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TOPIC: Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned 3 months 3 weeks ago #21398

  • Passed PMP Exam - 1st Attempt
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Hi All,

I just passed my PMP exam on Friday and would like to share my experience and give you peace of mind before taking the exam (especially the online version).

Exam Experience:
Computer freezing - When doing system tests the week before my exam, my computer kept freezing. Even during the system test before my exam kept freezing. I had to shut down my computer to be able to try again. This created a problem when I actually started the test. When I went to launch the test, my computer pulled up a warning about launching a program that froze my computer before. I could not get rid of the error box but my proctor was able to restart my exam and the error box went away - crisis averted. I do not know exactly why my computer kept freezing but it didn't end up being a major problem for the exam.

Internet connection - At one point during the exam, my computer lost internet connection. A notification popped up at the top of my exam screen saying it was trying to reconnect and it reconnected within 3 seconds. I wanted to share this because I was really worried about what would happen if I lost connection during the exam. Thankfully, nothing bad happened and I was able to continue reading the question while my computer was reconnecting.

Whiteboard tool - I had a network diagram question and I watched a tutorial video on how to build them on the whiteboard.......but the whiteboard was worthless. I opened the tool and then it wouldn't let me use any of the functions and it wouldn't let me close the tool. I had to make the box smaller and pull it off to the side of my screen and it stayed there for the rest of my exam. BUT do not worry, you can use the "comment" tool to help build the diagram. It's not perfect but I was able to type out the different activities and then use different lines and spaces to arrange it so I could find the critical path.

Questions and Difficulty - This exam was very challenging but I felt that the Prepcast exam simulator fully prepared me. The main difference was that I felt it was easier to find the right answer through the simulator than the actual exam. On the actual exam, I wasn't always confident with what the right answer was but I could narrow in because I knew what WASN'T the right answer. I didn't feel that the questions were much more difficult either. I think it just feels more challenging because there is more on the line. If you put in the work and are confident in your scores from the simulator, you can pass the real exam.

My prep plan
I started my preparation for the PMP exam a little over a year before I took the exam and used a few different tools to help me prepare:

1. Prepcast Videos - I watched most of these but had a hard time focusing. I wish I could have watched them at a faster speed to cut down on their length.

2. 10-session class at a local tech center - This class was critical to me passing the exam! I had a very good instructor who helped us understand project management at a deeper level but also trained us on learning and using PMI's terminology so we could pass the exam. If you live in Northern Michigan, I highly recommend looking into the class and I am happy to give you more information about it.

3. Ricardo Vargas Flow Chart / Video - I watched the video once and then used the chart as my map to reading the PMBOK. This was really helpful because there are a lot of "what comes next" questions on the exam and this helps you picture the process.

4. PMBOK Guide - I read through the whole guide by following Ricardo's process map - also, I read through the glossary and went back to specific chapters that I was struggling with.

5. Exam simulator - I cannot express how important this tool is. I can confidently say I would not have passed my exam if it weren't for the prepcast exam simulator. I only took 2 full exams (78% on first and 88% on second) but I took a lot of quizzes. It was well worth the money and I am so glad I purchased this tool.

6. PMP Question App - I downloaded a free app to my phone so I could answer questions on my downtime. I used this over the course of a couple of months but used it a lot right before the exam so I could work on the areas where I was scoring the lowest on the simulator exams.

7. Aileen's Videos - Several others mentioned these videos in their lessons learned posts and I am so glad they did because she has so many great videos that guide you in answering different styles of questions and how to pull out the right words so you know what the question is trying to ask.

8. PMP Exam Outline - I made flashcards and studied this outline to ensure I knew the exact order of the tasks that PMI was going to test us on.

All-in-all, if you put in the time, you can pass. Trust yourself and your effort that you put into studying and walk into your exam with confidence!
Last edit: by Cornelius Fichtner.

