Passed 10th Jan First Time 3P 2MP - Dont Stress :)
So I was reading and asking people how to prepare for the PMP exam for the last few years without actually taking the step. Finally, I've done it and didn't have to study that much. I think it's partially because I work in PM for a large American company that has it's own PM methodology that is really similar to the PMBOK approach (PDCA) and we have almost all the functions that this book refers to and more. Below is what I've done to pass.
1. Cornelius Fichtner PM Podcast for the 35 hrs - I used the videos as an initial guide to take me through the PMP and to help me understand what it's all about. I also put the playback speed on 1.3x because he talks really slowly for me. I think this is a great idea (online learning) as i didn't have to spend/waste time going to classes and lose time in commuting or in the classroom listening to other ppls issues/questions :) For me this was very mobile and a very good use of my time. The explanation will not help you pass alone for sure as they don't cover everything, but will get you the 35 hrs and will adjust your mindset on how the PMP examiners expect you to answer. I still remember Cornelius's voice in my head when I was answering questions, challenging my logic :) . I give it 4/5 for me.
You can also buy the simulator as part of a package, but honestly, i didn't like to formatting of the questions a lot. They want you to memorize everything, which you shouldn't at all.
2. Rita Mulcahy's book is an absolute must. If anyone knows the PMBOK it's her. Get this and read it twice at least and a max of 3 times if you feel that you didn't quite understand everything. I give it 6/5 :) PS. Rita has a process chart there and some games that I didn't like.
You can also buy it with the Fasttrack exam sim. So make up your mind which simulator you will get before you buy any of these solutions as it saves you some money.
3. Forums are a great source of knowledge. PMZilla as well as others really helped me a lot.
4. I heard a lot about Head First, but was too late for me. They say it's great for visual people so you may want to check it out too. Really cheap too compared to Rita.
5. Simplilearn is also a great way to get 35 hrs plus mock exams. So think about it too. I only tried their free exam.
6. For mock exams. Answer all that you can find/afford! I only bought Rita's fast track and then took all the free ones :)
Very important to mark all of what you are not sure of and after the exam check your marked answers (even if they were correct) as well as the wrong ones to learn from them. This is veryyyy important.
From timing pov, you only have to do a full timed exam once or twice to understand how long it takes you to finish and how focused are you near the end. When I was practicing I tried to answer every question in under a minute. The real exam allows you 1.2min/question, but I assumed that I'll need the extra time to go over the marked questions. In the real exam I realized that it actually took me more time and so instead of having 40 mins to spare I only had like 20 mins (took me 1.1 mins/q).
Now people will tell you that you need to score above 80% or 85% in the mocks to pass. That is BS. Rita however, recommends 70-75% which is exactly what I used to score on alllll my mocks and sometimes even 67/69.
- Rita Fasttrack - Great questions but really expensive and after the second test questions start to repeat! However, i think it helped me a lot. It is the best out there.
- Simplilearn free exam. It is I think the closest to the real exam.
- Headfirst free exam.
- PMStudy free exam
- Oliverlehmann free 75q and free 175 PDF
- PM Podcast exam simulator http://www.pm-exam-simulator.com/ - this I didn't like. They focus more on learning what's in the PMBOK rather than understanding. But you have to do it too :)
7. Flashcards are a great tool to remember things. I used some mobile apps to make them handy. Some people are not lazy like me and can create them to remember better or even create summaries of Rita's book. I am sure that will serve them well.
8. Last but not least, the ITTOs :) Don't memorize them, like a song but rather remember them by looking a lot at a visual map that puts them all togeather. I simply searched google for ITTOs mindmap or chart and picked one that I liked and looked at it every time i remembered to do so until the last minute before the exam.
One general advice, book the exam date first. Give yourself a fixed target date. I recommend 3 months max. Don't over kill yourself by memorizing everything but rather invest your time in reading from multiple resources and writing your own summaries (which i didn't :) ) and take a lot of exam questions (not full timed exams).