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TOPIC: PMP 1st attempt - (T/AT/BT/AT/AT) + Lesson Learned

PMP 1st attempt - (T/AT/BT/AT/AT) + Lesson Learned 1 year 1 week ago #18794

  • Deepak Arya, PMP®
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First of all, Million Thanks to Sir Cornelius Fichtner, entire PM Prep Cast Team and all the forum members who shared their experiences, tips and lesson learned which made me clearing the exam in first try (T/AT/BT/AT/AT)
I have cleared the exam today, just couple of hours ago. So thought to write down my experience before I forget everything and heading out for celebration :)

January, early this year one thought came to my mind to achieve PMP certification.
Feb, Mar, Apr, May went by just collecting the information about exam like
1. What is it all about?
2. How tough it is?
3. What to study?
4. Just browsed high level information on PMP online, and made up my mind to start preparing for it.
June arrived and half year passed, then during mid-June; I got to know that my organization has arranged 5 days training for PMP to achieve 35 Contact Hours. So I quickly enrolled myself and achieved 5 days training and got the 35 contact hours. This became the first milestone achievement towards my journey.
July, Aug went by fast, due to office project work and due to my lazy habits I was studying just 1-2 hours occasionally and that too through online courses like udemy (19 hours duration).
Course link:
September, by this time I have started taking online exams available free. And was scoring like 60-70 percent. (Mostly on chunks of 100 or 50 Questions blocks)
Mid-September, I started getting anxious about the actual difficulty level of exam, since 60-70 percent on easy questions can give you false hopes. So I thought to give below tests to check my preparation level on recommended sets.
1. Edwel: 75 Questions (Scored 72%)
2. Oliver Lehmann: 100 Questions (Scored 62%)
3. Oliver Lehmann: 175 Questions (Scored 68%)
4. And couple of other online tests which I took, scored percentage like 68%,70%,65%,70% etc. (Question block of 100-50 used)
End-September - Now still I was not sure about my readiness, so started searching some simulator in market, then I got to know about PM prep cast, and I took free tests on this simulator and Bamm!! I hit the reality if Prep Cast supposed to be closer to actual PMP exams the I got 40%, 50%, 50%. (10-20 question sets)
• So I bought the Prep Cast Simulator and took the first 4 hours Mock Test and scored 65% after the mock test 3 days I have to spend analyzing all 200 questions which is the learning blocks for you.
By this time as you have read this post, I haven’t mentioned any book yet, because I haven’t read any book so far and after these free PM Prep Cast exams, I strongly felt the need to read one. So grabbed the soft copy of PMBOK which I had received with my PMI registration, and get it printed (I am kind of old schooled, prefer the hard copy) and started reading it, with 2 highlighters
1. Pink (For example marking)
2. Green (For Concept I don’t know)
I was thinking to highlight only the things which I don’t know and I ended up coloring whole book and had to buy another green highlighter as older was ran out in coloring the PMBOK.
I completed it in straight 5 days, before going office and after coming office I was just reading and reading and coloring it.
October - Now I have read the PMBOK at least once, then first week of October again I took my 2nd 4 hours PM Prep Cast Mock test and I scored 70% now I started feel positive. Since if PM Prep Cast is closer to real deal then I am able to crack it.
During 2nd week, weekdays in office I took 50 questions of timed quizzes every day and started scoring 70%-80% and sometimes 90-100% question correct in all 10-10 question set.
October 2nd Saturday - I took the 3rd Mock Test on PM Prep Cast and scored 82%. That day I got the confidence that I can bear the heat.
October 3rd week, entire weekdays I practice 20-20 questions and I was scoring 80-90% each.
And free easy mocks available online I was scoring them 85%+ Then quickly I booked the exam date for 3rd Saturday in October.
And Bamm, got certified!!

Exam Experience:
Went 30 minutes early to the exam center, I was reading all night one day before the exam and during the cab.
• I was so nervous that my hands were shivering and mouth went dry and eyes were burning but still I was consoling myself, if I can score in PM Prep Cast 82% then real PMP exam should not be that difficult.
Before the exam I took aspirin just to avoid any uneasiness.
• Center guy was very humble, I asked him the room temperature before going in, he said he will set the temperature as per my needs don’t worry, so I said make it 23C.
• Now I was relaxed from temperature side I just need to do the formalities. First I took the brain dump all things which I remember like CV>1 means SV<1, EV>PV means etc, all the process and their key output I wrote down. My dumps came in handy when I had to compare EV>AC means during the exam as part of the options given to me.
• I started my exam and thanks to God first question was on EV just plug and play value types easy peasy, and straight 4 more questions on formulas application and 6 more question I got were very easy straight I marked and went forward. This boosted my confidence and start looking forward to pass the exam. But I was running very slow 40 questions 1 hour passed. 100 Question 2 hours passed.
• Now suddenly I got the question streak which I had no clue about still I tried to answer and that streak went for another 20 -30 questions. Now I was really stressed since time was running out and I marked and move further and damn again straight 20-30 I questions I had no freaking idea. What the hell is going on here!!
• Then just started clicking…clicking and clicking in hope I will found some smaller questions ahead and easy ones so left next 10-20 questions unanswered and found easy questions again. Now I was 200 questions mark and 20 minutes left I was happy to realize the exam is finished and boom!!
I realized that 10-20 questions I left behind already unanswered so I went back started doing that with educated guess. Now I completed the test actually and left 2 minutes in hand.
• So I quickly went back into exam and tried rechecking 2-3 question and changed the answers. These question I had written in my sheet during the exam due to ambiguity on answers like 131-B/D, 125-A/C etc.
• Now exam finished and heart was beating my chest out and I clicked submit. And I saw the Congratulation!! Message which everyone talk about. Again I re-read that message to be sure.
• I skipped the survey and get the hell out them room and went back to home recovering from the trauma of 4 hours no drinking no breaks. But still it was mixed and nice feeling that I have cleared the exam all year long journey ends here and I can go back to home and clear my desk with long pile up of hand outs and note books etc. and bury them somewhere.

