Cleared PMP on 31st July !

 I've been collecting lessons learned repository since a long time and was eagarly awaiting as when will I get chance to post mine ! 

Well today, after a long wait, I've got this opportunity as I've cleared PMP.

 

This is a Real Life Project to prepare yourself for this exam, attempt it and Clear it.  You MUST have to manage it professionally, without compromises, Requirements Gathering, Self Evaluation, Building the Plan, strict schedule tracking for your milestones achived, Going back to your plan for modifications/additions/reductions, Building stamina to attempt the exam, Keeping the patience and Clearing it !

1st.
Validate if you qualify with the PDUs, Experience Hours required.  Based on that, proceed with the application process.  Once cleared with the Experience Audit, pay the fees for the exam.

2nd.
Evaluate your understanding of the Subjects -

1. PMI 9 Knowledge Areas
2. PMI Processes
3. General Management Skills -
    Whats your work org's. Structure like?
    Functional Team
    Project Team
    Stakeholder Analysis
    Team Management
    Negotiation Skills
    Leadership Skills
    Vendor Management    
    Conflict Management
    Professioanal and Personal Ethics and Integrity
    
3rd.
Build a Study Plan -
I had 3 versions of my MPP to track and monitor my study, test scores, test sources, Lessons Learned, and I kept doing PDCA !

4th.
Execute and Monitor your Study Plan -

1. Materials to refer:

   PMBOK (3 Reads)
   PMBOK Glossary (2 Reads)
   Rita Mulchay (3 Reads)
   Kim Heldman (1 Read - Can Skip this Book)
   HeadFirst Labs (I missed to read this book, [should read it 1st] but I read its Free Risk Chapter and Critical Path Drill.    You can't miss even 1 concept in its 1st read !)

2. Be a part of study groups / Online Forums
( I had no study groups, but I use to discuss the topics with my wife, She has been a tremendous source of inspiration and support to me)
  PMZilla.com
  PMStudy.com
  HeadFirstLabs.com
  PMConnection.com

3. Give Sample / Mock Tests

   Rita's FasTrack    (Very Useful)    
   Kim Heldman     (Very Lengthy Questions)   
   Master Exam    (Seems like from the Old PMBOK)
   Oliver Lehmann     (Very Useful)    
   Exam Cram 2    
   Actual Tests    (Purchased 2 tests of 100+ questions)
   PMPBest.com    (Purchased 2 Exams, Gave a good help for practicing)
   PMStudy.com       (Best Exams, Purchased 4 of its Sample Tests)
   HeadFirstLabs.com (Best Material, Best Exams)
   PMConnection.com  (Very Useful)
   PMZilla.com      (Very Useful)

Plus Many more

(In all, I have practices and later reviewed around 2500-3000+Questions from number of paid and free sources)

4. If a certain concept is a problem, refer different areas to understand it with different examples.

5. Practice as many tests as you can.  Come back to the books, refer the topics and give the tests again.

6. Practice discreet questions

7. Build your lessons learned repository to understand where you could be lacking and how to take corrective action.

8. For ITTOs, I practiced remembering them and to certain level I succeeded, but more of building mind maps of why and where which Input, Tools and Technique and Output will be coming.  This helped a lot in the exam.

9. Practice Critical Path (PDM and ADM)

10. Practice Earned Value and Forecasting questions

11. Practice Decision Tree questions

12. Build your own questions and try solving/ ansewering.

Apply Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle here to keep checking and working on your plan, refining it and doing it again !

Exam Experience:

1. I reached mumbai on 30th and stayed in a hotel near the exam center.  

Solved discreet questions, referred the final notes, swept through Rita's PMP( on my markings)

2. Exam Center -
Exam was scheduled at 9 AM, so I reached at 8.20 AM.  Verified the identity, kept the belongings in locker, listened the instructions carefully.

3. Exam -
   Started at 9.20, with the instruction screen (15 min. in hand)
   Did memory dump of 9 KAs (44 Processes) ;   Earned Value Formulas ; Forecasting Formulas ; PERT Formulas ( Beta and Tringular distributions)

   Attempted all 200 Questions in 2 Hrs 55 Min.
   Went through all the questions again in next 40 min, and removed Marked for those I felt confident
   Went through the balance marked questions till last 25 sec. were remaining and submitted the exam.

   The Screen went Blank for approx. 2-3 min. Asked to submit the feedback

   Submitted the feedback in a min.

   Screen Showed with Message: Conratulations ! ...

   --I took No Breaks during the 4 hrs duration.
   --I had expected it to be cold there, so I was wearing inners

(Got Proficient in 4 Areas out of Six, and rest of the 2 got moderate)

Further Tips:
- I took nearly 3 months of prepration:
  a. 3 hrs a day initially due to excess work load,
  b. Gave practice tests on Saturdays and Sundays, after my 1st read of PMBOK and Rita
  c. During last month, gave practice tests every alternate day
  d. During last 1 week, gave practive tests every day
  e. During last 2nd day, gave 2 tests
  f. During last day, solved questions from toughest sources
  g. Once I started getting above 70% in the tests, I felt confident and was ready for the exam, I booked the exam date on 31st July, 9.00 AM to 1.00 PM, Mumbai Prometric Center.(Did this on 30th June)

- Practice sitting for long hours in front of the computer screen (CRT), and its painful
- Avoid drinking water or heavy food to avoid biological urgency
- You can strech while attempting the exam, without disturbing others.(I had ppl. appearing for USMLE, GRE)

- Be Confident and Say to Your Self- "Yes I Can Do It ! "

Felt Relived after the exam and it was all worth it !

Thanks and All the Best !!