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TOPIC: Passed 1st Attempt

Passed 1st Attempt 3 months 3 weeks ago #21312

  • Sarah Fucci
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I passed the PMP Online exam on my first attempt on May 23, above target.

I think the most important thing to realize while reading these lessons learned is that every individual is different and what worked for one person might not work for you. You need to create a study plan for yourself that fits you and your learning style. You may need double the preparation someone else needed or even half and that’s ok. Don’t get tripped up comparing your journey to someone else’s.

I began studying last July 2019 using whatever free resources I could find online and a study book I purchased. Ultimately my studies weren’t structured and after a couple months I didn’t stick with it.

After the holidays I realized the exam was going to change in July 2020 so I needed to really step it up and needed to invest in the process so I could pass it before the change. I found the PM PrepCast through a Google search and purchased it along with the Simulator and the PM Formulas course. I also joined PMI as a member. I read 25 lessons learned in this forum, gleaning from them what I felt would work for me and then created a study plan including the approximate date I planned to take the exam.

This is what I did in order:

Completed PM Prepcast lessons alongside reading PMBOK
Created ITTO Excel worksheet
Created flash cards of all PM terms
Submitted my application to PMI
Scheduled Exam for 5/16/20
Read through Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep 9th Edition
Completed all PrepCast module self-assessments
Completed PrepCast Formulas course and exam
Memorized entire PrepCast Formula Pocket Guide & Table 4-1 Process Chart

Around this point COVID-19 broke out and the world changed. I work in New York City and live just outside of it on the Jersey side. I knew there was no way I would be able to sit for my exam then being in the epicenter of the Pandemic, so I was so relieved when they announced the online exam and was able to reschedule to May 23. I was lucky to be able to work from home and continued my studies.

2nd pass of Rita Mulcahy’s book & took the chapter exams
Re-watched Manage and Control Quality PrepCast lessons
Began the PrepCast Simulator

I only planned to take 2 full practice exams, the first 1 month before my exam and the 2nd 2 weeks before my exam. I got 87 and 88 on them. The last 2 weeks I finished the remaining simulator questions through smaller quizzes. I worked with my ITTO spreadsheet to further my understanding of them (didn’t memorize them) and went through all my flash cards to make sure I understood all the terms. I also reviewed my notes on the questions I got wrong from all practice questions. Overall, I had completed approximately 2800 practice questions. I felt completely prepared and calm going into my exam because I had put the work in.

For the real exam I didn’t waste time doing a data dump. I also never heard from a proctor. My test started immediately after the tutorial and I never knew if someone was there watching me or not. I felt the actual PMP exam was much harder than all the other practice questions I had taken because the wording of the questions was very ambiguous. It was much clearer in the simulator questions which process you were in. I had to spend a lot of time rereading questions on the exam and because of that I was behind in time most of it. Like others have said after 89 questions you are thrown into the review. I had 12 minutes remaining at that point. I didn’t know that if I skipped the review that 12 minutes would have carried over to the 2nd half of the exam. I ended up carrying 2 minutes over to the second half. I had to answer 111 questions with 122 minutes and the 2nd half seemed even harder than the first to me. Again, because the question wording was so ambiguous, I was taking more time on each question than I was used to in practice. I remained calm knowing I was behind the whole time, but my heart was racing. I only had 1-minute left at the end of the test so no time to review. I was so relieved when Congratulations came onto the screen that I burst into tears. In hindsight I wouldn’t have taken the time to review part 1 because I didn’t change any answers anyway and I could have really used the time for part 2. I imagine there are several different versions of the exam that vary in difficulty based on reading other people’s experience. As prepared as I knew I was, I was surprised at how hard it was.

I really attribute my success to having a well laid out study plan from the beginning like the PrepCast tutorial suggested. I had planned for a wide variety of risks that could affect my plan but couldn’t have anticipated a Pandemic. There were many days I had the urge to do nothing because it was so overwhelming. I ultimately had to stop watching the news and going on social media and stick to my plan.

I prepared to the extent needed to feel confident. Whether or not I needed to do all I did for the knowledge is less important to me than having the confidence I needed to face the exam because it was that confidence that kept me calm when faced with really difficult and confusing questions.
Sarah Fucci, PMP
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Passed 1st Attempt 3 months 3 weeks ago #21333

  • Elizabeth Harrin
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Thanks, Sarah, and congratulations on passing the exam!
Elizabeth Harrin
Moderators: Yolanda MabutasMary Kathrine PaduaJohn Paul BugarinKyle Kilbride, PMP

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