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Topic History of : Passed first attempt with all AT

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7 months 1 week ago #19162

Elizabeth Harrin

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Congratulations, Leonid! Thank you for sharing your exam success story with us.
7 months 1 week ago #19159

Leonid Spivak

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Hi all,

Today I took PMP exam and passed it with all ATs.

As I was reading success stories of PMP aspirant before me and gave me an encouragements, I would like to return a favor and to share my study notes and thoughts and hope that they will help some one too.

I decided to get PMP certified as part of my New Year 2019 resolution.

Immediately in January, I started with PMBOK and studied it cover to cover in about 5 month. PMBOK material is presented in a very "dry" manner. I read many textbooks in my studying days but PMBOK is the hardest one to "swallow" but it could be just me as I didn't just read it as a book, I was concentrating on it, taking notes, researching alternative explanations for terms and chapters that I didn't understand.

Once I reviewed it, I still felt that I have gaps in understanding, so I ordered PrepCast in June and and covered all videos and passed 35 hours exam in July. That alone got my confidence level on the whole new level. Cornelius is a fun trainer and that helped me a lot to understand additional concepts that I missed while readying PMBOK.

In between January and July I was studying approximately 2 hours each day (Monday through Friday) and 5 hours each Saturday and Sunday.

Once PMI accepted my application in August, I immediately setup a hard deadline of taking test before the Thanksgiving since PMI was planning to implement changes in mid December. Even though PMO later postponed their changes until mid of 2020, I decided to stick with my test date.

Once test date was set, I decided to read another textbook and went with very much recommended Rita's. I reviewed it cover to cover, including all the chapters and end of the book test in about 3 weeks. As I finished reviewing Rita's I came across an article on recommended reads for preparation to PMP exact that mentioned Head First PMP. So I got that one too and covered it also cover to cover with all the test included in about 2 weeks. The Head First was the easiest to read and understand out of PMBOK and Rita's.

My working schedule was always full, 14 hours (or more) per day is nothing out of the ordinary, plus being on-call for the weekend activities, I was left with a very little time to spare for studying.
Therefore, in order to get myself ready for the test date that was 3 month ahead, I cut down on sleep and all the live pleasures between August and today. With that I was able to dedicate 4 hours of study every weekday and 8 hours for each Saturday and Sunday.

I took all PrepCast tests and passed them with a following results
#1 and #2 - 86%
#3 - 81%
#4 - 79%
#5 - 81%
#6 and #7 - 82%
#8 (ITTO) - I failed miserably with 58%

By the end of PrepCast MOCK testing, I felt that my weaknesses are formulas and ITTO. So I purchased PrepCast Formula booklet and went over all 100+ test cases. Then I created old style flashcards for 49 processes, all ITTO, and formulas and practiced them to the point that you could wake me up at night and ask me and I will answer them. Those flashcards are permanently got embedded in my grey matter.

When I was done with all 1,610 PrepCast test questions, I felt that it wasn't enough so I started searching for an alternative MOCK tests and several of them. I took following tests and got following scores.
Oliver Lehmann (Online) - 79%
Oliver Lehmann (PDF) - 69%
Simplilearn Free PMP® Mock Exam - 80%
Edwel Mock Exam - 79%
GreyCampus Mock Exam - 80%

2 weeks exactly before an exam I drove to the testing center to get myself familiar with a route and a traffic conditions.

Having all those MOCK tests done, give me an endurance and a sense of pace that I should be following for the 4 hours exam so I knew that I could do it. But to be completely honest, even with all the MOCK tests and going over PMBOK, 2 additional textbooks, and dozen of webpages, I was still nervous going for an exam.

On the day of the exam, Pearson testing facility staff was very nice, kind, and professional. Pearson test administrator provided me with a noise protection headphones, two sheets of laminated paper, marker and was told to start.

I decided not test time to use the brain dump as it was embedded in my brain so hard that I felt it would take me longer to write it on the paper then "pull it from my memory".

When the test started and I read the first question, my mind went numb and I felt that I forgot everything that I studied all this time. I felt like question was written in a foreign language, so I skipped question #1, then #2 and #3. Question #4 was something that I knew for sure so I answered that one and the next and the next. As I was answered more and more questions, I got more confident, relaxed a bit, and started pounding questions one after another.

I didn't take any breaks and at the end of the test, I had 15 minutes left and 12 questions were unanswered and about as much marked for review.

I went over all unanswered questions and those first 3 questions that I panicked and didn't know the answer just 4 hours ago now sounded so easy so I answered them and still had about 3 minutes left until the end of the test. But at that point, I decided not to review any marked for review questions and "gambled" by leaving those questions answered as I originally did.

At that point, I was so exhausted that when the test ended I closed my eyes and prayed. When I opened my eyes, all I saw on the screen was a "Congratulations".
As I picked up my test print out and couldn't believe my eyes... all ATs.

As a stress and pressure of the test relieved, I felt like I was running a marathon both physically and mentally.
This test was not a walk in a park. I could say that it was the hardest one in my educational and professional carriers.

And here are my advises to all of you who are still on the road for PMP.
1. Be strong and dedicated to complete your journey.
2. Make sacrifices to study.
3. Complete all PrepCast MOCK tests, not just a few of them.
4. Study and understand (not just read) PMBOK.
5. Ask questions on the various chat groups (including PrepCast) or participate in the study group.
6. Study all the extra curriculum as you could possibly get your hands on.
7 . Believe in yourself and try to keep calm during the exam.

In conclusion, I would like to say Thank you to Cornelius and all of the supportive staff of PrepCast for this training as I couldn't have done it without it.

Best of luck to all of you on your PMP exam.

Leonid Spivak, PMP

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

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