Lessons Learned 3 months 2 weeks ago #21472

  • Pierre Paris
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Congratulations,

can you please share you experience with the exam questions? How was the exam, was it harder then the simulator ? What percentage of exam questions were harder then simulator , what percentage was easier and what percentage was similar? what knowledge are you had the most questions from? what was your percentage during simulator test?

sorry for asking so many question but it will definitely help others

Lessons Learned 3 months 2 weeks ago #21510

  • Matilyn Meadows
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Thank you, Pierre!

Great questions. I will share my experience with the similarities and differences but please don't skip areas to study because your exam is likely to be much different than mine. I also don't think I can give you accurate percentages but I can share additional anecdotal feedback.

1. I felt that the exam simulator fully prepared me for the exam. I didn't feel like the exam, in general, was harder. It was just different because there was more pressure on me to get the questions right than when you're taking a simulator exam. The added stress made the experience as a whole feel more challenging but if you're confident with the simulator you should have no problem with the exam.

2. I studied the crap out of the earned value management formulas and I didn't have one question about them.

3. As far as knowledge areas go, I think the breakdown in the exam overview document on the PMI website was accurate as to what my question breakdown was.

4. I took two FULL simulator exams and got a 78% on the first and an 88% on the second. I took a lot of quizzes though and I think I averaged about 78% for all that I took.

5. There were a lot of questions regarding sequence, or what came next. Really familiarize yourself with the exam outline and the process laid out in the PMBOK guide (And the Ricardo Vargas video I referenced in my original post)

6. When answering the questions, read the last sentence first and highlight the key information the question is asking for. Does it ask what comes next? What comes first? Highlight it. Then read the question and highlight additional key pieces of information that you think will help you answer. This strategy helped me really focus on what was important in the question and focus on what it was asking me.

I hope this helps!!

- Mattie
The following user(s) said Thank You: Eduardo Robles-Rosario, Irena Tancheva

Lessons Learned 3 months 2 weeks ago #21513

  • SYED SYAKIRIN BIN SYED ABDUL RAHMAN
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Congratulations Matilyn!

When I'm practicing with the exam simulator, I am always comfortable with blank papers, a pen for me to write and also calculator. However, I found out that during the online exam, none of these could be of use.
Do you feel a bit handicapped without all those tools?

I tried to use windows paint and windows calculator to emulate the real online exam but they seemed useless.

Hope you can give your invaluable feedback here.

Cheers

Lessons Learned 3 months 2 weeks ago #21516

  • Pierre Paris
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Thank you for sharing your experience and best wishes for future.

Lessons Learned 3 months 2 weeks ago #21527

  • Eduardo Robles-Rosario
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I took the PMP Online Proctored Exam on May 22 and passed. The online Exam questions I found were harder than the PM PrepCast simulator, but the simulator did prepare me to narrow down the correct answer by eliminating out the wrong answers (i.e. if a process is the answer then a tool or technique, or a input or output must not be the answer). There was only one question for EVM which did not need any calculations, only to know what a positive CPI means. The questions were harder and I am curious if this was because it is online now and no scratch paper is allowed.

I give all my thanks to Cornelius and his PM PrepCast team in going over in detail on the PMBOK material. At times, I personally thought that Cornelius went over the material too much in detail, but after taking the exam I see that you don't know exactly what the exam will cover and best to know the material well.

Good luck to all and best in many hours of preparation.

Lessons Learned 3 months 2 weeks ago #21549

  • Matilyn Meadows
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Syed,

I was worried that it would be difficult to not have a pen and paper but I was able to manage with the "comment" tool. The whiteboard tool did not work at all which was frustrating.

Here is a better tool for you to practice with - www.mba.com/exams/gmat-online/prepare-fo...am/online-whiteboard
Also, here is a video that will help you learn how to use it for network diagrams -


Good Luck!
The following user(s) said Thank You: SYED SYAKIRIN BIN SYED ABDUL RAHMAN
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