15 Days to go- Need Help

Hello Folks,

I am taking the exam in another 15 days. I have read PMBOK once, Rita' Book once and Andy's book twice. I am reading Rita's book again and Plan to give a final reading of PMBOK before the exam. I went through pmstudy questions. I have taken practice tests- end of chapter of Rita's and Andy's. 

I was scoring about 70-75% in Rita test and about 80-90% in Andy's test. I took sample tests  from preparepm.com but found it easy. I am not able to judge where I stand, since i score only 70-75% when I do Rita's exam's. What are your suggestions, I would need to know where I stand and what I would need to do and plan for the neext 15 days.

Thank You.



From what you wrote, I feel you are prepared enough.  Now do some serious self checking:

1) Go to the PMBOK glossary and can you explain/define all the terminology from A to Z in that appendix?

2) Can you write down w/o referring PMBOK all the 5-9-42 as mentioned in to day's LL post?  ( 5 processesses- 9 knowledge areas- 42 ITTOs)  Can you expalin why the I's, why the TTs and why the O's were listed for each subprocess?

3) Did you time yourself and sit through the 4 hour mock exams you took?  Are u able to keep the fatigue under control and keep your focus and freshness intact during the 4 hours?

You are the best judge!  No body knows about your preparation more than you do!


Best wishes,

Your isotope

Chandra Sekhar

Thanks for your feedback. I will follow what you said and try to see where I stand.



The PMP Guru's picture

This is really a very interesting and daunting Question. I am writing a comprehensive article over it on my Blog and will be completed soon. http://thepmpguru.wordpress.com/

When I was taking the PMP Exam, I made a checklist and when I said I master it I will go for the exam. Do You know all the Formula's, Diagram's and the rest described below and also this is not final you can add more.

1: Project Selection Methods:

Pay Back Period

Opportunity Cost

Internal Rate Of Return

Net Present Value

Benefit Cost Ratio


2: Organizational Structures:


Weak Matrix, Balanced Matrix, Strong Matrix



3: Project Manager’s Role, Authority & Responsibility in Organizational Structures:


4: Theories:


Joseph M. Juran

Philip B. Crosby






Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Hygiene Theory /Frederick Herzberg /Motivation-Hygiene Theory

Organizational Theory

Expectancy Theory

David McClelland’s Theory of Needs (or Acquired Needs Theory)

Achievement Theory

Contingency Theory

McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y


5: Diagrams:

Cause and effect flow chart/Fish Bone/ Ishikawa diagrams

Scatter diagrams

Affinity diagrams

Project Schedule Network diagrams

Influence diagrams

Tornado diagrams

Matrix diagrams

6: Formulas:

Earned Value



Communication Channel. Etc


7: Diagramming Methods:

AOA activity on Arrow

Precedence Diagramming Method or AON Activity on Node

Finish to Start (FS)

Start to Start (SS)

Finish to Finish (FF)

Start to Finish (SF)

Arrow Diagramming Method


8: Charts:

Project Organization Charts

Hierarchal charts

Matrix based charts

Control charts

Pareto charts


System or Process Flow charts

Gantt / Bar charts

Milestone charts

RACI Charts

Flow charts

Run charts


9: Techniques:

Schedule Compression Techniques:


Fast tracking

Delphi Technique

Focus Groups

Mind Maps

Questionnaires and Surveys



Facilitated Workshops

Nominal Group Technique



Group Decision Making






10: Estimating:

Analogous / top down



Three Point


11: Critical Path:

Forward and Backward Pass


Float / Slack

Free Float

Total Float


12: Team Development Stages (Tuckman-Jensen model):







13: Powers of Project Manager:




Formal (Legitimate)

Penalty (Coersive)


14: Management and Leadeship Styles:

Directing, Facilitating etc


15: Conflict Management:


16: Conflict Resolution Technique:

Confronting (Problem Solving)


Withdrawal (Avoidance)

