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TOPIC: PMP Exam Study Summary and Experience - 5 ATs First Attempt

PMP Exam Study Summary and Experience - 5 ATs First Attempt 8 months 2 weeks ago #19874

  • Denver Martin
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Preparation
I started by journey by listening to the PMP Prepcast and taking notes in a word document. However, I changed this approach after the first month or so of studying to the following:

• Reading the material from Rita Mulcahy rather than listening to the prepcast because I found I tend to learn more efficiently from reading the material. I’m a slow learner that needs to methodically pick apart the information, and found myself pausing the podcast and taking notes, which ended up taking too long. I did however still listen to the prepcast from time to time while commuting to soak in more material.

• Started taking notes in excel rather than word because you can hide columns and quickly sort to what you’re looking for. I mapped out the 49 Processes in a chart and included a separate tab for general notes and definitions for terms that I didn’t understand fully for each chapter’s section.

After reading each chapter in Rita, I would take the quiz from the Prepcast and the quiz in Rita’s. I wrote done a short summary of the questions I got wrong that described the correct answer.

Memorized the following:
• Rita’s process flows for initiating, planning, and closing. This took a good amount of time, but I felt like it definitely helped me understand what actions were done in each process group, as well as the logical “order” for the planning process (planning is iterative, but of course you would at first create the WBS before starting to define activities). I started with memorizing the planning phase in the order Rita indicated. To do this, I would try to write down the first 3-5 items from memory in an excel column adjacent to the full information. After memorizing the first 3-5, then I would continue down the list for the next 3-5, then go back and see if I could type the first two groups from memory. This would go on until everything was memorized.

• Memorized all the main points for the executing and monitoring and controlling processes. (This is different from Rita’s process flow – this was sourced from the PBOK) These processes seemed less obvious as to what occurred than the processes in initiating and planning so I felt that memorizing the main points for each process was a good starting point to understand them. I took the short description from the PMBOK guide and put 1-3 bullet points for each process each with a short sentence and memorized those.

• Memorized all the major outputs for each process. I inspected and selected the major outputs from each process (1 to 4 outputs) and memorized them. I felt it was useful to be able to understand what was being produced and knowing this, and the main purpose of each process provided a synergistic understanding.

• Memorized All Equations. I needed up not needing to use 99% of these. My exam had exactly 1 question on earned value, and it was to simply interpret CPI and SPI. The only other math related question had to do with determining the Critical Path. Not sure if I would specifically recommend skipping knowing most if not all the equations as your exam may vary.

• Skipped memorizing inputs and tools and techniques and instead took other’s advice to logically relate them to the process. It’s a good to know about the tools and techniques and have a general understanding with how they’re used for each process

Took 2 Practice Exams from the exam simulator on the weekends to identify gaps. I scored 82% on the first and 84% on the second. I reviewed all questions regardless of whether I had answered them correctly or incorrectly. I took notes in excel on the questions I had got wrong and the questions where I had answered correctly but hadn’t been 100% sure. This took a few hours to accomplish for each practice exam.

Took a total of 19 mini learning quizzes that were 20 questions each spread out over the course of a couple months in order to identify gaps. These short quizzes were highly valuable given my time constraints.

Day of The Exam

Before
• Took the entire day off work even though the exam started at 1:45 PM so I could concentrate fully and sleep in as a contingency plan in case I got a bad night’s sleep. Ended up not needing to sleep in. I was very calm somehow – probably because I felt very prepared.
• At a huge breakfast around 10AM.
• Reviewed questions I missed from the Practice Exams
• Did a brain dump of Rita’s process flows for initiating, planning, closing
• Did a brain dump of the main actions for executing and monitoring and controlling processes. (I did not do a brain dump of any kind at the start exam; these were all done the morning of prior to taking the exam)
• Took the following supplements right before the exam:
1. Genius Mushrooms – Lion’s mane is great for memory
2. Alpha Brain Instant – nootropic. Not sure if this helped honestly. I never tried it before the exam which was in hindsight probably a bad idea.

