2nd time test taker- value your inputs to sort my dilemma.

 I am a second time taker. I failed the first time in July of last year. I did not study hard nor did I take sample exams before I applied for the exam in July of last year
 Due to other personal  committment, I was not able to take the exam sooner.
I have applied to take the exam on 25th feb. Some of my efforts taken thus far:
1.studied Rita's book and took the practicse exams. 
2. rita practicse exam scores  65%.
3. oliver Lehman 75 questions scored 54%.
4.  2 exams through Simplilearn. scores are 62%. 
I am not sure if I should postpone the exam scheduled for next month or still give it a try. 
I have until mid april  of this year to pass this exam.
Any candid inputs or suggestions to improve my learning/scores  is greatly appreciated. 

Hi Tawnie,

While study experiences vary from person to person, I think you will need to be at 70-80% level in the mocks to be confident on clearing the exam. It should take you about a month from where you stand to learn the concepts well and couple of more weeks. to take mocks and be ready.

A often ingnored part is the the flow charts in for the processes in the PMBOK guide. IT is very useful. It will help you understand the output from one process is the input for which one next. For example a lot of questions are on change requests. You must be clear that the CR is a input to Peform Integrated Change Control, the output is a Approved Change request and must be carried out in the Direct and Manage Control Work , which produces a deliverable that is inspected/verified in Control Quality and the verified delivrable is an input to Validate Scope where the customer/end user validates it and becomes a validated deliverable. :) 

You will get lot of questions right if you just follow the flow. Major Outputs of all Processes. 

Get all your formulas. There are not many and it pretty easy. This is coming from a guy who hates math. Practise math questions, Questions are reasonably easy on the exam. 

One of the books I found useful and easy to read was Head First's PMP. It surely helps with grasping the concepts. And do the puzzles in all the chapters without fail. Dont take a test immediately after reading a chapter. Take a test after a day or after you complete another different chapter.

Hope this helps.


Thank you very much for the concise response. I sincerely appreciate your timely inputs.

I had not though through on these 4 areas as areas to focus to improve. The 4 take aways are possible to apply the next few weeks.

1. understanding flow charts to grasp how outputs from processes feed in as inputs to other processes.

2. getting the formulae and puzzles/rearranging them to arrive at solutions

3. Reading through Head First PMP book

4. Don't take practicse exam right after a chapter review.




admin's picture

Thank you very much for directing me to the relevant post. On reflecting on some of the key details, I certainly agree that,

  1.  I am getting nervous
  2.  The problem also seem to be over thinking the responses even after narrowing down responses to 2 out of 4 choices.
  3. distracted by english grammertical errors on some of the mock tests.

There is one thing I recall from my 1st attempt. There were a lot of EV problems and mostly these were in bar charts. I have not seen mock exams from sites that shows bar charts to frame EV questions.

Any suggestions on sites that would help me to answer questions by looking at diagrams such as  net work diagrams,  project schedule in bar charts to answer Time mgmt, cost mgmt types of questions?


Well I dont know what happened to your case, since it seems you had prepared well.

But surely you should not try the same tactics next time, since this didnt work for you. I believe buying costly test materials is not a guarntee for success. 

In my case what worked for me was 

1) Ritas book I took from library

2) Math problems I spent dedicated time.

3) Downloaded Greycell PMP and practiced it while I was traveling (www.greycellpmp.com)

Often repeatedly practicing questions will help a lot.  I didnt spent a dime other than exam fees and passed first time. 

Thank you very much for your response. It is good to see you also a new source of information ( greycellpmp) towards my prepartion. I will certainly try that source to improve my learning. I agree with you in that its easy for aspirants to spend more than needed on study materials. I guess I am one of them where I have spent a little more ...spent on prepcast, formulaes, stimulator and now simplilearn . I am happy to note that there this forum where I can get candid inputs from professionals. 

I appreciate your response.

i would suggest you take all the Scordo exams (time the exam 14 to 18 esp) and also take the PMStudy full exam. 

Once done, go thru all the qs that went wrong and understand the reasoning behind the correct answers for those. Also go thru all the qs that you answered correctly and understand the rationale behind the answers.  

From these exams, figure out which KA or PG your lacking in most and re-read those chapters from PMBOK. 

This should help you prepare for the actual exam. 


Let me tell you, my practise exam scores were a little more than what you mentioned and I too wasnt sure if I should be taking the actual exam till the last minute. But the above steps did help me a lot to clear the exam.

You have ample time ... plan well and go for it 

All the Best to you !!!  