Smoothing (Accommodating)




17: Problem Solving Methods:




Performance Reports

Project Reports

Work Performance Reports

Earned Value Reports

Status Reports

Progress Reports

Trend Reports

Forecasting Reports

Variance Reports



Communication Methods:





Variance Analysis

Trend Analysis


18: Break Down Structure:

OBS (Organizational Breakdown Structure)

WBS (Work Break Down Structure)

RBS (Risk Break down Structure)

RBS (resource Break down Structure)


19: Contract Types /Risk Involvement /Difference and Selection:

 Fixed price or lump sum

Firm Fixed-Price (FFP)

Fixed-Price Plus Incentive (FPIF)

Fixed-Price with Economic Price Adjustment (FP-EPA)

Cost reimbursable

Cost plus fixed fee (CPFF)

Cost plus incentive fee (CPIF)

Cost plus percentage of cost (CPPC)

Cost plus award fee (CPAF)

Time and materials (T&M)




Management Plans:

Configuration Management Plan

Staffing Management Plan

Requirement Management Plan

Change Management Plan


Hope it is helpful, Always comments and feedback wellcome.



Wow that is a nice list to cross check what I know. Though I knew most of the terms on the list, I have to admit that I did not know a few. Thanks for the list, it was very helpful. Also, I will make sure that I will use your blog.



The PMP Guru's picture

Thanks rajit,

You are always Wellcome.. Feel free to ask any kind of Question. No Question is Stupid, even if you know something and ask for it may be some one can show you a better and easy way to do it...

Hello Ranjith,

I sat for my exam on Monday, May 3rd, and passed. It was my second attempt at taking the exam since failing it back in December of 2009. It was a big relief and as anyone will tell you passing that exam is tough!

The first time I prepared for th exam I used the Head First PMP book and the PMBOK . I also used Rita's test engine, PMFastrack, to help me test. I thought I was prepared at the time and obviously I wasn't. This time I took a PMP bootcamp that was 4 days long. I am not sure how effective the bootcamp was because it jams so much into your head and it just wipes you out. After i finished up the class I didn't want to do anything but I figured I should keep the momentum going so I registered for the test.

Last Friday I laid out the following plan:


Started listening to the Kim Heldman audio for each knowledge area. After I listened to the audio I took the exam (Rita's) on just that single knowledge area. I would limit the number of questions to 25 - 50 and would look at the answer after I answered the question. I was scoring anywhere from 64% to 95%.


Countinued with the audio and testing but concentrated on the areas I was really having trouble (Time, Cost, and Risk). The big areas you need to know are Planning, Executing, and Monitoring and Control.


I memorized the formulas for CPI, SPI, CV, SV, EAC, Three-point and ETC. I know there are many more but those were the ones I focused on based on my first test. By the evening I was a nervouse wreck but I felt more prepared. By taking the tests it really gave me the ability to think in PMI'sm.

I think Rita's tests are the closest thing to the real thing. Very wordy and lots of extra detail that doesn't apply to the question. Some people say you have to memorize all of the ITTOs but I am not 100% on that. The reason I say that Rita's test question are more scenario based. I would make sure you know:

1. Developing Scope, WBS, and time management

2. Know the Risk, Quality and Communications

3. Formulas along with cost processes

When taking the test use the first 15 minutes to relax, pray and do a braindump of all of the formulas you memorized. That helped me calm down and get ready. When you start the test you may find yourself focusing on a question for a long time. Make sure you only spend no more than 1 minute 2 seonds on a question. If you aare having trouble mark it and move to the next one. I was able to complete the test in 3 1/2 hours so that left me  a 1/2 hour to go over the marked questions.

Good luck and feel free to ask additonal questions.

Best regards,



I know it feels good to finally be a PMP!  I can't wait for this preparation journey to be over. I plan to take the exam at the end of the month. So, I have a question for you. It looks like you had pretty good resources when you attempted the exam the first time. You said you felt prepared, what do you think caused you to fail the first time?


