Thank you for giving back to the PM community and leaving such a thoughtful and well-written lessons learned post for others to follow and learn from. Your approach to preparing was excellent and is a testament to your success.
I appreciate your review of our simulator and your comparison to the other provider's products. It makes our day when a customer like you takes the time to tell us that our products factored in your success. We all feel a sense of pride in a job well done and I thank you very much for taking the time to share this with us.
Finally, I can't that you enough for your comment regarding the service you received from our Live Feedback support. Stan is very knowledgable, precise, and definitely logical. He has a great sense of how to treat customers and has received countless reviews that demonstrate to the company and his colleagues that he is a rare talent and a consistently high performing member of our team. We at OSP feel this service, the similarity of our questions to the actual PMP exam, and as you pointed out, very thorough explanations set us apart from the other simulators offered.
Please feel free to call on us anytime. We will be having a very big drop in the price of our PDU packages by the end of the month. But when your ready to acquire PDUs reach out to me directly so I can demonstrate our appreciation with a special price that is just for you.
Congratulations again in accomplishing an important milestone in your career!
Jonathan Hebert, PMP, CSM, PMI-ACP
Director of Sales and Business Development
8502 E Chapman Ave Suite 349, Orange, CA 92869, USA
Thank you for sharing your success and lessons learned. I remember the valuable inputs that you submitted through our simulator’s Live Feedback™ support feature. We are glad to hear that our products helped you prepare for and pass your exam.
Yesterday I passed the PMP exam. My scores in the simulator were 67%, 67.5%, 70%, 74%, 66.5%, 74.5%, and 75%. (I attempted 7 exams; thus, a total of 1400 questions). Some of my learnings/suggestions are:
1) Use a single provider, from PDUs to mock exams (whoever that is). That way, there will be consistency in what you learn. Too many study materials can create confusion because everyone has their own interpretation of what project management really is.
2) A corollary to the above point: use PrepCast. I’m quite satisfied with the product. They are the only ones whose questions bear resemblance to the real PMI questions. Everyone else’s study material and question banks are misleading. Of the 1400 questions I attempted, I had problems with only about 10-12 questions. By problems I mean that I was not satisfied with the answer/logic. In other words, less than 1 percent of Prepcast’s questions are problematic. With other books/study material, I could find 10-12 questions per exam that were problematic.
3) I used the following material:
a. Rita’s: the questions are “difficult”, but are not the of the type of difficulty that you will encounter in the exam. The explanations are of the rigid, “take it or leave it” variety which does not strengthen understanding. To Prepcast’s credit, every question that I disputed was responded to, with logic and PMBOK Guide references.
b. Grey Campus: The questions are not up to date. There were many questions that were from the previous versions of the PMBOK Guide. The trainer in their videos is a very experienced project manager who no doubt has a lot of knowledge about the subject, but is not familiar with the type of questions that are asked in the exam. For example, he suggested one potential question: “How many processes are there in total?”. PMI will never ask something that simple.
c. Prep Away: Outdated, outmoded questions. Avoid.
d. Christopher Scordo: Questions are too easy, and thus, not representative of the actual exam.
In general, it seems to me that most REPs (with the exception of Prepcast) haven’t kept abreast of the changing nature of the exam.
Exam / Preparation:
1) Most of the exam questions are mini case-studies. They involve answering some variant of the following questions: “What should the project manager do next?”, “What should have been done to avoid/prevent this situation?”, “Which of the following documents should the project manager refer to?”.
2) There were about 8 quant questions, of which 6 were very easy. Quant questions are the low-hanging fruit of the exam. Learn the concepts well and you will score 100% in those questions.
3) My exam question set was heavy on Communication and Integration. It was more or less equally composed of other areas such as Risk, Resources, Change, Procurement and Quality.
4) Rote memorization is unavoidable, so choose wisely. Something like Planning has a lot of processes (24) and has a 24% weight. Contrast that with Executing which has a 31% weight but has only 10 processes. Any Knowledge Area that has many processes in Executing should become a prime candidate for memorization (example: Resources)
5) Keep one Knowledge Area as your “favourite”, meaning that you should aim to score 100% in it. My suggestion is to choose a smaller one like Communications or Procurement.
6) Understand the concept of change control thoroughly. If “the project has just started”, it means that the plans would not have been baselined and therefore formal change control process is not needed. (I learnt this the hard way)
7) Analyse the mock exam scores carefully. I maintained a trend line of each Knowledge Area to see how I performed in it across exams. This helped me focus on those areas where my score was consistently low. (Another good thing about Prepcast is that their exam result analysis is quite good: it is segregated by Knowledge Area and Process Groups)
I hope these points would be useful to everyone preparing for the exam.