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TOPIC: Passed 2nd attempt with 5 AT's

Passed 2nd attempt with 5 AT's 2 weeks 18 hours ago #19156

  • Justin Nieves
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I passed my second attempt with 5 AT's on 21 Nov 2019. The PMP exam simulator is a must have!

I started my PMP journey on 12 December 2018 with a PMP prep course that was hosted by my work. This was the first time that I had been exposed to anything related to the PMP. I had looked though a PMBOK previously but I had never attempted to answer a single question until this day. Part of the prep course was to submit your application to PMI, which I did. The first detour of this journey occurred when I was selected for an audit. I will say that getting though the audit was not too difficult because I knew I met the minimum requirements, but I had changed jobs in which my boss was fired so it was not easy obtaining all of the experience signatures. Once I was able to get the required signatures and submit my packet it took about 2 weeks to find out I cleared the Audit and I was able to sit for the exam. With Audit and prep course complete I decided to sit for the exam on 14 June 2019.

After the prep course ended in Early Dec 2018, I did not begin studying until March 2019 which was a HUGE MISTAKE! I was of the mind set that I had passed other certification exams and most people only needed about 3 months to study so that's what I would do. As most people know, there is a huge amount of information in the PMBOK and other study guides and I was starting with almost 0 PMP knowledge. I only used the exam prep guide that was supplied by the prep course that I took about 4 months earlier. By the time I started studying I had forgotten everything from the prep course, it was as if I was starting all over again. The book I used was called "Crosswinds", which in my opinion is a good reference but not great at exam prep but I didn't realize that at the time. I only read this book and answered these questions plus one set of questions a buddy had from an old exam prep book (maybe ~300 total). I focused more on memorizing definitions than having a complete understanding of the processes and how they relate to each other. I completed questions until I knew the correct answer to every question and felt confident. When I sat for the exam on 14 June and the first question appeared I knew I was in trouble. 90% situational, very vague, more than one right answer, and very difficult to tell what process or knowledge area the question is describing. The exam went as expected. FAILED!

Initiating - BT
Planning - BT
Executing - T
M&C - BT
Closing - NI

Obviously I was highly disappointed with my results. I decided to take the rest of the summer off because I had quite a bit of travel for work and vacations and I knew I would not be 100% focused. After some in depth online searching I found PM PrepCast PMP Exam simulator. I bought it on 8 August 2019 and began studying for my second attempt. At this point I had not scheduled an exam but I was shooting for Nov because PMI had originally stated they were changing the exam in Dec 2019. If I failed my second attempt in Nov 2019 this would of given me about 1 months to study before the exam changed on 15 December. PMI change this date to June 2020 so it gave me some breathing room since my eligibility expired in Jan 2020. I set the date for 21 Nov about a week after I bought the PMP exam simulator and began studying.

My studying consisted of as many nights a week as I could for about one to two hours. I have two young and demanding children , so studying had to occur after they went to bed at 8PM. As with most young children they woke up early too. I knew that I would only have about 2 hours per day on any given day so I had to study as much quality material as possible. 80% of my studying was using the PMP exam simulator only. I would do ~ 50 question test then review all the answers. If I didn't understand why the question was right I would use the PMBOK reference provided by the exam simulator to find it in the PMBOK and understand PMI's way of thinking. In total I completed about 2000 questions (1600 from the PMP exam simulator, 400 from other sources), multiple 50 question quizzes, 6 - 100 question test and 0 - 200 question test. I would strongly recommend that if you have never taken a long certification exam to take at least 2 - 200 question exams, these are long and your brain does get tired. You need to know how you will respond to the adversity . According to the simulator I answered 72% of the question right on my first try, which was about the same percentage on the other questions I was answering from other sources. On 100 question test I was getting 72-76% consistently. I was not overly confident that I would pass on my second attempt as I was not above the 80% target on any 100 question test. I sat for the exam on 21 Nov and Passed with 5 AT's!

Bottom Line Recommendations
- Answer every question in the PMP exam simualtor!
- Read the PMBOK in addition to what ever study guides you have.
- Set a test date, it gives you a target.
- If you only answer 10 questions during your study session, make sure your understand why there right.
- Quality study is very important, but there is ALOT of material to review. Give your self enough time to completely review the material. For me between both exams this was about 6 months of studying.
- Understand how to pick up on key words in the question set up. One word will change the entire meaning of the question and the correct answer.
- Feel completely confident with situational based questions. These rule the exam.
- Use a brain dump. I only had 3-4 questions which I need to look at it but in the exam it will boost your confidence to have it to reference when a question appears.
- Dont spend too much time on a question. If you don't know it in about 30-45 seconds mark it and come back. There may be a question down the line that may help trigger the right answer in your mind. I flagged about 20 questions but only changed 2 answers. Go with your gut!

Good luck to everyone reading this! You can pass, keep up the hard work!

Passed 2nd attempt with 5 AT's 1 week 6 days ago #19163

  • Elizabeth Harrin
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Congratulations, Justin! Thank you for your study recommendations, I'm sure they will be very helpful for others.
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Elizabeth Harrin
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