8 days, 1 book, 3 Ps, 2 MPs
It has been quite a learning experience reading about all the experiences in this forum, and till this day, I have often wondered what it would feel like to write lessons learned after passing the exam. I'm happy to announce that that day has come. So, here's my two cents' worth:
I am extremely lazy. I have been blessed with slightly above-average genetics and a good short-term memory, and that is how I've managed to be in the to 10% in school, engineering undergrad and MBA studies. In other words, if one book is sufficient, why read two?
That's why I read only one book, the one with the most encouraging title - How to pass the PMP Exam in the First Try (Andy Crowe's). Thankfully, it did prove to be enough. I downloaded the PMBOK Guide but that's all I did with it. I would, however, advise you read the glossary at least.
Before starting preparations, I took the Headfirst free test just to see where I stood as regards project management and common sense (and experience). I scored a decent 65% and felt happy. Then Andy Crowe became my closest friend for the next 4 days. The different knowledge areas (and Professional Responsibility) cover around 400 pages and I studied 100 pages per day. Since I'm not currently on an engagement (I'm a consultant), I could devote around 10 hours a day. And yes, I caught a movie on Netflix every night before I went to bed.
After 4 days, I took 2 days to take different free tests and make notes. These are my results:
1. Headfirst (again): 85%
2. PMStudy 1: 72%
3. Insite (7 days access free with Andy Crowe's book): 83%
4. Proprofs: 74%
Then I took 3 days to go through the book again. I did try to remember the ITTOs but they were too confusing. Made some generalizations (Expert Judgment on all Integration processes) and found several useful ones on this forum.
On the last day of preparation, I took Oliver's 75Q test and another from Insite. Results were encouraging (89% and 88.5% respectively). I also looked at the Important Points tabs on Rajesh Nair's spreadsheet. I then went to bed, satisfied that the preparation wasn't bad.
THE NIGHT BEFORE THE EXAM
Then the horror started. I couldn't sleep a wink for 8 hours straight, as formulas and terms floated around my head. I worried that if I don't sleep I won't perform well next day, and that worry kept me awake. Kind of a Catch-22 situation really. And this was after I had a Valium 5. My very understanding wife didn't complain that my constant tossing and turning around to get to a better sleeping posture didn't let her sleep either.
My exam was scheduled for 12:30 PM and I was still trying to sleep at 8:30 AM. That's when I decided, "Enough is enough." I couldn't change anything, so might as well give it my best. My wife, who you will remember I had described as "very understanding," got up and brewed me some coffee. I took a bath, called up my mother in India for some encouragement (I admit; I am a Mama's boy, and proud of it), ate breakfast, had another cup of coffee and headed out at 10:30 AM. I had read on this forum that Prometric sometimes allows you to start earlier than your allotted slot, and it was my intention to get it over as soon as possible.
I reached the center at 11:10 AM and was allowed to start at 11:30. I used the 15 minutes to jot down the KA vs PG matrix and the EV formulas. Then the game started.
Finished 100 questions in 1 hour 5 minutes and took a 7 minute toilet and snack break. Felt it was going good. Finished 200 questions in 2 hours 10 minutes. Feeling tired now, reviewed marked questions for the next 10 minutes. Ended the exam in 2 hours 20 minutes (not really recommended); waited with bated breath and thumping heart for the result to show up. Thanked God!
Monitoring & Controling: Moderately Proficient
Closing: Moderately Proficient
Hope you guys enjoyed this heart-thumping, gut-wrenching story Do let me know your thoughts.
It's not that difficult an exam if you're willing to put in some study time and use common sense. And do get some sleep before the exam, unlike me.
By the way, if anybody among you knows any publishers, let me know. I have been trying to get my science fiction work published. Rupa Publishers actually showed considerable interest but then backed off, saying there's no market for English science fiction in India. Guess I should have written about college, but it wasn't interesting enough. At least not the parts I would want to disclose