During
• The exam was harder than I thought! The questions were similar, yet slightly different in the style of wording that I was used to from the prepcast questions. I think this small difference combined with test taking nerves threw me off a bit. There were many times when there wasn’t an obvious answer to the question, and you had to select what you thought was the “best” answer to the question. One of the best strategies is to first close your eyes and think of what the best answer should be before looking at the answers and then see if that answer is there, and/or eliminate answers one by one until there is usually a choice between 2 potential answers and you have to pick the best one.

• I ended up being way behind the timer, 10 minutes or so at one point. There was a panicked moment when I thought I wouldn’t finish the exam on time. I was taking too long and re-reading some of the questions 3-4 times. I stepped up the pace and really focused on selecting what I thought was the best answer to the question and moving on. I ended up finishing the exam with 3 minutes left to go! No breaks were taken. If you can, it’s definitely a good idea to take breaks to get the blood flowing and drink water/eat if necessary. If I had the time permitted, I would have.

Summary/ TLDR
1. Read the material from Rita Mulcahy in the process group order instead of by knowledge area like how Rita and the PMBOK is laid out by default

2. Took notes in excel for each chapter, mapped the 49 processes, and wrote down practice quiz/exam questions that I got wrong or ones which were correct, but I wasn’t 100% sure about


3. After reading each chapter in Rita, took the end of the chapter quiz in Rita and the corresponding quiz from the prepcast

4. I did not read the PMBOK guide, but I referenced the glossary and a short description of each process.

5. Memorized the following:
• Rita’s process flows for initiating, planning, and closing
• All the main points for the executing and monitoring and controlling processes
• All the major outputs for each process
• All Equations
• **Skipped memorizing inputs and tools and techniques

6. Took 2 Practice Exams from the simulator on the weekends and a total of 19 quizzes from the Exam simulator that were 20 questions each
7. Took an entire day off work to do the exam
8. The exam was more difficult than I imagined, mainly because there were many times when there wasn’t an obvious answer to the question, and you had to select what you thought was the “best” answer to the question.

Thank you Cornelius and the PM PrepCast team for such an amazing resource. The Prepcast, and especially the exam simulator was key to feeling confident on exam day.
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PMP Lessons Learned:
www.project-management-prepcast.com/kune...-5-ats-first-attempt
Excel based PM Templates and Tools: www.pmprokit.com/
Last edit: by Denver Martin.

PMP Exam Study Summary and Experience - 5 ATs First Attempt 8 months 2 weeks ago #19876

  • Neeraj Vasudeva
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Congratulations Denver !! Hard work paid off.

Good to hear that you didn't get too many EV related questions, this is something i am not strong at it.
Do they allow to have water bottle while having the exam? Just wondering, if i would have to take a water break specifically?

-Neeraj
The following user(s) said Thank You: Denver Martin

PMP Exam Study Summary and Experience - 5 ATs First Attempt 8 months 2 weeks ago #19903

  • Denver Martin
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Neeraj Vasudeva wrote: Congratulations Denver !! Hard work paid off.

Good to hear that you didn't get too many EV related questions, this is something i am not strong at it.
Do they allow to have water bottle while having the exam? Just wondering, if i would have to take a water break specifically?

-Neeraj


Thanks Neeraj!! They did not allow any food or drink including water in the testing area. You had to raise your hand and they would escort you out to the lockers where you could get your food and beverages
I think the reason for this is opening/closing beverages could potentially be distracting to other test takers.

The only items allowed in the testing area were:
    - Earplugs if you requested them
    - Noise cancelling headphones they provide you
    - The key to your locker
Community Moderator

PMP Lessons Learned:
www.project-management-prepcast.com/kune...-5-ats-first-attempt
Excel based PM Templates and Tools: www.pmprokit.com/
Last edit: by Denver Martin.

PMP Exam Study Summary and Experience - 5 ATs First Attempt 8 months 2 weeks ago #19905

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Thanks for the information, appreciate it.

-Neeraj

PMP Exam Study Summary and Experience - 5 ATs First Attempt 8 months 2 weeks ago #19907

  • Neeraj Vasudeva
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Thanks for the information Denver, appreciate it.

-Neeraj
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