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TOPIC: Passed First Attempt - AT/T/AT/T/BT

Passed First Attempt - AT/T/AT/T/BT 3 months 2 weeks ago #18905

  • Siddhartha Hadke
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Exam Prep
Before starting any kind of exam prep I researched a lot on how to study for the PMP exam. I have to say that the discussion forum at Project Management Prepcast on lessons learned and exam provided me with much needed information on which direction I should move. I reviewed BrainSensei free tutorial vs Prepcast free tutorial by Cornelius and went with the precast videos since it was more aligned with my way of learning and ofcourse I had to include simulator exams package. I started my prep by taking free Self Assessment exam of around 114 questions and scored at 42%. This really showed me where exactly I stand in my journey to achieve the PMP certification. I would suggest this to everyone who wants to get PMP certified. From the discussion forums, I figured that I need to get from 42% to above 80% as target in the exams/quizzes. Now with the target set, I started my prep by watching prepcast videos and alongside started making notes while watching the videos. I had initially planned for 3 weeks going through the videos but together with the notes, it almost took me double that time (at about 4 hours a week day and 8 hours on weekends). Taking notes works well for me since it kind of reemphasizes whatever I am watching. I did not start doing any quizzes or simulator exams as yet and did not plan to do it until I have finished the entire prepcast. I finished PrepCast videos at about 6 weeks timeline and then took my 1st exam on simulator which I finished at 3.15 hours scoring 74.5%. I felt like I did well but still have to get myself beyond 80% mark. From all the discussions on the forum, I also realized that having another learning tool like PMBOK guide or another book would supplement my effort in preparing for this exam. I rented the PMBOK guide from Amazon for $20 for 3 months which was a great idea since even though PMBOK guide reading may be dry, but it is essential in connecting the dots. I also registered with PMI since paying for PMP exam being a member was cheaper and would take care of PMI registration. Added advantage was an online PDF copy of PMBOK guide which I was referring all the time. I read the PMBOK guide first time at a quick pace and completely skipped through the ITTOs. Ofcourse I did learn what each ITTO means but did not memorize each and every ITTO and its flow. This made the reading of PMBOK guide more easier and less boring. I read the guide again couple of more times and this time more carefully going word by word and understanding each sentence. Each time you read the book you will find something that you would have missed in earlier readings. I did not want to add another book so as not to confuse myself with different formats but this is just my way of learning.

Simulator Quizzes/Exams
I started taking quizzes with 10/20 questions to begin with and did more than 70%, then upped my quiz questions to 50 to 70 to 100. I was doing 70 - 80% in all these quizzes. I was doing all these in learning mode so I could develop my thought process in answering the question rather than rushing through the questions by taking timed quizzes. I planned to take 4 full mock tests and the remaining as learning quizzes. I scheduled full mock tests in the last 2 weeks before my PMP exam on Saturday. In all my learning quizzes, I did not include ITTO questions based on feedback from forum discussions that there were very few or no direct ITTO questions. In my 4 mock tests leading to the actual PMP tests, I did more than 80% however when I did the analysis I realized that these results were skewed since it included questions I had answered in some previous quizzes. So instead of taking additional full mock tests, I started taking Timed quizzes of 100 questions each and made sure it includes only the questions that I have not answered. I did fine in those timed quizzes ranging from 75 - 85%. The inconsistent score was not very heartening but at that point I did not have more questions to keep working. I took the ITTO exam as a learning quiz just so to see if i understand the concept and I did an average of 70% which was fine for me. In terms of project management, I guess I was ok to take the risk of having direct ITTO questions (3-4 possibly) and keep it just on the watchlist :lol: . One of the things while reviewing the exams/quizzes which I did was go through the answers which I was wrong on, however, I feel that I should have gone over all the questions from the exam irrespective of whether I answered it correctly or incorrectly. The explanations provided are in itself great to reinforce the learning. I think this was suggested some folks in this forum but I think I would have missed it and did not include it in my approach of reviewing exams/quizzes. So I would certainly suggest this to everyone based on your comfort level. I finished all the questions from the simulator and would absolutely suggest to finish all the questions if possible. It just provides an opportunity to see all the various kinds of questions.

