Cramming for the PMP - Passed 6/15

 Hi guys,

Just wanted to give my two cents on what worked for me. I am a forum lurker who just passed the PMP exam today.

My situation was as follows:

Last year (April) I took a PMI-sponsored PMP prep class to gain my classroom hours. i retained very little -- just the books, really-- since I had not adequately prepared for the class. In hindsite, I certainly would have taken the class as a last step in my studying for the test instead of the first.  Lesson learned.

I questioned whether I had enough PMP experience and decided to put applying off for a bit to get another year under my belt.

Since the class, every once in a while -- and I mean very rarely (once, maybe twice a month) I would read a chapter in Rita.  I did not retain much.  I did not do all the in-chapter exercises but did most and would answer and understand my mistakes for the the end-of-chapter tests.  From this, I learned that there were a bunch of processes grouped into different bunches and I learned some new vocab. I got an idea of the main idea of PMP but the studying was infrequent and I did not put it together very well. 

My company said they would reimburse me for a PMP certification so I applied (a feat in itself), was accepted, and scheduled my exam.

A week ago today (Saturday )I panicked realizing that my test was in one week. Here's what I did over the last week:

I researched online for the for what to concentrate and what to not study and what to memorize and tried to find some commanalities in what worked for other people. This was frightening. You guys like to study a lot! That said, if you are looking for successes from other people right now, stop!  Don't get too caught up in that. Well, stop after you read what I did to cram:

On Sunday, I took Lehman's free 75 quiz and scored a 54%.

On Monday, I used the website to make flashcards on what I missed from Lehman 75 (if it was flashcard-worthy). I added all EV calculations to the set, as well.

On Tuseday, I took the Lehman 175 quiz (also free) and scored a 64%. I never reviewed my incorrect answers -- didn't have time.

On Wednesday, I borrowed my friend's Crowe book (sidenote, this is a better book than Rita's. Way more concise) and took the exam in the back of the and got a 70%. 

On Thursday, I added the missed question info to the same flashcardexchange set. Then, I took the free PM Study quiz and got a 64%.

On Friday, I added the missed PM Study quiz info to the flashcard set.

I worked full-time all week and had only 4 hours a night to devote to studying. Sometimes less when I had to run errands or go to the gym. On the bus to work, I would flip through the flashcards on my phone (there's an app for that) for about 20 minutes to and 20 minutes from work. I tried to look at them at work when I had time and at night, also if I had time.

On Saturday (TODAY) I reviewed the flashcards and skimmed that PMI prep course material for more keywords and to put it together.

I passed with 5 MPs.  Not breaking any records, but not too shabby for essentially a week of studying.

Here's my advice:

1- know the EV formulas WELL.

2 - know the main theme for each process (i.e., WBS is made here, procurements are managed here) I didn't know this thoroughly and it made me sweat bullets on the exam. Knowing the order and how they work together would be good, too. And the MAIN tools and techniques (ie. what chart is for what) WELL

3-Know how the project manager would react in different types of situations WELL

4-know the theories and other vocab

5-know basic network diagraming stuff

6-know the order of the planning processes and the order of the KAs

That's all I can think of for now. I used every second of the 4 hours and was not confident the whole way through -- except for a patch in the middle that was more simple. There's much room for error on the exam so try to not sweat it too much. Also, you can bypass the survey at the end. Good luck!


Congratulations! So you pretty much relied on Mock Exams to pass, correct? Which exams did you find the most helpful?


Yes, I definately did. None of them were very similar to the actual test because they test's questions were substantially longer with more flowery language.  Also, the test doesn't try to trick you with words like "not" -- I kicked myself after those mock tests because I realized I oftentimes didn't read the question right but knew the answer.  PM Zilla was most similar. Crowe was easier. You should be good if you take those tests and learn what you get wrong and the reason why it's wrong. Make sure to check the reasoning behind ones that you are unsure of, as well, even if you get it right.  All of the tests I took provided explanations or a place to find the reason, which was awesome.

I forgot to mention that I also took the PMI Q&A booklet test to find gaps before I took any of the others.  This is easier and the questions are more concise than the real thing but I recommend it for learning the vocab and also, as I said, for finding gaps.


ranatungawk's picture


Did you sit for the new syllabus ( PMBOOK  V5)? If so, did u see any changes or newly added question formats?

 1st August

taifii's picture

I am little week in Risk and Quality management area.. Would you please share what types of questions came from this area


I am having exam by next week on 23rd of June

When I studied those areas, I made sure to know the tools used in each and when to use which tool.  If you know you're weak from missing questions on pre-tests, concentrate on learning why you missed it.  If there's a tool you're not familiar with, learn what it is and why it's used. Hope this helps.

sugget to read head first for Risk and rita for Quality once or twice.

you will surely grasp it. Questions will be asked predominantly on risk response strategies. Ofourse every element is vital.

Pl do not ignore these two chapters.


admin's picture

 Congratulations on your PMP

 Thanks :)

So awesome!! Congratulations!  What did you do to celebrate?

Quite a feat !!! I have a question, you said that the questions were long with flowery language, but were they tough/confusing as well ? What was the standard, compared to Oliver Lehmann quetions ?


 Thanks!  They were longer than Lehmann's. I think I got through the Lehmann 175 in two hours so and it took four hours to get through the real thing.  But that adds in the time I took to doubt and second guess myself, too ;) Lehmann is pretty accuate, actually. I just looked at it again.  If you can get throough the Lehmann 175 and score in the 70s, you should be fine. I think the long questions do a good job of weeding out people who aren't that bright ;)