PASSED on 2nd attempt July 5th 2013
I've been silently lurking this site for the past couple of months in my preparations to RE-TAKE the PMP exam. I have learned so much here that I feel I owe it to this site to provide some feedback and share my experience!
I failed the PMP on May 30th, 2013. I received BP in every category except Planning, in which I received MP. Do not be discouraged by this because I absolutely did not prepare myself! If you are here, you are already more prepared than I was when I took the exam the first time! Also I took way too long to answer each question! I barely finished on time and had no time to review! I simply did not realize how diffifult the exam was going to be, but after failing the exam, I knew exactly what to do to prepare.
If you fail the exam, do not give up! A lot of people fail the first time only to go back and nail it the 2nd time!
Here's what I did to prepare for my 2nd attempt (only 1 month later):
I bought Andy Crowe's book and read it cover to cover BEFORE reading the PMBoK. It really helped build a solid foundation for understanding the concepts. It covers all of the same material, but the PMBoK has extra info that may be needed for the exam, so read both! (Note, I have never read a single word from "Rita" that I hear so many people talk about on here.)
I memorized the process group/knowledge area chart for my cheat sheet.
I memorized every single formula
I created flash cards for every single process, and on the back I wrote the process group, knowledge area, definition, and ITTOs that correspond. I barely referenced these flashcards again in my studies, but just writing them out in my own handwriting helped in compreheding the function of each process, so I really didn't need to use them as flashcards at all!
I downloaded the ITTO Game on my iphone and played every single process at least once. I HIGHLY recommend this app. It costs $3.99 but it was well worth it! It improved my understanding of ITTO's dramatically, and it was fun! Don't bother trying to memorize ITTO's word for word, just get a to know the processes as well as you can!
I followed "PMStudy" on Facebook and answered their "Question of the day" each morning. They post great questions and are very much like the ones you'll find on the exam. I also downloaded their app onto my phone and referenced it often!
I took many mock tests but the 2 I found most helpful were Lehhman & 200 tough:
Oliver Lehhman (this one is the MOST similar to the real test. I only scored 60% a few days before passing the PMP)
PMZilla 200 tough questions (I only scored 50% on these questions and still passed the PMP 4 days later!) I will say there were a lot of good questions there, but some of them are so far-fetched in their level of "trickiness." The exam itself defiitley has some trick questoins, but not nearly that bad! I do believe that by practicing these extra-difficult questions you are building "brain muscle" that will definitely come in handy for the exam!
The exam itself (my 2nd attempt) I scored 4 MPs and 1 P.
About one-third of the exam questions are formula based, and almost every math question requires you to apply at least 2 formulas, but they are relatively easy. I didn't have a single EMV question on my test. DO write those formulas on your "cheat sheet" before the exam for quick reference!
One-third is made up of those difficult questions you will find similar to Oliver Lehhman and PMZilla 200 Tough.
And another one-third are simple, and you will breeze through without a lot of thought if you really know the material.
As far as memorizing ITTO's, as I mentioned above, don't bother! There were only a few questions that I ask you to choose the correct sequence of inputs or outputs, or ITTOs for a particular process, where each choice was a list, but those were so easy because they had obvious answers that could be eliminated for having ITTO's from completely different process groups! So don't sweat it! Just get to know the function of each process and the corresponding ITTOs will be no-brainers!
When I took the exam the first time and failed, I thought it was so difficult. But after studying for 3 hours a day for a month, then taking it again, it wasn't as hard as I remembered it to be! If you know 90% of what's in the PMBoK you'rll be fine! Don't try to learn every single detail and random fact that is stated in the PMBoK, just know the majority of it.
Exam was scheduled for 11:30 but I arrived 15 minutes early at the Prometric Center and was allowed to go ahead and start. I took 3 hours and 30 minutes to answer every question, then I reviewed my marked questions, and when I finally hit sumbit I had maybe 5 minutes left. I was absolutely exhausted by this point and didn't see any need to review any thing further even though I had time left. The screen when white, and I waited...maybe 3 minutes but it felt like 3 hours! I was so nervous..going into panic mode! I had already failed this exam once, and if I had failed again I was going to be sick! But finally it said "CONGRATULATIONS!" I had tears in my eyes! I wanted to scream for joy but you have to be quiet in the testing center, so I had to contain myself!
This has not been an easy road for me, to say the least! I have 2 small children and could only make time to study after they went to bed and before they got up in the morning. But for one month I dedicated every spare moment I could devote to studying. Whether it was playing the apps on my phone or reading the gloassary of the PMBoK, I was determined NOT to fail this for the 2nd time!
Good luck to all of you!!