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TOPIC: Passed in 1st attempt! 5xAT Lessons Learned Journey!

Passed in 1st attempt! 5xAT Lessons Learned Journey! 2 months 3 weeks ago #17799

  • Daniel Kokkos
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Yesterday I passed my PMP exam! I wanted to share my experience in hopes that it will help someone else could use it to pass in the future. The community of business professionals for the PMP is spectacular. I am very pleased to be a part of such a great group that will do anything to support this effort. Some people say it is a very hard test, some people say its not that hard, and some people say it wasn't that bad. My thought was that it was a difficult exam. My feeling is that there is a lot of information to learn. You really have to comprehend it. It is not enough to know definitions and what the different plans and documents mean. It is NOT a memorization process. I have many years experience in the IT and business world. I have a background in operations, project and business management from my education and career. I still learned so much through out this journey. That is the best word I can use to describe the PMP experience. It was a Journey and I traveled far.

Resource Management - What I used to supplement my learning

This is what I used and what I think worked for me. I had other supplements but I don't think they are worth mentioning. I didn't really us them as much as I used the ones below.

PMBOK - 6th Edition
Rita Mccaulley 9th Edition
Rita Process Game
PM Prepcast Simulator - Cornelius Fichtner
PMP Exam Prep Over 600 Practice Questions Andrew Ramdayal This was mostly to give me different kinds of questions than the Prepcast
Dan Ryan, webinar on processes. He was also a great learning resource. If you are looking for a boot camp his would be great also.


Education - 35 hours needed
Udemy - Joseph Phillips - I really enjoyed his course. It helped me get a better understanding of how important it is to understand the ITTO's of the PMBOK. It is also a great reference to go back and watch Risk Management or Integration Management. He also has great coaching sessions at the end of each process area.
Udemy - Joseph Philips - 6th edition cram


Videos

Ricardo Vargas - Ricardo's video is a must. He is so passionate and it shows through in this video. I watched this a bunch of times throughout the whole process. I think you get a lot from it at different times throughout the process.
Praizon Mainline video - This was just as great as the Vargas video.
One of the things I really thing helped - The questions on the real exam can be quite tricky and you really have to decode what the question is asking. I searched go through tricky questions for PMP and you will see Aileen Ellis come up. She helps to teach you to decode what the question is asking. There are some other channels on youtube that will do the same thing.
Cornelius Youtube - I didn't watch a whole lot of his videos but I did watch a few of them. I think his Prepcast course has countless hours of learning materials He has a lot of passion and it shows.


Communities
Prepcast Lessons Learned Forum - I started to read a lot of these to inspire me to keep going. There is so much great information here. You will definately find something to help you here. Remember pay it forward when you pass.
Reddit - r\pmp

Phone Apps
PMP Exam Mentor
PMP ITTO - Really great for learning ITTO. I played this in lines or waiting areas.
PMP I think by Oliver Leahman These ARE VERY Difficult Questions.


My Experience
Starting
This was a personal goal first and foremost. I went to school for project and operations management and I received a MS in the project and operations management field. I was always interested in pursuing this certification because it was a globally recognized certification and has a strong organization behind it. Most of my colleagues didn't feel that it was necessary. I felt different about it and I new one day I would want take and pass the exam certification. I knew that it required many hours of experience, education and professional backing. I thought the application process was straight forward. I put it off until I realized that If I don't apply and set a date the time will pass and I wouldn't move ahead in the process.


Application

I filled out my application toward the end of January. I went into the process of filling out the application on PMI's website with the expectation that I would be audited. This set an expectation for me that I wouldn't have any surprises. When I hit the submit button, I was immediately told I was being audited! My first audit got cancelled before the audit process completed. They didn't want to waste my time. I did not successfully fill out the experience section and they were up front about it. At the time, I didn't know that there was a WAY to fill it out with the standard that PMI sets. The hardest part is fitting all that experience into 500 characters. PMI lets you abbreviate Initiating - IN, Planning PL, etc. That really helped. The second time I filled out the application I was much more careful and I submitted. Of course after your first audit you are stuck in audit limbo. I printed all of my records for signing and sent them out to my contacts for signing. Once it was in the mail I was approved in under a week.
I set a date and pushed on.


Learning

At first, you start and you read some books, and it seems wildly confusing at first. That is normal. I started with the PMBOK and Rita. I really liked Rita it is full of tons of useful information. At first you read it and it makes some sense but you don't completely understand what the framework means early on. After I read the PMBOK. I don't actually recommend reading the PMBOK but if you want to, go for it. Looking back thinking about what worked, I think the PMBOK would be a great supplement and reference guide as you increase your understanding of the 49 processes. For one - the definitions in the back are worth thier weight in gold. Also the appendix has some abbreviated knowledge of the processes and ITTO's. I read Rita's book probably 2 times fully (I would bring it on road trips and get a lot covered) I took the quizzes at the end of the chapter. They are good questions for learning but they are much to descriptive and give you more information to answer the question. The exam is not that forgiving. I would periodically go through and answer questions in risk and integration.


Exam Simulator - I used the PM Prepcast by Cornelius Fichtner. As other people have mentioned, this was an absolute must. The test questions were somewhat similar to the exam. EX What do you do next, What do you do first. I think the greatest thing about the Prepcast is the way they explain why an answer was correct and why the answer was incorrect. It has the best explanations of any simulator or exam paper or computer based. Other testing explanations somewhat mix the why of the wrong answer together in a big paragraph and you can't clearly separate out what was correct and why. That was frustrating about "other" test simulators and testing books. Prepcast was GREAT. Go get it if you are studying. Unfortunately, my randomly chosen questions were very bizarre and ambiguous.


