Cleared my PMP
I am very happy to say I cleared my PMP(oh ya first attempt). I cleared on Oct 27th. (Yes thats almost more than 1 month before. Just found time now to give back)
I did go through this forum frequently for the experience shared by others. I dont remember the user who mentioned the point "More than the success, learn what was others mistake which led to the failure", which was one my important leasons learned. And one more learning, dont do over forum reading of the experience, just go for it and believe in yourself(but yes with proper preparation).
I cleared with 1 P, 4 MP(was expecting more P, but anyway glad I cleared).
First you should understand one thing, this exams is No-Nonsense type of exam, meaning it really tests your application skills which you have learned, and doesnt tests your memorization skills. Dont expect question straight forward and too deep bookish questions testing your remembering skills. So what does it mean? You should learn the topics and understand the core concepts clearly. This is not really tough, just focus and google around the topics which isnt clear for you. Catch flow and you will get it most of them and co-relate with your work(atleast some good projects you worked on).
Overall Prepartion time : 6 months
Intensive : 1.5 - 2 months
Thanks to my office, who gave me 2 weeks off before the exam. And my family, esp my wife and 4 year old daughter. 3 hours min, and last month more than 5-6 hours per day. Wow seems long hour right, but if you take a 4 hour mock and re-check the answers it will be 6 hours almost. So plan these things properly(reading first and then mock exams). Also go for good mock exam.
Usual stuff from now on, read Head first initially. My personal opinion, this book is really good, but after some point, you would feel somewhere the seriousnous is lacking when you start reading Rita. Rita is always(You will fail, you will fail, Yes you are going to fail... kind of book) which increases a fear within you to make you struggle more and ensures you dont leave off any topics not understood. This really worked for me! And I also was constantly going through the PMBOK of what was given. You will understand that other authors have explained you in more detail, but you will undetsand that PMBOK uses a really good and crisp standard english to explain things, which is more than enough to understand the topic.
Thats the reading and understanding part. Now whats in the battle field, you have 4 hours and 200 questions. That means 1.2 min for one question. So you need to sharpen your mind to read and answer within that time. Initially when you start with mock, you will read a question more than one time(atleast average people like me :)) and then think of the possible answers and see similar answers in your choice and spend more time. And you again search for something in the question as 2 answers look very similar. So stop, just develop a habit of reading questions properly and see for important/distinguishing terms in the question, and do it in one shot and answer the question. This comes from more and more mock test you take. It will sharpen your mind and like gym work out, day by day you will get strong and less tired or reading the question. Its like you might not be the same person when you take question 1 and question 150. This worked for me. It might for you too! I marked only 4 question for review, it doesnt mean I answered all of them properly, but you know some question is out of reach and you mark and you need not re-attend them at last, as its not going to help. But mark review the questions rather the ones which you might think you can get it right when you revisit. I targeted 50 questions per hour and stayed in the pace, and had only 15 mins left at the end. Used all 4 hours properly. I did take break for 5 mins after 2 hours.
Brain dump, I did it for formality and i didnt even refer once(all formula,47 Process groups, Rita process chart for planning alone for the order). I was just reading and taking the exam as it was.
2# Edward blog
3# Praizion(esp remembering the process groups)
I read Rita almost 3 times. 3rd time is when I could understand and connect the dots between processes and had a good insight. Just dont always think of exam while reading, do read it for yourself also. Also refered Andy Crowe book also sometime. Sums are easy(not very striaght forward) atleast 50% of what you get. So go for them.
I guess things are going to change in coming months, I hope my learning can still be used in your attempt to exam. I got audited also, which caused a delay of almost 3 months totally(understanding audit, getting signature and sending docs), could have done in few weeks time but was asking too many people suggestion(thats really a bad approach I know, but I was desparate).
Thats it, Just focus and you clear PMP nothing more. I wish All the best to everyone under preparation.