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TOPIC: Passed the exam on Friday

Passed the exam on Friday 2 weeks 4 days ago #17298

  • Shannon Davis
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So, it has been a crazy two weeks for me with getting my application prepared, getting audited, passing the audit, scheduling, and taking the exam, but in the end I passed the exam with great marks, AT/AT/AT/AT/T. When I was preparing my information for the application I had some questions and came here in search of information and suggestions, I received great advice on how to prepare the application from the members and moderators here . I completed my application and within seconds of submitting it to PMI I was one of the lucky ones to get the dreaded email that I had been chosen for an audit. I honestly went into it expecting to get an audit just because it was easier for me to assume that I would have to face an audit than it was to hope that I might be immune to the process. I had read several user success stories on here from others who had faced the audit and knew what to expect before ever submitting my application, I had already told previous business contacts that I may be reaching out to them for verification in the event of an audit, so it was no surprise to them when I did have to make that call. It did take a little more time than I really wanted to get schedules aligned to complete the paperwork for PMI, but more because I was impatient and wanted to hurry up and get the package back to PMI. Once all of the paperwork was in order I sent it overnight to PMI on Thursday morning. Within an hour of handing the package over to FedEx I started to worry that one of my verification forms may have not had the box checked for yes, I remembered watching him fill it in and thinking that he hadn't checked the box, but it was in an envelope and sealed a few moments later and I didn't think about it again until after I had shipped it to PMI. FedEx tracking notified me on Friday morning at 8:36 AM that the package had been delivered to PMI, and the wait was on. I was still worried that we may have missed checking the box, so I was very anxious to hear from them if I may have to redo the package and resend it. I never heard anything at all from PMI on Friday and I knew they wouldn't be getting back to me over the weekend, so all I could do was wait. My wife and I were flying out to Las Vegas for a few weeks on Monday morning, so I would just have to wait and see what I could do about scheduling the exam after I got back home. When my plane landed in Las Vegas I turned off the airplane mode on my phone and immediately got all of the notifications that I had missed over the past several hours, two of those notifications were from PMI! I received an email from PMI that I had passed my audit, and then one minute later I received an email from PMI to let me know that they had received my package and it may take up to two weeks to process! I actually got the approval before the receipt of the package, but I had passed the audit! I discussed it with my wife and was thinking I would schedule my exam a few weeks after we returned home from Las Vegas, but when I went online to look at available dates there were none available that would work with our travel schedule for about 6 more weeks, so I resigned myself to continuing to study and take practice exams while I waited, but I had not yet committed to a date for testing in Houston because we needed to schedule some travel dates that were still not 100% set in stone. I took a few more practice exams through prepcast and scored pretty decent so I was confident that I would be prepared to sit for the exam if I could just get a date that would work. I decided that I would look up Prometric Testing site here in Las Vegas and see if they had anything available any sooner than Houston so I could take the test and get it over with before I burned out from too much studying. My wife and I are in Vegas every other week so I was hoping that maybe I could test the next time we were in town, but they didn't have anything available for that time frame, and then I noticed that there was a date available for Friday afternoon! This was on Thursday morning, so I would be testing the next day if I took that option. I really planned on sitting through at least 2-3 more four hour exams before testing because at this point I had done several shorter tests but had only completed one full 4 hour exam. I sat down and took a 2 hour practice exam on PMPrepcast and scored pretty well so I decided I would go for it.

