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TOPIC: Passed PMP Exam, 3 AT 2 T in 2nd Attempt - Lessons Learned

Passed PMP Exam, 3 AT 2 T in 2nd Attempt - Lessons Learned 1 year 3 weeks ago #18898

  • Shreepad Ankalgi
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I wish to share some of my journey with you all PMP Aspirants.
The entire journey from start to end - March 2019 through to today, Novemember 1 2019.
My 35 hours were covered through a course that I did with Colorado State University. The course was good, it definitely built a good theoretical foundation for me.
My 1st attempt was due in early June 2019.
To be honest, I underestimated the examination and did not follow the right process, the first time. The results were there to see, I did not succeed and it did hurt me.
I used the Mulachy Practice Simulators just a week before the exam, was not doing well in those, my fate was sealed even before I took the test, I feel now in hindsight.
That is when I started to research a bit more about the exam, the process and the rigour, the discpline required to come through and discovered about the PM PrepCast.
I was not sure about the need to do practice questions, for me it was all about understanding the theory and just applying it, I had not put a lot of thought in and researched a lot into the way the test is structured and what is desired or expected from the successful candidate.
The exam is designed, to make sure, the candidate thoroughly understands the process and the rigour of the PM discpline. The questions are ambiguous on purpose .. they want the aspirant to be able to really think through well in situations.
I booked my test on the day I failed my 1st attempt, changed the date by a couple of days later, just because I needed to take some time off from work to be able to be ready and fully ready for the 2nd attempt.
I find it easier to run to a goal, once I have the goal in front of me.
My preparation in brief -
PMBOK - I read it once, it was a very light read, I will not say I was thorough with it
Rita Mulachy - I read it twice, the 2nd time was with a bit more focus than the 1st time. The 2nd time, the reading was purposeful as I had failed the exam in the 1st attempt.
Practice Exams - I used the Rita Mulachy Practice Exam Simulator & the PM PrepCast Exam Simulator
I spent close to 70% of study effort for the 2nd attempt just working through the Practice Exams.
I realized, what worked for me was to keep doing the questions, "the rinse and repeat" so that I could clarify my doubts and concepts. I found it easier, when I got questions wrong, to be able to refer to the PMBOK or the Rita Mulachy Guide and obtain clarification.
I took the Base Level PMP Practice Exam (full length) from Rita Mulachy Practice Exam Simulator obtaining a score of 80%. There was one level higher exam called Start Super PMP that I wanted to take, could not, as I ran out of time.
My PM PrepCast Exam Simulator Full Practice Exam Scores were as below -
Exam 1 - 89% | Exam 2 - 85% | Exam 3 - 76.5% | Exam 4 - 81% | Exam 5 - 85% | Exam 6 - 79.5% | Exam 7 - 76.5%
I did the full length practice exams starting six weeks before my PMP Exam. Before then, I was content, working through the practice quizzes both in Mulachy and PMP Prepcast.
I probably put in close to 40 odd hours of practice quizzing and doing the full length exam in Mulachy and about 64 odd hours practice quizzing in PM PrepCast.
My study plan differed from the posts that I generally read here where successful candidates spent quite a bit of time reviewing the PMBOK or other study guides, I think my approach was a lot more different focusing on building my knowledge based off the Practice Tests/ Full Length Exams and I wanted to highlight it.
I took a Bootcamp Class of Dan Ryan the weekend prior to the PMP Exam. This class was split over 2 days - 4 hours each and I found it helpful. I would recommend doing something like this, only if you are sure that you are nearly ready and need something to revise your concepts, I was tracking at around 80% scores on any practice quizzes I was taking at the time I took this class, the confidence was high, he ran through the material in real quick time, just the pace that I needed to go through all the concepts.
3 days Prior to Exam Day
I put in about 8-10 hours of effort every day prior to the exam, continuing to do practice exams from Mulachy and PM Prepcast, 10 questions at a time, do the test, analyze what is wrong, make notes and keep going. I reviewed all of my notes looking at my errors from these practice exams and kept going. I took a small practice exam of 10 questions from PM PrepCast on the morning of the Exam and got them all right, just to give myself confidence that I was going to do succeed this time. I must confess I did not sleep well the night before, I was not thinking about the exams but just some other stray thoughts.

Exam Day
I took the exam at Pearson VUE Center. It was a pleasant experience pretty different to a little rough treatment I got at the Prometric Center to be honest.
The huge difference for me this time around was that I was the only person in the room and with not having to wear headsets on to focus, it did help a little.
The provided me with 8 sheets for my working, I listed the 49 KA's and the process groups with the critical EV formulas and that was about it. I hardly referred to them whilst taking the exam, so I am not sure that was of any help, I thought I might need them to refer to, turned out I did not. I did practice the brain dumps starting a week prior to the Exam wanting to make sure I could do all of this within 10 minutes.
I finished the entire exam in 3 hours and 15 minutes. The first 100 questions took nearly 2 hours and the last 100 got knocked off in 1 hour. I had marked around 8 questions for review and changed answers on a couple of them.
I am not sure why the 1st set of 100 questions took that much of time, I guess it took me a bit of time to build my confidence to say, when I marked something it was really the answer that I wanted to mark, once I got through the first 100, the rest was a breeze. I also felt the last set of 100 questions were a bit more straightforward.
The exam questions were similar to the PM PrepCast simulator, however, the difference I noticed that the PMP Exam questions were more ambiguous than the PrepCast. It was really hard for me to make out which Process Group the situation was being described in, making me therefore think carefully before I chose my answer. The PrepCast Simulator Questions are definitely more clearer in terms of clarifying the situation clearly. I would definitely encourage aspirants to use more than one simulator for this reason so that they can prepare to encounter this situation.
I just had one numerical question on calculating the Beta Distribution where the formula was required, no other numerical calculation questions encountered. All other questions were situational. What would the PM do next or what would the PM do first or what would the PM do?
My final input - trust yourself, it is not beyond you, just keep at it, practice through a variety of simulators so that your eyes get used to reading questions of a different style.
Good luck to all of you!!! Please do believe in yourself. There is NO reason any one one of you cannot do it.
Thank you Cornelius and the rest of your team, you all do a sterling job to help all of us PMP aspirants. Your entire website and the entire content is truly of the best class, I would swear by your PrepCast Exam simulator and recommend it to everyone, all day, everyday!!
The following user(s) said Thank You: Rajesh Shetty, Priyesh Chauhan

Passed PMP Exam, 3 AT 2 T in 2nd Attempt - Lessons Learned 1 year 2 weeks ago #18965

  • Rajesh Shetty
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This helps a lot, thank you!! :)
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