Passed PMP - Done & Dusted for Good!
I am Ram from Malaysia - i cleared my PMP exam on the first week of September 2013 and i hear you might be asking why I am posting my LL after 4 long weeks.
That is because i just got back from my 3 weeks long vacation - a well deserved break after 8 long months studying for PMP. This is my story, a remarkable milestone of mine.
I am a Business Analyst for a well known MNC and have been one for the past 7 years of my career life.
Being a BA is a job I've always wanted and inspired to do - analytic thinking and being the communicator between Business and IT is what i enjoyed all these while.
As much as i love my job, major projects have always been my evaluation benchmark when it comes to my KPI review. That is when i asked myself if I should take up Project Management role instead - ever since, I began to read about PMP. The 'research' went on for almost 2 years as I couldn't allocate much time due to both personal and career life enhancements.
Fast forward to February 2013, I decided to give PMP a go and enrolled myself to a well reputable training center for the 35 PDUs which I owe big time. Anyone from Malaysia who is keen to take up PMP, do drop me a note - you will never go wrong with this institution.
I began my tutorial class in March 2013 and it was a 3 months long track organized and managed so well for working adults. My tentatively planned exam period was supposed to be in 25 July 2013 - yes, that's 2 months after my last class as I'd to travel for work in between.
I also took the risk of taking up the exam in end July 2013 when i know PMBOK v4 was about to expire a week after.
I did not study much during the initial first 3 months of my class - it was more like flipping thru the PMBOK 4 which i printed and left aside. Serious reading begun when I my work travel schedule got tighter and I realized there’s not much time left.
I initially had 2 books - the PMBOK and Kim Heldman's Exam Guide 6th Edition. I was reading both books in parallel and writing my own notes at the same time.
I somehow felt I wasn't getting anywhere - Kim's book goes by Process Group and it is as dry as the PMBOK, my perception that is. I was scoring 50-65% on average on all chapter end questions and i completed the book in 4 weeks.
Having one more month to go, i took the risk of going thru Rita Mulcahy's 7th Edition.
Read: RMC is God sent - you may interpret this with your own words.
My test scores improved tremendously for all Rita's chapter end questions averaging 68-85%.
By end fourth week, i completed Rita's book and went ahead with below mock tests - approximately 3500 questions ;
1. Head First - 75%
Comments: Good start to benchmark where you stand
2. Oliver Lehman's 175 - 68%
Comments: A tough one to crack but real good one to clear concepts
Difficulty: Medium - Hard
3. Christopher Scrodo 1-18
Comments: The test goes from easy to hard and i was scoring around 70-85% from 1-12 and 65-70% from 13-18
Difficulty: Medium - Hard
4. Exam Central - 78%
Comments: Quality test questions and it does rise confidence
5. Simplilearn - 65%
Comments: I did not concentrate much for this test as i took it in rush and did not score well.
6. Frank Anbari - 90%
Comments: These questions are direct extracts from PMBOK - highly recommended to clear concepts.
Difficulty: Easy - Medium
7. TechFAQ 360 - 82%
Comments: Good confidence booster
8. Edwel - 65%
Comments: Can't recall the quality of these questions but worth trying.
9. PM Study 1 [Free] - 82%
Comment: Exam quality was real good, but please try your very best to avoid sitting for PM Study test on your last exam week.
I went paranoid going thru the hassle when their site went down while i was doing my 150th question. Their support did not respond to my mails or calls, complete disappointment!
10.PM Study 2 [Paid] - 78%
Comment: Read above - exam quality was good but they did not cover much of EVM and CPM questions.
11. Rita's FastTrack - Average of 75-80%
Comments: You will see huge collections of situational questions here and the quality of these questions are close to exam standard.
12. Random online questions
Comments: You should only take these questions when you are all done with the recommended ones.
: Do take note that you're taking a high risk of taking up questions from old PMBOK versions.
During the course of preparation, I came across this awesome forum called PMZILLA back in May 2013 - to be honest, the guys in this forum played real big role for me to pass my PMP. They've contributed constructive feedback for each and every queries and LL posted here.
You guys are awesome and i have no other words to express my gratitude except for thanking you guys for all the contributions made.
I also went thru a few real good YouTube videos – you might want to check them out;
I ended my final study on the eve night of my exam day - all i did was to time myself for the Brain Dump, ~12 minutes approximates. Basically my Brain Dump contains 9 segments as below;
1. 42 processes
2. EVM - 10 formulas
3. EAC - 4 formulas
4. Probability - 6 formulas
5. CPM - 4 formulas
6. Sigma - 4 Sigma %
7. Present & Future Value
8. Communication Channel - 1 formula
9. Quality and HR Theories - 6 theories
My exam was scheduled in Prometric Singapore - i reached the exam center by 7AM and realized no one was around me. I went thru my notes but it didn't help much as i was pretty much prepared, mentally.
The site invigilator arrived 5 minutes to 8AM and all of us are allowed in to the center at 8AM sharp.
A quick exam briefing was given and we waited patiently till our names are called - we waited for almost 30 minutes and i could see many restless faces around me.
Our exam was supposed to start at 8.30AM. Few minutes after, out came the invigilator with a disappointed face. We were told the network connection between Prometric US and Singapore was down. We weren't given a definite answer and were told to wait for feedback from PMI.
