Passed the PMP exam on first attempt - Result Query

Hi all,

My name is Shahbaz and I successfully passed the PMP exam on my first try on Aug 10th, 2010 in Riyadh Saudi Arabia.

The materials I used were as follows:

Rita Mulcahy latest edition, Head First latest edition, PMBok and did glanced through Kim Heldman book and tried the questions.

Even though it took me over a year to finally put everything together, I studied consistently for about 3 months, about 4 hours everyday and that did the trick.  Rita's book is good but I do feel the tone can be intimidating and that she makes the exam out to be more difficult than it actually is!  That is just my observation and others might disagree.  The questions in the book and the PMfastrack SW are good, and probably a bit more tough than the actual exam, so good practice.

Head first is a good book to get since the concepts are explained in a more clear manner.  But the questions in that book are much easier than the exam.  I'd recommend head first for the Cost and Time chapter in particular, since it explains Critical Path/Float and the EV calculations in a very nice easy way.  

I didn't actually read the Kim Heldman book but did try most of the questions at the end of the chapter.  Do not get discouraged if you score low on those, they are difficult and imo more difficult than the actual exam questions.

The thing that helped me the most I'd say are the 4 practice exams.  I highly recommend that everyone attempting the PMP get them and try them before the exams.  They are VERY CLOSE to the actual exam, and the best preparation imo.  And only 50 bucks, a great investment.  Rita's PMFastrack SW is over priced IMO, and the questions in the book are repeated in the SW so it's not like you get totally new questions.

I did read PMBok about 3 times but it was hard for me to grasp thoroughly, although it did start to make more sense once I had read Rita's book a few times.  If you take the exams, you'll notice that they are heavily based on PMBok, and the exam is like that too.  So you MUST study the PMBok thoroughly.  Personally I tried to memorize the ITTO but couldn't do it, but do try.  Also make sure you go through the glossary at the end of the book.

Overall, do as many practice questions as possible so you get an idea of the PMI way of thinking in answering situational questions like 3 correct answers.  As time went by, I felt I got better and better at choosing the BEST takes practice.

Overall, don't believe people that say the exam is VERY HARD.  It is not.  I was well prepared and to be honest, it wasn't as difficult as I was expecting.  There were A LOT of simple give away questions.  The questions that required calculations were VERY EASY.  I think I got all of them right.

Lastly, my question is the following:

I scored PROFICIENT in 3 Domains and MODERATELY PROFICIENT on the other 3 Domains.  Since PMI doesn't tell you the percentage of your score, how can one interpret this score?  I've noticed that people who got BELOW PROFICIENT in a few Domains also passed.  So can I assume with my score that I scored somewhere in the 70's percentage wise?

Best of luck to everyone.

Shahbaz Kadir Dakhan, PMP


Hi Shahbaz,

Good scoring. I guess you should be around 80% Anyways "PASS" is what it matters in the end eh?


It's easy for you to say "Overall, don't believe people that say the exam is VERY HARD.  It is not." As I have mentioned in my previous responses, it all depends on "Individuals Potential". Very encouraging words though, I would like to add.

Welcome to PMI community.


Sreenivas PMP

 Thanks Sreenivas.  I guess you're right and it does depend on individual potential.  I do think the actual exam questions are easier compared to the ones in Rita's book.  I was scoring 75% in the pmstudy simulation exams, and when I saw the first 50 questions on the exam, I felt confident that I would pass.  That's why I highly recommend pmstudy, the actual exam is very similar.



shalhoob's picture


Congratulations! shahbaz

I am mohammed saud from Riyadh   (SEC). I'M prepairing to take PMP after 2 monthes.

