Done and dusted...5/19/2013 (First Try)
First of all I would like to Thank God for the blessings and my family for their support during my journey to PMP.
Uff...I successfully passed PMP on my first try yesterday (5/19/2013) with the following proficiency.
Initiation - MP
Planning - P
Excecuting - MP
Monitor & Control - MP
Closing - MP
I have been thinking about getting PMP certification for last couple of years but never really had the urge and motivation to execute the plan. I'm in my late thirtees and with busy work and family life, PMP was never my priority. But somehow at the beginning of this year as one of 2013 resolution (I always have few every year but never execute successfully )), I decided to give it a serious try and see how it goes.
- After some self research I joined PMChamp online PMP Coaching Program to get 35 PDU hours as it was one of the cheapest course available in the market. The training was okay..not really great...I would rate 6 out of 10....I got to hear most of the key words and some basic concepts during the training...
- After the training in the last week of March I registered with PMI.org and filled/submitted PMP application. My application was picked up for audit. So I had to wait extra 10-12 days to get clearance from PMP after I submitted supporting documents for clearing the audit.
- At this point (First week of April) I did not know where to go from here....During my college days (way long back), I was never known for reading regular text books..Always dependent on notes or some condensed materials for passing the exam.....I somehow thought that PMChamp course material is not good enough to pass the PMP exam...I was again looking for short cuts(old habits don't die fast )...One of my close friend who cleared PMP exam recently came to my rescue...He told me do you want to read 500+ pages PMBOK guide or 500 training slides? I looked at those slides...it was more like 350 to 400 slides as the font size was big....So started going through those slides...it was good..I went through those slides couple of times...It really helped me get a good understanding of the concepts..
- Then I bumped into pmzilla site...what a treasure?..downloaded Abhishek's Version - Rajesh Nair PMP Notes..when I quickly browsed, i realised this is the kind of notes I was looking for...I read every line of it and understood as much as I can..
- Registed for Brainbok and paid $49.99 for Premium Plus plan for 90 days. It helped me to revise cocepts when I had free time in office especially flash cards..
- Understood and solved these maths problems couple of times. memorized formulas..
- Gave few mock tests (more details below)...went back and looked at my mistakes and cleared the concepts..This is one of the most important thing for my sucess....
- I went thorugh few recent lessons learned from pmzilla members and I was kind of guilty thinking that I have not read even one standard book where others have read multiple books multiple times (PMBOK, Rita, HeadFirst, Kim Heldman, Andy Cowe etc.)...Finally I decided to browse through PMBOK...So last four days before the exam, I quickly skimmed through PMBOK as I did not had much time...What a wonderfully written book?...I really liked the way it was written..It really gave me a whole new perspective of the Project Management...Wish I could have read this book a month back...
- I did not read much on the last day (At the back mind I was thinking whether I was really ready for the exam without properly reading PMBOK..may be that is the reason I did not get more than 1P)....I took one paid test from PMStudy the day before exam and scored 72%...felt good..I was confident of my understanding of the project management concepts....
Let me tell this upfront, NONE of the below mock tests were close to the real exam...these only helped me to understand and clear my concepts. Also this made me sit in one place for more than 3 hours to finish the exam..I think only free tests available on the internet are more than enough to get a feel of the type of questions..
HeadFirst - 78% (Good starting mock test to check where we stand)
Oliverlehmann (175 and 75 Q's) - 70 to 75% (Tougher than real exam)
Christopher Scordo (lite test 13-18) - 70 to 75% (Good to clear concepts)
Edwell 200 free q's - 82% (Easy..good confidence booster)
Exam Central 200 free q's - 83% (Easy..good confidence booster)
techfaq360 200 free q's - 82% (Easy..good confidence booster)
PMZilla 30 free q's - 62% (Tougher than real exam)
Simplilearn 200 free q's - 68% (okay..poorly worded sentences)
PMP for sure 100 free q's - 67% (okay..poorly worded sentences)
PMStudy 1(Free) - 78% (Good revision for most of the topics)
PMStudy 2(Paid) - 72% (Good revision for most of the topics)
Actual exam experience
- My exam was at 12:30 pm...Reached prometric center around 12 pm...Finished the formalities quickly (make sure to take 2 forms of Id's)..Got a nice remote location which helped me to concentrate more in the exam without any disturbances..Noted down all the formulas on the paper...
- I used to finish mock exam in ~200 minutes..But I took close to 230 minutes to complete the real exam....In the first hour I had attempted about 45 q's and second hour another 48 q's...Took 5 minutes break after 2 hours and finished rest of the q's in the last couple of hours.
- First 100 questions were very lengthy and was tough....the questions were really testing my understanding and knowledge...Second 100 questions were much shorter and easier..
- Got ~25 + maths questions...They were not tough but were taking lot of my time to derive values and get to the real answer...I felt they were there to kill my time ...
- Lots of lengthy questions on Procurement, Risk and Quality management..
- Got few direct ITTO questions and few direct questions from HR and communications..
- Questions were spread out in rest of the areas and were not that difficult...
- Reviewed marked questions in the last 10 mins and submitted the exam to see the outcome...
I kept cool during the exam. At the end I knew I would pass the exam ..But you never know until you see 'Congratulations' word on the screen..
After the survey, I had to wait few minutes to officially see my result..What a relief!!!..
I thought the exam tested my understanding and application of project management concepts (80%) and memory (20%)..I think it does not matter what books we read and how many times we read, it all depends on how much we understand and apply it..
While driving back home I was thinking if I had to do it all over again what would I do?
- Read and try to understand PMPBOK word by word once
- Understand and solve maths problems
- Read and understand Abhishek's Version - Rajesh Nair PMP Notes once
- Take few free mock exams and clarify mistakes by referring PMBOK guide
- Read PMPBOK once again word by word
- Solve maths problems
- Take few more mock test and that's about it...I should be ready for the exam..
A proper 40 to 50 days of preparation should be good enough to pass the exam.
Good luck to all who are preparing for the exam!