1st Attempt Fail. Not sure what now.

After studying for about 3 months and 10+ hours per week, I finally took the PMP exam.  1st try and fail.  I can say I was utterly unprepared for this exam.  I realized this after about the first 25 questions into test.  You clearly see from the test results how unprepared I was:

Initiation - below proficient
Planning - below proficient
Executing - moderately proficient
Monitor/Controlling - below proficient
Closing - moderately proficient

My total study is about 12 weeks * 10 hours = 360 hours, including mock tests.  I used pmchamp but the videos just weren't for me.  After some time I switched to the Head First book.  I like this book and scored in the low 70s first try on the Head First test.  That was after reading the entire book.  Then I started taking the 25 question exams on BrainBOK.  After a little more reading in the Head First book, I took another exam.  This time scoring in mid 80s.  In BrainBOK, I was often scoring over 61% on the 25q exams.  I bought a BrainBOK 200q exam. I scored just over 50%.  This exam seemed very difficult to me but from what I understand, it isn't as difficult as the real exam and over 50% means you will most likely pass the real test.  The real test was way more difficlut than BrainBOK and Head First was just to simple.

I did not use Rita or Crowe.  If I had taken probably two other full PMP mock tests (and more difficult than Head First), it would have confirmed I was not ready.  I would have then purchased Rita and Crowe, as those are the last two resources I'm aware that people highly recommend.

Given the low level of PMP knowledge I'm at now, I'm not sure if I should push forward.  I don't know how much studying is required to get me to a passing level or which materials to go after.  I'm unsure where to find mock exams to choose that are at the real exam's difficulty level.  These will be crucial to know if my current level has risen.  If I can have some idea on how much studying I will need (I know a lot) time line wise and get the right materials, I will feel confident about a plan to get a passing score on the 2nd try. I do not have a lot of project management experience.  Certainly not covering all the various scenarios in the PMP exam.  I will have to rely more on materials to pass.

Would like to hear from those who have passed on what they beleive is good material.  Also, where do you see the major flaw(s) in my approach (study plan) to the first exam.

There are many people on here that did not pass the first time.  The most important thing to do is plan for future success.


I did not see the PMBOK as one of your books. I beleive a one time read of the PMBOK  is essential as has been stated on this site. I read the PMBOK twice and RIta Prep bok two times , some chapters I read three  (cost, schedule, quality). Another jewel that helped me was Carl Pitchard and Leroy Wards 12 DIsc PMP mobile prep (at Amazon), I was able to listen to them in the car around 4 times.  

I found the PMZillas tough questions a great guide, PMstudy  the free 200 question test is a great tool. Examcentral is decent.

I used Youtube to go over subjects I had problems with, Sir Gantalot, PMcast.

I also did around 3500 simulated questions with 4 , 200 question mocks.


Don't give up!!!!!!



@viamond, you are right - I did not read the PMBOK.  For the 2nd attempt, I plan to read the PMBOK, Rita, and Crowe twice each.  My fear is not getting difficult 200q mock exams.  Where did you get your 3500 simulated questions from?

I will also look at your other references.  You believe it is still possible even with my very low exam score?


I have read the pmbok 1 time, a year ago. I didn't understand the concepts or the situations/context of about 50% of the material. I read the HeadFirst book and that helped TREMENDOUSLY! I got the RITA book and this is THE book you need. The questions are VERY similar to the exam (if not tougher).


I'm getting ready to sit for the exam next month, so I'll let you know if my advice was worth anything!

@GISdude.  Thanks.  Please post back how it goes.

There is another post just before mine - 'Failed 8/26/2012'.  He read Rita 3 times and still failed.  I don't think that is "THE book" I need.  Maybe one of the books.  Also, Head First is to simple.  Much to simple to be useful in the exam.  It did not at all prepare me.  I believe it was a waste of time.

Yeah, that was me.  Although I think the PMBOK is something that should be read, I doesn't help with the situational types of questions.  And for the person who said Rita's were the closest thing to the real test, I beg to differ.  When I took the FastTrack 200 question practice test, I felt confident with about 90% of my answers even though I was scoring a 76%.  Taking the actual test, I did not feel confident with hardly any of the questions. 

From the research I have done, I don't think there is any book or study materials out there that comes close to the real thing.  I can understand they don't want anyone publishing questions that are used, but I am surprised that no one has developed questions that are similar in difficulty. 


Failure is not always because of your fault. An example, while you are driving car on the right lane and with right speed, someone else can hit you from back.

Failure in PMP exam is not always because of your preparations, its also because of your bad day. There can be many reasons for your bad day.

Take a positive note that you have faced 200 real PMP questions. Use this experience and try again. Make sure you take all recommended mock test and not just 1-2. Variations will add more flavors making you stronger to face different type of questions.

Wish you good luck, I am sure you will share a good news next time.

Saket, PMP