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TOPIC: Passed First Attempt: T/AT/AT/AT/AT (study details follow)

Passed First Attempt: T/AT/AT/AT/AT (study details follow) 2 weeks 19 hours ago #17358

  • Anne Marie Kupferer
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After many years of helping others achieve their professional development goals, I decided it was my time to go after the PMP certificate. Fortunately, I came upon the PM PrepCast tools fairly early in my search for learning resources. I already knew I needed 35 contact hours prior to submitting my application to PMI, so I signed up for the PrepCast video lessons and started watching. I also kept exploring the PM Prep Cast website and discovered many more resources to guide my PMP journey. Really helpful were the tips for submitting the PMI application (this is a mini-project in itself!) and advice on formulating a study plan. Not everything makes sense at first but if you continue to work step-by-step through the tasks outlined by the PrepCast team, it comes together.

My study plan consisted of first watching the introductory lessons to each of the modules as a way to earn my 35 contact hours. After completing the refreshingly straightforward quiz to document the contact hours, I submitted my PMI application on March 9th and received my acceptance by March 15th (no audit!). I then scheduled my exam for May 9th and set about organizing the coming weeks’ study. My next step had me going back to watch the modules from the beginning (I skipped the intros) and following along with the PMBOK (PMI’s Project Management Body of Knowledge – this can be ordered as a book from PMI or accessed from the PMI website once you are a member). I took extensive notes as I watched the videos as a way to avoid passively watching. I next read the corresponding chapter in Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep (9th edition), took notes and completed some of the exercises. At the end of each module/chapter, I took the quizzes and reviewed missed answers. This went on for several weeks. I also collected supplementary learning materials such as the PMI Exam Outline (this is an absolute must to review), the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, and PM PrepCast’s Formula Study Guide. After I finished the video modules and chapters, I felt confident enough to start practicing with PM PrepCast’s Exam Simulator. At this point, I was about 3 weeks out from my exam date.

The practice exams were a big part of my preparation so I’ll provide more detail. I was able to take 6 practice exams prior to my exam. After reading other comments on this forum, I felt it was important to use this resource to its full advantage and really simulate the actual exam experience. Sitting for all those practice tests was frankly exhausting but gave me tremendous confidence going into the actual exam as well as honed my test taking skills. I’m naturally a very fast reader but found that to be a disadvantage in the context of the exam. I had to train myself to consciously slow down my reading and really look for key words. Asking yourself at every question, where am I in the PM process and what exactly is the question asking takes discipline but I believe that’s required to answer the questions successfully. Another strategy I used was to mark all formula questions and not try to answer them on my first pass through the exam. I memorized a formula brain dump and spent the first 7 to 8 minutes writing that out prior to each practice session. Knowing I had those formulas at hand let me relax and focus on the other questions first. By the time I started taking the practice exams, I had the PM process chart firmly learned and so I didn’t feel the need to use time putting it on paper at the beginning of the exam (although I really did practice it each day to be sure I had all the 49 processes memorized and in the correct order). I know people have asked for those sharing lessons learned to provide their practice exam scores so here are mine: #1-80.5%, #2-76%, #3-83%, #4-77%, #5-85.5%, #6-81.5%.

Following each of the practice exams, I took the time to review all missed questions and prepared a summary study guide of all my notes. This was an important active learning step and I’d encourage all those preparing for the exam to use those higher order thinking skills (analysis, synthesis and evaluation) to prepare their own review. I think these skills are really what PMI is aiming to assess so the more you practice, the better able you will be to take on those notoriously ambiguous exam questions. I also re-read most of Rita’s book, especially the exam tips chapter. As an aside, I skipped studying Rita’s Process Chart - it just didn’t work for me. I also tried to take the PM PrepCast’s Exam #8 (ITTO) but felt it focused too much on ITTO memorization, which I had not done, so I quit after a few questions. I did use the learning quizzes to focus on my more challenging knowledge areas (Risk and Quality) and included the ITTO questions there.

Taking the actual exam was honestly really challenging for me. I spent about 7 minutes at the start putting down my formula brain dump and then began answering questions. I felt frustrated during the exam finding so many of the questions could be narrowed down to two plausible answers and then having to decide on the “best” answer. I marked those I truly struggled with to review at the end and kept going, trying not to become discouraged (breathe!). There were maybe 5 or 6 formula questions, I marked all of those without attempting to solve them and kept going. The exam was taking me longer than the practice exams and I found myself at about the 3:20 mark beginning the math questions. I was a bit flustered at this point but calmed down and tackled the math questions, very glad to have my brain dump handy. There was one math question I just couldn’t figure out so I guessed and went back to review my other marked questions. Knowing it’s best not to change your initial answer, I didn’t change any of my marked question answers unless I really felt confident I had missed some important information. With 8 minutes to go, I hit submit, took the short satisfaction survey, and saw the Congratulations screen! What a relief!

Good luck to you in your PMP certification journey and thanks to the PM PrepCast team for providing such topnotch resources and support. You really can learn anything but it takes a plan and isn’t that what PM is all about!
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Passed First Attempt: T/AT/AT/AT/AT (study details follow) 2 weeks 17 hours ago #17363

  • Stan Po, MBA, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM
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Dear Anne Marie,

Congratulations on passing your exam!

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.

Good luck in all your future endeavors.
Regards,
Stan

PMI Exam Content Outline Guidance 1 week 3 days ago #17451

  • Ashish Shah
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Anne Marie, Congratulations on clearing the PMP!!! I had a question for you in regards to the PMI Exam Content Outline. How did you focus on the domain tasks? I reviewed the outline and while the knowledge and skills list at the end of each domain is quite clear, the domain tasks seem a little ambiguous.
Can you share some insight and your experience on how you addressed these?
thank you,
Last edit: by Ashish Shah.

PMI Exam Content Outline Guidance 1 week 1 day ago #17465

  • Anne Marie Kupferer
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Hello Ashish!

For me it was helpful to review and memorize the tasks of the PMI Exam Content Outline (not verbatim but the general gist of the task). The exam included questions that asked, "What should the PM do next?" or "What was likely not done in this situation?". Knowing the tasks helped with these types of questions.

Good luck!

Anne Marie
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PMI Exam Content Outline Guidance 1 week 1 day ago #17466

  • Cornelius Fichtner
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Hello Anne Marie,

Would you mind elaborating a little more? How exactly did knowing the tasks from the exam content outline help you in determining 'what to do next' or 'what wasn't done'?

I'd like to better understand this approach and maybe write an article about your approach so that we can help others with this insight.
Until Next Time,
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM
President, OSP International LLC

PMI Exam Content Outline Guidance 1 week 18 hours ago #17471

  • Anne Marie Kupferer
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Hello Cornelius!

Certain tasks from the exam outline were definitely included in the exam (e.g. inform stakeholders of approved project charter, conduct kick-off meeting or archive project documents) that really don't get covered in the PMBOK. Question scenarios that ask what to do next or what got missed sometimes included these tasks as possible answer choices. When evaluating the answer choices on the exam, knowing these tasks were considered an important part of Initiating, Planning, etc., sometimes helped in my selection of the best answer.

Perhaps others with recent exam experience can also weigh in with their take on the importance of the exam outline.

Thank you so much for the terrific resources!

Anne Marie
Last edit: by Anne Marie Kupferer.
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