It really feels like a big accomplishment and I am glad I took the exam again. I felt so bummed the first time when I failed. I did make it a goal to pass that exam in 2010!

In retrospect I wasn't prepared at all the first time. Even though I read the whole Head First PMP book I didn't take as many practice tests as I should have. In the second go round I really tested each knowledge area and if I didn't understand the quesionI made sure I wrote it down for follow-up. I realy trained myself to really read the question and throw out what is just "noise" or not really adding to the question. That piece of knowledge is what really gave the confidence on the 2nd try (and prayer!). Again, Rita's questions were right on the money in my experience.

What does the Kim Heldman audio include? I need all the audio prep I can get since I spend at least 3 hours a day commuting! How can I get it?


Please advice.



Hi Lauri,

The audio from Kim's book can be found on the CD that comes with the book. It covers each knowledge area pretty well. It doesn't get into super detail but it gives you a great foundation. If you have a 3 hour ride then this would be great because you could cover 2 or more areas in a days ride! You can find her book at the following Amazon link:


It also has electronic flashcards that were very helpful. When are you taking the exam?



I'm planning on taking the exam in July 2nd. I just scheuled it this morning.

I just purshased Andy's book....If I had known that Rita's book came with audio; I would off bought that one instead ;-(



The PMP Guru's picture

Hi Aspirants,

Everyone has his own View Point and own way of Studying as well.

In my opinion: Audio / Video Should only be used if you learning a Software or something that you need to see practical (I hope you understand what I am refering to) e.g: If you want to learn let's say Adobe Photoshop, If there is a Video Tutorial available, It will guide you step by Step. You watch the video and do exactly the same.

FOR PMP: I would recommend not to waste your hard earned money on Audio / Video Tutorials. It's not a Software that you are learning.

Please, Stop worrying the Pass and Fail at this point of time... Please concentrate on your Studies, You guys haven't studied anything yet and you are talking of passing and falling.

Note These Points:

First Complete your studies. Read PMBOK and a reputable Study Guide a couple of times.

When you are complete with your Studies then Attempt The MOC Questions. (Note your Score)

Find your weak Areas.

Attempt The MOC Questions again. (Note Your Score again)

Check your level are you scoring 70% or Above on all the new Questions you face. If yes

You are ready.

@pmptesttaker: Good Luck, You have almost a Month. Plan your studies accordingly, Spend at least One Day Preparing a Schedule for How and What To Study. at least a Weak before you take the Exam. Check your Scores with at least 200 to 300 New Questions,If as I said above can score above 70%, Go for it otherwise give your self a New Schedule.

I hope this Helps

Kind regards,

The PMP Guru


Which study guide are you refering too?

Also, which MOC questions do you recommend? I'm sorry but there are so many things out there that I would like to know if you recommended anything in particular.


Thank you for your input ;-)


The PMP Guru's picture


You said that you purchased Andy's book and I guess you have Rita already. That's too much.

Or even if you don't have Rita.

I have heard good words about andy, But I didn't saw the book myself.

PMBOK + Andy will be more than enough I guess. There are Hundred's of Questions available for free.

Like Head First 200, PMstudy 200 and alot more... But seek only to solve the reputable one and also those questions that has explanation. Not just Answer A or B or C, D is correct.

I personally used these free one's and I didn't purchased any specific...

I purchased Rita Book and it had already plenty of Question's..

On my Blog, I am compiling all the Videos for Formula's in PMBOK guide, You should visit that. I have already made some videos for Critical Path etc.

Keep asking.

The PMP Guru


Hi Todd,

Thanks for the wonderful summary. I gave exam in August and I failed. Now I got Rita's book so going through it. Its tough for the first read then becomes ok. But still tensed and stressed out as I was getting 75 to 78 % and i thought I would pass but I failed.

Can you help me how to start all over again?






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