good tips on what I needed to do to pass the exam on my first try.

I started to study 2-3 hours a day during mid-May 2018 , then 4-5 hours in July, and then 6-8 hours in August.. First phase was to read the PMBOK once, then take the 35 hour PDU course (I highly recommend this one from Udemy .udemy.com/pmp-pmbok6-35-pdus), then read and do the Rita Mulcahy study guide, then took many practice exams. Looking back, I probably would read the PMBOK chapter, then do the corresponding chapter on the online course and Rita book in that order for the chapters, but I needed my 35 hours of PDUs to qualify for the exam hence the reason I did it in that order.

Main Lessons Summary
-read the lessons learned from other people pass or failed
-passed real PMP exam on 1st attempt with 2 Above Targets, 2 Targets, and 1 Below Target. Overall was at Target for whole exam.
-read PMBOK only once and Rita Mulcahy study guide once and did all exercises.
-Took 5 four hour PMP exam simulators from PMP Prepcast www.project-management-prepcast.com/pmp-...e-pmp-exam-simulator . The exam simulator was what helped me pass the exam the most but you have to take the 4 hour exam then review all of the questions you got right and wrong and refer to the PMBOK or other sources when you do not understand why you got an answer wrong. The more you do the better but you may hit brain/test fatigue.

Read PMBOK first, once only. During this time I suggest you start memorizing the 49 knowledge areas in a table format. I used a combination of numbers like 766-436-373-4 (number of processes for each row), and I Saw Sam Con Quin Run Cook Rick Petite Steak = Integration, Scope, Schedule, Cost, Quality, Resource, Communication, Risk, Procurement, Stakeholder. Then for the Planning column which has to be in order 14-53-121-511. Find a technique that works for you. Make a print out of the table from the PMBOK and refer to it while you are taking the online course and the Rita prep book.

I didn't memorize all of the ITTOs for each process but was familiar with them so understood how they flowed through the process. I should have played an ITTO game earlier on my phone but didn't, and think it would have helped me learn the material faster.

I read and did all the exercises in the Rita prep book once and reviewed the answers I got right and wrong. I didn't learn the Rita Process Chart Game as I instead memorized the 49 processes for my data dump. You will have to figure out what works best for you.

Learn what are business documents prior to taking the practice exam.

What was invaluable was to take the 4 hour paid for PM Prepcast exam simulators and then go back and review the right and wrong answers and why. This helped solidify my understanding. Most exams say aim for 80% for your practice exams scores but I read in lessons learned that you can schedule and pass the exam with scores of around mid-70s for your practice exams. Again, do not be too cheap and just take the free ones as they will not be as hard as the actual PMP exam questions. It took me on average 3.5 hours for the 4 hour practice exam and then another 4-6 hours to review what I got right and wrong. As I was going through the exam explanations I took down notes.

PM Prepcast Exam Scores
1st Exam: 66%
2nd Exam: 74.5% - this is the day I scheduled my exam for 2 weeks out
3rd Exam: 73%
(took the beast of a 100 question free test exam from Oliver Lehman for fun and got a 65% which if you researched around isn't bad. I didn't review any of the right or wrong answers as I was running out of time and the real exam questions were not as hard as this one)
4th Exam: 72.5%
5th Exam: 76.5%

When I got good results on my second 4 hour practice exam I scheduled the real PMP exam to be out 2 weeks later and spent everyday studying. I wanted to make sure that I at least got around mid-70s score before scheduling the exam whereas some folks just schedule the exam. Why put in a hard date when you are not ready yet? Hence my reasoning for waiting until I did relatively well and had enough time to still study to get better scores. Folks say once you have done around 2000 exam questions you are ready - I had done 2280 questions from Udemy course Rita, Oliver Lehman, and around 1000+ from the paid for PM Prepcast PM exam simulator.

The PM Prepcast exam simulator had longer questions then the actual exam BUT at the end of the day the level of difficulty was similar. The exams want you to understand what process you are in to select the best answer for that situation.

For the actual exam I didn't need to know that many formulas as only 3-4 were formula based at first I decided not to memorize some formulas but then thought at least learn the basics such as AC, PV, EV. Look at the patterns for the formulas.

CV = EV - AC
SV = EV - PV
CPI = EV / AC
SPI = EV/PV
EAC = EAC / AC
VAC = BAC - EAC
ETC = EAC /AC
FV = PV (1+i)n
PV= FV / (1 +i)n
NPV = FV / (1 +r)n
Learn simple formula for number of communication channels = N (N -1)/2
3 point estimate = ( O + ML + P)) / 3
PERT or bet distribution = (O + (4ML) + P) / 6

I only had 1-2 questions on critical path.

As others have suggested best to take one day off prior to test, but I just did a light study day the day before the exam. I had scheduled the 12:30 PM - 4:30 PM slot as I am not a morning person. I left my phone in the car and was able to check in 20-30 minutes sooner then my exam time.

I was lucky to have also studied with ear plugs, and ear muffs, and had a fan going at times because in the exam center then was a fan pointed right at me and sometimes used the ear plugs I had brought, the test center provided ear muffs, and sometimes nothing in or on my ears. Dress in layers for the exam as I was fine the first 2 hours, then put my light jacket back on for the last 2 hours.

During test day I did my brain dump of the 49 processes table, formulas (which all took about 10 minutes for me), only one break (7 minutes total to check out, bathroom, and check back in), and used up all of my time on the exam. I used the highlight feature and strikeout incorrect answers only a handful of times but they were helpful. Also since I did run out of time, I am glad I had struck through some obviously incorrect answers, and had selected at least a best answer for some questions I had marked for review later. As others have said, if you get stumped on a question, mark it and come back to it later.

Near the end of all this I was getting brain/test fatigue but went into the exam and passed!
Last edit: by Jenikka Ebias.

Passed PMP Exam on Aug 29, 2018 on first attempt 2 years 1 week ago #15011

  • Jenikka Ebias
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Hi Ariya,

Congratulations on passing the PMP Exam! Thank you very much for sharing your experience here on preparing and taking the exam.
Jenikka Ebias
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