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TOPIC: Passed 5x AT

Passed 5x AT 3 months 6 days ago #21813

  • Ross Nizlek
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Just got back from the testing center so I figured I'd write up my thoughts on the exam.

Back in March/April I took a certificate in project management program from a local university. The program wasn't structured around preparing for the PMP exam, but it provided a good basis of knowledge to approach the exam.

I started off by reading the PMBOK but did not get very far. I ended up purchasing the PrepCast Exam Simulator and PrepCast video lessons. I did not need the video lessons for the experience hours but figured it would be a good way to learn the material I needed for the exam.

I loved Cornelius's presentation of the material, but at 60+ hours the video lessons were a lot to get through, particularly considering that I was mostly looking to fill in knowledge gaps than learn the material from the ground up. After getting through about 30% of the material I began to wonder whether there was a more efficient way to learn the material and that lead me to the numerous online recommendations of the Rita Mulcahy book. I purchased that and read it cover to cover, doing the quizzes along the way. I ended up scoring okay on the quizzes but missed a decent amount of questions.

Having read the book, I started in with Prepcast quizzes, since it was tough for me to find the time to do the full exams. My results were in the 60s/70s and I decided I needed to do something to get my scores up.

Further research turned up the Vargas video. That's ultimately what put all the processes together in my mind - I really wish I had discovered it sooner. I then came up with the following plan:

1. I would take notes during the Prepcast quizzes for any questions I was unsure about. I'd write down a note about my reasoning or potential alternative answers. When I reviewed the results at the end, I then compared my notes to see whether I was close or completely misunderstood the area.

2. For each question that was wrong, I'd read about the Prepcast explanation and if I needed further background, I'd find the topic in Rita's book. I'd then write one or more flashcard questions. In between quizzes, I would review the flashcards until I was comfortable with the topics.

My scores on the quizzes climbed into the low to mid 70s.

I then took the PMI practice test and scored 62.5%. I found this helpful in understanding how PMI phrases questions and answers, but I did not find the PMI question explanations very helpful. The one of the real values in Prepcast is the great explanations for each answer choice. The PMI explanations were confusing and at times contained grammatical or spelling errors.

I walked away from the PMI practice test without much more knowledge but with a much better sense of how to interpret the questions and answer options. Time was not an issue - I believe I finished an hour early.

I then took the first and only 200 question Prepcast exam. I finished with plenty of time and scored 89%. That's a little misleading, since I had encountered some of the questions before on the quizzes. If you don't want to have that happen, then only take the practice tests. It would be nice if Prepcast offered the ability to select 'only new questions' from the question pool for quizzes. Obviously there is a limited supply, but for someone like myself who mostly had time for the quizzes, it would have made them a bit better of a test.

I was feeling pretty good in early June and even looked to see if I could move my exam date up, but there were no slots available at any of the ten testing centers within a reasonable distance of my home. I did not want to do the online test, I just felt too much could go wrong.

For the last two weeks I took more Prepcast quizzes, with results mostly in the 80s but with one as low at 72%. I used the same note-taking/index card strategy for most of these, though towards the end I just did the index cards.

I took the PMI exam a second time and scored 82%, but obviously all the questions were familiar.

The night before I did another Prepcast quiz, watched the Vargas video a second time, and did about 30 questions on the PMI test.

The day of the exam, I arrived at the testing center about 45 minutes early and spent 15 minutes in the parking lot reviewing my flash cards. They were able to check me in right away when I arrived and seated me for the exam with no delay.

In contrast to many of the reports I've seen, I felt the questions were very similar in wording and difficulty to what I encountered between Prepcast and the PMI practice test. Although there were a decent number where I was torn between two answers and there were a few I just had to randomly guess at, the format of the questions and answers was familiar.

There were about a dozen agile questions. I had not bothered to study any agile as my company uses a hybrid waterfall/agile development methodology so I'm fairly familiar with it. Nonetheless there were a few agile questions where I was torn between 2-3 answers.

One thing that was invaluable was bwaic's recent Reddit post on /r/pmp/ his exam experience, particularly with regard to time management. I memorized that 133 minutes is needed for the second section of the test (if you want to split your time proportionately) and that was very helpful to guide me on when to take my break. This was something that the Prepcast 'pre-exam' video (which is a bit out of date) did not cover well. Remember 133!

I finished the first section with about 12 minutes to spare and used the time to review my marked questions.

I then went to the bathroom, drank some water and returned for the second section. I finished that 20 minutes early and used all the time remaining to review flagged questions.

I did not bother learning formulas except for CPI/SPI/CV/SV, which are all easy. I did not regret that decision at all.

With 7 seconds left, I concluded my review and received the congratulations message. I was feeling pretty good at that point but it was a nice relief to see it. I took the survey at the end and then was escorted back out to the main area. My assumption was I probably had 1-2 ATs, some Ts, and maybe a BT. I was pretty shocked when I was handed the printout that had ATs across the board. I was definitely not expecting that!!

All in all, I'd recommend Rita, Vargas, the Prepcast exam simulator and the PMI practice test, similar to most others on here.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Elena Mekhanoshina, Christopher Baldwin

Passed 5x AT 3 months 5 days ago #21820

  • Yolanda Mabutas
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Congratulations, Ross! Great accomplishment and thank you for sharing your PMP journey.
Yolanda Mabutas
OSP International LLC
Moderators: Yolanda MabutasMary Kathrine PaduaJohn Paul BugarinKyle Kilbride, PMP

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