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1 year 9 months ago #18697

Brian Mainor

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I had the exciting experience of sitting for the PMP exam this morning. Thought I might share the experience with those of you who have yet to take it and those of you who want to read it just for kicks. So first things first, I passed with scores 'above target level'. And let me tell you - it was a DIFFICULT exam. No sugar coating it. But don't worry, I do have the unsolicited advice you're looking for. ;) *Note: I won't give you any specific exam questions, but I can give you a general idea

You don't really need to study formulas / any calculations at all. All in all, I only had 2-5 problems that had ANY numbers at all, and even then, only one of them required me to do a calculation (which was a simple three-point estimate). So don't stress if you haven't memorized all of the formulas, its not that big of a deal. What you do need to know if all of the processes in and out. You need to know how to practically apply the project management knowledge you've been studying. The exam asks tons of questions that want to know what comes next or precedes various project documents. It also asks many questions on what kinds of project documents, plans, processes...etc. revolve around real-world project scenarios. The point is - know the fundamental project management knowledge (Fig. 4-1 on page 71 of the pmbok guide sixth edition) and how to apply it to real-world situations.

The other thing to look out for (and this is what makes the exam hard) is that almost 75% of the exam has questions with at least two 'right answers'. Its the same thing Cornelius has warned us about, and its true. You have to be able to discern which answer is the 'most correct' or 'most right'. Frustrating as that is, it helps hone your ability to determine the best course of action as a project manager. Honestly, the only way to develop this is either to a) have a lot of on-the-job experience or b) expose yourself to a lot of 'what if' scenarios through reading or practice questions.

My study advice is three-fold. First, read the pmbok guide or at the very least peruse it / be familiar with it and understand all of the terminology and major portions of it. Luckily, the second piece of advice will help with that - go through Cornelius' pmp prepcast. He does an excellent job of summarizing the information in the book, and it is pretty convenient in podcast form. *I was not paid for that promotion haha. The third thing is to go through a ridiculous amount of practice questions. I only took two full length practice exams (pre - and post-tests), but I must've gone through 1,000 other questions through various length quizzes ranging from 10-100 questions. In this case, do what works for you, but ABSOLUTELY review your quiz / test after taking it and read the feedback the exam gives you. While I personally thought the exam was slightly more difficult than the prepcast simulator, the feedback and practice the simulator gives you is extremely helpful, so I'd highly recommend it.

Overall, the PM Prepcast was extremely helpful and lead me to passing the exam on my first try. Study hard and take a deep breathe- you can do it! Good luck to all of you future project manager professionals!

~The Newest Project Management Professional

Training for Project Management Professional (PMP)®, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®, and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®