I failed the 1st attempt and Passed on the 2nd


I passed my PMP exam two months ago, it was my 2nd attempt. It 's a big relief for me , I am so happy I made it.:):):):) I pushed myself at the edge of the cliff - We have booked Our family vacation that was just 10 days away from my exam. Date, I could not imagine what will be my mood if I failed again on the 2nd attempt:(. Did you read that: I said 2ND ATTEMP. I have already failed one.:(.  

My whole PMP exam process is not that smooth , there are a lot of bumps on my  road( probably because I did not prepare properly) but at the end of the road I got the big gift --PMP. All the effort  is worth it .  I received many of help/ suggestions from PMzilla forums, many lessons learned and Q/A .Now it's a time to share my lessons learned to all PMP exam takers, I hope that could help your exam preparation and avoid the similar mistakes I made.

1.The 1 st bump on the road - Preparation

I have studied MPM many years ago, the program with hundreds of PMI recognized contact hours, so the 35 contact hours is not an issue for me. And also I have been working in architectural and engineering firms for more than 16 years . therefore experience hours is also not an issue.  I started to read PMBOK at the end of April ,2015 at the mid of June I finished the first time , It 's  really boring , there are a lot of details I did not read thoroughly, at the end I got a my PM knowledge frame built up, note! only the frame ! I do know the 5-group of knowledge and   47 processes . some of main input and output , a few tools and techniques. That 's all I learned from 1st through PMBOK.

I submitted application , one week later I received an email from MPI and  informed me that my application has been accepted and I have one year to sit and pass the PMP exam.

I  paid the exam fee then started 2nd round study on PMBOK, 3 days later, I received another email from PMI,  I was selected for an audit , what a good luck! there is very small chance to "Win" an  audit. I was the one of them. the following  week, instead of focus on study I have to go meet my manager and previous managers to sign the experience  forms and put them together with my education certificates and send to PMI.

Finally , I received an email that informed me qualified to take PMP exam.

2.Fail on First attempt

It's took me two weeks time to prepare audit documents and then my study was interrupted by another 4 weeks since we have visitors came and stay in our house. I have not seen them for longtime, you could image that there is no atmosphere to study at home and I work full time and really busy at day time. Time go by fast, The end of July , after 6 weeks pause, I started to work  hard on PMBOK, I study 4 hours every day and 6hours on the weekend days. I setup my exam day on Sept. 17,2015. after 2nd reading through of PMBOK I did some free mock exams, The result was not that good, most of exams I got are around 55%-60%, I reviewed all the questions that I had wrong answers and read PMBOK again and re-did  the same exam again . of course  , My score is dramatically improved to above 75%.  Note! That is the biggest mistake I made during the study, do NOT count on the 2nd or 3rd time mock exam results, always rely on the 1st time result on the mock exam. But I was very confident with my study strategy at that time until the 3 days before the exam date. I got a book called "Rita-PMP exam prep." Do you realize that so far I did not use any additional study materials , PMBOK is the only material I have been using in last 2 months study. When I glanced over  a few pages of Rita-PMP, I realized that this is a very good study material , but it's too late, I don't have a time to read it through. By the way, I am not a fast reader even reading my native language My reading pace is below average people.  English is my 2nd language, It's a real pain with many wordy questions when I doing the mock exam. The best result I had was just that 15 minutes left on a full 200 questions mock exam.

3days later, on Sept. 17. I went to test centre attempting  my 1st PMP exam. During the real exam , I answered the 1st 20 questions at my 1st half hour. I know that I would not able to answer all the questions if I keep the same pace. I have to speed up and try my best to get back on track. Another lessons learned I would like to post here is that , do NOT use the language aid, I was concerning about some words I may not understand , so I applied a language aid ,This is another mistake I made, I saw the questions in two versions on the screen, English and translated version. the question will not able to display on the full screen ,  I have to rolling up and down , back and forth  to see full questions and the translated version is really annoying !

It's very stress experience, I did not go to the washroom in 4 hours, no break! I finally finished the last question with 10mintes left. And I felt ok, May be the 10 minutes left give me that feeling. I thought that I may have a good chance to pass the exam.  Of course, The feeling was wrong, I got only one moderately proficient on Planning and rest knowledge areas are all below proficient. It was a big shock for me. I know that I must review my study strategy, something wrong with my whole study.

3.Passed on the 2nd attempt, Got my PMP!!


I started to study right away after fail. First of all, I read Rita-PMP from the front to the end following the book instruction. important!! following the book instruction!!  Did all the tests in the book.  Read 2nd time with PMBOK and fill the knowledge gaps with those test questions; created a note book , mark down every mistake I made and went back to PMBOK and RITA read the related areas read more closely; and also went to  PMzilla---- I signed in PMzilla; very helpful site I received alot recommendations from PMZilla, ; I also did at least 1000 free mock exam. questions. The last two weeks I decided to purchased a PMSTUDY 4 mock exams.(this is also a recommendation from PMP test taker's  from PMzilla) package . During my study and mock exams, My score is crawling up slowly, finally after 2 and half months study, I got a 71% on PMstudy mock exam 4. 

I was very nervous, since  My mock exam score was not good enough for me to pass the PMP and also concern on My reading speed. During the mock exams I took the recommendations, take a break at 50 questions or 75 questions , and another break at 120 or 150 depends on my time and stress level. I found that the take a break really works to release the stress and that will help me to answer the questions. I am glad that I practiced my time management on every mock exam. washroom time, breaks even 1 or 2 minutes break or take a deep breath , It really works .

I finished My 2nd attempt in less stress than the 1st time, yes,I did not apply for language aid. went to washroom after answered 115 questions, took 3 short break in 1-2 minutes.  I only have 5 minutes left but it is under my control .

I passed the exam with.

2 proficient and 3 moderately proficient


Danny Ding


I am trying to figure out how you passed the pmp by narrowing down the possible answers which appears that all looks right ?

Will brute force memorization work of total 47wp, i/o/t&t etc. ?

Exactly how do we narrow down the choice of the answers for any given situational exam ?


pmcoe's picture

Hi Sands,


you might have a look on htis guide regarding your request:

  PMP Exam Questions - The Complete Guide ✪ 


Hope this helps a bit.




You failed in your first attempt, but after your hard work you cleared it in your 2nd attempt, great to hear that, but PMP exam is not tough as you see it. You just have to just clear your doubts in which you are weak. It is highly required in now a days scenario.

You can learn PMP online for free from http://www.pmstudy.com/