I mostly took 10-30 question quizzes but as I approached my exam date I increased my numbers. During the quizes I started I was getting all over the board. some were 40% and some were 80 percent. My scores stayed in the UCL and LCL after going back and reading areas that I didn't know. Also the Prepcast has excellent data that is recorded on the back end. You can see how you are doing by quiz, or process group or by knowledge area(IN vs PL, Integration vs Risk) Awesome. Closer to the exam date I took a 100 question first. scored a 79%. Then 3 weeks before the exam I took my first 200 question quiz and the following week I went back for another 200 question quiz. I got a 82 and a 81.5 I was excited to see my scores so close together. I felt I was in a good place for my exam fast approaching. The key with this exam/PMP (and really life in general ha) is to learn from your mistakes. I believe in the improvement process. I kept going back to my exam and filtering the ones I got wrong and made notes.


Note Taking
I solely used Evernote for taking notes on the exam. Its a great application I use for everything. Anything I got wrong I would notate it in my PMP prep notebook. I set it up by knowledge area and added information as I went along.
EX:
****Note that - The opportunity cost is the value of the project that was not selected
****Note that - A milestone list is a list identifying all project milestones and is one of the outputs of the define activities process.


This was a great way for me to take notes. I have never been a flash card person.


Exam


In the days leading up to the exam it starts to get crazy! You start second guess yourself, you start to get anxiety, you stress, all of these things are probably very natural. I never experienced this amount of pressure leading up and even into the exam. I set my exam for a Sunday at 12:30PM. The test center was a couple hours away because my home test center didn't have any times available when I wanted to take it. I booked a hotel the day before and relaxed. I did as much to ease the anxiety as I could. I also went to the test center but it was a small center and I walked in said hello and then left. The day of the exam I arrived an hour early and watched Ricardo Vargas video. I didn't see any cars near the testing center. I sat and kept watching Vargas and closer to my test time a whole bunch of cars showed up. Time to get in there and sign in.


I went in and they ran through the procedure with me. It took maybe 30 minutes from the time I walked in the door. I went through the tutorial and started the exam. I was given some paper to write on and away I went dumping the important stuff. I wrote down the 49 processes very clearly and dumped CPI, CV, SPI, SV, BAC, n(n-1)2 comm channel, Pert and Beta Distributions. and FV/PV. That is pretty much it. OK - this took me longer than I had expected. I think I took 15 minutes to complete it. I was trying to be careful and I think this is what put me behind right of the starting block. I started to panic slightly when I saw that I was only through 30 questions at the first hour mark. In my practice exams, I was hitting 50-60 per hour. My strategy was to get through 120 questions before taking a break. Then I would return for 80 more and be done. That didn't happen. I was through 107 questions and I really needed to break for bathroom water snack. My break was quick. I was done in 5 minutes and back for more torture. At the time of my break I had about 90 questions left and I was VERY behind. I probably had 1:15 left. the pressure that came over me was intense. I started rapid firing questions thinking the whole time that this would be the reason I failed. I had like 7 questions left and was under 4 minutes. Then I got to like the last 3 questions left and it was a critical path question! UGH. I never went through a forward pass so fast. Before I tell you the result, I have to say I MARKED probably 50+ questions. I wasn't sure how my timing would go but based on the last practice exam I had plenty of time to go back.


I marked the ones that I didn't have any clue what the question was asking. I mean the first 50 questions were like WHAT THE HECK! I really wanted to go back and look at those answers. I did a narrow down to two and then tried to pick the BEST answer. That was all I could do with the questions like "You are a project manager and you are purchasing resources from a vendor, he is closing up his business, What color truck did he have" Most questions read like that. I was so mad.


I was down to the minute on my last question. I finished up my last question and I think I had 44 seconds to review my 50+ and before I could even finish reading my first marked answer a message popped up that read "you ran out of time" The lump in my throat at that point was something else. The pressure was an instant headache. I honestly thought I would have to take a second attempt and do it all over again. Then on to the survey. The Prometric experience was great so I gave them great marks. I have taken other tests and the testing center during those were not so good.


I said a last prayer and there it was. Congratulations. You have passed the exam. I stood up and waved. I wasn't sure what happened. Must have been all adrenaline. When I went out of the test area, I signed out and he gave my my results. AT/AT/AT/AT/AT ! I know I did my preparation, and my practice exams showed I was in that wheel house, however, when I say I HAD NO IDEA how I was doing the entire exam it is the truth. Other PMP's probably felt the same when they were taking thier test. Sometimes you get some questions that you can say oh that was definately the right answer but not so much here. Maybe 25 stuck out as definately correct. It was not enough to feel confident. I walked out of the exam center and I was in awe! It still hasn't hit me. I am very proud of this accomplishment and I am very happy that it is over. Not it is time to celebrate! Thank you to everyone in the community as well as the educators like Joseph Phillips, Cornelius Fichtner, Oliver Lehmann, Rita, Andrew, Praizon, Aileen, etc.


I did have a good amount of change related questions - I went with change request most of the time. I did have a heavy amount of procurement questions and of course Risk. Like many others have said before, "I am glad to be done and can go back to whatever it was I did before this" Future aspirants - good luck!


Keep Moving Forward!

Passed in 1st attempt! 5xAT Lessons Learned Journey! 2 months 3 weeks ago #17809

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

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

Passed in 1st attempt! 5xAT Lessons Learned Journey! 2 months 3 weeks ago #17813

  • Daniel Kokkos
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Thanks Stan, you guys are great. It was a long journey. I arrived safely. :P
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