The following morning I had several hours before my exam and decided that I would spend some time studying the process chart because I had still not completely memorized it. I had heard that it was best to show up to the testing center at least an hour early, so I planned to be on that side of town no less than an hour and a half before my 12:30 appointment because traffic in Las Vegas can be really bad at times. I walked into the testing center exactly an hour early as suggested and the lady at the desk gave me a locker key and instructions of what all is allowed or not allowed in the testing center. They did allow me to bring in some mints , but not the packaging, I had to open the mints and place them into a tissue that she gave me. I had heard that you could bring a snack and a drink but you would have to leave it in the locker until you decided to take a break, that was no true at this particular center. At this center everything goes into the locker and you are not allowed to reopen the locker at all until you are 100% finished with your exam. They did have a water fountain in the hallway and restrooms right down the hall that you can use if needed. They gave me a pencil, calculator, and note paper and instructed me that if I needed more note paper that I could raise my hand and they would let me trade the used note paper in for more blank paper. There was a 15 minute tutorial on how the system works and all of the functions, but it really only took me about 2 minutes to get through it because their system is very similar to the PMPrepcast system. At the end of the tutorial I could have taken the time to do a brain dump and draw out the process chart if I wanted to, but I still hadn't memorized all of the chart so I just dove into the test right away. I went through all 200 questions in just over two hours and the through the entire 200 questions I was really unsure if I would pass the exam at all, many of the questions seemed to have as many as 3 correct answers and you had to find the "best" answer. I was concerned when I finished the questions in just over 2 hours because what I noticed about myself while doing the practice exams was that when I moved through the questions too quickly I often missed small details that would change the connotation of the question, and I would get the answer wrong because I didn't fully understand what the question was asking. Throughout the exam I had marked several questions to come back to for further review, so I got started on going through all of them and as I went I took more time to really think about them and find the best answer. The more of the marked questions I went through I started to feel better about my chances of passing the exam, but I was still very unsure of my expected results. In all I spent just under 3 hours on the exam before I finally hit the submit button and faced my results, the system asked me to do a survey but I just couldn't wait any longer to see how I had done so I skipped that. The longest part of my whole day was sitting there waiting for the computer to calculate my results, but eventually it did come up with a screen that didn't have a score but did congratulate me on having achieved my PMP certification! The rest of the visit at the testing center was pretty quick, throw away the note paper, sigh out on their log, empty your locker, etc.

For study material I used a few different things, some better than others. Before I started the PMPrepcast program I watched several videos on YouTube that gave me a pretty good foundation of knowledge but did nothing to help me accumulate the required 35 hours of contact time. During this time of my study I also read PMBOK 6th Edition in it's entirety . The further I got into my studies the more I started to think I was wasting my time on things that would not give me the needed hours, so I started doing some research about what the best course would be that could give me the hours. Anyone who has considered taking the PMP exam can tell you the countless number of options out there, but I decided to go with the PMPrepcast system because I could download all of the lessons and watch videos on flights or listen to them in the car. This program is the most flexible and user friendly of any of the choices that I found available. After going through the PMPrepcast system I started taking the practice exams and continued to study. During this time of my study I ordered the Rita book and read it cover to cover once, and would go back to the podcasts and the Rita book to brush up on areas where my exam scores were not as high as I would have liked. All the way back to the earliest practice exams that I had taken I was scoring in a "passing" range, but not always much higher so I need to gain more knowledge to get me into the higher range. The practice exams were a great tool to find what areas I needed more work on, and gave me the ability to focus my energy where it was needed the most, and at the same time kept me using the knowledge I had already mastered. I followed the statistics on the test results page very closely and adjusted my areas of study to cover weak areas. The scoring of the PMPrepcast practice exams actually really did surprise me when I finally took my exam. Remember I said I took a 2 hour test the day before going in for my exam? On that 2 hour test I scored AT/AT/AT/AT/T , the very next day I took the real exam and scored AT/AT/AT/AT/T ! That sure seems like a pretty accurate tool to me! I would like to thank everyone with PMPrepcast for building such a great study tool , and everyone here who contributes to the community to help aspiring PMPs , it was a great help to me.

Passed the exam on Friday 2 weeks 4 days ago #17301

  • Ashish Shah
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Would you mind sharing your scores on the Prepcast mocks for the sake of comparison.
Also, general consensus is that the actual test is slightly less difficult than Prepcast. What are your thoughts on it?
thank you !!

Passed the exam on Friday 2 weeks 4 days ago #17302

  • Shannon Davis
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The last practice exam that I took was a 78% and the one before that was an 86%. But the point of the post is actually more to point out that the scoring of the PMPrepcast is very close to the grading on the actual exam. My numbers really don't mean anything to anyone but me, just know that when the simulator says you are ready that you are well prepared for the actual exam. I would not say that the actual exam was any easier than the PMPrepcast simulator, for me it seemed harder, but that could be attributed to the anxiety of it being test day and the difference in being comfortable in my own space vs being in the actual test center.
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Passed the exam on Friday 2 weeks 4 days ago #17303

  • Shannon Davis
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I will also add that the lower score on the last test was more likely that I was somewhat pressed for time and didn't take as much time as I should have to carefully go through the questions , and go through all of the marked questions before finishing the practice test.
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Passed the exam on Friday 2 weeks 3 days ago #17317

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

Congratulations on passing your exam!

Thank you for sharing your success and lessons learned. We are glad to hear that our products helped you prepare for and pass your exam.

Good luck in all your future endeavors.
Regards,
Stan
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