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TOPIC: Passed PMP, first attempt, 9/5/19–Part 2 of 4: Driving to Exam & At the Exam Ctr

Passed PMP, first attempt, 9/5/19–Part 2 of 4: Driving to Exam & At the Exam Ctr 1 year 2 months ago #18508

  • Lisa Sweeney PMP
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My Lessons Learned are lengthy, so I posted them as separate topics:

Passed PMP, first attempt, 9/5/19 – Part 1 of 4: Study Aids
Passed PMP, first attempt, 9/5/19 – Part 2 of 4: Driving to the Exam & At the Exam Center, Pearson VUE Experience
Passed PMP, first attempt, 9/5/19 – Part 3 of 4: Exam Interface & Answering Questions, Pearson VUE Experience
Passed PMP, first attempt, 9/5/19 – Part 4 of 4: Exam Question Types & PMI Shaming

Here’s Part 2 of 4: Driving to the Exam & At the Exam Center, Pearson VUE Experience

I. Driving to the exam center

1) I reviewed my exam day checklist before leaving.

2) I listened to PM PrepCast’s “Lesson 99.99 - Goodbye” on the way to the exam.

Cornelius, please consider recording a “pep talk” for candidates to listen to on the drive to the test center. After listening to your voice for hours over the last few months, it has a sort of calming effect. Lesson 99.99 was kind of a pep talk, but I would have liked one geared specifically for people driving to the test. I was nervous.

TIP: Drive to your exam center a week or more before you take the test at the SAME TIME as your test is scheduled. I dropped by mine at a different time and spent 20 extra minutes in traffic on THE day. While visiting the test center, ask to see the white board (booklet) and marker you’ll use during your exam (more later on that).

II. At the exam center

1) White Board (Booklet)
See this YouTube video that shows a white board (booklet) similar to the one I used. Video was made by NCEES (National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying).

Pearson VUE reusable booklet:

The white board (booklet) provided at the test center was great. It was 8.5 x 14" (bigger than letter size) with light grey grids on 5 laminated pages. The light grids helped me keep the brain dump lines straight! The written instructions at my Pearson Center noted that I was not allowed to erase marks. That said, mine smudged a lot because as I was reading a question, I placed my finger on the process I thought I was in. I wish I'd had a booklet earlier in the preparation process to practice on. It was much easier to write the brain dump with it.
  • Homemade white board (booklet), blank
  • Download my homemade white board (booklet) grid if you want to practice with it in preparation for the test. It’s a 2-page pdf (below). Print both pages; see instructions on the second page.
This browser does not support PDFs. Please download the PDF to view it: Download PDF.
  • Homemade white board (booklet), completed
  • Here’s the finished brain dump.

Differences from my exam center’s booklet to Amazon’s:
  • Amazon may send a different marker, like the Expo Vis-a Vis (which has a bigger point), than the one I was provided at the test center. See mine in point 2 below.
  • Amazon’s booklet has yellow pages. My booklet had white ones.
  • One Amazon reviewer said he was not able to erase all his marks every single time in practice. Some light “ghost” text may remain.

2) Marker
Amazon sells the same marker that I used at my testing center:
Staedtler ST 311-9 Lumocolor Non-Permanent Pen - Black, the “S” model
Line width superfine, approx. 0.4 mm

3) Exam Center
See this YouTube video that is similar to my exam day experience, made by NCEES (National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying).

Pearson VUE exam-day experience:

Differences from my experience to the above video:

  • Didn’t want a second form of I.D. (driver’s license only).
  • Didn’t want a copy of my Pearson exam appointment email.
  • No palm or finger scan.
  • Compared my signature on the digital pad to my driver’s license. The pad was kind of odd. It was just a black, rubber pad (not a screen) and didn’t show what I was writing.
  • No “scheduled” breaks. The countdown clock in my exam kept ticking through unscheduled breaks.
  • No locker access until the exam was completed.

Test Administrator (TA):

Next steps after I finished the sign-in with the receptionist . . .
    1) Holding only my locker key and driver's license, I waited in line in the reception area at the end of a hallway for the TA to walk me back to the security area for more instructions.
In the security area:
    2) I showed my driver’s license again.
    3) I pulled out my pockets.
    4) I patted myself down from the waist down. No metal detector.
    5) I put my glasses on a round turntable for inspection.
    6) TA offered me a basic calculator (couldn’t use my own).
    7) TA walked me to a cubicle in a room with a glass wall in the back. Headphones were sitting at each cubicle to use.
    8.) TA logged into the computer at my cubicle. I tested the marker and calculator. My calculator had no designated “on” button. Had to push a “CE” button to turn it on. My marker was dry, so the TA brought me a new one.
    9) At the beginning of the test, the room temperature was comfortable. In the last 30 minutes of the exam, I was freezing.

2 Calculators at my center—
• Mini calculator: Amazon shows a basic calculator similar to the one at my testing center., 2.2 x 4".
Casio Inc. HS8VA Standard Function Calculator

• Onscreen calculator: There was an onscreen calculator available in the upper left hand corner of the test screen. I didn’t use it.

Headphones at my center—
Amazon shows headphones similar to the one at my testing center.

Koss Pro-4AA Studio Quality Headphones

End of Part 2 of 4: Driving to the Exam & At the Exam Center, Pearson VUE Experience
Last edit: by Lisa Sweeney PMP.

Passed PMP, first attempt, 9/5/19–Part 2 of 4: Driving to Exam & At the Exam Ctr 1 year 1 month ago #18614

  • D Jones
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Lisa - My experiences at Pearson VUE were almost identical. I had pulled my hair back with a scrunchy however, I was told it was too large and had to remove it.
My only complaint about the testing center was that there was a window that was directly behind the proctor. Because of the time of my exam ( 12-4p) the sun began to set. towards the end of my testing window. This meant that the shadow of anyone going in/out of the testing center was directly upon my station. It was only the last hour or so of my exam but it was noticeable and annoying. When I mentioned it to the proctor he said I should have raised my hand to mention it to him. Unfortunately, I did not want to lose any valuable time by bringing attention to it so I tried to ignore it as much as possible.
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