As posted earlier, I cleared PMP on 13th May in first attempt with 2P & 3MPs. Here are my lessons learned:
I took training little more than 3 years back but for various reasons could not continue further study/preparation. Only in last dec (2012), I decided to complete the certification, so went for a refresher course (1 weekend) and started studying. Initially, read PMBOK in detail (every bit of it), underlined important points etc.
Used 2 more books- first one by Kim Heldman (PMP Study guide 5th edition) and other by Joseph Philips. Book by Kim Heldman is available for free for PMI members here ...
I found this book very helpful in making me understand the concepts thoroughly. Questions under chapters in both these books are really good.
Before taking exam, I took a week off from work and went thro these 2 books in detail and also took a fast run thro PMBOK again. Later I gave following mock tests:
1. PMPforsure (free 75 questions): (65%) I felt these questions were reasonably tough
2. PMStudy (1st free- full length): 78% Good quality questions
3. HeadFirstPMP (full length)- 82% They claim that their questions are closer to real exam but I felt they were quite easy. Also went thro questions from Oliver and www.bestpmpquestions.com but could not go thro all available questions due to time constraints.
I also bought book by PMZilla. As mentioned before, questions are really tough and stimulating your thought process. Its only for 500/- so felt real value for money. I scored ~70% average in all question sets (6 of them) in this book.
Also material posted on this site is very helpful e.g. Rajesh Nair's xlsx and Raga's 355 points are must read!
As many of us have already mentioned- final exam is really tough- it tests your core understanding and does not test your memory- so IMO, if you are hard-pressed for time, please dont spend your time in by-hearitng ITTOs. I didnot do that, instead, focussed on understanding the data flow thro documents. I did not get any question asking which is input/output of this process? etc.
I got around ~20 maths questions- since am good at it- was breeze for me- I think you also should do the same- in general these questions are very easy.
Btw, I did not any "gift" questions, which I was really waiting for :)
Throughout the exam, I tried to maintain speed of ~25 questions in 30 mins, so in the end I got around 10-12 mins to review all marked questions. I took reasonable amount of time for each question in the first round itself, really confirmed my understanding and then selected answer, so in the end I did not have too many questions for review.
My strategy for tough questions was- when I saw a question is taking time, based on my current understanding and judgement, I always selected best possible answer (didnot leave it blank), marked it and went head. IMO- this helps on 2 counts- 1. if you dont get time in the end to review, you have already selected best possible answer. 2- when u review this question in the end- looking at the selected answer, you can recollect your thought process, where you left so you need not restart thinking from scratch.
If anyone attending in Mumbai- I think there is a marriage hall in the vicinity of the center. When I started my exam at 12:30pm, at the same time, I guess, there was a marriage. They started banging/beating band/drums continuosly for 1 1/2 hrs. Center had provied noise remover headphones but didnot help much. It was absolutely distracting (now I feel- I should have mentioned it in the survey- but I was so much eager to know the result so I didnot do that!), especially given that many questions were long enough (3/4 lines)- anyway, cant help!
I am sorry for long LL- hope it helps someone! Please let me know if anyone has any questions!