Passed PMP Exam and Lesson Learned

bluesmirk's picture

I Just passed my PMP exam and here is my lesson learned and i spent two and half months on preparation and then i booked my exam and passed it in my first attempt.

Study Plan for PMP Exam

I had divided my preparation into three stages

 1.    Comprehensive Reading:Most of the people who did the certification had suggested in their lesson learned that “select one more book with PMBOK for PMP exam preparation”. I utilized this suggestion while preparing for my exam and I found it “logical” because in this you have full grip on your exam preparation. I think that studying too many books at the same time results in the loss of control on your preparation. Headfirst PMP; Headfirst PMP is the best book for first time reading, as it explains through examples many different situations with proper conclusions. Rita’s PMP Book; I recommend Rita PMP book for proper exam preparation. I read this book two to three times comprehensively and third time I wrote down notes on all important concepts like “Value Analysis” “Design of experiment” etc. These notes not only improved my confidence but also improved my score in PM Fastrack during practicing different questions.PMBOK; I just used it as a reference book, and consulted it only a couple of times to understand any term or definition. 2.    “Commit to memory”There are a few things which need “fine” understanding and then preparation for PMP exam which includes ITTO, Formulas for PMP, Rita Process Chart and different terms like “Value Analysis” “Monte Carlo Analysis” “Design of experiments” etc to answer many questions in the final exam. First I understood all the ITTOs and then I practiced them asking myself inputs, output and tool & techniques of different process; memorized Rita’s process chart and Page 70 of PMBOK.  3.    PMP sample questionsI practiced questions from the following sources 1.    Questions form Rita’s PM Fastrack with answer explanation. 2.    Headfast PMP sample questions, and questions at the end of all chapters3.    BMC PMP practice questions. 4.    Oliver Lehmann’s sample questions5.    Questions from AMCOM PMP, and Sybex Test Engine My preparation was based on Rita’s PM Fastrack questions. I had more than eight thousand sample questions but practiced 2500-3000 questions before my final exam. Final Review: I had planned five to six days for my final review and I reviewed all the chapters, ITTO, Formulas and Glossary in these days and completed my review with the little stress that all of us  have for final exam.Exam Day:I booked my exam at 1pm in another city which is 2 hours drive from my home, so I left early keeping all the things in mind, e.g. rush hours, traffic blockage, in case of any accident, etc and reached two hours early at Prometric Center.  After fulfilling all formalities I sat for exam;1.    First 15 MinutesIn first two to three minutes I went through the entire tutorial for how to use computer and answers the questions in exam. In next 12 minutes, I wrote down all the important formulas, Rita process chart in short, and briefly Project Management process, page 70 of PMBOK.2.    4 Hours timeBefore starting exam I had decided that I would complete 50 questions in one hour time so that I do not have to rush to complete all the questions quickly but when I finished 50 question in less then 50 minutes then I decided that I would go on like this, 50 questions in one hour and I finished 200 question in 3:20 hours and in next 15 minutes I reviewed the marked questions. Around 3:45 hours time I pressed the End Exam button and after giving feedback regarding facility, finally a congratulation message came up and I thanked God Who had helped me in passing this exam. It’s His blessing because I had requested Him a lot through prayers that I wanted to pass it in my first attempt.I had asked myself few questions after passing PMP exam for lesson learned purpose and here they are:Do you think that PMP exam was difficult?No, if you are well prepared for it. This exam is not that much difficult that it cannot be passed. If you have prepared for the exam and practiced sample questions with good understanding I think you can easily pass it in your first attempt.Do we need to read many books for Exam Preparation?No. One more book with PMBOK, which is well recommended and recognized globally is enough. I had a lot of material for exam preparation but I only selected Rita’s PMP book for complete preparation and I was satisfied at the end of the exam.Do I need to memorize ITTO?ITTO needs “Fine” preparation. No one can tell me how should I prepare, it’s only me who knows how should I go with ITTO. I did memorize them and understood them thoroughly along with practice.Do I need to practice sample questions even though I am confident about my preparation?Yes, you do need to practice sample questions but the important thing is that sample questions should be selected from best available resources. Do not select such type of questions which have more then FOUR CHOICES or have choices like “ALL THE ABOVE” “None of Above” etc.Secondly, do not rush to finish thousands of questions just for your satisfaction that I have finished 10,000 questions. Try to understand each question and its choices, for example if choice A is correct, why A is correct and other choices are not correct, and if A and C are correct then why one of them is best choice. If you do like this, you will definitely pass your PMP easily.How many questions are needed for practice to pass my exam?It really depends on your exam preparation. if you have comprehensive preparation then after practicing few hundred questions you will get an idea about your preparation. Otherwise, practice as much as you can. you should practice the sample questions. Look on web, thousands questions are available for practice.I practiced all the questions available in Rita’s PM Fastrack and I found PMP exam easier than questions in PM Fastrack.I hope my lesson learned will help you in the preparation of PMP exam. Shahid Malik, PMP®Project +™, e-biz +™, MPM ™, ECE ™, MCP, A+®

admin's picture


 Many congratulations !. Thanks a lot for sharing the LL and experience with this group;


Many congratulations!!! Nice LL as well!!!

Just one question about the 15 minutes before the exam:

You said that completed tutorial in 3 mins and used remaining 12 mins for mem dumps. My, maybe stupid! question, is: How did you reserve rest time? I mean there was a button there saying Start test or End tutorial that you did not pressed and so you reserved/used the remaining time of 12 mins?

Thank you

Cheers and Bye






bluesmirk's picture

Hi George,

Thanks for many congratulations,

15 min tutorial is all about how to use mouse and how to answer the questions in PMP exam. you can move forward and backward and also there is an "End Tutorial" button. It means that if you funish your tutorial earlier then you can click End Tutorial button and can start the exam. I did not click it and i just quickly went through the tutorial and used the rest of time by writing important things on papers. Time went on and when 15 mins had passed the exam started automatically and i got obsorbed in answering the questions.

Thanks, Cheers




I m a prospectus pmpian... need your kind guidance to make this thing a little smooth as you have just gone through this BIG task ... if you can guide me I will be obliged .. seems like you are online at the moment if you can contact my self  it will be an honor.

Khalid Hussain

Manager  Samab Bank Ltd.

bluesmirk's picture

Dear Khalid,

Thanks for your congratulations,

you can join "PMP International" yahoo group to download sample questions to practice and test your preparation before exam, you also find lot of material over there, Different PMP notes and presentation for your exam preparation.

Thank you,





Many congratulations,

 I bought "KIM Heldman BOOK" and also took 35 Hour course in which I got Rita’s e-book without  Rita’s PM Fastrack.

Would you like please to show me how can I get  Rita’s PM Fastrack?

what do you think about Kim book?

Thank you in advance ; saudi arabia

bluesmirk's picture

Dear Adil, 

Thanks for your congratulations

you can purchase updated version of PM Fastrack from RMC Project. please visit them for more details. here the website

Second, join PMP International tahoo group for PMP material for exam preparation and also you can look for sample question on PM Zilla and

Thank you