I was utterly disappointed at that time and walked to my car with heavy heart - i couldn't believe this was happening to me. I drove home with despair and felt down throughout the day.
I tried calling PMI that night and i was told they did not have any feedback from Prometric yet and was told to wait.
Days passed and i couldn't concentrate much on both studies and work since there wasn't a definite answer from neither PMI nor Prometric.
To make things worse, i called PMI Singapore 2 days after and was told i'd to reschedule my exam and it will be based on PMBOK5. The world turned its back on me for the second time - i was lost and felt absurdly demotivated.
Days passed and i couldn't go back on study track. A week after, i received an apology mail from PMI and offered all the effected candidate one chance to sit for PMBOK4 exam - the given date was 18 August 2013 at Prometric Singapore.
To make things more exciting, the exam will be delivered on Paper Based format [PBT] - how ironic.
I thank God for giving me an answer and replied the mail with my schedule confirmation.
I knew i wouldn't get an instant result like how Computer Based Test was conducted - it will take 6-8 weeks for PMI to reply all PBT candidates with the results.
The next 2 weeks was the most difficult days of my life - the attempt to re-study and going thru the whole process again was a killer experience.
After much thinking, i decided to gear up and planned my study schedule - summarized below ;
1. Rita FasTrack test 200Q - every 2 days
2. Review all marked & wrong answers after each test
3. PMStudy1 [Free] test
4. Rajesh Nair's notes - thank you PMZILLA
The D-Day [Take 2]
I arrived Prometric center early, feeling all excited for the PBT. Briefing was given and we were allowed into the exam room. We were given 4 pencils, 5-6 sheets of paper, a sealed Question book and an OCR sheet to mark your answers.
We were briefed on how to fill up our OCR paper - and out of sudden, the invigilator announced we can begin our exam and we have 4 hours to go.
I was shocked as i initially thought we'd given the first 15 minutes to perform our brain dump - what a good start. I rushed to write down all i could remember on the scratch sheets given and that took about 8 minutes.
The questions were comparable with my entire mock test but to my surprise, i did not see much situational based questions. My comments of the questions as summarized below;
1. I would consider EVM & CPM as scoring questions - Practice Scribd questions and you're on your way to get 15-18 questions right
2. Know your Contract types by heart
3. ITTO - there was about 5-6 straight forward questions but if you know & understand your 42 processes, you should have no issues answering
4. About 5-8 questions on Risk & Procurement combined
5. About 10 questions on HR - read Conflict Resolution. I got confused between Confronting & Collaborating.
6. Understand Quality charts well
No questions on Ethics, Depreciation Methods, PTA Calculations, Sigma and People theories.
I completed my exam in 3.5 hours, and took the next 30 minutes to review the marked [~30 of them] and i changed only 1 of it. The exam ended just before 1PM and i could see everyone feeling relieved - everyone wished each other good luck and we headed home.
I knew i would pass my exam but since it was a Paper Based Test, my worries were still there. 4 weeks passed and on the first week of September, i received a Congratulations mail from PMI stating I've passed my exam ;
1. Proficient : Initiating
2. Proficient : Planning
3. Proficient : Executing
4. Proficient : Monitoring & Controlling
5. Moderate Proficient : Closing
Well, i got to admit that I've never once closed my projects smoothly - that reflected my lacking on this process group.
The feeling of reading that mail was just sheer pleasure - i called almost everyone from my phone list to let them know it was well worth 8 months of sacrifices made. Hugs from the wife and my little girl just felt awesome - i did not sleep well that night and was on cloud nine throughout the week.
Behind every successful man, Project Managers in particular, there will surely be a strong, wise and supportive woman. That special lady who encouraged me throughout my PMP journey, she's my guardian angel - thank you, wifey.
Never once throughout my endeavor, i lost my faith to God - i knew and believed everything happens for a reason and for good that is.
I've read numerous LL and I've felt both the happiness and sorrows narrated here.
All i want to tell you future PMP aspirants as summarized below;
1. PMBOK is your scripture - print and bind it by chapters instead of carrying the whole 400 or so pages in bulk. You would appreciate reading it that way.
2. Read PMBOK and your preferred exam guide together to grasp the concepts
3. Read Lesson Learned often - it's a form of motivator to keep you going
Apart from above, some pointers to get you going;
1. If you’re a morning person, do your mock test practices in the morning and review your marked and wrong questions in the evening. Alternatively, on the last week of your exam, try your best to take up your mock test as close as your actual test time.
2. While reviewing your marked and wrong questions, use PMBOK as your first reference point and your Exam Guide next.
3. Try your very best NOT to go on study marathon – it might work for some but certainly not for me.
4. Draw the 42 processes [PMBOK4] and understand them conceptually – as for ITTO, try your very best not to memorize but understand them. It does not fit the purpose if you don’t understand them conceptually, especially for Tools & Techniques. You may use abbreviations if you like but be sure not to get confused especially for Risk and Quality Knowledge Area.
5. Practice your Brain Dump at least once every 3 days to ensure you don’t lose the grip.
6. If you’re on Android or iOS, there are a few reliable free apps on the Play Store or iTunes you can download. If you need the APKs or IPAs, let me know.
Guys, I have loads of sample questions & reference materials on my cloud storage – if any of you need one, drop your email address and I will add your IDs into the list. This is the least I could do in return for all the help PMZILLians has given me.
All the very best guys - God bless!
Wee, finally accreditation behind my name! ( :