Passed the PMP Exam on the first attempt 26 Nov 2015
I passed the exam on the first attempt with 4 Proficient and 1 (closing) Moderately Proficient. I just want to share my thoughts here.
In total I have prepared for 2 months. My advice is as follows.
BEFORE THE EXAM:
1. Register to PMI and set a date of exam in two-three months. No more! otherwise you will start to forget the topics or confuse, or at least you will start to think so. This two months will impose a good strees on you to plan and study.
2. Read the Head First first, do not take notes, just highlight the important parts or underline, however you like. Since it has figures, nice illustrations, you will get the base.
3. Read PMBOK but do not try to memorize or try to understand too much detail. While you are reading you will get remember the important points you read from Head First. Give attention to graphs, charts, figures etc but not to the text so much!
4. Never try to memorize ITTO like a Harry Potter magic spell! Instead get the flow from http://www.ricardo-vargas.com/downloads/download-file/299 . A terrific flowchart that will give you a good understanding.
5. Get the common points from this flow. (for example, in every process area Proj.Man.Plan only required at the first step, then that area's mang.plan is required. Work Perf. Data is only produced in Executing areas. Work Perf.Info is produced Monitoring&Controling etc.)
6. When you look at the flow several times, you will automatically remember every process and its name. By using its name, you can figure out (NOT memorize!) its outputs. Using its output, you can figure out what is its input and tool. (What do you need as input to get this output?)
7. Get the Head First again. With the help of the flow, repeat Head First, now you can take short notes only on the necessary parts that you feel like you will not remember. This time, you will have a short list.
8. Solve questions from Rita and write down, where you did wrong. Than study this in Rita and Head First. Just for these points, look at PMBOK again. Add them to the short notes that you have created before.
9. Solve and study only the new and related material. Other, outdated material will deteriorate your knowlegde.
10. Believe you will pass. Before the exam, get several chocolate bars and some water. The glucose will fuel your brain (if you do not have diabeties)
11. The processes are long and very hard to remember. You can create stories that you will remember for important hot points. For example, Frodo will not begin to the journey before Gandalf gives the ring to him, and 9 other people agrees about the journey. So Frodo is the PM, Gandalf is the sponsor, ring is the charter, others (Pippin, Sam, Legolas, Aragorn, Gimli etc.) are the project team, all middleearth people are the all stakeholders. Got the point??
DURING THE EXAM:
1. I am a fast reader, therefore when I finished I had 1 hour and 17 minutes to check. Also I had Turkish assistance. This assistance get me 4 or 5 questions right. If you are NOT fast in reading in English or feel comfortable in your native language, get the assistance. However, it will split the screen into two and your area to read will shrink. Therefore you will need to scroll down to press Next.
2. Read the queston first!!!! Not the story. Not the graph. Sometimes you can solve a question with an enormuous AON graph but a question like "what is the float on the Critical Path?". To answer this, you dont even need to see the graph. Read the question first, so you can read the story better.
3. Some books recommend that you write the formulas before begining to the exam. I did not do that. If you try to understand the logic behind the formulas, you do not need to memorize them. So you do not need to write them down before going to the questions.
Hope it helps. I can write like 10-15 comments more, but figure out your own methodology. I will be happy to answer if you need further assistance.