Thank you very much for your inputs. I just read your response and been in the process of taking only scordo exams. seem like a good coincidence that i am performing this action and reading the recommendations from a professional.  I am getting new confidence to see this approach recommended by you. Yes, I will carefully take down my time for exams 14 to 18 . I have been taking the knowlede areas exams and finished exam 17. But did not note time. yes, this is great information. Thanks again. so much. I will have to revisit procurement mgmt. 


I recomend PMStudy, http://exam.pm-exam-simulator.com, a nd McGraw-Hill PMP Exam(Book).   I scored and 81 on a never seen before 200 pretest before I took the test.

Sure, I will try exam simulator. I tried this during my first time, somehow felt the questions in the simulator were relatively easy compared to exam questions i saw on pmp when i took it last year. But i will give it another try. I have not looked at MCGraw-Hill book. Sounds like a great source to try during this time. My sincere thanks to you for recommending these sources.  I appreicate it very much.

Yes, the questions on greycell app are quite good. Thanks for the good recommendation. I have now listed this to my current list of prepartion sites....thanks again for recommending this app. There is a small glitch..a word, "text" keep appearing in between questions. which can be ignored by users.

Hey Tawnie . 

I know u must be preparing all around and going through lots and lots of material . This exam is really intense with 200 Q and I can understand the DEJA VU feeling u must be getting .

Here's my 2 cents !

Personally I will advise you a trick that worked for me . I can see u have around a month to go for the D-DAY and am sure u must have gone through RITA & PMBOK atleast once . U can skim both RITA and PMBOK together like chapter to chapter and even topic to topic and see the difference . Take PMBOK as your reading bible and take RITA as your explanation of the verses ! Post this please practice questions available on the internet , topic wise and trust me practice hard  . U will realise that things are clearer and concise - this exercise will take u around 9-10 days (daily 4-5 hours)

Another tip I will like to share is on NUMERICALS .In my exam I recieved around 20-30 (Lol.. yes) numerical questions specially from the COST MANAGEMENT chapter and they were all easy but tricky .. situational premises . So please practice them and am sure you will ace them .

All the best !

PS : U need to Believe 


Thank you for your recommendations. So far, I have only read PMBOK and Rita book. But your recommendation to try, " U can skim both RITA and PMBOK together like chapter to chapter and even topic to topic and see the difference ."

I am going to do this after i finish my scordo exams today.

I really like Rita's book and PMBOK takes away the smile from me. But as your rightly phrased, it cost mgmt realted questions were listed ( now that you phrased it as atleast over 20), past memories of my exam in july comes back. yes, these were the areas that got me tensed up during the exam. I will practicse more.

 could you please suggest sources that lists more of  cost mgt related situational and numerical questions. ?

you are absolutely right in saying , "Believe". My sincere thanks to you. It is reassuring to hear from professionals who have treaded the path before and sharing the recommendations to earn the certification. 

rkraneis's picture


Learn from your mistakes.

  1. First Test Scores - Your first test scores should be your first guide to a better test score.  If you were "below proficient" in 2 groups (perhaps Planning and Executing), you should first focus on those areas.
  2. Practice Test Mistakes - I have seen nothing in all of these answers about learning from your practice mistakes.  When I answered 1000 practice questions, I took computer snapshots of each question I had wrong or trouble answering.  Then I made my own practice tests with my "mistakes".  I learned from my mistakes.

Best Wishes on Passing your February PMP Test,

Richard Kraneis, PMP
Chicago, IL  USA

rkraneis's picture


I hope everyone gets over their dislike of the actual PMBOK 5 book.

I remember that my PMP studies improved radically when I studied PMBOK and the Heldman book side by side.

PMBOK is the source.  Heldman, Rita, Crowe, Akhter, they are all complements to the source.

If it were a dinner, PMBOK 5 is the "main course".  The complementary books add "flavor" to PMBOK 5.

Richard Kraneis, PMP
Chicago, IL  USA

Mr, Kraneis

Thank you for your responses. I just read them. Yes, I am learning from my mistakes. I am more focussed on understanding the contents in PMBOK. I do like your analogies. The information from pmbok is very clear however when it comes to applying the contents in situations , the words of the questions are quite distracting. I dont find sites that offer practicse exams on EVM..The questioins out on free sites are medium level difficulty. But i remember that during the exam, these questions are very time consuming due ot several questions based out of one or two diagrams only. Do you have any suggestions on free online exams that lists lot more of EV/EAC calculations based problems? 


Thanks again!