Actually I have started reading PMBOK. i have both HEAD FIRST PMP & RITA but i don't

want to read them all. can you specify what chapters in Rita to read? and

also HEAD FIRST? do you think 2 monthes enough for

preparation especially with experince less than 4 years in projects?

how was the test center in Riyadh ? which one you recommend ?




msu111 at

 Hi Mohammed,

I would recommend that first you read either Rita or Head First completely, from start to finish.  Once you finish the book, then read PMBok.  In this way PMBOK will make more sense to you.  Then make sure to read Rita also completely, from start to finish.  Make sure that you do all the practice questions after each chapter in both Head First and Rita.  The questions in Head First are easier than exam questions but I feel the Rita questions are a bit more difficult than the exam, so try both.  Once you're done reading all three, then you can assess where you stand by taking a 200 question practice exam in 4 hours :) depending on the result, you can decide how prepared you are.  I'd recommend the practice exams.

I don't think 2 months is enough, although it depends on an individuals potential.  I'd recommend studying consistently for 3-4 month, about 4 hours everyday.  Don't underestimate the exam.  There is no point in giving it when you're not fully prepared and failing.  I think 4 years PM experience is OK as long as you study properly.

I took my exam at the Prometric center on Takhassusi Road adjacent to Makkah road.  It is good.

Best of luck.


chowdary2104's picture

Congratulation Shahbaz, PMP....

Your LL is very good and helpful for aspirants as well as your response to Mr. Mohammed.

Best of luck,

Lakshmi VR Chowdary A, PMP

shalhoob's picture



 thank you alot Shahbaz for your reply. i will extend the study period to 3 monthes. also i will consider

Rita & hf books in my study.

thank you


 You're welcome Mohammed.  Let me know if I can be of any help.  Just remember there are no short cuts in this exam and to study properly AND thoroughly.  That is the only way to success.  

3 of my friends took the exam before me but I know they didn't study properly and took the exam lightly. They all failed and they never got around to taking it again.  So study properly once and pass the exam the first time! 

Good luck!


shalhoob's picture


 thank you again mr.Shahbaz.

I have another Question regarding preparation.

do u think this way is effective if I start HF certain chapter then i go

 to read PMBOKand lastly i read Rita book about the same

chapter ? for example , i read

about Integration managment then i conclude

reading the three books by solving Rita fast track Qs. ?

or you recommend to read each book alone then starting the other ?

thanks for your help and response.


 Dear Mohammed,

I don't know if there is one right way to go about it, but here is my suggestion: from the books you have, Headfirst is the simplest and explains the concepts in an easy way.  I would recommend you first read Headfirst from start to finish.  As you read Headfirst, you can glance at PMBok as well and see how PMBok explains the concepts.  As you finish each chapter, do all the exercises in Headfirst and then make sure to review them to see where you went wrong so you can cover those gaps in your knowledge.  Once you finish Headfirst, make sure you take the 200 questions exam in 4 hours and see how you score.

THEN you can go on to Rita's book, which I feel is more advanced than Headfirst.  Please note the PMFastrack/questions in Rita's book are also quite advanced and a bit more difficult than the actual exam in my opinion.  So you should read Rita's book after you're done reading Headfirst from START TO FINISH, along with the PMBok.

I know it is tempting, but try not to take any short cuts in your study.  I feel reading multiple books at one time might confuse you so take it step by step.  If you have a 3 months duration of study in mind, this is more than sufficient provided you utilize it effectively and study consistently.

One point which Rita made in her book which I strongly agree with is that studying from too many books is a mistake. I think PMbok(which you MUST read thoroughly), Headfirst and Rita Mulcahy's book are more than sufficient to pass the exam.  And do as many practice exam questions as possible, from where ever you can find.

Take care,


shalhoob's picture



Dear Mr, Shahbz

I appreciate your helpful reply and many thanks to you. It's clear that you are

a proffessional projects manager :)

I will consider your recommendations and put all points in a plan

during coming three monthes. it's really organised proffessional way to pass exam.

by using those sources.

best regards




I will have to agree that pmstudy tests are worth the investments. These questions are close to the PMP questions.  I scored 75 to 80% on 2 tests ( one free one and one I paid for ). My PMP test scores were as follows:

Initiating: Moderately Proficient

Planning: Proficient

Execution: Proficient

Monitoring and Controlling: Proficient

Closing: Moderately Proficient

Social Responsibility: Moderately Proficient


 Wow, excellent scores!  You may well be in the high 80s I think with your score.  Well done.