Exam Day & Exam
I scheduled my exam at a Pearson Vue professional center which was like 40 mins drive but it had great reviews online. And I am glad I used this center vs another one which was closer but did not have good reviews. I did not visit the center ahead of time but used google maps street feature just to get the hang of where the place was and how to get there. A day before the exam, I called them and asked questions I had which they answered very courteously. Reached the center on the exam day around 35 mins ahead of time for a 9am test and was checked in within 15 mins. One of the best thing that happened at the center was, I was provided a separate room with the computer so there was least amount of distraction. I asked for earplugs rather than the noise cancelling headphones since I did not want anything on my head during the exam. The earplugs were perfect and I did not hear anything and could concentrate 100% on the exam. The proctor provided me with the erasable notepad and the marker and advised not to write anything on it until I see the 1st question on the exam. I started the exam by taking the tutorial and would suggest everyone to not skip this. This helps getting your eyes used to the screen and your mind to start reading the information on the screen. Remember that the look and feel of simulator exams you are taking on laptop or desktop will be a bit different than the set up in the actual exam. Also the one thing which I realized on the exam day is that no matter how many mock tests or exams you may have taken, the actual exam is always nerve racking. So by going through the tutorial, it starts prepping you for the look and feel before you start the exam.

I started the actual exam and before looking at the 1st question, I brain dumped the 49 processes which took almost 5 mins. I did not care much for the formulas since I had memorized them and would tackle it based on the question whenever it comes. I started with the 1st question and ofcourse I was nervous initially so started answering but at the same time I started flagging almost every question for review up until I was at 50. By that time i started getting in the flow of questions and then started flagging only when I had a doubt. I would suggest flagging first few questions for review even when you are sure since the initial 30 mins or so, you would be nervous and in that nervousness you may or may not pick the right answer. I think this worked really well for me so that I was not wasting too much time on one question and moving on. I encountered around 4-5 formula based questions and left them unanswered so I can come back and work on them after I was done with all 200 questions. I DID NOT get any direct ITTO question and it was a risk well worth it so I can now remove it from the watch list as well. I would suggest to certainly memorize the cost formulas since I got questions where I had to apply them and some of them were not simple plug and play. Additionally, also understand the CPM and precedence diagramming method and how the floats are calculated. There was a question on the simulator exam which needed to create different activities, early start/finish, late start/finish and it really helped me understand how to calc all the different floats. Most of the questions were not more than 2 sentences and not more than 2 lines so comprehending the questions was easier. Some questions went on to 3 lines and if took too much time to understand the ask, I just flagged them for later review instead of wasting time on just understanding the question. The format of questions was very similar to the simulator exams as others in the forum have pointed out as well. I finished the 200 questions with 70 mins to spare and that was a huge relief. I went back to my unanswered questions and took time to do the calc and get the answer with 60 mins to spare for my 60 odd flagged questions. I reviewed each one of them at ease and now when I was reviewing them I was not nervous at all and had confidence to tackle each one of them as compared to when I started. I did not take a single break and finished the exam with 1 min left. Clicked end exam and bam saw the Congratulations message. Wow, all done is what I thought. Took the survey after the message just to absorb that I finally was PMP certified. Proctor probably noticed I finished the survey and came to the room and quietly escorted me out since others were taking the exams. I went to the front desk and they had my exam results printed. I noticed a BT on closing and did not feel as bad since it amounted to only 7% of exam and I was not sure how I could have been a BT on it since I had done well on closings in the mock. May be that was not my day for the Closings for the test but was a good Closing in the end with being PMP Certified :) . Also after coming home, I did review my test and it suggested that I was at the cusp of T & AT for my overall exam so that kind of made me happier.

Final Words
It is a sunday afternoon, more relaxed and just waiting to watch some football, I thought I will write down my experience before I forget any of it. First of thanks to this amazing forum and an amazing set of fellow & aspiring PMPs. Without all the lessons learned, tips, experiences that you all have poured in, this journey would not have been possible for me. I wanted to do my part and provide my experience as well. If anyone has any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. Secondly and most importantly, thanks for Cornelius and his team for creating such an awesome product and discussion forum because of which I am now PMP certified. I loved watching the prepcast videos and loved it when Cornelius used to say….’Until next time’. Thanks again Cornelius.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Aline Medow
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