Passed PMP (25-Oct-14) Lessons Learned
First off, congrats to all of have taken and passed. I took the exam and passed on 25-Oct-2014.
Initiation - Moderately Proficient
Planning - Proficient
Executing - Proficient
M & C - Moderately Proficient
Closing - Moderately Proficient
The exam took me the full four hours (no breaks). I had roughly 5 minutes to go back and look over a few questions. It was as tough as I was expecting and everyone said. There were a lot of questions with two potential right answers and a lot of toss-ups for me.
At the exam center (which I booked one week in advance) it took about 15-20 minutes to get checked in. Many others were taking exams at the same time--GRE was most common. So, do arrive the 20-30 minutes early.
I did learn the 47 knowledge/process groups and all the math formulas. Did a brain dump on most during the tutorial. It did help a little but wasn't really necessary.
With 3 other people (project managers) at my company with PMP's I felt I should also have the certification. I began my venture in July 2013 by getting access to Skillsoft training (only item paid for by my company).
- I began my study with a corporate offered training program: Skillsoft (http://www.skillsoft.com/). This is how I got some/most of my contact hours.
- I also used Career Academy (http://groupon.videotrainer.com/) which is some Groupon training that leverages Looking Glass Development training material. I enjoyed this MUCH more than the dry/boring Skillsoft on-line training.
- PMBOK 5th Edition
- Head First PMP
Started in July 2013 - Oct 2013. I got sidetracked for a couple months and picked back up in Jan/Feb 2014 time frame. I finished all those online trainings, or at least Skillsoft by April 2014. I did take a lot of notes.
I read through PMBOK and that was hard. The Head First PMP is much more interesting. I went front to back in that and did all exercises (took 200 question exam online though).
It wasn't really until Aug - Oct I really got serious. By that time I had done all the online training and read each book once. In Sept/Oct I built up to the exam. That meant doing a week or two review/re-read of the books and doing some Career Academy video watching and taking quizzes after the knowledge areas. I was spending an average of 1-3 hours 4 days a week doing some reading/studying/exam and then another 4 hours on 2-3 weekends before the exam. Easily 40-60 hours of work the 1 month before the exam.
In October I spent about 1 week on PMBOK gloss over and then took exams online over about 2 weeks. Most 200 question exams were taking me 3 hours. My goal was to have 1000 questions under my belt for exam time.
Oliver Lehmann (75 questions)- 61.3%
Skillport (200 questions) - 59%
Skillport Retake with feedback - 67%
Career Academy (200) - 78%
Head First PMP (200) - 76%
PMStudy (175) - 69.14%
PM-Exam Simulator (170) - 70%, 66%, 80%, 63.75%
(4 small exams add up to 170 questions)
After reading online about all the people scoring 80% I was concerned. However, I had been doing this on and off for over a year and I really wanted to be done. I felt confident I could get 70% on the exam where minimum passing is 61% so I decided to book the test--one week ahead of time. I found an early spot on Saturday (to not take off any work) and was set. I slept VERY poorly the night before.
When the exam ended I thought this could go either way. I was EXTREMELY relieved to see PASS I wanted to cry. Crazy huh. How can an exam elicit such an emotional response? Well it did. I was relieved to know I'm done studying; that my journey is complete. Now I know how everyone else feels. It was a lot of effort to pass and would be very hard to pick up and do a retake.
Good luck to those who are studying. I wish you well. I know what you are going through. Also, let my lesson learn of being between 60-80% on practice exams be an indicator that you can PASS the PMP but you will likely not achieve proficiency in all areas.
I didn't take any in class bootcamp. I only did online studying (presentation/voice). Spent $99 on Career Academy and another $100 or so on books.
Hope this helps. Thanks for reading.