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TOPIC: Passed PMP exam on first try-Online Proctored

Passed PMP exam on first try-Online Proctored 4 months 1 week ago #20976

  • Shilpi Gupta
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Hello everyone,
I passed the exam on Friday (4 ATs and 1 T), on 1st try and would like to Thank the PrepCast community and Mr. Cornelius Fichtner for all the valuable lessons learned and the guidance during this journey.

TL;DR:
Lessons Learned:
1. Don't skimp on notes, this goes a long way to help with revision
2. Attempt as many questions as possible but only from good sources, not every exam is worth attempting
3. Don't just read PMBOK, understand it, thoroughly
4. Exam tests not just your experience but also your logical reasoning, you would need to deduce the correct answer mostly
5. Keep your mind calm during the exam, stress takes a physical toll otherwise (I got a terrible neck pain during the exam because of stress)
6. In mock exams, try attempting 1 question per min on an average, helps manage time very effectively. I used to finish most mocks in 3 hours or 3 hours 15 mins tops without revision.
7. Oliver, Scordo, and PrepCast give a good practice on how to think for the real exam
8. Don't waste too much time on any question, guess and mark for review and move on

Experience with Proctored exam:
1. Seeing yourself being recorded is a bit disconcerting but focus on the exam only
2. Whiteboard comes nowhere near pen-paper experience but I practiced in Paint so it's better then that
3. Plan for risks, like wifi fluctuations, by keeping a hotspot ready
4. Disable all notifications, I did too, but with my luck, even after planning for this risk's response, the risk realized and the only response left was to accept it i.e. my exam got terminated at around 20 mins due to a mandatory organization notification which surpassed all my risk responses. Not knowing what else to do, I just sat there staring at myself in the video on the screen, about to cry when a message said Proctor would be with me shortly. And Thank my lucky stars, the proctor restarted my exam, though I lost around 7-8 minutes in this.
5. I finished my exam with 14 mins remaining, 2 questions marked for review

I started around late Aug'19 and took a 2.5 month break from December to mid-Feb.
Here is the strategy I used:
Training Materials :
1. PrepCast training videos
2. PMBOK (of course)
3. Rita Mulcahy's PMP prep book (of course again)
4. HeadFirst PMP prep book

Mock exam material:
1. PrepCast paid simulator
2. Oliver Lehmann 100 questions on site and 200 pdf
3. SimpliLearn 200 questions
4. Edwel 75 questions and 100 questions (100 questions are not worth attempting)
5. Scordo 1000 questions pdf
6. Chapter end questions from Headfirst, Rita, PrepCast
7. Formula questions from PrepCast - separately purchased
8. ProLearn free questions - you can skip

Total questions attempted: 4569

Headfirst is optional and you can skip it, I continued with it because I loved the story format in which it described the dull PMBOK. ;)

Coming to strategy, I started with making a detailed study plan. I took a realistic count of the number of pages I had to study from all 3 books and planned to study 30-40 pages a day, which in the 1st round is around 3-4 hours per day. No matter what, I tried to stick to this plan as much as possible in fact there was just 5% schedule deviation in this. (Yes, I measured it, coz that's what a good PM does :P) I took one off day each week and on weekends tried to dedicate around 6-8 hours per day.
I had a 11-12 hour long day including the commute to and from office and that is when I watched the Prepcast videos.
In all this, I made notes, extensive notes. So that, I didn't have to open the videos, HeadFirst, or Rita's Book again. Done and dusted in 1st reading.
And indeed this worked wonders in my favor, for my revision I had to open only PMBOK and my notes which saved me humongous amount of time.

I also made a cheat sheet for ITTOs, which helped me figure out the most used Inputs, Tools and Techniques across all the Knowledge areas.

I attempted chapter end questions from HeadFirst (really simple questions), PrepCast, Rita. and recorded the results of each of them diligently along with my plan (these were the performance metrics). This gave me an insight into the Knowledge Areas which needed a more thorough revision.

I would also discuss with my study group everyday what we had targeted to study previous day and what we understood from it and what needed more brainstorming.

All this was completed by mid Nov with 2 weeks break in between due to festival holidays in India.

That's when I attempted the 1st full length exam, from HeadFirst. Scored above 80% but it was a very easy one. Tracked this too in my metrics sheet.

After the break till February, I took a full-length SimpliLearn exam without any revision (overconfidence, you see :( ) and scored below 70%. This scared me and was the push I needed. Before unlocking my paid PrepCast simulator I tried some free exams from PrepCast, scoring 75% in each.
Disappointed, but not yet realizing my mistake, I attempted some exams from Scordo's 1000 questions book and the score fluctuated, depending on exam difficulty.
Well, lesson learnt...finally...started reading PMBOK again and my notes along with it.
Planned the 2nd revision too, and completed with 0 deviation in a month.
Unlocked the simulator and started attempting mock exams one per weekend and on weekdays exams from Scordo.
This time the score went up to 80% or more and occasionally above 90% too.

Here, I made the fatal mistake of attempting the free 200 questions given by PMI.
These questions are way too difficult, far more difficult then any exam I have attempted, even more then the real exam. And it shakes your confidence badly.
DO NOT ATTEMPT THESE QUESTIONS...I REPEAT, DO NOT ATTEMPT THESE QUESTIONS

After giving 2 exams in PrepCast simulator, started 3rd revision, completed in 15 days.
Attempted 2 more mock exams from PrepCast, scored above 85% in both. Booked the final exam for 8th May (which was exactly on 12th day from when I had booked).
In the next 11 days, I only attempted questions.

All in all, I attempted 9 full length exams. Except for ITTOs exam from PrepCast, attempted all the questions, though not all the exams. Attempted 5 full length exams from PrepCast and remaining questions in sets of 100 as timed quizzes.
I would mark for review all those questions where I wanted to check if my thought process in deducing the answer was correct or not and at the end of the exam reviewed these and the wrong questions.
Throughout my preparation, once constant was finding improvement areas and working on it. If I didn't understand something, I googled it, asked experts on LinkedIn or ProjectManagement.com but didn't leave anything without understanding, 1-2 exceptions might have been there where I only understood on a high level and not the details but took it with a pinch of salt and left it.
In the end, I just revised my notes in 2 days and took half a day break before the exam.

P.S.: I read only PART-1 of PMBOK, after attempting mocks I understood it wasn't worth the effort to go through the entire PMBOK, but it's my personal experience and should not be generalized.

Sorry for the long post, and Thank You for reading. Feel free to reach out if you need any advice/help.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Annabella, Tatjana
Last edit: by Shilpi Gupta. Reason: Added TL;DR

Passed PMP exam on first try-Online Proctored 4 months 1 week ago #20994

  • Yolanda Mabutas
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Hi Shilpi,

Congratulations! Very well done.
Yolanda Mabutas
OSP International LLC
www.pm-prepcast.com
The following user(s) said Thank You: Shilpi Gupta

Passed PMP exam on first try-Online Proctored 3 months 4 weeks ago #21209

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I just completed my pmp online exam. At the end of the exam i got this message "Congratulations!!!. This is a tremendous achievement". It also stated that result will come in 1 to 3 days. So does it mean that i passed pmp exam. Appreciate your response.

Passed PMP exam on first try-Online Proctored 3 months 2 weeks ago #21463

  • Shilpi Gupta
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Apologies for the delayed response.

I saw the message just now.

I guess my reply is redundant now that you would have received the certificate from PMI.

Congratulations on your achievement. :)
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