Now the most important part which I aspirant would be looking for.

Lesson Learned:
First Thing First - Thanks to PM Prep Cast Team, They have made a wonder in terms of simulator which gives you a close real experience of actual exam at home.

Real PMP exam questions wordiness is almost similar to PM Prep Cast if not more.
• In-fact I got 3-4 questions almost similar to PM Prep Cast simulator I did before during mock test, It just actual exam’s options were little different.
4-5 EVM questions, direct plug and play types.
4-5 questions I got on conflict management. Like so and so people having misunderstanding what you’d do to resolve the conflict types.
30-40 Questions I got on change management, please read this concept very very carefully and do lots of lots question on closing and Change management.
5-10 Questions on the Project/Phase closing concept like what would you do, first, next if CR comes at any point during closure OR about to start to about to finish etc.
No Questions on Agile or Ethics I had observed.
Watch out for different examples of EEFs, I got 4-5 question where options were EEFs which was the supposed answer of that particular question but these options were presented like they are OPAs to confuse you.
• In some question I got shock too like question was asking Tools and Technique which supposed to be used in particular question and in options there were all process or outputs of the process as documents.
• Some Question asked about the documents to be prepared in so and so situation but we all are habitual to their PMBOK regular names, but in options there were some generic names used for the same document which we know by their popular names. Really frustrating and confusing.
• Everyone has their own pace for learning and doing things, so if some people say that they had completed the exam 40-30 minutes before, please don’t get dishearten. They have their own test approach and you have yours so stick to yours.
I always completed the Mocks just 5-10 minutes remaining and in actual PMP exam I had completed 2 minutes before. So set your own technique.
• If you don’t know have any freaking idea about question or options its completely alien to you and time is running out then try to mark the longest answer or if options are only one wordy then mark the answer with your expert judgment don’t over analyze it.
Generally our first instinct is correct so trust your gut feeling and move ahead.
• I dumped the below details before PMP exam on sheet given to me.
1. WPR --> I/O to (PICC, Manage Team, Manage Communication)
2. CR-->I/O to (Direct and Manage PW, Control Quality, Control Procurement)
3. CPI>1 project is under budget, <1 means over budget
4. SPI>1 Ahead schedule, <1 behind schedule
5. TCPI>1 harder to complete the project
6. EAC all formulas
7. All process groups and their outputs.
Other Lesson learned during preparation-
8. WPI+CR +Proj. Mgmt Plan Updates + Proj. Document updates -->O/P All Monitoring Process. (Expect Integration process)
9. Proj. Charter is input to all KA process.
10. Epic decomposed to user stories.
11. Contingency Reserve also means Contingency Allowance.
12. Financial Database comes under OPA
13. Commercial Database comes under EEF.
14. M.O.M comes under OPA.
15. HR Policies comes under EEF, Generally we see policies keyword and mark the OPA so watch out.
16. Know the difference B/W Project Schedule, Project Calendar and Resource Calendar.
17. Know the difference B/W Project Communication Mgmt Plan and Stake holder Mgmt plan.
18. Know the difference Resource Mgmt Plan and Project Team Assignment for team Roles and responsibilities.
19. Know the difference between all PMOs and Organization types.
20. Know the difference between WPD,WPI,WPR. (I didn’t get any direct question on it during exam.)
21. Also Please make wallpaper of 49 Knowledge Process on your laptop or desktop, So that whenever you are on your machine you'll see it and remember unconsciously all the process. I kept this wallpaper for more than 4-5 months, and it help me a lot this way to remember all the processes :)
The following user(s) said Thank You: Sonam Arya, Trisha Irons
Last edit: by Deepak Arya, PMP®.

PMP 1st attempt - (T/AT/BT/AT/AT) + Lesson Learned 1 year 1 week ago #18798

  • Deepak Arya, PMP®
  • Deepak Arya, PMP®'s Avatar Topic Author
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Also I am adding one Change Control Process Diagram, it will help you to understand points like when to log info in Change log and when to do CR Impact analysis etc.
On Change Control topic you'll see almost 30-40 questions easily so this topic holds a good weight from clearing the exam perspective.

Hope this will help!!
The following user(s) said Thank You: WURAOLA AISHA LAWAL, AVINASH J
Last edit: by Deepak Arya, PMP®.
Moderators: Yolanda MabutasMary Kathrine PaduaJohn Paul BugarinKyle Kilbride, PMP

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